The Majestic Mahanandi Temple
Mahanandi is a picturesque village located in Kurnool District. It also is a popular pilgrimage site among Shiva devotees. The village is approximately 15 kilometers from Nandyal, 80 kilometers from Kurnool and 290 kilometers from Hyderabad, close to Gopavaram village.
The village is located just east of Nallamala Hills and hence, is surrounded by verdant forests. Just 15 kilometers from the village there are nine Nandi bulls, which are known as the Nava Nandis. The Mahanandi Temple, also known as Mahanandiswara Temple, houses one of the nine Nandi bulls.
It is believed that the temple was constructed in the 7th century by the Chalukyas and several more additions were done during the Nanda Dynasty in the 10th century and by the Vijayanagara kings in the 15th and 16th centuries. The gopuram of the temple stands over the sanctum sanctorum and is constructed in the Badami Chalukyan architectural style. The other temple structures are constructed in the Vijayanagara architectural style.
The Mahanandi Temple is surrounded by mandapas and the sanctum sanctorum has a vimana, which has a shikara on the top. There is a tank in front of the temple that has tepid waters throughout the year. The water of the tank is popular for its curative properties. The inlet and outlet of the tank are arranged in such a manner that the water level stays constant at 5 feet. The tank is fed from 5 springs – called Srisailadhara, Narasimhadhara, Daivodhinidhara, Nanditirtha and Kailasatirtha. There are two pools of fresh water as well, known as Pushkarni or Kalyani.
The temple houses a Linga made from rough uncut rocks, with two sockets. Here the Linga is seen just above the earth`s surface without the three Peethams underneath. There is a massive Nandi bull in front of the temple and this is the reason the temple is called Mahanandi Tirtha. Close to the main shrine is another shrine dedicated to the Goddess. The Srichakra, in front of the deity, is said to have been installed by Adisankara himself.
Behind the main shrine, there are three small shrines, each consisting of a Shiva Lingam. Devotees believe that if one worships at these shrines, the person will go beyond the Sthoola, Sookshma and Karana Dehas to the Turiya stage.
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