Antarvedi

Sri Lakhmi Narasimha Swamy temple

Sri Lakhmi Narasimha Swamy temple is in Antarvedi, also said to be the site of age Vasishta's ashram.  The sage, it is further said, installed the idol of Lord Narasimha here.  It is one of the 108 sacred shrines for Lord Narasimha.

Some distance from the temple is a tributary of the Godavari, appropriately called the Vasishta Godavair, which merges into the sea near here.  Nearer the river is the Vasishta Sevashram, at the place where the original ashram of sage Vasishta is said to have existed.  The shrine for the sage was consecrated in 2005.

Antarvedi gets its name from a Vedic yagna conducted here by Lord Brahma.  Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple was built over the ruins of the old one.  The gopurams and vimanams are freshly painted, and are a delight to the eyes.  The concrete sculputres have been painted in attractive colours, not off-white, like in rest of Andhra Pradesh.  The sculptures are not crowded, but spaced apart and pleasantly coloured, like in the Appannapalli temple.  The Rajagopuram, in a cream-coloured background, is almost spartan, compared with the riot of colours on the vimanam over the sanctum.  On the top tier is Lord Vishnu on His snake couch, with Sri Lakshmi at his feet. Below tat is Rama, flanked by Sita and Lakshmana.  Just above them is Chandra (Moon).  On the seond tier is Lord Shiva, with Shaki. At the bottom is Krishna Performng the Kaliya Mardhana (on the snakke, Kaliya).  The Sun is in his chariot, with his seven horses in a gallop,o the other side of the vimanam.  Brahma can be seen here, as well as Vishnu. Shiva, Parvati and Vishnu are depicted on the third side as well.  The inner gopuram, between the Rajagopuram and the vimanam, displays lions, sitting at the corners, with Lakshmi-Narasimha at the centre, while at the apex are two lions standing gloriously, their front paws over two elephants whose trunks are out stretched.

The central shrine is devoted to Sri Narasimha.  A unique thing about this shrine is that the Lord sits facing west instead of the usual east.  Sri Lakshmi is seated on the Lord's lap.  There are shrines here for Shiva as Sri Neelakanteshwara, Sri Rama, ad Sri Garuda and Hanuman.  To the east is the shrine of the Mother Goddess, Sri Rajyalakshmi Ammavaru, and Sri Venkatachalapathy.  Also here are shrines for Sri Bhoodevi, Ranganathaswamy, Sri Santhanagopalaswamy and Sri Kesava swamy, besides the Alwars and Chaturbhuja Anjaneya.

Like in the case of many other temples, the image of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha swamy was discovered fortuitously and installed here.  The shrine was rebuilt in 1923 by Sri.  N.R. Narasimha Rao, a businessman, to thank the Lord for saving his ship from being sunk.

The Vasishta shrine is circular, with three floors.  The image of the sage, in penance is at the entrance of the shrine, which is on a mini island, connected by a causeway.  The Sri Chakra has also been installed in the shrine.  At the first level is a depiction of Mount Meru on the legendary tortoise.  The trust, which runs the ashram, is also into social service, with a school among its other schemes.

How to get there

Antarvedi is in a remote corner of East Godavari district, but by no means inaccessible. It is 30 km from Razole/Rajole, while Narasapur, on other side of the river, is 10km via ferry.  To and from Rzole, you could travel, part by bus and part by share auto.  Those travelling from the north must come to Yanam (part of distant Pondicherry), then Mummidipalem (15km), Amalapuram (16km), Ambajipet (8km) and Rajole (30km).  Finally, take the road to Palakolu, and turn left to Antarvedi (30km). Those coming fom Vijayawada should come via Bheemavaram, proceed to Palakkolu, then turn right before Rajole.

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