Appanapalli, a remote village, 35km from Amalapuram, is famous for Sri Bala Balaji temple, regarded as the Tirupati of Konaseema. Appanapalli is only 14km by ferry from Amalapuram, but to the unfamiliar pilgrim the land route is the better option.
Appanapalli is surrounded by the Godavari on three sides. Paddy fields, coconut and mango groves dot this part of Konaseema. The village derives its name from Sage Appanna, who did penance here. It was also said to be a haven for Vedic scholars f yore. But it has become famous in recent yars for Sri Bala Balaji temple, built by Sri Molleti Ramaswamy, a great devotee of Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala-Tirupati.
Sri Ramaswamy, who ran a coconut shop, was told by the Lord in a dream to build a temple for those who could not go to Tirupati. Accordingly, in 1966. Sri Ramaswamy installed the photographs of Sri Venkateswara and Sri Padamavathy in his shop. Word spread, and in no time, pilgrims began to pour in their thousands to see the pictures.
In March 1970, foundation was laid for a pucca temple, with proper idols. The new temple was consecrated in July 1971. All pilgrims were served free meals, at all times, infants given milk, and the sick provided medical aid. "It's the Lord's will, " Sri Ramaswamy would reply, when asked howhe had the wherewithal to do all this. Food is still served at all times of the day and infants are provided free milk.
The old temple, along with the original pictures of the Lord, remains intact. A priest conducts poojas, as it was done before the construction of the new temple. While the new temple is on the main road, the old one, in its original setting, is on the lane opposite. The three-tiered Rajagopuram, at the entrance of the new temple is quite ordinary, but the tableau depicting the Gitopadesam, in front of the vimanam over the sanctum, is extraordinary. The colourful, concrete sculpture is beautifully executed with a chariot pulled by four horses, Arjuna on his knees, and Krishna directing him back to the battlefield.
How to get there
Amalapuram, 35km is the nearest town (via Ambajipeta). It can also be accessde by ferry from Amalapuram (15km), via Bodasakuru. The distance from Kakinada via Yanam is 70 km and via Revulapalem, 110 km. Appanapalli is 85km from Rajamundry.
The Devasthanam choultry, adjoining the temple, offers inexpensive rooms.
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