Sri Padmavathi Sametha Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple
Sri Padmavathi Sametha Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple is in Narayanavanam, 11km norht-east of Nagari. The straight road, north, goes to Puttur, en route to Tirupati. A turn to the east, in the direction of the Tirupati - Uthukottai - Chennai highway, leads to Narayanavanam. The temple is a short walk from the bus stand. The skyline of this small town is dominated by the towering seven-storeyed Rajagopuram, with an equally impressive mandapam in front of it.
Narayanavanam was the capital of the ancient Suryavanshi kings, before they shifted to Karvetinagaram. As the name, Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy temple, indicates, this is the place where Lord Venkateswara got married to the divine consort, Sri Padmavathy. This, therefore, is the only temple, where the Divine Couple can be seen in the same complex.
Many of the articles used for the divine wedding can be still seen in the shrine. Along the corridor are some truly gigantic wedding related vessels, including a huge stone grinder. The size of the vessels are probably a testimony to the massive/important wedding ceremony, which was graced by the celestials. Besides the main shrine and the shrine for Goddess Padmavathy, there are shrines for Rama and Sita, Sri Ranganayaka and Sri Andal. The temple is well preserved, maitained as it is by the TTD. In a lane adjoining the temple is the samadhi of Sri Sorakkai Swamy. Surrounded by the Nagari hill ranges, part of the Eastern Ghats, Narayanavanam was the home of this mystic from 1872. There are no authentic birth details of this swamy, nor about his origins. Some say he was a wandering mendicant in Tiruvallur (now in Tamil Nadu), while others maintain he was a shepherd who met a great soul who inititated him into yoga. He got the name sorakai vernacular for bottlegourd or calabash from his habit of carrying the shell/skin of the vegetable as a receptacle for food and water. He was ill-clad, with a big turban on his head and looked and acted like a tramp. But the eyes, it is said, flickered with a certain light and his face beamed with intelligence, qualities which drew myriads of rich and the poor from the then Madras Presidency.
When he passed away, he was said o be quite old; some said he was two hundred, while others were more modest: they said he was just over one-hundred-years-old. The Samadhi continues to draw people, and the small shrine erected over it is the focal point of congregation, especially on festive occasions.
How to get there
From Tirupati, Narayanavanam is 40km, while Puttur is just five km away. From Chennai, it is 90km via Nagarim or via Uthukottai.
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