Historical Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, Mangalagiri, Andhra

Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, Mangalagiri . image c: Ramakrishna Anand
Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple & Mangalagiri town, . Andhra state.  credit: Ramakrishna Anand.
Conch, gift from Raja Serfoji II, Maratha ruler, Thanjavur, Mangalagiri. www.apendowments.gov.in 
temple car,vLakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, Mangalagiri.. inacc.blogspot.com
The southern state of Andhra Pradesh has innumerable temples dedicated to Lords Shiva and Vishnu and also to other deities. One of the few richest and popular temples is the one at Thirumala - dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Equally famous is the Badrachalam  Sri Ramar temple, but it is not a rich one. In the small town of Magalagiri  in Guntur district, there are two famous temples dedicated to Vishnu,  one near the  foot hills  and the other being  Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple on the near-by hill. Both these temples attract lots of people and the temple atop the hill can be accessed  by motor vehicles.

The  presiding  deity in the temple here at the foot hill is called Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy  and is believed to have been  installed by Yudhishtira, the eldest of the Pandavas. Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu who ruled from Amaravati as his capital  200 years  ago (in 1807-1809)  built the temple at Mangalagiri. The temple has a tall gopuram (tower) on the eastern  side -153ft.  tall and 49 feet wide with 11 stories.  Thoorpu Gali Gopuram, main tower is  replete with beautiful big images of   various gods and goddesses from the Hindu Pantheon. These images bear testimony to the workmanship and amazing  skills of the craftsmen and artisans of by-gone era. The water tank opposite the tower was built by the ruler to offset the slowly leaning tower as suggested by one  Kancheepuram Archi. After digging the tank, it is said, the tower became straight. The first three tiers were built by the Vijayanagara rulers and the rest - 8 tiers were built by Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu. Utthara Gali Gopuram (Tower on North Side) built by Rangapuram Jamindar Madapati Venkateswararao in 1911 is thrown open on the Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti) day. The Padamati Gali Gopuram (Tower on West Side) is incomplete. Dhakshina Gali Gopuram (Tower on South Side) was renovated in 1992. 

From the the  various stone inscriptions of the kings of Vijayanagara found in this temple,  we come to know about the conquest of Rayalu over Kondapalli etc, grants of lands to the temple by Siddhiraju Thimmarajayya Devara and  Chinna  Thirumalayya (son of Annamacharya)  to Ramanujakudam in 1561

In the Kritayuga, when the ocean Ksheeraodadhi was being churned by the Mandara hill Devas (Celestial), it created a pushkarni - water tank that  contained holy waters of many rivers and Goddess Lakshmi bathed  in it and later offered herself to the lord. Because  pushkarani (temple tank) is believed to exist here at Mangalagiri for a long time, hence, it is called Lakshmi pushkarani. Further, Lord  Rama  once visited this  holy place to get liberation - Mukthi and that is why  this hill is also called the "Totadri".