<>Trip to Bhadrachalam and Mattapalli (Pancha Narasimha Kshetrams)
By Subashini Narasimhan

By the grace of Bhadrachalam Shri Ramar and Mattapalli Narasimhar, we started our trip on 7 August (Tuesday) by TN EXP at 22.10 hrs from Chennai and reached Vijayawada at 04.10 on next morning (Wednesday). Totally we were 7 persons.

We have arranged for a 8 seater car/Jeep – through a Travel Agent. Mr. Anwar and the driver Jagadeesan were waiting for us in the station in that early morning hours.

At about 5 am in the morning they took us to Hotel Swami at about a distance of 10 kms from the station and in the market area of Vijayawada…. Eventhough the area was not that impressive, the rooms were neat and clean and the service was also good.  They charge Rs.300 for non A/C and Rs.600 for A/C.  We hired 2 rooms just to get ready for the day as we were to visit temples in the morning.  The cleaner helped us in getting coffee and tea and it was a great relief for us the coffee drunkards. Travel agent adviced me to first visit Mangalagiri and then Vedadri and then proceed to Bhadrachalam from there.


Around 6.30 am we left for Mangalagiri. It is at a distance of 15 kms from the centre of the city of Vijayawada. These days the road goes up to the top of the mountain where we can visit the Panakala Narasimhar temple. We were rather the first ones that morning to visit the temple.  Lord is on the walls of the hill and was adorned with kavacham around the neck and we can see the wide open mouth so clearly.  To offer Panakam to Lord Narasimhar we need to get the tickets from the Devastanam counters and they have the prepared panakam ready to be given to the Lord.  We were just holding our breath to listen to the sound from the throat of Lord Narasimhar as he drinks the panakam, from my offering he took only few gulps of Panagam and from others he had taken more than half of the pot of panakam.  We could hear very clearly when the gulping stops with a “cluck” sound and the panakam does not go in anymore.  Archakas gave back the balance of the panagam as prasadam to us and there are arrangements inside the temple itself where they give us steel tumblers to drink the panagam and also plastic bottles to take the remaining of the panagam.  They advised us to consume the panagam before the evening as it will not be good to consume it in the late evening.   The temple is very well maintained and neat and clean eventhough they have plenty of people visiting everyday to offer panagam to Lord Narasimhar we cant find a single ant in that place.  Then we had to climb a few steps to have darshan of Rajalakshmi Thayar and Shri Ranganathar.  Bhattar in Thayar sannidhi did the archanai in a very polite and nice manner and I was wondering if Thayar Herself wont appear in person to hear this. He gave us bangles from Thayars thirumeni which is a speciality of this temple.

Panagala Narasimhar temple is open from 7 am to 2 pm only.  The temple is strictly closed in the afternoons.

mangalagiri tower

After this we went to the temple in the foothill of Mangalagiri. This temple’s rajagopuram is a unique one with a very sleek and tall model with very minimal width at the base.  This tower has a very commanding structure as viewed from the top of the hill.  Moolavar here is LakshmiNarasimhar with thayar on his lap and a very broad and wide laughing face, especially the teeth and the mouth are so wide that it looks as if HE is looking at us and inviting us with a broad and wide smile.  There is a separate sannidhi for Rajalakshmi Thayar.  Here in AP almost all are Rajalakshmi Thayars only.  Maybe there is a particular reason for that which I could not find out.

Foothill temple is open from morning 6am to 12noon and in the evening from 4 to 8 pm

After having darshan at the foothill temple, we went to have breakfast in Alokya hotel.  Our driver had taken us to the right restaurants where we can get proper and good vegetarian food.  Then we went back to Hotel Swamy to collect our luggage and hand over the room.

After this we went to the temple in the foothill of Mangalagiri. This temple’s rajagopuram is a unique one with a very sleek and tall model with very minimal width at the base.  This tower has a very commanding structure as viewed from the top of the hill.  Moolavar here is LakshmiNarasimhar with thayar on his lap and a very broad and wide laughing face, especially the teeth and the mouth are so wide that it looks as if HE is looking at us and inviting us with a broad and wide smile.  There is a separate sannidhi for Rajalakshmi Thayar.  Here in AP almost all are Rajalakshmi Thayars only.  Maybe there is a particular reason for that which I could not find out.

Foothill temple is open from morning 6am to 12noon and in the evening from 4 to 8 pm

After having darshan at the foothill temple, we went to have breakfast in Alokya hotel.  Our driver had taken us to the right restaurants where we can get proper and good vegetarian food.  Then we went back to Hotel Swamy to collect our luggage and hand over the room.

Trip to Vedadri

vedadri tower

At about 9.45 am we left for Vedadri temple.  We went on the National Highways NH9 from Vijayawada to Hyderabad upto Chillakallu and at this junction we took a left turn towards Vedadri and passing through Madras Cement Factory (Ramco Cements) we arrive at Vedadri.  We took about 1 hr 20 minutes to reach the temple at a distance of totally 85 kms from the hotel.  Up to Chillakallu road was excellent and after that it was somewhat OK.  Temple is in a totally remote place and suddenly at the end of one of the cement factories we see a temple and on that day there was a marriage in the nearby kalyana mandapam and hence there was quite a bit of crowd in the temple when we arrived there.  I felt happy to note the devotion of the Telugu people and in fact during this trip my opinion about them has increased manifolds. We had to climb nearly 50-60 steps to enter the main entrance.  There were lots of our ancestors around the place and hence one has to be careful with their bags especially the ones with prasadam like coconut or banana.

Here the Moolavar is YogaNarasimhar. Utsavar has a sword on his hand.  When we asked the Bhattar about it, he could give some vague info only in Telugu. There are two utsava moorthys here and in most of the temples here they have 2 utsavars and really big ones as compared to the archai moorthy of Moolavar.  There are separate small sannidhis for Aandaal, Thayar and Aalwaars.  Near Thayar there is Anjaneyar also which is very unique to this temple.  

Again Bhattar could give us only vague info about it.  As it was end of the morning seva and time was approaching for kovil kaalam, Bhattar was eager in doing the quick aarthy for us and disposing us off.  I can understand this as he must have been tired as there was lot of crowd since that morning.  After darshan at the temple as we were doing a pradakshinam we noticed that the rear entrance leads straight down into river Krishna.  Not minding the sun right above the head, all of us went down to have a feel of Krishna River.  There are totally 95 steps to climb down/up when we were there (august) and when the river flows in full it will be lesser. Here also Krishna was flowing only in half its capacity.  Yet it is a lovely and lively sight to see a river; it is very rejuvenating experience to touch the holy water and sprinkle it on our head. Vedadri temple timings – 6am to 12.30 and 3 to 9 pm

Towards Bhadrachalam

At about 12.30 we left Vedadri and started our trip to Bhadrachalam.  At the Chillakaallu junction we took a right turn towards Wyra on the State Highways and went past the places called Vatsavai, Bonakallu and also a railway crossing and then towards Tallada route leading towards Kothaguden and Bhadrachalam.  On the way we passed thro Ontigudise, Narasapuram, Machinapet, Nayakulagudem, SujathaNagar, Vepalagadda, Mangapet, Sarvaram.  All through it was all green fields with cotton plantation.  On the way we could not find any vegetarian hotel to have lunch. Our Driver was very good in trying to help us find a purely vegetarian hotel and only at Kothagudem we were lucky to locate a purely vegetarian mess – Sri Sai Annapoorna Veg mess – somewhat neat and clean and maintained completely by women - a very hot spicy food at Rs.50 per person – rice and curd was very good.  Of course if one likes to eat hot spicy food, then it would have been a heaven for them.  

From vedadri to Bhadrachalam – 160 kms about 4 and half hours including a lunch break of 1 hour.  All through roads were in very good condition and especially after passing Kothagudem, as they were expecting a state Ministe to visit Bhadrachalam temple, the roads were even very neat and clean and was full of activities. From Kothagudem we left at about 3 pm and arrived at Bhadrachalam at 4 pm.  As the driver knew the place very well, we did not have any problem in getting a good accommodation.  He took us straight to Sita Rama Nilayam and as it was a week day rooms were easily available.  They charge Rs.600 for a double room with A/C and Rs.300 for non-A/C room.  All rooms have attached bathrooms.

After checking in and having light refreshment, we went to the temple which is very close by – unfortunately that time the Minister was expected to visit the temple and hence there was lot of Security and we were informed that it may take long time in case we go in at that time.  So we decided to have a coffee in the nearby hotel and went to have a view of Godavari River, which is also very close to the temple and to the accommodation we were staying in.  Driver informed us that there was no water in the river the previous week and this week it was flowing in full.  In fact we had to cross the river bridge to go to the temple town and the actual town of Bhadrachalam is on the other side of the river.  When we arrived at the river banks, I was really awestruck by the ferociously flowing river and its width. And my heart was aching to see that this whole water is going to to be emptied into the Bay of Bengal (Eventhough it is the second longest river (1465 kms) it has only one Dowleshwaram barrage and another dam near Rajahmundry for irrigation purposes, and the third another one Sri Ram Sagar project, and most of its water is emptied into the Bay of Bengal)  …. Whereas we the Tamils at 600 kms distance from Godavari is having perennial water shortage ….. well no Govt ever thought of diverting this water anywhere else….. and the sufferers are always the poor public. After leaving the lighted lamps in the river, I prayed to Godavari Devi to give more serenity to people to solve the water problems and make better use of the available water resources in our country.

bhadrachalam tower
We tried our luck again at 8 pm in the evening to have darshan of Sri Ramachandra Moorthy and by the time we reached the temple the Minister had visited and left the temple and so we were lucky to have the last free darshan of the day.  Unfortunately we could have darshan only from a distance of about 25 feet and we could see hardly anything.  I was very upset about it and at that time they don’t have any special darshan also.  So when we enquired at the Thayar sannidhi, bhattar said that we can have special darshan in the morning about 6 am for Rs.60 each and that time we can have darshan very close to the Moolavar.  Luckily we were on time for the darshan and we had very good darshan of Moolavar Sri Ramachandra Moorthy with Sita devi on his lap and Lakshmanan standing near him.  This is the most beautiful Moolavar Ramar and the darshan of this Moorthy gives immense pleasure and peace of mind that cannot be described in ordinary words.  Eventhough we were allowed to stand there only for a few minutes when archanai was performed to the moolavar, the glimpse of the Lord Rama will stay fresh in my memory for ever.  This is a huge temple and it seems there will be yagnams almost all through the year performed by one person or the other and in fact the temple was very crowded at all times of the day even though the town itself does not look that busy.  We had the darshan of Sri Ramar padukai and had some prasadam from the Madapalli and left the temple.

The present structure is as built by Bhakta Ramadasa (Gopanna) in 17th century and for this he was kept in jail for 12 years by the Nizam as he took money from the government to build the templeand he was released only after Lord Rama and Lakshmana appeared as two youngsters and paid back all the loans to the Nizam. It seems two of the Mohurs paid by Them are still kept in the Devastanam. In fact Nizam  was lucky to see the Lords whereas Bhakta Ramadas himself did not have their darshan. The temple and all its properties are completely maintained by the govt and they are doing it very well.  Andhrites are very highly devotional people and are taking good care of all the temples in their state.  All temples are maintained very neat and clean that I was giving out a long sigh wondering when our Tamil temples will be like this.  We, the Tamils,certainly have a lot to learn from all common Telugu people including slokams and the manners inside the temple.

Trip to Mattapalli

After this we had our breakfast in a nearby hotel and left Bhadrachalam at about 9.30 in the morning.  We took the same route as the day before upto Wyra and then turned towards Khammam, and followed the route to Kodad, Huzur Nagar and towards Mattapalli.  We drove about 223 kms from Bhadrachalam to arrive at Mattapalli.

All this time I was keeping in touch with Mukkur Maami, wife of Late Sri Mukkur Lakshmi Narasimhachariar, for the accommodation in Sri Mukkur Swamy’s Yagna Vaatica, Mattapalli and she was so very kind and polite and gave us 3 rooms when we arrived there and in fact she informed us that we can have lunch that day in the Ashram itself as we are likely to arrive there by 2 pm. After I requested her several times if we could bring something which will be useful in the Ashram, she informed me that if it is possible we may try and get some vegetables from Huzur Nagar which has a huge market.

On the way we stopped at Huzur Nagar market and picked up vegetables.  Being on the banks of Krishna river, the availability of vegetable was abundant and at very competitive price. For Rs.450 I could get almost 3/4th of a sack of vegetables and we also bought plenty of fruits for the temple.  When we arrived in Mattapalli it was almost 3 pm and the cooks were waiting to provide us the lunch.  They were all very polite and hospitable that I was very much touched by the kindness they showed us and also felt very thankful to Sri Mukkur Swamigal who had made all these arrangements and built good number of accommodation for yatrikas to stay whenever they visit Mattapalli which is certainly a remote village with very less amenities.  They also have a Goshala with 32 cows and calves and also have engaged a person to take care of the Goshala.  It seems they have in all 7 persons to take care, clean and maintain the place for the visitors.  Mukkur maami told me that they were not charging for the rooms till the time of Mukkur Swamigal.  However taking into account the cost of maintaining the place and the accommodation clean, they are charging Rs.200 for the rooms these days which I consider very nominal given the cost of living these days in all the places.  Meals are provided free, but if we want to give any donations they take it in kind and/or cash.  Food was very good and they provided very good coffee also both in the evening and in the morning. All of them were very hospitable at all the times. At least now people can visit Mattpalli easily and have Lord Narasimhar’s darshan and blessings.

When we went there on August 9, Mukkur Maami herself was there over seeing the construction of a sannidhi inside the Ashram premises to enshrine all the Perumal for whom Sri Mukkur sWamigal was performing the Nithya Aaraadanam during his time.  They were doing a mandala pooja before the Grihapravesam of the sannidhi and there were lots of devotees doing Narasimha jabam which was being carried out every day before the 29th of August when they were going to install Sri Mukkur Swami’s shila and all the Perumal in that sannidhi.  So there were lots of people in the temple to witness the Jabam which was performed 3 times in a day with proper aaraadanam for Perumal.  For this purpose they had engaged one young bhattar Sri. Srivatsan and he was doing an excellent job.  It was a grand festival time in the temple and I was very lucky to have witnessed this eventhough for a very short time. 

mattapalli tower
sunset at mattapalli

That evening alongwith Maami, we went to the temple and had darshan of Mattapalli Sri yogananda Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. This is a cave temple and the moolavar about 1 foot high is on the walls of the cave and the same walls have a Adisesha formation above His head.  Moolavar is adorned with silver kavacham after the thirumanjanam in the morning every day. Here Lord Narsimhar with his prominent moustache is in alingana-posture with Prahaladan.  It is such a lovely and lively Moolavar to see that it looks as though He is looking at us and saying “I am willing to take you in my arms if you surrender completely like Prahaladan”.  The actual sanctum sanctorum is very small cave inside a small mountain and one has to bend a lot to enter into the sannidhi and actually at any given point of time not more than 10 or 12 persons can stand in that place to have darshan. To the left of the Moolavar there is a passage and this cave leads to the Krishna river. It is believed that Bharadwaja Maharishi visits the temple in the night even now to have darshan of Perumal.  Near  Narasimhar there are Rajalakshmi and ChenchuLakshmi Thayars and they have two types of Utsava moorthys here also.  Utsava moorthys are really huge in size and very impressive and look so powerful and the whole place is conveying a very positive vibration and devotion in our minds. We can have darshan of Moolavar and utsavar both just from a distance of 1 foot. They give Aarepatri as prasadam, and this Aarepatram is a single leaf but has a small and fine joint at the middle showing the relationship between jeevaatma and Paramaathma. Near this sannidhi there is a sannidhi for Aandaal and Azhwars also.  One great thing about AP temples, all Sannidhis are kept neat and clean and also all Archais are well adorned with nice garlands and flowers and very decent clothes.   It is really remarkable thing in AP temples.

We went to Hozur Nagar once again in the evening and bought few more vegetables, oil and also some flowers and tender coconuts for Thirumanjanam as Maami mentioned that she will give the Pooja items in the temple for the next day abishekam in the morning.  They perform Thirumanjanam every day morning and it is done by devastanam in a simple way, and Mukkur Ashram supply milk, curd and rose water and any other material for the thirumanjanam.  In fact they even prepared Panchaamirtham for the thirumanjanam as we bought lot of fruits for the temple.  In fact I would suggest for whoever who plans to visit Mattapalli to take alongwith them all Thirumanjanam materials and hand it over in the Mukkur Ashram and they give it for everyday Abishekam in the temple.  This way they also take care that the supply is there for as many days as possible.  They are maintaining the nandavanam and make garlands for Perumal every day.  It is really a lot in quantity and lot of ladies sit together and make the garlands, it is a beautiful sight to see.

Maami had arranged for the tickets for Thirumajanam next morning at 5.15.  As the cave is very small, the bhattar sits next to the Moolavar and does the thirumanjanam. Bhattar performed the thirumanjanam very elaborately and he has such a voice that even now the Suktams which he recited at that time reverberates in my ears.  There is a stone slab of about 1 feet length kept at the Lord’s feet, this was the ardent devotee “chakri” whom Lord himself wanted to keep here in the form of a stone near him.  Thirumajanam is performed to this Stone slab “Chakri” also every day.  After Thirumanjanam they did all Alankaram for Perumal and it is such a sight to see the Perumal adorned with so much of well garlanded flowers. 

We cannot do pradakshinam to the moolavar unless we go around the whole part of that hill from outside.  However, in front of the moolavar there is Anjaneyar sannidhi just after the Dwajasthambam and it is believed that doing 12 times pradakshinam - 3 times a day for 12 days after taking bath in Krishna and in wet clothes will grant our wish to be fulfilled.

After Thirumanjanam and doing pradkshinam inside the temple, we took some pics and went back to the Yagna Vaatica of Sri Mukkur Swamy.  At about 8 am we went to the river Krishna and had a holy dip.  Eventhough it looked as if the river is flowing only 1/4th of its capacity, the water is very deep even near the banks and the river current is also quite strong. I enjoyed the river bathing after a long time and we were in the water for a long time enjoying the freely available water (well a luxury for a Madarasi). We had another time darshan of Sri Narasimhar before leaving Mattapalli.

Journey to Vadapelly

Then we went back to the Ashram and Maami told us that we can have our morning food there itself by 10 am and then leave for Vadapally.  She phoned Vadapally Bhattar and he told that we be there by 4 pm in the afternoon for darshan.  So Maami was kind enough to contact the Boat company in that area to find out the boat timing to cross the river Krishna from Mattapalli to Dachepalle (as this will save about 40 kms drive from Mattapalli to Vadapally).

adventrue at krishna river
We arrived in the Mattapalli quai about 1.30 and took a boat at 2 pm to cross the river. It was wonderful to see that even in India we have such boat operators who could cross the river with 2 tractors, and 2 cars and about 6 bikes +people on board.  First I was bit frightened in going by boat to cross the river as my Telugu friends told me that they may not follow the safety measures which we people get used to when we live in Europe.  And then I decided to leave it to Narasimhar and prayed that I have come to have His darshan and so He should take good care of me.  When I saw that there were so many people using this means of transport, I thought that it may not be all that unsafe as I was warned off, but just that we Indians have the habit of underestimating our own capacity. The steamer took only 2½ minutes to cross the river for a charge of Rs.250 for the whole 8 seater vehicle.  It is damned cheap.
From Dachepalle to reach the main road to go to Vadapally is a Herculean task as it is not a properly laid road and due to heavy vehicle traffic all the time it was even worse. So after about 15-20 minutes drive-to drive 2-3 kms - we reached the main road to have a big sigh of relief. Than we turned right and proceeded on the National Highways towards Hyderabad and reached Wazirabad junction from where we turned right to go into Vadapally village.  We had to drive about 40 kms only to reach the temple.
It is quite a big village with lots activities and even near the temple there were lots of activites going around.  The bhattar was not there and so we went to see the confluence of the rivers Musi and Krishna.  Musi coming down from Hyderabad and Krishna coming down from Nagarjuna sagar unite here and flow as one river.  There was very less water in Musi but plenty of water in Krishna.  As I love to stand in the running water we all went down and enjoyed the water for a few minutes and then went back to the temple again to wait for the bhattar.   Even at that time we could see quite bit of people in the temple performing some pooja to a new born child. I felt glad to note that people do visit even these remote temples.

Bhattar opened the temple and so we had darshan of Lord Narasimhar.  Here the Moolavar is Lakshmi Narasimhar and there are 2 lamps near the Moolavar and the one nearer the face of the Moolavar fluctuates and the one at the feet does not.  It is believed that the Moolavar is breathing and the air from his nostrils make the lamp to flicker.  However the bhattar was not that friendly to take us inside and show it properly and he was mentioning that they are not paying their salaries regularly and there is hardly any income for the bhattars in that area.  The temple is open from 6.30 to noon and after that we have to inform him and go so that we can have darshan.

Moving towards Kethavaram

At about 4.30 we left from Vadapalli towards Kethavaram - reached the main road and it was a straight drive towards Guntur till Bellamkonda railway station crossing and after that it goes inside, and the driving is very difficult in this terrain as it is a hilly tract and the roads are in extremely poor condition.  We can only see patches of tarmac here and there and reassure ourselves that we are on the proper route only. Eventhough the distance from Bellamkonda to Kethavaram must be about 20 or 22 kms, it is backbone-challenging route and I suggest if anyone has spondylitis or backbone problems, it is better that they don’t try to visit this temple. Mukkur Maami had informed the Bhattar here and he has told her that the temple will be open in the evening as it is Janmashtami day. 

We reached the temple at about 6.15 or so and it took us nearly 2 hours to drive this 80 kms distance and the last 20 kms was really tough.  I read from many articles that it is a dangerous area and it is better not to visit this temple, however we took the risk and thought that Narasimhar will be with us and come what may he will give us darshan and so HE did. I can only compare this drive with that of Srimushnam from Chidambaram way back in 2003 and due to heavy rains the road was bad that time.  Here it seems it is like this throughout the year.  But for the cotton fields and the workers from the fields returning home, there was no other activity in this area.

kethavaram towr

However, we had excellent darshan in the temple. Rather the bhattar welcomed us with a smiling face even though there was a huge crowd in the temple and told us to wait till he disposed all the local people who were in the temple for Janmashtami celebrations.  I felt good to see so much of crowd in such a remote area with no or very little public transport facility. Perumal had a lovely alankaram with peacock feathers and the sight was relieving us from all the pains we were having due to the drive.  He did nice archanai and gave us  a short commentary about the temple in Telugu and eventhough we did not understand most of it, I felt very good about his enthusiasm in explaining it to the total new comers in that area.  Moolavar Laksmi Narasimhar was adorned with good clothes and good jewellery also and so I was praising the local people as they were not trying to cheat God thinking that it is merely a stone and they were giving the due respect to the Lord. Utsava Moorthy also looks super with a lovely smiling face.  There is a huge anjaneyar within the temple and there is practically no other sannidhi.  Even though in remote location Perumal has taken good care of Himself and there are lots of devotees to visit him even in that evening.  After having prasadam, I tried to have a quick look at the Krishna River flowing somewhat 60 or 80 feet below one side of the compound wall of the temple and surprised to see that even at that time the sand quarry was at full swing of work on the opposite banks of the river.

We left the temple at about 7.10 or so and when we started return to the main road junction, the sight of the pitch dark road was giving a real chill in my stomach and I could feel that all others were also feeling the same way even though not one of us said a word about it.  It was an extremely difficult drive and thanks to our driver Jagadeesan for his patience and experience that he made it safely to the main roads.  We all decided to recite Vishnu Sahasranamam and Maama and Kesavan managed to play it from their mobile phone also.

At last we managed to reach the main road and after driving for 120 kms from Kethavaram we arrived at Vijayawada Manorama Hotel at about 9.30 pm or so. I had reserved 3 rooms already and so we had the dinner in the restaurant first and then retired for the day.  We went to Mangalagiri once again next day  and then  went to railway station  for our return  journey to Chennai.

Some of the contact details:

Sri Mukkur Niruhari Nivas – Yagna Vaatica (Madras Guest House) Simmhapuri
Mattapalli 508204, Nalgonda District, A.P.
0 94406 57333    
There office is located at:
Sri Swati Narasimha Maha Yagna Trust
34 (old no.24) Venkatesan street T. Nagar - 600017
Ph. 2435 3704

Bhadrachalam 08743 232822 - Sita Rama Nilayam.

AVR car travels, Vijayawada
Anwar Travel agent - 0 98484 93315 -
Driver Jagadeesan - 98483 38668
Rs.15000 - 8 seater - chevrolet - 4 days