About 75 kilometers away from Tirupati on the way to Chennai, Vedanarayana Swami Temple in Nagalapuram is that hallowed ground which celebrates the omnipresent Vishnu in anthropomorphic form with a human torso but with the lower half of a fish.
Accompanied by his divine consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi, Vedanarayana Swami carries the sudarshana chakra in prayoga(in use).
Nagulapuram was also called Arigandapuram the meaning of which is that it bodes danger to enemies.
Do you know..?
One of the very few temples that are dedicated to the Matsyavatara
- One of the myriad forms of Vishnu, is the Vedanarayana Temple in Nagalapuram, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh,
- Others being Shankodara Temple in Bet Dwaraka, Koneswaram Matsyakeswaram Temple in Trincomalee [which is destroyed now].
Maha Vishnu - Incarnation
The first of the ten incarnations of Maha Vishnu is in the form of a fish. That took place in Nagalapuram in the Krita yuga.
The idea of building a temple to Veda Narayana who rescued the Vedas did not occur to anybody. So the God built it for himself. It was when Sri Krishna Devaraya, returning from the Mahamakhi festival at Kumbhakonam, intended to worship the God Yadavanarayana that the whereabouts of this temple came to be known.
The place is called Nagalapuram. Nagulamba was Sri Krishna Devaraya’s mother. It was a coincidence that these names happened to be similar. There should have been a temple for Veda Narayana. But the God here was called Yadava Narayana. It is a place which is close to the sea. One must place faith in the incarnation as per itihasa.
In Treta Yuga when Somakasura stole the Vedas and escaped into the ocean, Vishnu in the incarnation of a large fish killed the demon and retrieved them.
When Brahma could not find Vishnu in Vaikunta he came in search of him and found the God here, so it is called Harigandapuram which means a place where Hari was found.
When Vishnu gave the four Vedas to Brahma and Brahma began to propagate them, it came to be called Chaturvedi Mangala Nagapudoli.
Temple - Prakaram
The temple was planned to be built on 12 acres of land within seven prakaram (enclosures).
Then it came down to five and finally 3 enclosures were built around the temple. Four towers were planned on four sides on the first prakaram.
All were half done. The three storeyed main entrance tower was built. Many idols were sculpted. Many more were to be completed.
The construction came to a halt all of a sudden. But he had to put all the work away and finally Krishna Devaraya could not able to complete the construction of the temple due to some issues.
At the first gate
Sculptures of Vighneswara on one side and Vishnu Durga on the other stood as door keepers at the first gate of this temple.
At the second gate
There is only one gate keeper and at the last gate one was the figure of mainland and the other of Sandhya.
The reason for the figures of gate keepers being both male and female could have been because the idols which stood in the sanctum sanctorum were of the God and Goddess.
In the corridors of the second prakara the figures of Gods Sita Ramachandra, Lakshmi Narasimha Swami, Viranjaneya Swami, were sculpted. About ten years ago some five metal idols were found in the temple vaults. All these are very beautiful and very valuable. The images of 12 alwars, Lakshmi Narayana, Vishvaksena and some rock lamp posts are among those found here.
Some of the sculptures were taken to Tirumala
The temple would have been like a Vaikunta on earth. But this did not happen. This fortune did not come down to posterity. Only some of the sculptures are standing here.
Some were taken to the TTD museum in Tirumala. There are perhaps one or two figures which are kept in the Tirupati museum also since the temple was taken over by T.T.D. on the twenty seventh of April 1967.
The feet of the God were washed away by mistake at the time of worship. He desired to have no feet and thus assumed the form of a fish. The fish does not have feet, does It.? Rukmini and Satyabhama were transformed into Sridevi and Bhudevi.
The temple faces west. Neither Garudalwar nor Anjaneya are seen in front of the temple. Instead, Suryadeva – the sun God is worshiped for five days here from the 24th to 28th of March.
On the first day the boat festival service takes place for Sri Ramachandra Swami along with Goddess Sita, and to Sri Veda Narayana Swami and Sri vedavalli from the second day to the fifth. Brahmotsavas is celebrated in the same manner here as in Tirumala. But there is no celebration of the Golden chariot in the festival. Matsya Jayanti is also celebrated in a grand manner here.