Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Tirtha-yatra, Part 54


BY: SUN STAFF - 2.11 2021

A serial exploration of the holy sites visited by Lord Caitanya.


Today we visit one of the most well-known tirthas on Lord Caitanya's South India pada-yatra tour – the temple of Lord Nrsimhadeva at Ahobilam. This tirtha is mentioned in the Summary of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya Lila 9:

Madhya 9 Summary

"After leaving Vidyanagara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited such places of pilgrimage as Gautami-ganga, Mallikarjuna, Ahovala-nrsimha, Siddhavata, Skanda-ksetra, Trimatha, Vrddhakasi, Bauddha-sthana, Tirupati, Tirumala, Pana-nrsimha, Siva-kanci, Visnu-kanci, Trikala-hasti, Vrddhakola, Siyali-bhairavi, Kaveri-tira and Kumbhakarna-kapala."

Sri Ahovala-nrsimha Swami

Lord Chaitanya had visited Mallikarjuna, or Sri Saila-tirth, where he saw Shiva jyotirlinga, who is the servant of Lord Rama, before travelling on to Ahobilam:

Madhya 9.17

nrsimha dekhiya tanre kaila nati-stuti
siddhavata gela yahan murti sitapati

"Upon seeing the Ahovala-nrsimha Deity, Caitanya Mahaprabhu offered many prayers unto the Lord. He then went to Siddhavata, where He saw the Deity of Ramacandra, the Lord of Sitadevi."

Earlier in Madhya Lila, in Chapter 1, verse 106, we find mention of another tirtha visit the Lord enjoyed prior to Abhobilam:

Madhya 1.106

tabe ta' pasandi-gane karila dalana
ahovala-nrsimhadi kaila darasana

"After visiting the temples of Tirumala and Tirupati, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had to subdue some atheists. He then visited the temple of Ahovala-nrsimha.

The Ahovala temple is situated in Daksinatya, in the district of Karnula, within the subdivision of Sarbela. Throughout the whole district this very famous temple is much appreciated by the people. There are eight other temples also, and all of them together are called the Nava-nrsimha temples. There is much wonderful architecture and artistic engraving work in these temples. However, as stated in the local gazette, the Karnula Manual, the work is not complete."

Ahovala-nrsimha Temple gopuram

Ahobilam is located about 144 km. southeast of the City of Kurmool (once known as Karnula), which is a large district extending eastward to the great Nallamala Forest. Ahobilam extends from the western edge to nearly the center of that forest, in the southern half of Nallamala. Just west of Ahobilam is the village of Timmanapalle.

Ahobilam is famous for being the abode of Lord Nrsimhadeva's temples. There is a group of nine temples here known as the Nava Narasimhar Temples, or the Ahobilam Divya Desam.

Ahobilam, Nallamala Forest, Andhra Pradesh

Ahovala-nrsimha temple itself is situated in what is known as Upper Ahobilam, about eight kilometers from Lower Ahobilam. It is the main temple, and the oldest of all nine Nava Narasimhars. The other eight Nrsimha tirthas include:

Jwala Narasimhar
Sri Malola Narasimhar
Kroda Narasimhar
Sri Karanja Narasimhar
Bharghava Narasimhar
Yogananda Narasimhar
Chatravata Narasimar
Pavana Narasimhar

There are several other important tirthas at Ahobilam:

Ugra Stambham
Prahalada Varadar
Senchu Lakshmi Temple

Although the map above depicts the parikrama route around Ahobilam very nicely, some sections of the route require considerable effort. Getting to Pavana Narasimhar, in particular, is a considerable trek.

The Lord appears at Ahobala-nrsimha tirtha in His fierce Ugra aspect. Known as Ahovala Nrsimha Swamy, the Deity here is swayambhu, or self-manifesting.

Sri Ahovala-nrsimha

Shri Ahovala-nrisimha Stotram

The following prayers in glorification of Lord Ahobala Nrisimha are taken from Sri Jayadeva Goswami's 'Dasavatara Stotra':


lakshmi kataksha sarasi-ruha raja hamsam
pakshindra shaila bhavanam bhava-nasham-isham
go-kshira sara-ghana-sara-patira-varnam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

Laksmi devi's glance always rests upon the king of lions. He is the destroyer of material existence and the rocky resting place of Garuda. His complexion is that of the color of sandal wood and His splendor is that of milk. I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.


adyanta sunyam ajam avyayam aprameyam
aditya candra sikhi locanam adi-devam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

He is without beginning or end. He is unborn, unperishable and unmeasurable. He is the original Lord and His eyes are like flames brilliant as the sun and the moon. He is like an intoxicated honey bee searching for the nectar of the face of Lakshmi devi. I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.


kotira koti ghatitojjvala kanti kantam
kayura hara mani kundala manditangam
cudagra-ranjita sudhakara purna bimbam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

Him the beloved Lord, possesses effulgent manes made of millions and millions of dazzling hairs. His body is decorated by armlets, necklaces and diamond earrings. His wonderful face is adorned with a peacock feather. I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.


varaha vamana nrisimha subhagyam isham
krida vilola hridayam vibudhendra vandyam
hamsatmakam paramahamsa mano-viharam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

Him the all auspicious Nrisimha appears in different forms such as Varaha or Vamana. He Whose heart is always absorbed in a sporting mood, is worshipped by the king of the devas. Although He is the personification of terror, He makes the mind of the self-realized joyful. I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.


mandakini janana hetu padaravinda
vrindaraka-alaya vinodanam ujjvala-angam
mandara-pushpa tulasi racita-angghri-padmam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

His lotus feet is the source of the Mandakini river (Akasha Ganga or celestial Ganga). His body is brilliant and He constantly enjoys in His own abode. His lotus feet are decorated by the flowers of Tulasi and Mandara (one of the 5 celestial flowers). I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.


tarunya krishna tulasi-dala dhamarabhyam
dhatri ramabhi ramanam mahaniya rupam
mantradhi-raja matha danava mana bhangam
vande kripa-nidhim ahovala narasimham

He is the protector of youthful Krishna in the land of Tulasi. He possesses a huge form. He enjoys amorous sports with Bhu and Shri. He is the Lord of all the mantras and the destroyer and humiliator of the foolish danavas. I offer my obeisances to the ocean of mercy, Ahobala Nrisimha.

Sri Ahovala-nrsimha