Yaganti temple is a historical place that is located in Kurnool. This Shiva temple is famous for its breathtaking architecture and amazing stone sculptors. The place was originally called ‘Neganti’, which means ‘I saw’ in Telugu. Time passed by and people started calling it ‘Yaganti’. This is an Uma Maheswara Swamy temple in which Lord Shiva can be seen with Parvati Devi. It is said that the guardian of this temple (Kshetrapalakudu) is ‘Veera Bhadrudu’.
The temple was built in 15th century during the reign of Vijayanagara Empire by King Harahara Bukaraya of Sangama dynasty. This temple has two major legends behind its origin. First one dating back to Sage Agatsya’s journey from North to South. During his journey, he stopped at this place. Mesmerised by the beauty of the place, he set off to build a temple for Lord Venkateswara after he found an idol of Vishnu in a nearby cave. However, he soon realized that the statue couldn’t be installed as its toe nail is broken. Upset by this, he set a penance to Lord Shiva, who states that this is Shiva Kshetra as it resembles ‘Kailash’. Later, he self manifested himself as Ardhanareeshwara whom people at this place call as Shri Uma Maheswara Swamy.
The second story states that Chitteppa, a devotee of Lord Shiva, was worshipping him and he appears before Chitteppa as a Tiger. However, Chitteppa realizes that it is Lord Shiva himself before him and says “Neganti Shivanu Ne kanti”, which gave birth to the name of the place. On the name of this blessed devotee there’s a cave nearby the temple. The famous architectural spots in this temple are Pushkarini, Agatsya Cave, Venkateswara cave and Veerabrahmam cave. It is said that saint Veerabrahmendra swami dwelled in this cave for some time and wrote the infamous ‘Kalagnanam’. This is one of the few temples that is patronised by the great dynasties of India.
The temple is also associated with some interesting beliefs and folklores. Specially, the story that says the Nandi in the temple increases its size every year. The locals say that initially the statue was much smaller compared to its present size. Experiments were also carried out on this statue and they proved that the phenomenon of increasing size is there in the rock used to carve this statue. It is said that it increases its size by one inch every 20years. A pillar is also removed as the size of Nandi has increased. According to a prophecy written in Kalagnanam, when Kali Yuga ends, this Nandi will come to life and lets out a loud cry.
Folklore says that while Sage Agatsya was performing his penance to Shiva he was disturbed by crows a lot. Enraged the sage cursed them which according to it explains the absence of crows in this region. And as crow ids the vehicle of Lord Shani, even he can’t enter this place. In the olden days the temple’s priest used to light a lamp on top of the temple with 4 litres of oil which burnt from evening 6 to morning 6 without any interruption. This is a popular pilgrimage centre as well as a great architectural beauty. It is a must visit to tourists who are interested in our old heritage as well as seek some spiritual peace.
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