(Contributed by Venkatrayudu Meduri)
Kotappakonda is one of the famous historic temples, in Guntur district of A.P., located 15 KMs south-west of Narasaraopet. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a temporal abode of Trikoteswara Swamy.
Large number of people have strong belief in the power of this temple, but the main celebration here is at the time of Mahashivratri, an important festival which falls during February-March, which is celebrated with great devotion and fervor every year with a large number of devotees thronging the place.
It has an interesting history and a number of incredible facts associated with it.
1. Trikuta Hills
Kotappa Konda hill appears with 3 peaks in any direction so it’s also called as Trikutadri, Trikuta Parvatham. The three hills are: Brahma hill, Vishnu hill and Rudra hill. These 3 hills can be distinctly seen from a distance from any direction.
Brahma Shikharam: The main temple Trikoteshwara Swamy Temple is located here.
Rudra Shikharam: Old Kotayya temple is located here. This is the first place where Trikoteshwara Swamy existed, seeing the great devotion of Devotee Gollabhama, Trikoteshwara Swamy came to Brahma Shikharam. Hence it is called Paatha (old) Kotayya Temple.
Vishnu Shikharam: Lord Paapanaseshwara Temple is here. It is believed that Lord Vishnu did penance for Lord Shiva. There is also a holy pond “Paapanasa Teertha” here.
Sundudu, a cattleman, with his wife Kundiri used to live towards the south of the Trikuta hills. They became rich soon after the birth of their first child, a beautiful daughter, Anandavalli. Slowly she became a great devotee of Lord Shiva and started spending most of her time offering prayers to Lord Shiva at the Old Koteswara Temple located on Rudra hill. Eventually, she lost all interest in her materialistic life and started penance for Sri Koteswara Swamy.
She used to visit Rudra hill every day, even during the scorching summer, to offer prayers to the Lord. Pleased with her penance, Jangama Devara appeared before her. Sympathized by her penance, Jangama Devara blessed her to be a pregnant, though she was a spinster. Unmindful of her pregnancy she carried her daily prayers as usual. Stupefied at her deep devotion, he again appeared and told her that she need not take so many troubles to perform pujas and offer prayers, and promised her that he himself would come to her house where she could do her penance and commanded her to proceed towards her home, and that he would follow her, but advised her not to look back even once on her way to home, inspite of whatever happens.
From Rudra hill, Anandavalli proceeded towards her home and after reaching Brahma hill, she lost her patience and turned back. The moment she turned back, breaking the promise she made, Lord Jangama Devara immediately stopped where he was, at Brahma hills and entered into a cave on that hill and turned himself into a Lingam. This sacred placed is famous by the name New Koteswara Temple. She then realized that her pregnancy was the creation of him, to test her devotion towards him. She felt happy as she got through all the critical trails and became one in the God.
3. Kaaki Vaalani Kotappakonda
One day, while offering her prayers to the Lord, Anandavalli collected a pot of water for celestial bath and kept it in a safe place while she got engaged in some other work. Then, a crow came and sat on the pot, and with its weight the pot fell throwing the entire water down. She became angry and cursed that no crow should enter the region. Since then and till now, no crow appears on the Rudra hill.
In 1761, Gunda Raayalu, who ruled this place, facilitated the construction of stair cases, to ease the climbing of the pilgrims, to reach the New Temple. Later the current Assembly Speaker of AP, Dr. Kodela Siva Prasad, when he was a Minister, facilitated a “Ghat” road of 3 kms to the new temple. At the starting of this route we will see Vijaya Ganapati temple, Sai Baba temple. At the turnings of ghat road we can see big idols of Brahma, Lakshmi Narayana, Three Goddess (Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Parvathi), Vighneswara. In the middle of the route there is a children park, museum and Kaliyamardana statue. Currently, AP govt planned to build an aerial ropeway, to further ease the climbing of the pilgrims to this sacred temple.
Every Telugu filmaholic might have listened to the popular song from ANR’s Premabhishekam i.e. Kotappakondaki Vasthanani Mokkukunna. This is an attractive spot for a large number of movie artists and a best place for movie shootings. Few of the popular Telugu movies shot here are: Palanati Brahma Naidu, Sukumarudu, etc.
It’s also a better place to relax and enjoy with your friends & family as there are plenty of amusement spots like Caves, viewpoints, Butterfly Park, Deer Park, Peacock enclosure, Children Park, boating, museum, canteen, etc.
Multiple statues placed on all the three hills are also the major attractions over there. Especially the three statues of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara placed on the respected hills. Apart from them, the remaining attractive constructions are: Vijaya Ganapati temple, Sai Baba temple, Three Goddess (Lakshmi, Saraswathi, Parvathi), Vighneswara. In the middle of the ghat road route there is a children park, museum and Kaliyamardana statue.
Lord Siva after destroying “Daksha Yagnam” pacified and converted himself into a 12 years old boy and with a great deal of austerity commenced penance as Dakshana Murthy in Kailasam. Then, Lord Brahma and other Gods approached and offered prayers to Dakshana Murthy and entreated him to impart the knowledge of “Brahma”. Dakshana Murthy accordingly agreed and asked them to come to Trikoota hills where he imparted them the knowledge of “Brahma” making these hills very sacred. Since Dakshana Murthy observed strict celibacy, no marriages take place in this temple.
Rectangular bamboo frames, tapering at the top and decorated with Lord Shiva’s photos, idols, colored clothes and papers, are taken in procession as part of the Maha Shivarathri festival and are the major attraction at the temple on these festive days. Most of them are at a height of 60-70 feet but there are also some gaint prabha’s, rising at a height of 100 feet, decorated with lights during the Maha Shivarathri night. Surrounding villages and towns like Kavuru (70 years of History in making prabha for Mahashiva Rathri festival), Narasaraopet, Appapuram, Kammavari Palem etc. make bamboo frames for this sacred festival.
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