An Amazing tale of a Temple in Andhra Pradesh
While thousands of Ganesha Temples all over the world marked Ganesh Chaturthi on September 2, 2019, the Festival would have been of greater significance to a handful of them because of their legend and religious heritage.
Among them was the Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple in Kanipakam Village near Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.
Beyond Time and Riches
An amazing fact about this Temple is that the self-manifested Deity of Vinayaka is ‘growing,’ not just in popularity but also in size.
Visiting the Temple just three weeks before the Birthday of Lord Ganesha, who is endeared with 107 other Names, including Pillayarappa, Sumukha and Vigneswara, was an exhilarating experience, after a Dharshan of Lord Venkateswara (a form of Lord Vishnu), the God of Seven Hills in the not-too-far away Tirumala Devasthanam.
Entering the Sanctum Sanctorum to behold Lord Vinayaka, one loses sense of time and earthly longings and concentrate on the Deity that appears to say, “You come to Me; abide by Me, and you will never despair again.”
Although the Deity was found by three handicapped brothers more than 1000 years ago, the Temple was established in 11th Century AD by Chola King Kulothunga Chola and enhanced in 1336 by the Emperors of the Vijayanagara Dynasty.
Kanipakam is a small village on the bank of Bahuda River.
‘Kani’ means wetland and ‘Pakam’ means flow of water into wetland.
According to the legend of the Temple, there were three brothers, each with a handicap, one was dumb, the other deaf and the third blind. They earned their livelihood by cultivating a small piece of land.
Those days, water was drawn from wells by way of ‘Piccota System.’
As one of brothers irrigated the field through the channels, the other two plied on the Piccota. One day, the well dried up and one of them got into the well and started digging. He was startled to find a stone with blood oozing from it. Within in seconds, the entire water in the well turned blood red.
Startled by this Divine Sight, the three brothers were rid of their handicaps.
As soon as the villagers came to know about this miracle, they and tried to deepen it further. But their attempt proved futile because the ‘Swayambhu’ (Self-Manifested) Idol of Lord Vinayaka emerged from the swirling waters.
They offered hundreds of coconuts with prayers. The coconut water flowed into the channel covering more than an acre. The indication of this led to the modification in the usage of the Tamil word ‘Kanipakkam.’
Andhra Pradesh is rich in historical monuments. The State houses many Temples with architectural beauty, attracting a large number of pilgrims and tourists from India and other parts of the world.
As well as Tirupati and Tirumala Hills, Srikalahasti is a famous pilgrim centre and the Temple here is dedicated to Lord Siva known as Vayulingam and considered as Dakshina Kasi (South Varanasi).