Weather :

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Timings : 6:00 AM - 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Yaganti, Kurnool Overview

Yaganti, in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in India, is a popular tourist site that is famous for its temple of Sri Yagantiswamy, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the perfect way to get a feel of the Andhra Pradesh tourism. Also known as Uma Maheshwara Temple, the ancient Sri Yagantiswamy temple dates back to the 5th and 6th centuries. The temple houses the idol of Shiva and Parvathi fused together, called Ardhanareeswara. This fascinating idol is carved out of a single stone and is a marvellous idol of the deities to behold. The festival of Maha Shiv Ratri which falls around October or November each year is celebrated with great pomp and show at the temple. Tourists and especially devotees of Lord Shiva flock to the temple in huge numbers during this time.

The magnificent temple commands high reverence not only because of its religious significance but also because it has many striking and unusual features. To begin with, Yaganti is perhaps the only temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, where he is worshipped in the form of an idol, instead of Shiva Linga. The temple also has the Agastya Pushkarni, where water flows from the bottom of the hill, throughout the year. Worshippers take a dip in the holy water as a form of worship to the deity.

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History of Yaganti

There are different stories revolving around the true origins of the temple. According to one account, the sage Agastya wanted to build a temple for Lord Venkateswara at this site. For some reasons, the statue of the Lord could not be installed be here, and the sage then penanced for Lord Shiva. When Lord Shiva appeared, the sage realised that the place suited him better. He then requested Lord Shiva to appear in the Ardhanareeswara form, to which he obliged, and which is present form worshipped here.

According to a second story, when a devotee of Lord Shiva, known by the name of Chitteppa, was worshipping the Lord; the latter appeared to him in the form of a tiger. Chitteppa recognised that it was Lord Shiva in the tiger form, and he exclaimed 'Neganti Shivanu ne kanti', which means 'I saw Shiva I saw'.

The numerous natural caves in the hills around the temple were home to several saints throughout the ages, and have even housed the Great Telugu saint and astrologer, Potuluri Veera Brahmam Garu.

Yaganti Caves

There are quite a few cave temples in Yaganti, adjacent to the main temple. These caves hardly receive any natural light, but the artificial light provided by the numerous diyas lit inside the caves make them come alive.

Prominent caves include the Agastya cave, which is believed to be the place where saint Agastya performed penance to get Lord Shiva's blessings; the Veera Brahmam Cave, the site where Potuluri Veera Brahmam, who is known as India's Nostradamus, wrote some chapters of his prophecies in the Kala Gnanam and the Venkateswara Cave. All these caves are open for worship from dusk to dawn.

Culture and Traditions

The temple is symbolic of the rich customs and traditions that together constitute a colourful and vibrant nation. The villages near Yaganti are still seen full of colour and festivities all year round, as they must have been since ages. Despite the fact that the temple is located amidst a forest, it is never eerily quiet at any time of the day. In fact, it is buzzing with people and pilgrims all day round; going about their work, preparing for performances of various mythological stories, or celebrating the numerous fests.

Popular Beliefs about Yaganti

1. A fantastic feature of the temple is its 'Pushkarini' - water stream with very pure water. No one has been able to figure out the exact reason of how the water flows into Pushkarini in all the seasons. Nevertheless, a bath in the holy Pushkarini before visiting Shiva is considered to be highly beneficial for devotees.
2. According to legends, crows do not fly in Yaganti. This is because when Sage Agastya was meditating here; Kakasura, the king of crows had disturbed him from his meditation. The sage, in turn, cursed the crows not to enter the premises. Since the crow is considered to the vehicle of Lord Shani, even he cannot enter the temple.
3. Perhaps the most famous legend associated with the temple, which has made this place of worship quite known, is about the growing size of the Nandi. This is not just a belief held onto by some people but instead is a fact that has been confirmed by the Archaeological Survey of India. The reason, they state, is that the rock has a growing or enlarging nature associated with it. Anyway, worshipers consider this to be a miracle and not a work of science.

Tips For Visiting Yaganti

1. The area has decent private accommodation for all those who want to stay here.
2. There are no restaurants near the temple. You can purchase water and snacks from the shops located nearby.
3. The temple provides free lunch and dinner in a large dining hall, and the food quality is excellent.

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