Srungara Vallabha Swamy – HIS Compassion is Just As Your Devotion
Temple is a place where one find peace as it is hub of positive energy. Every corner of temple emits positive vibes radiantly. From idol of god in sanctum sanctorum, bell inside temple to flagpole between sanctum sanctorum and rajagopuram everything made of wood or brass with copper or silver or gold plating emits positive energy. And hence every soul on reaching premises of temple feel calm on hearing bell sound and on seeing icons inside and on the temple. Among such magnificent temples in India, I would like to share mesmerizing facts and historical base of Srungara vallabha swamy temple located in Toli tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh.
Lord Balaji also known as Venkateswara swamy, Srinivas, Govinda was most devoted god in southern states of India. The place Tirumala Tirupthi in Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh was believed to be place where lord Venkateswara appeared to save mankind. People from all parts of country visits Tirupathi to offer prayers to god. It was known that even before the construction of temple in Tirumala Tirupathi, lord Balaji appeared himself in a forest place near Dwaraka as Srungara Vallabha Swamy which was now known as Toil Tirupathi which literally mean first tirupathi. The histoty of this ancient temple dates back to 9000 years even before Tirumala Tirupathi temple and Simhachalam temple. It was also known as place where ashram of sage sandilya was located. At present, the place where temple is located is in Andhra Pradesh, East Godavari District, Kirlmpudi mandal, in Toli Tirupathi which is located in remote area, 12 km from Samalkot railway station.
Mesmerizing facts aligned to the temple of Srungara Vallabha Swamy are:
- Icon of lord venkateswara is utmost beautiful with smiling face and hence name of temple is Srungara Vallabha Swamy (Srungara means beautiful or as devotees wish)
- Shank and chakra in hands of Venkateswara are in opposite sides compared to Tirupathi or any other Vishnu temple for that matter of fact.
- Height of idol in the temple will be same as person who visits the temple when stood in particular kamal or circle inside the temple i.e., between sanctrum sanctoroum and flag pole.
When I was a child I used to play in temple premises of Srungara vallabha Swamy temple. Temple was ancient built with stones. Major architecture of the temple comprise of sanctum sanctorum (garba gudi) in which idol was positioned with elongated front space in which festive idols of lord Venkateswara and Nava Grahas were located along with kamal or chakra (circle) on outer portion of temple. Entire temple was surrounded by outer grid of open rooms with pendals constructed with stone where pundits chant Vishu sahasra namas on special occasions. Pendals on entrance side has rajagopurm on to which one can climb trough narrow square shaped opening. Big stones were arranged on either side of entrance. Well we should say that this as marvelous construction during ancient times. Flag pole made with brass was situated in between rajagopuram and garbha gudi. Premises of temple have a deeply dug well which has pure and transparent water on which one can see through. It was believed that the entire temple along with well was constructed by god and goddess themselves for lord Venkateswara.
One of my great grandmothers recited the tale of this ancient temple which sounds as “Earlier on a tour to bhulok (earth), lord Vishnu was pleased with place in forest and wanted to stay at that place. On knowing the wish of lord Vishu, all gods and goddesses wanted to make perfect place for Vishnu to stay in bhulok and hence asked for permission from Vishnu. Vishu agreed for the request of gods on one condition that by the time of first crow of cock it should be completed. All the gods rushed to construct temple with big stones and was finished except the positioning of idol of Vishnu. On observing the triumph of gods and beauty of temple, one of the devils turned into cock and made sound before the sun rise. With that Vishnu gave up the idea of staying in the temple constructed by gods and went on walking to seven hills where he got settled which was now known as Tirumala Tirupathi. Later on request of gods, to fulfill wish of gods Vishu positioned himself in this place as Srugara Vallabha Swamy as a god who is beautiful with smiling posture and visible in height of devotee to show he is just as how you see.” Child in me was astonished with the tale and visual proof of the tale in the form of icon of lord Vishnu. With age on reading about ancient temples and stala purana I came to know another story about temple in Toli Tirupathi.
Inscriptions available at site proved that the history of ancient temple dates back to 9000 years. Stala purana or legendary of history narrates as: Druva, son of king’s first wife sunitha was told by surichi, second wife of king that he should reborn in her womb to take place in his father lap. As five years kid he believed words of his mother who consoled him by saying rightful place to every soul will be offered by lord Vishu and decided to ask Vishnu. He was then moved to forest at young age in search of god and reached ashram of sage sandilya in forest. Sage advised the chat ‘OM NAMO BHAGAVATHE VASUDEVAYA’ to Druva who immediately started chanting. On witnessing purity and intensity of Druva prayers, lord Vishnu himself appered in front of Druva. On seening great figure of lord Vishnu, kid Druva was frightened. Lord Vishnu understands Druva’s fear and turned as small kid as height of Druva, touching Druva’s face lovingly with both hands and greeted with pleasant smile by saying “I am just as you!”. And hence the idol here was with smiling posture and seems as in height of devotees. Position of shank and chakra got changed in left to right hand and vice verse while lord touched Druva. When Druva asked for his rightful place, lord blessed him with kingdom to rule during his life time and star in universe named Druva mandal upon fulfilling duties of Druva as assigned by god. On request of Druva, lord Vishnu positioned himself as Srugara Vallabha Swamy in toil tirupathi. Temple was believed to built by gods after Druva becomes star.
Goddess Lakshmi idol was known to be positioned by sage Naradha and goddess Bhudevi idol was known to be positioned by Sri Krishna Devaraya. Favorite item of lord is acacia jaggery (patiki bellam) and hence devotees offer to lord. Lord here is known to fulfill wishes of devotees. Pendals of outer grid of temple has paintings of various gods and goddesses.
Since childhood, this temple offered happiness to me while playing and even now temple offers peace and positive energy to child within me and women in me as well. In the universe which reflects our thoughts with same frequency as results, lord too reflects his compassion with same frequency as your devotion. It was depicted by icon of Srugara Vallaba Swamy temple which says “I am just as you.”
Rama Sri Vineela Dasu
Rama Sri Vineela Dasu, was born in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. On her way through PhD research studies in Agriculture, she found her passion in service. She was awarded with “Nari Samman Award 2021” for her social service activity in educating girls about menstrual hygiene and personality development. Other than research and service, she always lay deep in emotions where she knit words together to create the poetry book ‘Intangible tale’.