Mahanandi is a beautiful temple town close to Nandyala, India and at the foothills of Nallamala forest range. Surrounded by lush forest, fresh water pools and gentle streams,
Mahanandishwara Temple is ancient and unique in many senses and dates back to 10thcentury AD. It is believed that the architect of Devas (Gods), called as Devashilpi, constructed the temple of Lord Siva. It is also said that King Nandana and his ancestors worshipped Lord Siva here.
According to the legends of the temple the present form of the Lord (Lingam) has an interesting history. It is said that King Nanda, who was ruling the province of Navanand, where Mahanandi is situated, thought of performing ‘Abhishekam’ to the Lord (anointing the idol of Lord in milk). The thought was put into action and hundreds of cows were brought for this from Gopavaram (a small place where cows were being reared). One among them was a black cow that was the main supply of milk to the king.
In due course it was noticed that the cow was absenting itself for long time and also its milk produce lessened. On finding the reason, it was reported to the king that the cow stood over the anthill and the milk oozed out into the anthill. A young child in the form of Lord Krishna peeped out, gave darshan to the cow and disappeared. On listening this, the king followed the cow expecting to get the glimpse of this amazing thing. The cow did the same as its routine and on seeing this, the King trampled upon some provisions. Being disturbed in its devotion, the cow stamped the anthill in fright and the child disappeared.
The hoof of the cow was imprinted on the anthill. The king got frightened for disturbing the devotion of cow over the lord and prayed the Lord Shiva for forgiveness. Pleased with the king’s devotion, Lord Shiva ordained that the anthill trodden by the cow would cool down and would become a Swayambhu lingam at Mahanandi.
Over a period of time, the temple was constructed and Lord Shiva (in the form of Shiva lingam) along with Nandi (His vehicle) was worshipped in this temple. It is said that the two signs (said to be the footprint of the cow) on the top of the Linga at Mahanandi are still visible.
The temple is well-connected by road, rail and air networks. In total there are around 10 Nandi’s within 15 km radius of Mahanandi. All these 9 Nandi’s are famous, but Mahanandi receives the highest fame among all of them.
Nine Nandi’s present in Nallmala Hill Region is:
Prathama Nandi [near Nandyal Railway Station]
Naga Nandi [In Nandyal Anjaneya Temple]
Soma Nandi [In Atmakur town]
Surya Nandi [6 miles west of Mahanandi]
Krishna Nandi or Vishnu Nandi [2 miles from Mahanandi]
Vinayaka Nandi [Present in north-west of Mahanandi temple premisis]
Shiva Nandi [13kms away from Nandyal town]
Garuda Nandi [Present in western side of Mahanandi temple]
Devotees can take holy dip at Mahanandi temple Pushkarni or Koneru in which there are Pancha Lingams of which the centre one is called Varuna Lingam. Irrespective of the seasons, water in the Pushkarni [Koneru] is at same constant five feet flow
It is said that the main water source is originated below the inner Swayambhu Linga at the Garbhagruha and the pilgrims can touch the Shiva Lingam to perform puja and also take the holy water as Thirtham.
The outgoing water of Mahanandi temple is used for irrigiation of fertile lands in the surrounding areas of the temple. One of the world’s biggest man-made Nandi of 15 ft. x 27 ft. is present near the Mahanandi temple.
The main Gopuram of this temple resembles Badami Chalukyan style architecture where as other temple structures resemble the Vijayanagara style.
Sri Kaameshwari Devi temple is also located on the southern corner and a new Kodanda Ramalayam was also constructed in the year 1953