Nava Nandi Temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva. They are situated at Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh. The place is near to Nalla Mala forest.
Nava Nandi Temples are situated within the radius of 10 Kilometers in and around Nandyal town. While some of the temples are in the town itself, the others are in the surrounding villages. It is important to visit all the nine temples on a single day. The entire area is called as Nandi Mandala.
Table of Contents
- Nava Nandi temples – emergence
- Nava Nandi temples
- Nava Nandi – Sri Pradhama Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Naga Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Vinayaka Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Garuda Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Shiva / Rudra Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Maha Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Surya Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Vishnu / Krishna Nandi
- Nava Nandi – Sri Soma Nandi
- General information
- How to visit the temples
The centric place for the nine Nandi temples is Sri Maha Nandi. There are a few legends pertaining to the emergence of the Nava Nandi temples.
Sage Silada and Maha Nanda
As per the legend, the Sage named Silada was living with his wife in the Nalla Mala forest. He had a small cottage.
They did not have any progeny. His wife asked him to do penance on Lord Shiva and seek children.
Lord Shiva darshan
So, he did tapas towards Lord Shiva. There was a hole near his penance place.
Pleased with his penance, Lord Shiva appeared before him. The Sage had only asked for the opportunity to serve Him forever. He totally forgot about the children.
But Lord Shiva knew about the Sage’s desire for children. Hence, he bestowed both the sought and unsought boons and disappeared.
From the hole, a male child appeared. The Sage felt happy. He gave the child to his wife. Both were elated to have a son.
They named the son as Maha Nanda. He was given vedic and spiritual education. Even Yagnopaveetham (upanayanam) function was done to him.
Maha Nanda’s wish
When he came of age, Maha Nanda wanted to do penance on Lord Shiva. He sought his parents’ permission. They were proud of their son’s devotion. They blessed him and agreed to his wish.
He did severe penance on Lord Shiva.
Sri Parameshwara’s darshan
Lord Shiva was delighted by the ardent devotion shown by the boy. He appeared before him along with His ganas. The boy requested that he always wanted to be with Lord Shiva.
So, Maha Nanda offered himself as the vahan (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. The Lord said, “the hole from where you have emerged shall be a holy place. Holy water shall flow through the hole”.
Maha Nanda’s transformation
Lord Shiva then turned Maha Nanda into a bull. That bull became the Nandi Vahan of Lord Shiva. He took the Nandi with Him to Kailash.
The sacred holy hole place had become Sri Maha Nandi Kshetra.
Once, the Nandyal region was ruled by a King named Nanda. He was the son of Uttungabhoja, the descendent of Pandavas.
In the village named Gopitavaram, a cowherd used to herd his cattle for grazing in the forest area. One of the cows in the herd always visited a particular place which had an anthill. The milk from her udder simply flew on its own on the anthill.
Every day, that cow returned home with the empty udder.
The cowherd was curious on the particular cow. He had decided to check. One day, he hid behind a bush and checked on the cow’s movements.
As usual, the cow went to the particular spot. It was oozing milk on its own. The cowherd then saw a miracle. A child appeared from the anthill and was drinking the milk poured by the cow.
The cow then returned and joined the other cattle going home.
Talk of the town
The cowherd was surprised at the scene seen by him. He told his friends of the same. The words spread hither and thither and at last reached the King’s ears.
The King was surprised at the news. He wanted to check on his own. So, he mounted a horse, took along a servant with him and visited the place.
He too saw the cow oozing milk on the anthill. He too saw the face of the child. To check thoroughly, he went nearer.
When he went nearer the bush, the cow got scared. It hit the hole with its hoof and ran away. The child also had disappeared. The King was perplexed.
Lord Shiva darshan
At his sleep at night, the King had the darshan of Lord Shiva in his dream. The Lord Said, “I only was drinking the cow’s milk as the child. Build a temple for me at that place. I will prevail in nine temples around this place. Ganga Devi shall also be with me. Your name shall be eternal”.
Emergence of Shiv Ling
The next day morning, the King again went to the place. He saw that the hole had become a Shiv Ling. There was a mark of the cow’s hoof on it. As it had formed on its own, it was Swayambhu Linga.
The King commenced the building of the temple at the place. Opposite to the Shiv Ling place, he also had excavated a pond. The pond had become a source of supply of pure water perennially. The pond was named as Rudra Gunda.
The King also had dug up two more ponds in the vicinity. In memory of the three Murtis, he named the ponds as Vishnu Gunda and Brahma Gunda. These two ponds are also perennial.
Maha Nandi Kshetram
The King Nanda named the temple place as Maha Nandi Kshetram. Including the other Eight temples in the region, they are collectively called as Nava Nandi temples.
-Sri Pradhama Nandi
-Sri Naga Nandi
-Sri Vinayaka Nandi
-Sri Garuda Nandi
-Sri Shiva / Rudra Nandi
-Sri Maha Nandi
-Sri Surya Nandi
-Sri Vishnu / Krishna Nandi
-Sri Soma Nandi
This temple is situated in the south-east side of the Nandhyal town. A canal named Chama Kaluva flows near the temple. “Pradhama” means prime / foremost.
It is believed that Lord Brahma did penance on Lord Shiva at this place. Lord Shiva gave darshan to Him. As requested by Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva stayed here as Sri Pradhama Nandeeswara. The Shiv Ling is known by the name Sri Nandeeswara Linga.
Sri Parvathi Devi, the consort of Lord Shiva exists here as Sri Kedareswari Devi. During the month of Karthika, the rays of the setting Sun touch Sri Nandeeswara Linga.
All masik Shivratri days especially Karthika and Maha Shivratri are celebrated here.
It is also said that bull races are held here during Maha Shivratri. This piece of information needs to be confirmed.
This temple is in the Nandyal town itself.
As per the legend, Naga, the snake Deity did penance on Lord Shiva for protection from Garuda. Lord Shiva appeared on the Nandi Vahan and provided safety to the Naga.
The sanctum of Shiv Ling is now situated inside Sri Anjaneya Swamy temple.
Dasara, Sri Rama Navami and Sri Maha Shivratri festivals are celebrated at this temple.
This temple is situated inside Maha Nandi temple at the South east side.
As per the legend, Sri Vinayaka did penance on Lord Shiva at this place. Lord Shiva had appeared on the Nandi Vahan and blessed Him.
Sri Vinayaka Chathurthi, Sri Sankata Hara Chathurthi and Sri Maha Shivratri are celebrated here.
This temple is situated on the western side of Maha Nandi temple.
As per the legend, Garudadeva, the vahan of Sri Maha Vishnu did penance here on Lord Shiva. His wish was to get nectar for his mother. Lord Shiva appeared before him on the Nandi Vahan and granted his wishes.
Sri Maha Shivratri is celebrated here.
This temple is nearly 10 kilometers away from Nandyal. It is in the village named Kadamala Kalva.
As per the legend, Pancha Pandavas were said to have visited this place after the Maha Bharatha war.
At the war, they were responsible for the end of Sri Dronacharya, a Brahmin as well as their Guru. Due to this, they were afflicted with Brahma-hatti dosh. So, they have built five small Shiv Temples in the premises for alleviating their dosh.
Chalukya Kings were said to have developed the temple premises. Neem tree and Aswatha Vriksha (fig tree) at the temple are considered auspicious.
Sri Maha Shivratri is celebrated here.
The Maha Nandi temple was originally constructed by the King Nanda, the descendent of Pandavas. The King Nanda and his descendants ruled the Kingdom named Nandavaram consisting of Nandyal, Maha Nandi and Nandi Kotkur. After Nanda dynasty, this place was also ruled by Chola dynasty.
King Vikrama Chola was said to have built some mantapams and towers in the temple. It is believed that Vijayanagara Kings also had made some additions in the temple.
The presiding Deity is the original swayambhu Ling. The mark of the cow’s hoof exists on the Ling.
The water from Rudra Gundam flows in the sanctum. It is also called as Swami’s pushkarini. In the middle of the pond, there are five Lings attributed to the five natural elements.
Prithivi Lingam – earth
Jala Lingam – water
Thejo Lingam – fire
Vayu Lingam – air / wind
Akasa Lingam – sky / space
Sri Vishnu Gundam and Sri Brahma Gundam
These two ponds exist just outside the sanctum. Sri Vishnu Gundam is for the ladies and Sri Brahma Gundam is for the gents. The tanks are just a few feet deep. The water is crystal clear. Despite many people taking holy dip there, the water remains very clear. If we throw a coin in the ponds, we can clearly see the coin settling at the bottom.
The waters of Sri Rudra, Sri Vishnu and Sri Brahma Gundam are said to have medicinal and healing qualities.
Sri Kameshwari Devi
The consort of Lord Shiva is called as Sri Kameshwari Devi here. The Vigraha was ruined during the invasion of the other sect rulers. Only in 1939 or thereabouts, the new Vigraha was installed with vedic rights.
Sri Kothandarama Swamy sanctum
This sanctum was built later. Srimathi Bhairava Josyula Seethama had arranged for building this sanctum. The Vigrahams of Sri Kothanda Rama Swamy, Sri Lakshmana Swamy, Sri Sita Devi and Sri Veera Bhaktha Hanuman were established by her.
Rama Navami festival is grandly celebrated in the sanctum.
The sanctum of Navagraham contains the nine planet Deities. This sanctum is frequented for doing Dosha Parihara.
Comparison with the organs
The structure of the temple is compared to the human body organs / organisms as given below:
The temple has 25 porches around it. The Shiv Ling is considered as the Jeeva, i.e., the life. The rest of the 24 porches are attributed as follows:
Jnanendriyas or senses of perception – ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose – 5
Karmendriyas or organs of activity – vaak (speech), paani (hands), paada (feet), paayu (excretion) and upastha (reproduction) – 5
Pancha bhutas or five elements – earth, water, fire, wind and sky – 5
Pancha tanmantras or actions – hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling – 5
Antha karana chatushtayam or internal instruments – manas (mind), buddhi (wisdom), chitta (thought) and ahamkara (ego) – 4
The four towers of the temple are said to represent the antha karana chatushyatham.
Three ponds and the Nadi
The Kundalini Yogic stream (Nadi) of human body is as follows:
-Ira (left side, cold, denoting moon, feminine)
-Pingala (right side, denoting sun, masculine)
-Sushumna (central channel) with subtle channels Bajraksha (or Vajra, the radiant) & Chitrini(the fine).
The Rudra Gunda in the main sanctum is said to represent Sushumna channel. The Vishnu Gunda represents Ira and the Brahma Gunda denotes Pingala.
Shivratri is very grandly celebrated here. On the next day, Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi are taken on procession on Mayura Vahana. On the third day from Shivratri, Rathotsava, the chariot function is held.
Every year, annual classical dance festivals are conducted at the temple.
This temple is at Thammadapalli Village, which is nearly 8 kilometers away from Maha Nandi temple on the western side.
As per the legend, Sri Surya Deva had done penance on Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before him on the Nandi and blessed Him.
At the time of Sun rise, the rays of the rising sun fall on the Shiv Ling.
Sri Maha Shivratri is celebrated here.
This temple is at a distance of nearly 4 kilometers on the northern side of Sri Maha Nandi.
As per the legend, Lord Maha Vishnu did penance on Lord Shiva at this place. Lord Shiva appeared on the Nandi and blessed Him.
The temple is situated at a very quiet place.
The water gushing from the bull head stone is used for agriculture.
The place is quite serene.
This is situated at the Nandyal town itself.
As per the legend, Sri Indra Deva did penance on Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared before Him on the Nandi vahan and blessed Him.
The consort of Lord Shiva is named as Sri Someswari.
Sri Maha Shivratri is celebrated here.
It is believed that the nine Nandi temples also signify Nava Grahas (nine planets). The details of attributes of each Graha to the respective temple are not available.
Of the Nava Nandi temples, Siva Nandi, Krishna Nandi and Surya Nandi are situated in villages. The pujaris are staying near the temples. If we request them, they come and do archana.
The specialty of the Nava Nandi temples is that, we devotees can directly do abhishekam to the Shiv Lings. This is a rare phenomenon in South India.
How to visit the temples
The timing of each temple may vary.
The best option will be to catch an auto rickshaw at Nandyal town at around 7 in the morning. If we negotiate a lump sum fare, we can book a private tour to all the nine temples. We have to make sure to spare more time for Sri Maha Nandi temple.[Note: The legends pertaining to the temples were referred from the sthala puranam book sold at Maha Nandi temple (Author:Sri Bhuma Ramachandraiah). The pujaris at the respective temples also have provided the basic information].