LocationMahanandi Temple is located at Mahanandi village near Nandyal town in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is also known as “Sri Mahanandiswara Swamy Temple”. It is surrounded by Nallamala Hills which range towards east and encircled by thick forests. This temple is one of the nine Nandi temples, which are referred to as Nava Nandis. Nandi denotes a bull that is the sacred vehicle of Lord Shiva. The other eight Nandi temples are situated within the range of 15 km radius from this temple. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva.
History of the TempleAccording to a legend, there was a King named Nanda who was the ruler of Nandyal in ancient time. He thought of performing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva. His thought was taken care of and as a result, hundreds of cows were being brought from Gopavaram for this cause. The main supply to the king among all the cows was from the lone black cow. After few days, it was noticed that this cow was coming empty everyday and its milk production also get lessened. To see the main reason of it, the cowherd followed the cow one day and he hides beneath a bush. He was astonished to see the cow’s milk oozing out on anthill and saw Lord Krishna in the form of young child drinking that milk. The king was amazed after hearing this and to get glimpse of it, he followed the cow next day. As usual, the cow did the same routine. The king after witnessing this miracle was overjoyed and therefore, trampled upon some provisions. As a result, the child disappeared and the cow embossed the anthill in fright. Then, the king realises his mistake and asked Lord Shiva to forgive him. Pleased with the King’s devotion, Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and told him that the anthill will cool down and would become a Swayambhu Lingam at Mahanandi. The king started worshipping lord Shiva at this place and constructed the temple.
The imprints of the cow can be still seen on top of the anthill. The temple is ancient in much sense and dates back over 1500 years. It is said that Devashilpis, the architect of Gods, reconstructed this temple during 10th century. The temple is rebuilt and repaired several times over the centuries.
Construction of the TempleThe temple has a glorious architecture. It has a Nandi bull statue at the entrance and therefore this place is also known as Mahanandi Tirtha. You can see the Nandi from each and every part of the village as it is so huge. It is said that this is the world’s biggest Nandi statue. After passing the Nandi at the entrance, you will find two eternal pools with crystal clear water in them. By walking a little further, one will see the second prakara (temple compound) and then, 60 square feet large Pushkarani or Kalyani (Holy water tank) with a Mantapam (Pavilion like structure) at its centre. A small Shiva Linga is installed in this Mantapam.
This temple is known for its curative and miraculous powers found within this holy tank. The inlets and outlets of the tank are constructed in such a way that the depth of the water remains constant at 5 feet for the devotees to take a bath in. The interesting thing is that this holy water is cold during the summer and hot in winter naturally. The devotees can touch the Shiva Linga here, which is unusual as in other Shiva temples; devotees can’t touch the main deity.
If you want some peace and want to witness the nature exotica, do visit Mahanandi.