Andhra Vishnu

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Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu (Telugu: శ్రీ ఆంధ్ర విష్ణువు) better known as Śrīkākuḷāndhra Mahāviṣhṇu (Telugu: శ్రీ కాకుళాంధ్ర మహావిష్ణువు) was a legendary warrior by name Viṣhṇu who became famous as a very valorous saviour of his small kingdom.

Andhra Vishnu is located in India
Śrīkākuḷāndhra Mahāviṣhṇu
Śrīkākuḷāndhra Mahāviṣhṇu
Locations of Trilinga Kshetras and Śrīkākuḷāndhra Mahāviṣhṇu Temple
View of Srikakulandhra Maha Vishnu Temple, Srikakulam village, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh
Gopuram Srikakaula Andhramaha vishnu temple

Āndhra Vishnu Temple[edit]

After his reign, people came to believe that he had an amśa of the divine savior Lord Maha Vishnu himself. Perhaps in his honor, people had dedicated a new temple now located at Srikakulam, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh. The lord of the temple is known as Āndhra Viṣhṇu or Śrīkākulāndhra Viṣhṇu. The main sanctum of the temple survived at least since the time of the Sātavāhana emperors, perhaps from 2nd or even 3rd century BC. In that respect, it is perhaps one of the most ancient temple sites in the country. Available evidence seems to suggest that king Āndhra Viṣhṇu ruled before the time of Sātavāhanas.

This temple has many attractions and historical links. As many as 32 inscriptions, including those issued by Sri Krishnadevaraya, appear on the walls of the temple. The presiding deity has some striking peculiarities. The deity holds a sankha in right hand and a chakra in left hand as against usual practice of vice versa.

Likewise, Lord Krishna does not find place in dasavatara (ten incarnations of Vishnu) here. The list includes, Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Balarama, Buddha and Kalki. The present temple is said to be existing from 1010 A.D., and was reconstructed twice before now. Cholas are stated to have reconstructed the temple by bringing the idol found in river Krishna bed during their rule. Later, the temple was reconstructed in 1992 during Krishna Pushkarams. However the temple was in a neglected state of affairs though it had a property of about 200 acres of fertile land.[1]

Andhra Kaumudi[edit]

In Andhra Kaumudi, a Telugu grammar book it was mentioned that he was son of Suchandra. It seems Āndhra Viṣhṇu having built an immense wall, connecting Sri Sailam, Bheemeswaram, and Kaleswaram, with the Mahendra hills, formed in it three gates, in which the three eyed Ishwara, bearing the trident in his hand and attended by a host of divinities resided in the form of three lingams. Āndhra Viṣhṇu assisted by divine angels having fought with the great giant Nishambhu for thirteen yugas killed him in battle and took up his residence with the sages on the banks of the river Godavari, since which time, the Andhra country has been named Trilingam.[2]

Āndhra Nāyaka Satakam[edit]

Āndhra Nāyaka Satakam was written by Kasula Purushottama Kavi, a poet under patronage of Zamindar of Challapalli in diviseema region of Andhra Pradesh, which was his most famous literary work. The ancient temple dedicated to Āndhra Viṣhṇu is just few kilometers away from the poet's native place in diviseema.

The Shatakam is known to just about every high school student in Telugu region because of a few mandatory selections from the Satakam that appear in school textbooks. There are only a few people who become famous through just one tiny literary work. Kasula Purushottama Kavi was one such writer. The poems of the Shatakam are so very endearing because of the vyāja ninda and vyāja stuti employed to denounce the Lord Āndhra Viṣhṇu and put him down for his various qualities and actions while actually praising him indirectly.

Apparently, the Śrīkākuḷāndhra Viṣhṇu temple during poet's time seems to be in a deteriorated state. The poet seems to be concerned about it and composed the Satakam asking the Lord Andhra Viṣhṇu, why he did not set his own house in order. This Sataka is perhaps the most famous in the Vyāja ninda genre of Telugu Prosody.


Once the Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya was travelling via Vijayawada during his Kalinga campaign. He had conquered Vijayawada, kondapalli fort and the surrounding areas. He came to know about the holy temple of Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu and visited Srikakulam village for a few days. He performed the Ekadasi Vratam during that time. It is here that Lord Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu in all his glory appeared to the emperor in an early morning dream ("neela mEGhamu DAlu Deelu sEyaga jAlu….").[3]

Sri Krishnadevaraya Explains the incident as ..Observing the fast of the Vishnu's Day, in the fourth and last watch of that God's night, Andhra Vishnu came to me in my dream. His body was a radiant black, blacker than the rain cloud. His eyes wise and sparkling, put the lotus to shame. He was clothed in the best golden silk, finer still than the down on his eagle's wings. The red sunrise is pale compared to ruby on his chest.[4]

Lord Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu told him to compose the story of his wedding with Andal at Srirangam ("rangamandayina penDili seppumu.."). He also ordered the emperor to tell the story in Telugu.

The Lord reasoned "telugadElayanna, dESambu telugu. yEnu telugu vallaBhunDa. telugo kanDa.…. yerugavE bAsADi, dESa BhAShalandu telugu lessa!" The emperor obliged and composed Amuktamalyada which is one of the most famous poetic works in the entire Telugu literature.[5] From 14th poem of this work we can see that the Lord Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu refers himself as King of Telugus (Telugu Vallabhunḍa) and refers Sri Krishnadevaraya as Kannada King (Kannaḍa Rāya).

Meaning of Quote :"If you ask why a work in Telugu; I am Telugu (i.e., belong to Teluguland) and King of Telugus. Telugu is language which got stuff (TelugO kanDa). So, with all kings serving under you, by speaking you will know that of all regional languages Telugu is superior. "

Within Āmuktamālyada itself it was mentioned that on a Harivāsara, Sri Krishnadevaraya had the Darsan of Śrī Āndhra Viṣhṇu. Harivāsara is the time between the last 4 muhurtas of Ekadasi and the first 4 muhurtas of Dwadasi, i.e., 6 hours and 24 minutes. This incident of visiting the temple must be between Ahobilam Śaasanam (dated December 1515) and Simhāchalam Śaasanam (dated 30 March 1515)[6]

In Popular Media[edit]

Sri Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnuvu Katha
Directed by A. K. Sekhar
Produced by D. Lakshminarayana Chowdhary
Starring N.T. Rama Rao
S. V. Ranga Rao
Music by Pendyala Nageswara Rao
Release dates 1962
Country India
Language Telugu

In 1962, the Telugu movie named Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnu Katha was made based on the story of this legendary king, directed by A. K. Sekhar, casting N. T. Rama Rao, Jamuna, S. V. Ranga Rao, M. Balaiah, Relangi Venkataramaiah, Girija, L. Vijaya Lakshmi, Chaya Devi, Mudigonda Linga Murthy. Producer was D. Lakshminarayana Chowdary and music was given by Pendyala Nageswara Rao.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ A Grammar of Teloogoo Language - A D Campbell , introduction.
  3. ^ History of Telugu literature, Giḍugu Vēṅkaṭa Sītāpati, Sahitya Akademi, 1968.
  4. ^ Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet, 1500-1800, By Sheldon Pollock, Duke University Press, 2011.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Amuktamalyada Vol1, Acharya Tummapudi Koteswararao, Malayakuta Publications, 2001. So, May be in January 1516 he might have visited the temples. Beyond this no other valid references are available for exact date of visit.