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|Arasavalli Sri Suryanarayana Swamy Temple|
|Architecture and culture|
|Primary deity:||Sun God|
Arasavalli (Telugu: అరసవిల్లి)(Oriya:ଆରସାବଲ୍ଲୀ) is an ancient sun temple dedicated to the Hindu solar deity Surya, located near the Srikakulam town of Andhra Pradesh, India. The original name Harshavalli means abode of joy.
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It has Suryanarayana Swamy (Sun God) as the presiding deity.
Arasavalli is home to an ancient temple to the Sun (Suryanarayana) - said to have been built originally by the Kalinga rulers of Orissa around the 7th century CE. Arasavalli is located at Srikakulam near Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.. Also near Srikakulam are the Mukhalingam temples built in the Orissa temple idiom, and Sree Kurmam bearing a shrine to Vishnu depicting his Kurma avataram.
Legend has it that Indra the king of Gods attempted to force his entry into the temple of Koteeshwara - Shiva and was thrown away by the gatekeeper Nandi. Repentful of his arrogance in attempting to force his entry, Indra enshrined Surya the Sun God in a temple and performed worship services, at Arasavalli.
A black granite image of Surya about 5 feet in height bearing lotus buds (hence the name Padma Paani), flanked by his consorts Padma, Usha and Chhaaya, on a 7 horse driven chariot is the object of worship here. At the base of the image are the gate keepers Pingala and Danda and the saints Sanaka and Sananda. Surya's charioteer Aruna (Anoora) is also depicted in the image.
The Arasavalli teemple was built by the Eastern Kalinga Kings who ruled over the Kalinga region from the 4th through the 14th century CE. Inscriptions reveal grants made by Aditya Vishnu Sarma and Bhanu Sarma of the Kalinga clan. The present structure is largely a result of 18th-century renovations.
The Temple is a Panchayatana temple with Aditya in the center, with Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati and Vishnu in four corners of the quadrangle. An image of Indra is also enshrined in this temple.
The local Dusi family also donated a lot of money to the temple, especially Sri Ramakrishna Rao Dusi.
Ratha Saptami is the most important festival which is celebrated in this temple. People suffering with eye and skin diseases are believed to be cured by the god at this temple.
This temple is a testimonial for the architectural skills of Vishwakarma sculptors. It is believed that the Orissa Vishwakarma Brahmin sculptors also called as Maharanas in Orissa have planned the architecture and sculpted this engineering master piece. The temple is built in such a way that the Sun rays fall on the feet of the God twice a year in the months of February and June during the early hours of the day. The rays fall on the feet of idol for a few minutes through the five entrance gates of the temple remin closed. the five idols installed in one place in the temple viz., 1.Aditya 2.Ambica, 3.Vishnu, 4.Ganesha, 5.Maheswara (shiva) are worshiped by different devotees.The Sun God is depicted as riding on a Chariot drawn by seven horses driven by Aruna. All these figures are exquisitely carved out of a single black granite stone. Sundays during the five months from Magha masam are considered sacred. Every Sunday people from different places from Andhra & Orissa come here for worshiping the Sun God. This temple was built in the Orissa style of temple architecture. A pillar was set up by Jakkamsetti Venkanna in the year 1929. The whole base was filled with jewels as an offering.