|village of historical importance|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|PIN||533406 [Annavaram at East Godavari District]|
|Nearest city||Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada|
Anna translates to "what you desire", while "varam" means boon or godsend. Hence, the name Annavaram is an expression of the belief that the deity will endow one with whatever one desires.
The most distinctive feature of Annavaram is the shrine to Lord Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy situated upon the Ratnagiri Hills. The land is considered to belong to both Lord Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami Temple and Goddess Anantalaxmi Satyavathi Ammavaru. The temple, situated on the hill top, is about four furlongs (almost a kilometre) away from its base. It can be reached either by steps covered with canopy, via Ghat road, or trekked via a stone path.
The popularity and importance of the temple is increasing among pilgrims. This place is considered as second only to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. Festivals are celebrated year-round. Popular festivals are Kalyanam in May, Devi Navratri in September, the Swayamvara Vardhanti of Sraavana Suddha Ekadashi Day, Srirama Kalyana, Kanakadurga Yatra, Prabha Utsavam, Teppa Utsavam and Jalatoranam.
The hill top offers a panoramic view of the surrounding fields and villages. A river water barrage with boating facility is near the main entrance of the hill. This place is called Pampa Sarovara.
Vishwakarma Brahmin stapathis architecture is at its best in this temple. The hillock itself is about 300 feet (91 m) above sea level, surrounded by fields and the Pampa river encircling Ratnagiri. About 460 stone steps leads to the top of it.
The main temple is constructed in the form of a chariot with the four wheels at each of the four corners. In front of the main temple is the kalyana mantapa, constructed and decorated with modern pieces of architecture. As we go down the way, we come across Ramalaya and then the shrines of Vana Durga and Kanaka Durga.
The temple at Annavaram has been constructed to depict this idea concretely. The front side of the temple depicts the chariot. The Meru on floor with the pillar at the center, and the idols at the top are intended to bring forth the idea that the Lord not only remains at the heart's center but also permeates the entire universe. The wheels depicting the Sun and the Moon serve to remind us that this Juggernaut moves on the wheels of time, and goes on for ever and ever, Thus the Annavaram temple satisfies both the ritualistic values and the spiritual aspirations of the devotees.”
The temple of Sri Veera Venkata Satya-narayana Swamy is the main temple on Ratnagiri hill. There is also a temple of Sri Rama and the shrines of Vanadurga and Kanaka Durga nearby. The temple of grama-devatha (village deity) is in the village at the foot of the hill.
Prasadam counter is available on the national highway for those who are not able to visit the temple. This temple is located at a big hill top. Many marriages take place there. A facility of quick Darshan faciliitates busy seasons. The main building has two floors. The ground floor is for Pada darshan or to view the feet of the god. The first floor is the upper part of the Lord Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy.
According to the puranas, the presiding deity of the place blesses the devotees with Anina Varam (Wanted Boon).
The hillock by the side of the village is considered to be very sacred. Meruvu, the Lord of the hills, and his consort Menaka did great penance and begat two sons by the grace of Lord Vishnu. One was named Bhadra and the other Ratnakara. Bhadra pleased Lord Vishnu with his devotion and penance and with his grace became Bhadrachalam on which Lord Rama had permanently settled. Ratnakara desired to emulate his brother and succeeded in pleasing Lord Vishnu by his penance to settle on him as Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy, Ratnakara remaining as Ratnagiri hill.
It is said that Raja I.V. Rama-narayanam, the then zamindar of Gorsa and Kirlampudi estates, having been ordained by the Lord in his dream, traced the idol on the hill, worshipped it and installed it at the present spot on sravana suddha vidhiya of the Telugu year Khara, 1891.
The Akriti of any temple is, according to the Agni Purana, merely a manifestation of the Prakriti. According to this the chariot of the temple is intended as a symbol of the Seven Lokas and the seven Lokhas above, with the garbhalaya of the Lord at the heart's center ruling over the entire Universe.
Annavaram temple of Lord Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy is 125 km from Visakhapatnam, 40 km from Kakinada and 80 km from Rajahmundry. National Highway number 5 passes through Annavaram. The bypass road (NH – 5) goes straight. To visit the temple take a right turn at the junction near Annavaram.
National Highway (NH)-5 passes via Annavaram. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) operates regular bus services from Kakinada to Tuni, Rajahmundry to Tuni, and Yele-swaram to Tuni via Annavaram.
Annavaram railway station is located at the main Chennai – Howrah (Kolkatta ) railway line. Many trains stop here. The railway station is 3 km away from the temple. The railway station and moving trains are visible from the temple. Important trains of the South Central Railways (SCR) passing through are the Vijayawada-Vishakapatnam Ratnachal superfast express, the Chennai-Howrah Mail, Kolkata-Chennai halt at Annavaram, which is the nearest railway station within about 2 miles of the temple.
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