Srikakulam and Vizianagaram have had a great significance in the ancient history of Andhra Pradesh. They have numerous tourist attractions for people to visit. These districts are also famous for their umpteen number of sacred summits. While the temples in Srikakulam and Vizianagaram provide divine offerings within commutable distances, they also come with the exhilarating experience of road trips. Some of these temples are very prominent in Hindu mythology and receive many pilgrims every year.
Here’s a list of 7 temples that you must visit on your next trip to Srikakulam and Vizianagaram:
#1 Sri Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
Just 1 km away from Srikakulam Town, and about 105 km from Vizag, the Arasavalli Temple is one of the two Sun God temples in India. The locals believe that Sage Kasyapa installed the idol of Lord Surya here for the welfare of mankind. The construction of the temple is also attributed to the Kalinga King, Devendra Verma during the latter half of the 7th Century. The ‘Sthalapuranam’ narrates that it is Lord Devendra who incurred the wrath of Nandi and according to divine instructions, installed the idol of the sun as a penance. A unique feature of this temple is that during March and September, twilight caresses the feet of the presiding deity. Ratha Saptami is celebrated with great fervour, along with Kalyanostavam, Ksheerabdi Dwadasi Teppa Tirunallu, Kamadahan Utsavam, and Dolotsavam at this temple.
#2 Sri Mukhalingeswara Swamy Temple
This temple, 40 km from the town of Srikakulam, and 148 km from Vizag, is a 9th-century Srimukhalingeswara (Shiva) temple on the banks of the River Vamsadhara. Known as Dakshina Kasi, the lingam depicts facial features. This temple was built during the rule of Kamarnava of Ganga sect descendants (720-1450 AD). It has some remarkably beautiful sculptures in the Indo-Aryan style.
#3 Sri Kurmam Temple
Believed to be built before the 2nd century, the Sri Kurmanantha Temple in Srikurmam, 118 km from Vizag (12 km from Arasavalli) is the only temple in India depicting Lord Vishnu in the Kurma avatar. The idol is presumed to be the fossil of an actual Tortoise. Each of the 200 plus pillars at this temple is an exclusive masterpiece of art. You can also check out the nearby Yoga Narasimha Swamy Temple which is located in the same village.
#4 Pydithalli Ammavari Temple
Vizianagaram is 40 km northwest of Visakhapatnam. The most popular temple here is the Pydithalli Ammavari Temple. Considered to be the grama devata (village deity) of Vizianagaram, the Goddess is believed to be a member of the Vizianagaram royal family; the king’s sister. Legend has it that the king was fighting a war when his sister had tried to meet him. Later on, she was informed that he was killed on the battlefield. Distraught, the sister fainted and then subsequently died. Before dying, she told her assistant where her idol could be found, accordingly, the idol was found at that place, on the first Tuesday after Vijayadashmi. Since then, every year, on the first Tuesday after Dussehra, the temple festival, Sirimanu Utsav, is celebrated.
Ramatheertham, a 1000-year-old Sri Rama Temple, is situated on Bavikonda Hill, 13 km from Vizianagaram. This temple is built entirely on a huge rock. In these hills, there are also vestiges of Jainism and natural caves to be found. On the southernmost hill stands the Rama Temple. The northern hill known as Durgakonda is named after the goddess Durga whose statue is in a natural cave. The central hill, known as Gurubhaktakonda, contains a number of Buddhist structures like the remains of the enormous Buddhist Mahasthupa.
20 km away from Vizianagaram lies a small village, Kumili which is famous for its thirteen temples, a huge complex of temples built by local devotees, and well-organized streets. The temples are unique in their attractive sculptures, paintings on the walls, and idols. In the same village, there are also the ruins of the mud-forts belonging to the erstwhile Vizianagaram kingdom.
#7 Jammi Vruksham
Legend has it that the Pandavas hid their weapons on a “Jami Tree ” here before embarking on the final year of their exile. Located in Jammi, on the banks of the River Gowthami, 10 km from Vizianagaram, the idols in this temple were supposedly installed by King Dharmaraj (of the five Pandavas) and Kunthi. The temple is said to be thousands of years old and geologists estimate that the Shivalinga extends more than 179 feet deep into the earth.