Mantralayam is a small town located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The town was established on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and shares its border with the state of Karnataka. It is popularly referred to as Manchale. Some places of interest in the town are the Sree Guru Raghavendra Swami Temple, the Bikshalaya and the Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple. Here is a guide to the scenic town of Mantralayam.
Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple
The Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple is dedicated to Lord Anjaneya or Lord Hanuman. The idol here has five heads with each head representing a different god namely Lord Garuda, Lord Narasimha, Lord Hayagreeva, Lord Hanuman and Lord Varaha. It is believed that Sri Guru Raghavendra was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman.
He performed a severe penance for twelve years and Lord Hanuman visited the Guru pleased with his devotion. The temple is a must visit for the tourists travelling through the region primarily because of its scenic location. The temple has been built amidst a rocky but beautiful and serene terrain. In fact, on the way to the temple travellers will encounter natural formations of rocks that are in the shape of a bed, a pillow and a flying vehicle of the gods.
Evening at the temple.
Photo Courtesy: Mohan Krishnan
Bikshalaya also known as Bichali in local language is famous as the place where Sri Appanacharya lived for the most part of his life. Sri Appanacharya was an ardent devotee as well as a student of Guru Raghavendra Swamy. Bikshalaya is located amidst scenic beauty right on the banks of River Tungabhadra and hence the place enjoys lush greenery and a peaceful environment.
Many people today come to the place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The place offers them calm and peaceful ambiance to meditate and to get in touch with their inner selves. It has also become a favorite spot with tourists and locals who come here on a picnic to spend precious moments with their families and loved ones.
Sree Guru Raghavendra Swami Temple is one of the chief tourist attractions of the region. The Guru is believed to be an incarnation of Bhakta Prahlada who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu saved his devotee from the cruel intentions of his father by taking the form of Lord Narasimha and killing the monster father of Prahlada.
The temple is very popular among the thousands of devotees of the Guru who make it a point to visit the temple every year during the time of Guru Jayanti. On the day of the Jayanti, the temple is bustling with activity since it is a day of celebration and thousands of devotees come to participate in the festivities that continue for two days. It is believed by many devotees that the Guru still resides at Vrindavana and according to the Guru himself, he will continue living at the place for the next 361 years as well.
Evening Seva at the temple
Photo Courtesy: Mohan Krishnan
How to Reach Mantralayam
By Air: There is no airport at Mantralayam and the nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad at Hyderabad. It is well connected with flights from different cities of India as well as the world over.
By Train: The town has its own railways station and is well connected to the rest of the country with Chennai, Kolkota, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi.
By Road: Mantralayam is well connected to the neighboring cities and towns via good network of roads. The state government runs many buses to the town of Mantralayam from different parts of the state. Many states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also run buses bound for Mantralayam because of the religious importance of the place.