Nandagiri and Kotla Narsimhulapalle are the twin villages lying side by side about 30 km to the north of Karimnagar. These villages can be reached from Karimnagar via Ramadugu and from Jagityala via Gangadhara by bus. The place is just 200 kms north of Hyderabad City.
There are various testimonials to state the historical and religious importance of this place. It is said that King Satakarni (241 BC), the son of King Sreemukha of Satavahana dynasty, while going on Jaithra Yathra (victory lap) from Paithan (Prathistanapuram, present Aurangabad in Maharashtra state), made a halt at Nandagiri village and very much enjoyed the natural beauty of the place and constructed a Gagana Mandiram (Sky palace) on the top of the hillock. Its ruins are visible even now. Later on, it is said that the 17th king in the Satavahana Dynasty, King Hala (who wrote Gatha Saptha Shathi in Pyshachika language) and his wife resided at Nandagiri. Even though the Satavahana kings practiced Jainism and Buddhism, they also patronized Vedic religions. They constructed temples as per the Advaitha culture on the advice of vedic scholars.
The practice of constructing temples in Karimnagar district owes to the times of the Chalukyas of Vemulawada.The most active period of temple construction in the district was under the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani and Kakateeyas of Warangal.
It is said that the rare and unique sculpture of “SHODASHA BAAHU PANCHA MUKHA UGRA NARASIMHA carved on a big boulder at Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Narasimhulapalle village dates back to the period of Sreemukha of the Satavahana Dynasty (241 BC). Later on the rulers of Vemulawada Chalukyas (Western Chalukyas, 755-968 AD) patronized this temple and the Stepped Pyramid type of the Aalaya Gopuram reflects the temple architecture of the Western Chalukyas.2The Veerabhadra, Mallikarjuna and Nanchareesvara (Somanatha) temples of Narasimhulapalle village reflect the Kakatiya temple architecture. Therefore, they can be said to belong to the 12th¬ century. As Nandagiri once existed in an ancient mud fort, it is known as Nandagiri-Kotla, and Narsimhulapalle is also called Kotla-Narsimhulapalle. Before the Mauryas came to power, the Nandas who ruled over Magadha are stated to have set up a military camp on the banks of river Godavari known as Nava Nanda Dera, which is now known as Nanded. The Nandas, who had their sway over the region, are believed to have founded this Nandagiri with a mud fort around it and the traces of its moat and walls can be noticed here and there in the twin villages of Nandagiri-Kotla Kotla-Narsimhulapalle, which once existed within the Kota or Fort.
1. PRASANNA LAXMI NARSIMHA AND SEETHA RAMA SWAMY DEVASTHANAM.
The Prasanna Laxmi Narsimha & Seetha Rama Swamy is on the hillock known as Devuni Gutta. 60 steps carved in stone lead to the temple.
En route, we find a Mandapa of Bhaktha Anjaneya, who is the Kshetra palaka. It is said that this sculpture carved on a boulder pertains to Vijayanagara empire and may be the work of Vyasa Raya.
There is a big boulder at the temple on which we find a sculpture of “Shodasha Bahu- Pancha Mukha Ugra Narsimha” carved. A deep cave under this boulder is converted into Garbha Alaya facing the west. The idol of “Vaamankitha Prasanna Laxmi Narsimhawith four hands and Prabhavalai behind it containing the Dashavathara is installed in the cave. The temple consists of the Garbha Griha and Mukha Mandapa which is a was Ten Sq. feet laid on 12 pillars. The idols of Alwars said to have been installed by Vedantha Deshikacharya are notice in the Garbhaalya
In the Upa Sannidhi of the temple, we find a Mandapa wherein we find the granite idol of “Vamankitha Seetha Rama” and another idol of Laxmana in the form of Audi Seshu, facing the East. sculpture
On 24th June 2010, Sat Guru Pujya Sri Kandukuri Sivananda Murthy Garu of Bheemunipatnam has performed Pratista of Dwaja Sthambha.
2. ANNAPOORNA VISWANATHA TEMPLE,
On the eastern side on Devuni Gutta. we find the temple of Lord Viswanatha on the banks of Swamy Vari Pushkarini. This Shivalaya also said to belong to the period of Kakateeya King , Ganapathi Deva(13th Century AD).
Satguru Pujya Sri Kandukuri Sivananda Murthy Garu has laid the foundation on 11th February 2008, for reconstruction of steps leading to Viswanathalaya. Guruji has inaugurated the steps carved in stone, installed the granite idols of Nandeeshwara, Vijaya Ganapathi, Chatur Baahu Annapoorna and Dwaja Sthambha on 24th June 2010.
24th June is now celebrated as Pratista Day, every year. Maha Lingarchana is performed to 365 Paarthiva Lingas by lighting 365 Jyothis(lamps) on this day.
3. NANDAGIRI VEERABHADRA SWAMY TEMPLE.
The Kakateeya kings patronized Saivism and built several Saiva temples. Among them temples dedicated to Veerabhadra Swamy.
Nandagiri Veerabhadra Swamy temple containing Garbhalaya, small Antharala and a 16 pillared Mandapa faces the north. The image of Veerabhadra with four hands is installed in the Garbhaalaya lying to w the south of Mandapa. He holds Damaru and Trishula in upper hands and a Khadga in the lower right hand, while lower left hand is in Varada Mudra. The gharbhalaya lying to the west of the Mandapa contains Raja Rajeshwara Swamy in the form of Linga placed on a pedestal. The roof of the Mandapa is flat except the central part noticed in Kadalika Karna process. The central square slab contains a full blown lotus with its bud looking down from the center. A similar roof is found in the Garbhagriha. There is a parapet wall on all sides of the Mandapa. The decoration of four petalled lotuses is noticed on Adhistana of the temple. The spires on both the garbha grihas are star-shaped in stepped pyramidal form crowned by the stone Kalasas. The cornice of the roof is slightly slant decorated with half-moon stones. There is a Chalukyan Nandi before the temple over which a four pillared Mandapa is built recently. There is a Nandi Sthambha standing erect in the courtyard with a stone slab at its top once containing a miniature Nandi Mandapa, which is lost.
4 MALLIKARJUNA SWAMY TEMPLE
There is a ruined temple of Mallikarjuna Swamy facing East. This temple also belongs to the rule of Kakateeya Kings(12th-13th Century AD) .The Antharala and Mukha Mandapa are lost. Th Dwar Dwae extant Garbha Griha contains Linga placed on a high pedestal. which has mouldings of Kakateeyan Art. The Antharala doorway carved with Saiva Dwara Palakas at the base contains lattice windows on either side. The Garbha Griha door way carved with TRISAKHAS contains Saiva Dwara Palak at the base flanked by beautiful female figures with fly- whisks in their hands. The lintel contains Gaja Laxmi motif at the centre.. The projecting cornice above the lintel is decorated with semi-circular stones and a number of drip-stones. The turrets are sculptured on the architrave.
This ruined temple is reconstructed/renovated during the year 2011-2013 and Dwaja Sthambha erected. The Temple Development committee has taken pains to rebuilt this dilapidated temple.
5. SOMANATHA TEMPLE(YERUKALA NANCHAREESHWARA GUDI)
.There is a ruined Somanatha temple lying in the fields at a little distance from Veera Bhadra Swamy temple. There is a big kakateeyan Nandi now lying before the ruined temple containing several ornamental bands running along and across its body. It has a collar ornamented with Haras of bells around its neck. The festooned rump garland feature of the Kakateeya sculpture. This temple which is in dilapidated state require reconstruction , renovation and regular maintenance and worship.
There are ruins of the fort on the top of the hillock. Two or three inscriptions on stone pillars (Shila Shasanas) are found here. It is mentioned in the Karimnagar Mandala Charithra, a Telugu book published by Thygaraja Lalitha Kala Parishath, Karimnagar, that these stone inscriptions were investigated by Late Sri Suravaram Pratapa Reddy and poet Doopati Venkata Ramana Charyulu and published in the Telugu daily newspaper Golkonda Patrika. Unfortunately, copies of these papers are not available to ascertain the history of the place. The Department of AP Ste Archaeology and Museums, Hyderabad, also did not make any mention about these inscriptions in the book on Inscriptions of Karimnagar District, published in the year 1974.
It is necessary to bring to light the historical importance of the place as the Archaeology and Endowments departments have unfortunately not taken any appropriate action in protecting, restoring and renovation of the temple or the fortress on the hillock.
With the blessings and inspiration of Guruji, “Kalvakota Ranga Rao Deshapandye Memorial Trust”w as founded by the members of late Kalvakota Ranga Rao, Deshapandye of Narsimhulapalle on 11th November 2005 .The main objective of this Family Trust is maintenance, protection, and renovating the temples of Laxmi Narsimha and Viswanatha. Immediately after pratista program, the AP State Government was all set to grant lease on Devuni Gutta for granite quarrying by private parties. The Trust has successfully fought for exemption of Devuni Gutta from Granite quarrying in a PIL 17854 of 2010 in the Hon,ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh.
On 21st November 2013,” Sri Laxmi Narsimha And Annapoorna Viswanatha Temples Trust” was formed and registered at Karimnagar. Both these Trusts together are managing the temples.
SOURCE; 1.”History and Culture of Karimnagar District(AP)” authored by Dr Jaisetty Ramanaih, Jagityal during the year 2008
2. “Karimnagar Mandala Charithra” a book in Telugu language,published by Lalitha Kala parishat, Karimnagar