After our ordeal with non-existent roads for over 5 hours, driving through the dry lands of Rayalaseema, it was huge relief when we finally saw this, the archway to Mantralayam !
The roads improved in the last 11 kms to Mantralayam, made us wonder if only we had taken the regular route ! We reached Mantralayam at around 3 PM, terrible roads and remote villages meant no lunch during our entire 5 hour drive from Hospet. As soon as we reached the place, the we had our lunch at the first hotel we found in the town.
Guru Sri Raghavendra’s resting place
Mantralayam is the final resting place of Sri Raghavendra Swami, the Dvaita philosophy proponent of the 1600s A.D. it was at Mantralayam that he attained Samadhi. The place holds lot of devotional significance for followers of Dvaita. The place where the Saint’s Samadhi is located is called Brindavana and located inside the Raghavendra Mutt.
The Mutt was closed till 4 PM, so we wandered around looking at the shops and stopping for a glass of sugarcane juice. The ground was scorching, we had to walk barefoot because you aren’t allowed to wear footwear near the Mutt. Our feet were literally burnt, it was like those temple rituals where people run on burning coal !
It was hard to even run but somehow, we managed to walk to the Thungabhadra River flowing adjacent to the Mutt. It being summer, the river was dry. This was the same river which flooded the entire town of Mantralayam in 2009 ! We tried clicking a picture from the distance, couldn’t do a better job, not when it was almost impossible to keep our feet still on the ground !
There was nothing much to see around the Mutt, so we stood in the shade and clicked pictures of some statues depicting stories from Lord Krishna’s childhood.
The Mutt opened at 4 PM and we went for a darshan of Brindavana. There was not much crowd so we could complete our visit in less than 10 minutes. The Samadhi of Sri Raghavendra is in the form of a Tulasi Kootam. The Mutt is very peaceful, you would want to sit there in silence and meditate. We found a few people doing exactly that and joined them to spend some quiet time in the hall.
One thing that striked us at Mantralayam was the discipline and cleanliness, the entire walkway to the Mutt and the halls inside the Mutt were all well-maintained. Completing our darshan, we took leave of Sri Raghavendra Mutt, we wish we had more time to go around the place and spend some time on the river bank but we were already delayed by the bad roads and we couldn’t afford a leisurely visit.
Panchamukhi Anjaneya Swamy Temple
There was one other place we wanted to visit before heading back to Hyderabad. Located 20 kms from Mantralayam, the Panchamukhi Anjaneya Swamy temple is an interesting place. Since the temple was only a small deviation from the Mantralayam-Hyderabad road via Raichur, we decided to check it out. The main reason behind our interest in visiting this temple were the stories we had heard and read about it.
To reach the temple, we had to cross the Thungbhadra river and once again re-enter Karnataka ! The Thungabhadra bridge across the river is huge.
The Panchamukhi Anjaneya temple looks like a small village shrine, surrounded by rocks, boulders and hillocks. Sri Raghavendra Swamy is believed to have meditated at this temple.
Inside a small cave like structure, there is a carving of 5 headed Lord Anjaneya. The most interesting part of this temple is a small shrine located outside the temple. It houses a pair of giant wooden sandals ! It is believed that Lord Anjaneya wears these sandals every night and takes a stroll around the village and the nearby woods. They say dirt marks are found on the sandals every morning. Once in 5 years, new sandals are made by a designated family and presented to the Lord !
As you walk around the temple, you can see rock formations. One looks like an aeroplane and the belief is that it was the Pushpaka Vimana once used by Lord Anjaneya !
Then, there is another formation that looks like a bed with a pillow, again people believe that Lord Anjaneya had rested here !
There are a few other smaller shrines around, on one of the rocks, you can also see a mace which, people tell you, was used by the Lord ! Fascinating stories from Incredible India, is all we can say !
It was 5.30 PM by the time we started from Panchamukhi. We turned our Google Maps towards Hyderabad. Enroute, we stopped at Raichur for a quick break, we were once again impressed by a smaller, lesser known city, first Kolhapur, then Belgaum and Raichur, it feels good that our cities are developing fast in terms of standards of living.
The rest of the journey went smoothly, we stopped for an early dinner at Jadcherla and then drove back home. This trip shall go down as one of our most unforgettable trips. The entire trip was a discovery of the many villages, towns, cities, varied cuisines, culture, adventures and stories of India !
– We spent very little time at Mantralayam, so we may not be the best people to give tidbits. You can check all the information including timings, sevas, accommodation etc on the Mutt’s website http://www.raghavendramutt.org
– The best route to reach Mantralayam from Hyderabad is to take the Raichur route. Being a popular pilgrim place, it is easy to find transportation to Mantralayam from all major cities and towns.
– Mantralayam is around 73 kms from Kurnool, you could probably include it as a weekend trip covering places around Kurnool.
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