Trip to Ahobilam

Ahobilam Travel Blog

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First and foremost, this is a trip to a Holy place. You can get some basic info about Ahobilam here. There is also information available about the temple and the Ahobila Mutt.
This page should talk a little more about the experiences and the amazing trek that we undertook while reaching the top most point in Ahobilam called the 'Ugra-Stambham'.

I (Ramki) undertook this trip with 4 of my friends (Ram, Rajani, Murali and Karthik.) Most of the article posted here has been written in the blogs (mostly from Ram's blog) that I have linked to above. But, this will be more consolidated. (The latitude and longitude shown in the map is not accurate.)
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Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, about 380 kms away from Hyderabad in the Nallamalai Hills of the Eastern Ghats. It is one of the foremost places of worship of Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is unique in the sense that it is the only place that enshrines nine forms of Lord Narasimha. Ahobilam is divided into lower Ahobilam and the upper Ahobilam. Upper Ahobilam is about 8 km away from lower Ahobilam. Ahobilam is also known as Ahobalam meaning great strength (Aho - great, balam - strength).

According to Hindu mythology, Nallamalai Hills is the personification of Adisesha, the great serpent bed of Lord Vishnu. Four important Shaiva (Lord Shiva) and Vaishnava (Lord Vishnu) places of worship are located in these hills - Srisailam (Shaiva) is the tail end, Ahobilam (Vaishnava) is the middle portion, Tirumala (Vaishnava) is the head and Srikalahasti (Shaiva) is the mouth of Adisesha.

Though a few of us had been planning for this trip for quite sometime, the time pressures ensured that the plans had never materialized till that time. But, one bright morning, we decided that we better visit this place and come back or else we will keep deliberating and it would never happen. So we booked a Toyota Qualis and decided to start just after midnight on the 3rd of Dec. The trip involved some 6-7 hours of driving, depending on the driver. (It is preferable to take a taxi, if  you are planning to climb up to the Ugra-Stambha.) After a halt of about 1-1.5 hours inbetween for the driver to take some rest, we reached Ahobilam in the morning at about 10:15AM.
When you enter lower Ahobilam, the road kind of splits into two paths. The straight one leads to upper Ahobilam and the one to the right leads to the main temple of lower Ahobilam. It appeared as thought all that lower Ahobilam consisted of was the temple, shops surrounding the temple whose owners depended heavily on tourism for their existence, a few homes and a few guest houses. We took the road to the right and immediately found a guest house (Malola Guest House) run by Sri Ahobila Mutt on the right. We booked a room, took bath, had some food in a nearby canteen and then left for the main temple, a few yards down the same road.

We had a good darshan of the lord of the temple - Prahladavarada Narasimhar and the goddess. Thereafter, we arranged for a local guide and started on the journey to upper Ahobilam. You need a guide if you are planning to visit "ugrasthambam" and "jwala narasimhar" (which will be described later) in the jungles of upper Ahobilam as trekking to these places is very difficult and it might also prove tough to find the path to reach these places. You can do without a guide if you are planning to visit only the other shrines.

On the way to Upper Ahobilam, we stopped at the "Karanja Narasimhar" shrine. The deity is installed under a "karanja" tree and hence the name. It is believed that Lord Narasimha appeared before Hanuman, who visited this place, with bow and arrow showing that he is Lord Rama himself. The idol depicts the same.

We reached "upper Ahobilam" after about driving for 8kms from "lower Ahobilam". Once you reach this place, you cannot drive any further as the road reaches a dead end and there are only hills to be seen. The first shrine we visited while climbing to the top was that of "Varaha Narasimhar". To reach this, we would have walked about 1 km from the upper ahobilam temple. After trekking for about a km or so more, we arrived at the "Malola Narasimhar" temple.

From here, after a somewhat difficult climb, we arrived at "Prahalada Padi". It is said that this is the place where Prahalada had his schooling. After reaching Prahalada Padi, we visited the Yoga Narasimhar shrine.
The priest (archakar) performed 'puja' (archanai) and explained us the significance of the place. Till this place the climb has been pretty easy compared to what we were going to experience in the next stage. From here, we started the most difficult part of our climb - the trek to the top to reach the "Ugra Sthambam" which is believed to be the place with the iron pillar from where Lord Narasimha emerged.

To go to "Ugra Sthambam", we had to pass through a narrow stretch of rocks which were slippery and had around 2 km drop on both sides. The last stretch was extremely tough and there were places where if you had reached a certain point, there was no way you could turn back. But, the kind of joy that a person will get when you reach the Ugra-Stambham will supersede any of the troubles that you might face during the climb. Most probably during the last part of the climb, you will have Monkeys for company and some of the monkey's actually gave us company till we reached the next temple from Ugra-Stambham.

The climb down was really difficult. The rocks were very slippery and it was proving really difficult to get a firm foothold with slippers on. We reached Jwala Narasimhar shrine after spending a lot of time climbing down carefully. On the way, we saw a spot called "Rakta Kundam" which is where Lord Narasimha is believed to have killed the demon. Near this spot is a huge waterfall.

We finally reached the spot where we originally started from and went inside the main temple there to have darshan. It was almost dark by the time we reached lower ahobilam. We just killed time for 3-4 hours while our driver slept in order to get ready to drive in the night. I think we left Ahobilam at around 10:30PM and reached ISB in the morning at about 6:30 or 7AM.
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The pictures of the trip are available at  Ramki - Ahobilam Pics and at Ramsabode.
The pictures in Ram's blog will actually correlate properly with the narration.
cholleti says:
Hello, you had nice trip and information and know about "Ahobilam Tourists attractions"
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012
bhimsen says:
Hi this is a very good blog and I have referenced it to my blog at Srisailam Mahanandi Ahobilam.
It would have been helpful if I would have read this blog before.
Posted on: Jan 07, 2008
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