Ahobilam is a set of 9 shrines of Lord Narasimha all spread in a 5 Km radius area covered with jungles, streams and hills. It is a magnificent pilgrimage as well as a trek. Each temple is located in a remote corner of the forest and the route is enchanting! The highlight of the trip to Ahobilam is the pillar perched on the top of the hill from which Lord Narasimha revelaed him self to Prahalad as per mythology.
Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the Eastern Ghat mountain range.
Reaching Ahobilam from Chennai- Ahobilam is located 400 KM North West of Chennai and can be reached by taking a train till Kadapa and then hailing a cab. Bombay mail leaves Chennai at 955PM and reaches Kadapa at 315AM. Kadapa to Ahobilam is a 100 KM drive.
Reaching Ahobilam from Bangalore- Ahobilam is located 350 KM from Bangalore and is best reached by road. The route is via Madanapalli, Kadapa and Allagada. The journey would take 7.5 hours.
The Ahobila Mutt manages a guest house called Malola for pilgrims. It has 14 rooms and some have AC. Contact 08519 252045 for bookings.
A canteen is run at Malola Guest House which serves vegetarian meals.
You would need a guide as well as Jeep for some sections of the route. These can be arranged by the manager of the Malola Guest House. Contact them a day in advance. Krishnan is a great guide and can be contacted at 9441690238.
The temple dates back to antiquity. Legend has it that Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu requested for an appearance of Lord Narasimha as an incarnation. So the Lord descended upon these mountains and appeared in 9 forms. Each of the 9 temples is dedicated to the 9 forms of Lord Narasimha. The 9 temples are Bhargava Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Chatravata Narasimha, Ahobila Narasimha, Varaha Narasimha, Karanja Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha and Pavana Narasimha.
It is at Ahobilam where Lord Narasimha appeared from a Pillar as requested by his devotee Prahalad and killed the demon Hiranyakasipu.
The most popular itinerary covers the 9 temples as well as Prahalada Padi. The Narasimha Pillar is very steep and requires rock climbing skills to approach it. While one can manage all the 9 temples in a day it can get very hectic. Hence the trip is better done over 2 days.
The route starts at Ahobila Narasimha Temple in upper Ahobilam. The temple can be reached with a climb of 50 steps.
Walkings sticks are mandatory for a safe trek!
The route continues to Jwala through streams, and wild country! Varaha comes on way from Ahobila to Jwala.
Malola temple is just 100 steps away from Varaha. It would take roughly 3 hours to cover Ahobila, Jwala, Varah and Malola temples. All these can be attempted on the first day. The remaining 5 temples can be done on the second day.
Pavana can be reached again from Ahobila Temple. The route is on the opposite side of Jawala. A 250 step climb followed by a 4 KM walk takes you to the Pavana Narasimha temple. If you inform the guide, a Jeep can be arranged to do this. But note it will be a back breaking 2 hour ride!
The other 4 temples are all on the plains or foothills and easy to access. Kranja is on the way to upper Ahobilam from lower Ahobilam. Yogananda and Chatravata are on the plains near lower Ahobilam. Bhargava is the final temple and it is also on the road and can be reached over a 2 KM drive from lower Ahobilam.
We were greeted by rain throughout the journey and it added to the fun!
Finally, we made it after a full day's adventure.
The pillar from where Lord Narasimha appeared on the behest of his devotee Prahalad and killed the demon Hiranyakasipu.
The route is very rough and hence it is advisable to take a guide from Malolan guest house and attempt this trip.
Belum caves are another wonder to be visited not far from Ahobilam. For a guided tour of these 3 KM long limestone caves which also have quartz deposits visit 5 Senses Tours.