Arasavelli- One of the few temples for Sun God | Mythological importance of Arasavelli and how to reach there
Sun is the main source for food cycle. Sun is important for the existence of life on earth. This is the reason why Sun has been worshipped by Aryans, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. Sun is worshipped in the form of Sri Suryanarayana Murthy at Arasavilli.
Arasavilli is situated in Srikakulam district where sun god is worshipped along with his wife. There are very few temples for Sun and Lord Brahma. Arasavilli is one of the prominent temples of Sun.
Konark temple in Orissa comes to mind when we think of Sun temples. History tells us that this was destroyed by Kala pahad in 1568 A.C. But the statue of the deity is missing. So Arasavilli has become the only temple in India where Sun is worshipped. Devotees believe that people who worship Lord Sun get health, wealth and happiness. That is why this village is also called ‘Harshavalli’.
This temple belongs to seventh century. In Dwapara yugam, Lord Balarama started for a pilgrimage in east direction, at the time of Kurukshetra war. He created a river for the benefit of people with his plough. That river is called ‘Nagaavali’ now. He installed panchalingaalu on the banks of this river. He invited all Gods to install Sri Umarudra Koteswara Swamy in Arasavelli. Lord Indra was late for the ceremony, and Nandi refused to let him in. And there was a war between these two. Lord Indra became unconscious and fell at the distance of three miles from the temple in the east direction. He prays to Lord Sun. Sun advices him to construct a pushkarini at that place to get the lost grandeur. While digging the pushkarini with his Vajraayudham, Indra could find a beautiful statue of Lord Suryanarayana. This tank is now called ‘Indrapushkarini’. This statue was installed in Arasavelli by Indra. That is the temple now in Arasavelli.
Lord Sun is worshipped along with Goddesses Usha, Padmini and Chayadevi. Devotees believe that Sun God gives health and longer life to the living things. Thousand of prilgims throng this temple to offer prayers. Coming to the statue of the Deity, there is a sword at the waist of the God. The Driver of the Chariot is Anurudu. Anurudu means the person who has no thighs. He is the brother of Garutmanthudu. Two servants Sanskasananda serve the God with chatrachaamaralu.
Kalyanam of Lord Suryanarayana is performed on Chairtra sudda Ekadasi. Other important programs at the temple are teppa tirunaallu on kartika sudda dwadasi, Rathasaptami, Kamadahanotsavam on Phalguna Sudda Purnima and Dolotsavam. Rathasaptami is a big festival here. The number of devotees increases in the months of Maagham, Vaisaakham and Karthikam.
Every year the first rays of Sun enter the temple in the dates of March 8, 9, 10, 11 and 1, 2, 3, 4 dates of October. They fall on the Dhwajasthambam through the gopuram of the temple. They directly touch the feet of God. These fall on the foot, naval and head of the statue and the God looks beautiful at that time. The devotees who watch this are in a trance for some time. That is why there is a heavy rush on these days.
Shape of the temple
It can be known through the inscriptions that the temple was constructed in 673 B.C by the King of Kalinga, Devendra Verma. This temple was destroyed by Subedar of Nizam Nawaab, Sher Mohammed Khan. An employee of the Nawab, Yalamanchili Sitaramaswamy threw the statue of the deity in a well to save it from the Subedar. Then he reconstructed the temple in 1778 AC. The temple was renovated in the year 1999. The construction of the temple is in the form of chariot.
Arasavilli is considered to be the place which cures skin, eye and psychological diseases through suryanamaskaras. There is a navagraha mandapam situated here. As part of the suryanamaskaras, 12 different asanaas are practiced by the people here. Seven special namaskaras are dedicated to saptarishis. They are Namaskara mudra, Thadaasna, Paadahasthana, Aswasanchaalaasana, Bhujangaasana, Parvathasana and Ashtaanga namaskaraasana. It is believed that since all the planets revolve around sun, worshipping God is equal to worshipping all the planets. And this gives mental peace and cures all diseases.
To reach Arasavelli
This temple is located at a distance of 13 kilo meters from Srikakulam railway station and nearly 3 kilo meters from Srikakulam complex. Air passengers can get down at Visakhapatnam and reach Arasavelli through road and rail ways.