Agiripalli Sri Shobhanachala Swamy Temple

Agiripalli Sri Shobhanachala Swamy Temple is sacred to all Sri
Vaishnavas. The story, as we were told by our elders, goes like this.

Sri Mahavishnu and Sri Mahadeva were visiting the earth. It was
evening time, when they were near this place. They were looking for a
place to stay over for the night. They saw this place among the
mountains and thick green forest. They were impressed with the scenic
beauty and the tranquility of the place. They decided to spend the
night in the scenic and peaceful environment. Sri Mahavishnu wanted
to perform evening sandhya vandanam and requested Sri Mahadeva to
find a suitable place for their stay. Sri Mahadeva, after searching
for a while, found a nice place on the top of the mountain and
settled down there, forgetting to inform Sri Maha Vishnu. Sri Maha
Vishnu waited for some time for Sri Maha Deva to return, but finding
that Sri Maha Deva did not come back, he went in search of him. When
he found that Sri Maha Deva settled down comfortably on the top of
the mountain, Sri Maha Vishnu felt some what angry and thumped the
head of Sri Maha Deva with his fist and cursed that no body will
visit him without having the Darshan of self (Sri Maha Visnu). Saying
this, Sri Maha Vishnu came down in two steps and settled down at the
foot of the Mountain.

Even now, one can notice the impression of the fingers on the top of
the sacred Siva Lingam and the two large stone slabs (representing
the imprint of the foot steps of the Lord).

Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is known in this place as Sri Shobhanachala
Swamy (Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy) with Mother Sri Rajya Lakshmi.
Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is considered here as Shobana or happy or shanta
Murty (after pacification by Bhakta Prahlada).

In the Zamindari days (about 50 years ago), the temple vibhavam is
the talk of every one in Krishna and Guntur Districts. Agiripalli
Ratha Saptami (celebrated in Chaitra Lunar Month??) used to be listed
as an important event in the Telugu Calendars of those times. On that
day Perumal with Sri Maha Lskshmi is taken round the mountain in a
chariot (Ratham) drawn by people. The Ratham is stored in a tall
building in front of the temple, which is a land mark. There is a
light (Akhandam) on the mountain that is visible even from the
outskirts of Vijayawada city. People believe that this Akhandam
(endless) lights through out the day and night and never
extinguishes. If that happens (God forbid), that is Pralayam or the
end of the world.

People used to tell us the reverence of the Nuzivid Zamindars towards
the Lord. It appears, as the story goes, that the Lord used to appear
in the dream of the Zamindars and demand that the Pooja and the
Bhogam should be performed immediately. The next day, the Zamindar
would visit the temple in Agiripalli and obey the orders of the Lord.
There used to be a Sanskrit Pathasala in Agiripalli village, which is
well known.

Agiripalli village is well laid out. The village is in a square
shape at the foot of the mountain, virtually at the foot of the feet
of the Lord. There are small hamlets attached to the village. There
are four streets, enveloping the square. At the four corners, there
are four Koluvu Mandapams. The One Great Mantapam known as Kotayi is
where the Lord comes down on important Utsavam days like in Dhanur
Masam, Chaitra Masam (Utsavas) and is in Koluvu (Durbar), with all
the alankaranams and Sevas. In our child hood days, it appeared to us
that every body used to participate in those festivities with
devotion. Among the Perumalla bhogams, apart from the traditional
bhogams which Shri Vaishnavas offer to the Lord, the Chitti Garelu
(miniature adas) are very famous. Even now, when we think of those
Chitti Garelu, we feel the presence of the Lord and the pleasant
taste of his Maha Prasadam.