||Ahobila Nrisimha - Sitting posture in Chakrasana facing East (Main temple)
||Jwala Nrisimha, Malola Nrisimha,
Kroda Nrisimha, Karanja Nrisimha, Bhargava Nrisimha, Yaogananda Nrisimha,
Kshatravata Nrisimha, Pavana Nrisimha
||Pavanasini, Bhargava, Indra, Nrisimha,Gaja Theerthams
||Prahalada, Adivan Satakopan
Ahobilam is located in Karnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the hills
of the eastern ghats, about 400 KM northwest of Chennai.
The temple consists of nine shrines to Lord Nrisimha located around a
5 KM circle. In addition to the nine shrines, there is a temple for
in the foothills of the mountain. Due to security reasons and the difficulty in
performing daily worship, many of the utsava vigrahas of the nine shrines are kept
in this temple.
|Lower Ahobilam Temple|
Garuda wished for a vision of Lord Nrisimha in the form of the
Avathara. To fulfill his wish, the Lord settled in the hills around
Ahobilam in the midst of dense forests in nine different forms.
For this reason this hill came to be known as Garudadri, Garudachalam,
Ahobilam is the place where the Lord killed Hiranyakasipu and saved
Prahalada. Mahalakshmi took avathar as Senjulakshmi among the Senju,
tribal hunters of the hills, and married the Lord.
Sri Ahobila Muth, one of the most important Sri Vaishnava
religious institutions in India, was established by
Sri Athivan Satakopan at the instructions of Lord Lakshmi Nrisimha of Ahobilam.
In fact, the utsava moorthy of the Malola Nrisimha temple, one of the nine
shrines of Ahobilam, is the presiding deity of Sri Ahobila Mutham.
Sri Malolan accompanies Srimad Azhagiya Singar,
the spiritual and titular head of Sri Ahobila Mutham, on his travels.
Thirumangai Azhvaar has sung ten verses about this temple in Periya Thirumozhi.
The Himalayas rise high to the Everest in the north
while the far south of India shows the deep sea - rather
communion of the three oceans. The western region
and the eastern region of the Peninsular India, on the
other hand, while tapering towards Kanyakumari,
exhibit a wide range of mountains known
as Western Ghats present wholesome sceneries and
adventurous travel both by rail and road, the Eastern
Ghats display not only picturesque view but
demonstrate divinity as well. The Eastern Ghats are
likened to the great serpent Adhisesha basking in the
sun with its head (or hood) at Thirumala, its middle at
Ahobilam and its tail- end portion at Srisailam - all the
three with famous temples on them.
The subject we have before us is Ahobilam. Of course,
Thirupathi and Srisailam are also frequented pilgrimage
centres. Ahobilam because of this special issue. Not
only Mahabharatha; but also ancient puranas like
Koorma Purana, Padma Purana and Vishnu Purana
mention about Ahobilam and its presiding deity
Narasimha. In fact, Brahmanda Purana says that this
place was once the palace of Hiranyakasipu who was
slain by Sriman Narayana manifesting as Narasimha
from a pillar there for the sake of his staunch devotee
Prahlada. Vagaries of time brought about the
destruction of the then existing structures yielding place
to nature's creation of the mountain range that
preserved the site of incarnation as "Svayam Vyakta
Kshetram" of Lord Narasimha.
According to Stala Purana, there are two popular
legends for the derivation of the word 'Ahobilam'. It
is stated that the Devas (Gods), while witnessing the
terrific aspect (Ugra Kala), the lord took on in order to
tear to pieces Hiranyakasipu sung in His praise as
'Ahobala' (Lo: the strength). Hence this place has
come to be known as Ahobilam. In support of this,
there is a prapatthi sloka about-Ahobilam that reads:-
"Aho Veeryam Aho Souryarn Aho Bahuparakramah
Naarasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Aho Balam.
The other version is that because of the great cave, the
Ahobila, where Garuda worshipped, did penance and
realised the lord, the place itself has come to be called
Ahobilam. The Ahobilam 'Kaifiyat' gives support to
this legend. (The Ahobilam Kaifiyat forming part of
Mackenzie collections gives very valuable information
regarding the Ahobilam temples. Kaifiyats - the digests
from 'Kaviles' or village registers containing
information on the political, social, religious and other
conditions of the villages in Deccan were prepared by
Pandits and Mussadis working under Col. Mackenzie.)
The Ahobilam Kaifiyat is in Telugu and available in
the State Archives at Hyderabad (vide "Ahobila
Narasimhaswamy temple" - Monograph by P. Sitapati,
Commissioner of Archives).
As per this record, "On one of the mountains in the
Nallamalai hills range, eight amadas from Srisaila
Kshetra, Garuda commenced silent penance to obtain a
vision of Lord Narasimha who destroyed
Hiranyakasipu. The Lord in his grace, after long years
of the tapas of Garuda, manifested Himself in the cave
of a mountain".
"Ten 'Paruvus' to the north-east of the mountain, where
Garuda was doing penance, a vision of His
manifestation was then granted to Garuda, who after
obtaining a sign of the location of the mountain-cave,
gladly traveled thither and saw the embodiment of the
Sathsvaroopa,' Mahapurusha, Lord Jwalanarasimha -
not easily accessible to common people. Garuda then
worshipped the Lord and praised him that 'Ahobilam is
Mahabalam' (Ahobilam is a great sustainer with
strength). The Lord's Divya Mangala Vigraha was
worshipped by him with several sthotras- Garuda then
considered himself as blessed after a vision of the Lord.
This divine place thereafter obtained the deserving
name of Ahobilam".
"The mountain on which Garuda performed tapas
became famous as Garudachala. In the days of yore
when truth and dharma prevailed, great heat was
observable near the mountain- cave of Ahobila;
according to legend when green grass was put in the
cave, it would catch fire and smoke would be emitted.
Several great Rishis lived there for a time; after
sometime with the knowledge that great places would
become common Janapadas in the Kali age, they left
for northern lands, covering up the Narasimha cave
with boulders. Traditionally therefore this place is
being called the Narasimha Kshetra. There are thus
nine Narasimha places, Nava-Narasimhas; Rishi-
installed and worshipping areas:
Jwala Ahobila Malola Kroda Karanja Bhargava
Yogananda Kshatravata Pavana Nava Moorthayaha.
The Nine Narasimhasthalas are :- 1. Jwala Narasimha
2. Ahobila Narasimha 3. Malola Narasimha 4. Kroda
Narasimha 5. Karanja Narasimha 6. Bhargava
Narasimha 7. Yogananda Narasimha 8. Kshatravata
Narasimha and 9. Pavana or holy Narasimha.
Before visiting these nine shrines, let us see how we
approach the place. Situated in the Nallamalai Hills,
Ahobilam is about 24 Kms. from Allagadda Taluk
Headquarters, 112 Kms. from Cudappah and 65 Kms.
from Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh and can be reached
by bus from Hyderabad and also by rail via Kurnool
and then by bus from there. Long long ago, the Tamil
mystic bard, Thirumangai Azhwar sang that Singavel
Kunram (Ahobilam) was accessible to none but Gods.
Due to the efforts of the current 45th Srimad Azhagiyasingar, the access routes to several of the
shrines have been greatly simplified such that people of different age groups are now able to visit the places easily.
The whole complex is in two parts - one called Eguvu
Ahobilam (Upper Ahobilam) with Nava Narasimha
shrines and the other called Diguvu Ahobilam (Lower
Ahobilam) with a single shrine for Lakshmee
Narasimha connected by a road, stretching a distance of
about 12.8 Kms. from Lower Ahobilam to Upper
The Sthalapurana of Ahobilam in Sanskrit gives an
account of nine forms of Narasimha, worshipped here.
They are: -
1. BHARGAVA NARASIMHA SWAMY
The Bhargava Narasimha Swamy is situated at a
distance of two kilometres from the Lower Ahobilam,
on a hill, near the sacred pond, known as 'Bhargava
Theertham', where Bhargava Rama performed his
penance. Hence the Lord of the temple is known as
Bhargava Narasimha Swamy.
2. YOGANANDA NARASIMHA SWAMY
This temple is to the south-east of Lower Ahobilam at
a distance of 2 kilometres. The popular legend is that
after killing Hiranyakasipu, Lord Narasimha taught
Prahlada several yogic postures. Therefore, the Lord in
this aspect is called Yogananda Narasimha.
3. CHATRAVATA NARASIMHA SWAMY
About three kilometres from lower Ahobilam, the
image of the deity is installed under a peepal tree,
surrounded by thorny bushes. Hence, the Lord is called
as Chatravata Narasimha Swamy.
4. AHOBILA NARASIMHA SWAMY
The temple, situated on the Upper Ahobilam, at a
distance of eight kilometres from the Lower Ahobilam,
is the main temple and the earliest of all the nine
temples there. The Lord here appears in his fierce
aspect, called Ugra Narasimha, who is the presiding
deity of the temple and is known as Ahobila Nrisimha
Swamy. It is firmly believed the Lord Narasimha was
'Svayambhu' (self-manifest) here.
5. KRODAKARA (VARAHA) NARASIMHA SWAMY
The temple of this Lord is one kilometre away from the
main temple of Ahobila Nrisimha Swamy on the Upper
Ahobilam. The image of the deity has the face of a
boar (varaha or kroda) and the Lord is seen along with
his Consort, Lakshmi. Hence the Lord of the temple is
known as Krodakara (Varaha) Narasimha Swamy here.
6. KARANJA NARASIMHA SWAMY
This shrine is situated at a distance of one kilometre
from the Upper Ahobilam and one furlong from the
road leading to Lower Ahobilam. The image of the
deity is installed under a tree, called 'Karanja
Vruksham'. Hence this Lord is called Karanja
7. MALOLA NARASIMHA SWAMY
Nearly two kilometres from the main temple of Upper
Ahobilam, is the famous shrine of Malola Narasimha
Swamy. The deity here appears in 'soumya' (graceful)
form. As Lord Narasimha is seen with his consort,
Lakshmi, He is known as Malola Narasimha Swamy.
The word 'Malola' means beloved to Lakshmi
(Ma=Lakshmi, Lola= beloved). It is said that the
'utsavamoorthi' of the Lord appeared to Srimath
Adivan Satakopa Jeeyar, the first Jeeyar of Ahobila
Mutt. Right from the founder, i.e., the first Jeeyar of
Ahobila Mutt down to the 44th pontiff, Srivan Satakopa
Sri Vedanta Desika Yatheendra Mahadesika, the present
jeeyar, the utsavamoorthi of Malola Narasirnha Swamy
is worshipped and it is taken by them whenever they
are on religious tours, visiting the villages every year.
Recently, the 45th Jeeyar Srivan Satakopa Sri Narayana
Yatheendra Mahadesikan has taken over the worship.
8. JWALA NARASIMHA SWAMY
The temple of Jwala Nrisimha Swamy, lies higher up
the above temple, on a hill called, 'Achalachaya Meru'.
This is about four kilometres from the Upper Ahobilam
temple. This place is said to be the actual spot, where
the fierce anger of the Lord reached its culmination
when he tore Hiranyakasipu.
9. PAVANA NARASIMHA SWAMY
Nearby the above temple, is the shrine of Pavana
Narasimha, on the banks of the river, Pavana and it is
about six kilometres from the Upper Ahobilam temple.
Hence the Lord of the shrine is known as Pavana
In addition to the shrines mentioned above, there is a
famous shrine dedicated to God Narasimha Swamy in
the Lower Ahobilam, which is popularly known as
Prahlada Varada Sannidhi. The other objects of this
place are 'Ugra Sthambham' and 'Prahlada Mettu'.
(a) UGRA STHAMBHAM
At a distance of eight kilometres from the Upper
Ahobilam temple, we can see a cleft of the mountain
dividing it into two visible parts. It is a long-held view
that from the cleft, the Lord appeared in the form of
Narasimha and this cleft is known as 'Ugra
(b) PRAHALADA METTU
The small shrine, situated in a cave on the hill, is in
between Ugra Sthambham and the Upper Ahobilam. It
is dedicated to Prahlada Narashimha Swamy. The
image of the Prahlada is installed in a small cave.
There are a number of holy 'theerthas' (water ponds)
round this place. Of these, Rakthakundam is the most
important. It is stated that Lord Narasirnha after killing
the demon Hiranyakasipu, washed his hands in this
'theertham' and hence the water is still reddish in
appearance. (History of the cult of Narasimha in
Andhra Pradesh by Dr. M. Narasimhacharya).
The temple surrounded by three prakaras in the Lower
Ahobilam is dedicated to Prahlada Varada i.e., the Lord
whose grace bestows on Prahlada. With Vijayanagar
style noticeable in the structure, there are a number of
mandapas outside the temple. A shrine dedicated to Sri
Venkateswara exists to the south west of this
Narasimha temple and lends view to the episode that
Lord Venkateswara obtained the blessings of Narasimha
just before his marriage with Padmavathi. The Mukha
Mandapa there, is now used as the Kalyana Mandapa of
Narasimha Swamy. With Lakshmeenarasimha as the
presiding Deity, the main temple consists of a sanctum,
Mukhamandapam and Rangamandapam with numerous
pillars intricately carved and carrying rich sculptures.
There are also three smaller shrines for Lakshmi, Andal
and Azhwars. In the sanctum are also kept the Utsava
idols of Prahlada Varada, Pavana Narasimha and the
processional idols of Jwala Narasimha endowed with
ten hands and with Sreedevi and Bhoodevi on His
either side. A small idol of the first Jeeyar, Sri Adivan
Satakopa Swami is also kept before them.
What is apparent and observable is Lord Narasimha's
posture in three places including the one in a polar of a
divine ascetic presenting ascetic order to the first Jeeyar
of Ahobila Mutt. Both in the Upper and Lower
Ahobilam, it is a common sight on the pillars of Lord
Narasimha wooing His consort Chenchulakshmi. The
Lord chasing Hiranyakasipu in one pillar and bursting
forth from another pillar to tear him are very realistic.
Thanks to the 44th Jeeyar's efforts as also that of the
Endowments Department of A.P. Government, the
complex has been renovated, though a lot is desired to
be done. It would not be out of place to mention that
good resting places, free or paid boarding arrangements
(as is done in Thirupathi), provision of enough drinking
water and Devasthanam canteens would go a long way
to attract more number of pilgrims. The annual
uthsavam (Brahmothsava) performed in February every
year is a great attraction that lure both the common folk
and the religious Pandits to participate in them.
Though under the care of the Ahobila Mutt whose
Jeeyars are hereditary trustees, co-operation from the
public and the government would help improve
There is a tall Jayasthambham erected in the spacious
ground outside the temple walls to mark the victory of
Krishnadeva Raya. The Kakatheeya Kings especially
Prathapa Rudra had also contributed towards additional
structures and maintenance of this Ahobilam complex.
Sri Thirumangai Azhwar describes the place as very hard to visit (sendru kandarkku ariya kovil, kavvu naayum kazhugum, deivamallal sella vonna),
but due to the efforts of the 45th Azhagiyasingar, this place has transformed into "sendru kaandarku eliya (easy) kovil. Many devotees visit
ahobilam frequently and the place is well connected with a guest house and access to trains from Chennai, Bangalore and Bombay. In addition, several
tourist operators also frequently arrange religious trips to Ahobilam from major cities.
Manager, Malola Guest House|
Ahobilam 518 545, Kurnool District, A.P
Phone: 08519 – 252 025/0252 045
094905 15284/094407 9273
- How do I get to Ahobilam from Chennai?
- How do I get to Ahobilam from Hyderabad?
- How do I get to Ahobilam from Bangalore?
- What sort of accommodation is available at Ahobilam?
- What about food? Are there any restaurants in Ahobilam?
- Will I be able to see all the temples in Ahobilam in one day?
- Do I need to hire a guide? What will be the cost?
- Is there any special day for visiting Ahobilam?
Traveling to Ahobilam from Chennai
Ahobilam is about 400 KM west and slightly north of Chennai.
To get to Ahobila by road you will have to pass through
Renigunta, Kadappa, and Allagadda. Since Thirumalai Tiruppati
is on the way one might cover both Thiruppati and Ahobilam in
one trip. However, the drive can be quite hectic and tiresome.
The recommended mode of travel is by Train to Kadappa and
by road from there. Each mode of transportation is further
By Train from Chennai to Ahobilam
Bombay mail leaves Chennai at about 9:55 p.m. and reaches Kadappa
at about 3:15 a.m. You can take Bombay mail going to Chennai
for the return journey. Chennai bound Bombay mail arrives
Kadappa at 10:25 p.m. and leaves at 10:30. It reaches Chennai
at about 5:40 a.m. Reservations may be made for round trip from Chennai
to Kadappa and back. Quota for Kadappa is available in Bombay mail.
From Kadappa, Ahobilam is about 100 KM. If you can afford it you
can hire a taxi for the day to go to Ahobilam and return. The
approximate cost would be Rs. 1000 for the round trip. If you
are a group you can hire a van for a day. In either of these two
cases, you will be able to finish all the Dharshan and return to
Kadappa at night in time to catch Bombay mail back to Chennai.
If you are in a position to hire a taxi, you can take a bus to Ahobilam.
There may be direct bus to Ahobilam, but frequency may be limited.
In stead, take a bus to Allagadda, and then from Allagadda you can
take another bus to Ahobilam. If you have to travel bus you may
have difficulty covering all the temples in one day.
By bus from Chennai to Ahobilam
There is an overnight bus from Madras to Nandiyal leaving at about
8:00 p.m. Nandiyal is a big town past Allagadda. Buy your ticket
to Allagadda. The bus will reach Allagadda at about 6 a.m. Get down
at Allagadda. From Allagadda, Ahobilam is about 30 KM. Town busses
ply between Allagadda and Ahobilam every 45 minutes. The last bus
leaves Ahobilam to Allagadda at 9:45 p.m. You may also
hire a taxi from Allagadda. The same bus returns to Chennai.
It leaves Allagadda at about 7:00 a.m. Check locally for exact time.
By car from Chennai to Ahobilam
The drive from Chennai is through Renigunta, Kadappa, and Allagadda.
It will take about 9 to 10 hours of hard driving. Avoid night driving
if you can.
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Traveling to Ahobilam from Hyderabad
The distance between Hyderabad and Ahobilam is about 380 KM.
By train, take Thungabadra Express from Hyderabad (Kacheguda)
to Kurnool. This train leaves Hyderabad (Kacheguda) at 7:00 p.m.
and reaches Kurnool 10:30 p.m. From Karnool, Ahobilam is about 150 KM.
You may hire a taxi or take a bus for this part of the journey.
The approximate cost would be Rs. 1400 for the round trip.
The return train arrives Kurnool at 1:15 a.m. and reaches Hyderabad
at 5:20 a.m.
You may also take a bus from Hyderabad to Allagadda. From Allagadda,
Ahobilam is about 30 KM. Town busses ply between Allagadda and Ahobilam
every 45 minutes. The last bus leaves Ahobilam to Allagadda at 9:45 p.m.
You may also hire a taxi from Allagadda.
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Traveling to Ahobilam from Bangalore
From Bangalore, Ahobilam is about 350 K.m. The train timing is not very
convenient from Bangalore. Prasant Express leaves Bangalore at 2:00 p.m.
and reaches Nandiyal at about 11:50 p.m. From Nandiyal, Ahobilam is about
60 KM via Allagadda. The return train to Bangalore leaves Nandiyal at about
11:10 p.m. and reaches Bangalore at 10 a.m.
By road, the travel is via Madanapalli, Cuddapah, and Allagadda. The drive
is about 7:30 hours.
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What sort of accommodation is available at Ahobilam?
Sri Ahobila Mutt maintains a Guest House called Malola Guest House.
There are a total of 14 rooms, 4 single rooms, 6 double rooms,
and 4 triple rooms. Of these, two double rooms and two triple
rooms are air conditioned. In addition, there are 10 dormitory type rooms.
At this point we are unable to take online reservations.
For reservations please call Badri Narayanan
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What about food? Are there any restaurants in Ahobilam?
A privately run canteen is located adjacent to Malola Guest House. Vegetarian food
is sold at this canteen.
In addition, Sri Ahobila Matam has established a trust called Annamacharya
Nitya Annadanam Trust. The goal of this trust is to provide free food to
devotees of Sri Lakshmi Nrisimha. Free prasadam is offered three
time a day. Dadiyannam (Curd rice) is offered morning and evening. At
noon time Tadiyaradhanam (full course meals) is offered.
The monthly expense for this exceeds Rs. 20,000. Contributions to the
trust is welcome. Please contact the Malola Guest House manager at 8519-232045
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Will I be able to see all the temples in Ahobilam in one day?
Yes you can, if you are physically strong and focused on covering all the temples.
If you do not want to rush you need a day and a half; you still need to
be physically fit. There are 12 shrines in total. There are the celebrated
nine shrines called Nava Nrisimha. They are Jwala, Ahobila, Malola, Kroda,
Karanja, Bharaghava, Yogananda, Chatravata, and Paavana. Then, we have
Ugra Stambam, which is a column of rock. This rock itself is considered
Lord Nrisimha. The eleventh one is called Prahlada Padi. These eleven
are in the hills in one sense or another. The twelth one is Prahlada
Varadan temple located at Lower Ahobilam near the Malola Guest House.
Normally, devotees want to cover the nine Nrisimhas and Prahlada Varadan.
Only the brave (or foolhardy) attempt Ugra Stambam. Of the nine,
Jwala, and Pavana are most difficult. The starting point for both is
Ahobila Nrisimha temple at Upper Ahobilam, which can be reached
by road, and a climb of about 50 steps.
From Ahoilba temple, going to Jwala involves climbing
through rocks on a river bed and up a narrow path way for about an hour.
Kroda is right on the way to Jwala. Malola is about 100 steps to a side
from Kroda. So, in about three hours one can climb to Jwala and be back,
covering Kroda and Malola on the way up or down.
The starting point for Pavana is also Ahobila Nrisimha temple, but the route
is on the opposite side of Jwala Temple. First, one has to climb some 250
very steep steps, and then walk for about 4 KM on fairly plain ground. The
round trip may take about three hours. Recently, a path has been made for
Jeeps to go to Pavana. It is a very rough 2 hour drive from Lower Ahobilam.
With the above two trips you would have covered 5 temples, Jwala, Ahobilam, Malola,
Kroda, and Pavana. The remaining temples are very easy. Karanja is on the
way to Upper Ahobilam from Lower Ahobilam, just on the road side. Yogananda
and Chatravata are on plain ground about a couple of KM from Lower Ahobilam.
You can drive on paved road for these two temples.
Finally Bhargava. This temple is also on plain ground about 2 KM from Lower
Ahobilam. But there is no paved road. You have to hire a Jeep or Autorickshaw.
If you are interested in Ugra Stambam, it is another hour's climb from Jwala.
Prahlada Padi may also be visited on the way back from Ugra Stambam. Or, Prahladha
Padi may be visited from Malola Temple also.
For a fee you can hire a guide to take you around all the temples. If you
wish to visit Ugra Stambam, a guide is highly recommended.
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Do I need to hire a guide? What will be cost?
Jwala and Ugra Sthambam are the two sannidees for which you need to
hire a guide. All other sannidees are relatively easily accessible.
Even between Jwala and Ugra Sthambam, the way to Jwala is marked. You
have to look for it carefully.
To hire a guide contact the manager of the Guest house. Contact details
are given below. The cost to hire a guide will vary. The estimate is about Rs. 200.
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Is there any special day for visiting Ahobilam?
Every month on Swathi Nakshatram (star) Thirumanjanam (Abhishekam) is performed for all the
nine Nrisimhas (Nava Nrisimhas) of Ahobilam. A full contingent of
devotees travel from Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore for this occasion.
This is a special day to visit Ahobilam. You may also sponsor the Thirumanjanam.
The cost is Rs. 5,000 for all nine temples. The amount is deposited in a trust
called Swati Trust and used for the Thirumanjanam expenses. If you wish
to sponsor a Thirumanjanam please contact the manager of Malola Guest House
at 8519-232045. If you plan to attend Swati Thirumanjanam please make
advance reservation for a room to stay at Ahobilam.
Further, Brahmothsavam is celebrated in Ahobilam in the month of Masi, sometime
between mid February to mid March. During this time, entire Ahobilam takes on
a festive appearance. The celebrations last 10 days. Lord Prahlada Varadhan
enjoys riding in various Vahanas during this time. This is a great time
to visit Ahobilam to have grand Dharshan of Lord Nrisimha. Be prepared for heat
and big crowds.
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