Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Nellore

Nellore’s history goes back by more than 1500 years, the territory along the River Penna formed the northern most boundary of the Pallavas, Cholas and most of the ancient South Indian kingdoms. Vikramasimhapuri as the place was known in the 11th and 12th centuries was also the capital of the Nellore Chola kings. Summing up the entire history of the city and connecting the ancient world of Vikramasimhapuri with today’s fast developing, yet chaotic city of Nellore is the Talpagiri Ranganathasway Temple.

On New Year’s day, we paid a visit to the temple, we were scheduled to travel back to Hyderabad the next day and we wanted to make the best use of the time that was left of our year end vacation.

Nellore’s icon:Rananadhaswami-2

When you enter Nellore after crossing the Penna River, the first thing that catches your eye is the Gali Gopuram of the Talpagiri Ranganathaswamy Temple and every time a train pulls out of the Nellore station, the last thing that remains within your sight while leaving Nellore is the temple tower. The Ranganathaswamy temple’s close to 100 feet Gali Gopuram is the iconic structure of Nellore.Built on the banks of the Penna River, the temple dates back to the 7th-8th Centuries A.D when this region was under Pallavas, according to the temple’s records, it came into existence during the Pallava reign. The main shrine and further extensions were built during the Cholas rule in the 12th Century A.D and the grand Raja Gopuram was built in the 1800s.

The name Talpagiri comes from the legend which says Adi Sesha took the form of hill here when Lord Vishnu descended on earth and rested here, Talpa refers to couch of Snake Adi Sesha on which Lord Vishnu reclines.

East or West, Lord Ranga is the best !Rananadhaswami-3

The Raja Gopuram, does not directly lead you to the temple but you have a pass through a street of living quarters, similar to the Srirangam temple, only on a much scaled down level ! When we tried clicking pictures of the street leading to the temple, our camera came up with us.Obviously, we had messed up the settings but we kind of liked the idea of the light of God at the end of the darkness !

Rananadhaswami TempleOne of the interesting things about the Talpagiri Ranganathaswamy Temple is that the idol faces West towards the River Penna unlike most temples where the Deity faces the East. So when you enter the temple from the East/city side through the Raja Gopuram, you will first see the wall of the Garbha Griha.

There was a vague story back in our childhood that Lord Ranganatha was angered by the “Adharma” of the Kaliyuga and turned his face away from the city ! There were days when we believed the story and imagined the angry Deity turning away to face the West ! The directions do not matter because, as soon as you enter, you are taken over by the serenity of the temple.

Rananadhaswami TempleThe structure that stands today is a renovated version of the original temple. On most days the temple is not crowded and you have the spacious, quiet and peaceful environs all to yourself.

Relaxing by the Pinakini !  

Rananadhaswami TempleThe entrance to the Garbha Griha is through a small door on the South side of the temple.

The idol of Lord Ranganatha or Ranganayakulu as known locally or Pallikonda Perumal (The Reclining Lord Narayana) is inside the Garbha Griha. Another deviation from the usual Ranganathaswamy idols is that the Ranganayaka Swamy of Nellore reclines in an opposite direction, if you visit the other temples dedicated to Lord Ranga, you will know the difference. This again could be due to the vastu specifications of a West facing temple. The eyes of the idol are so bright and lifelike that you feel the Lord is going to stand up any moment and talk to you ! The good thing about this temple is that one can go right upto the threshold of the Garbhalaya and have a darshan as long as you want, except on important festival days when the temple is usually crowded.

There are shrines for other Deities outside the Sanctum, including Lord Ranganatha’s consort, Goddess Ranganayaki. There is also an Alwar Sannidhi for the 12 Alwars, a shrine for Lord Narasimha and Lord Venkateshwara.

What really adds to the spiritual bliss of the place is the River Penna or Pinakini, Rananadhaswami Templeas it was known in ancient times, flowing at the foot of the temple. You wouldn’t find water in the river anywhere else in its course near Nellore except here ! This spot is a great place to view the sunset.There goes a story that the main idol was actually found floating in the Penna and was installed on the banks of the river.

Rananadhaswami On the river side is the ancient Gopuram and probably the original entrance to the temple. Even today, there is a door leading to the Sanctum from this Gopuram but it is no longer in use.In days of yore, the idea must have been to reach the temple by boat and enter it from the West, that could be why the Deity faces West.

RananadhaswamiFrom where the idol is located, you can get a direct view of the river. Maybe the Lord is not angry at all, may be he is just enjoying the view of the river from inside, in a reclining position, the idol does look to be relaxing by the river ! Who wouldn’t enjoy watching a river quietly flowing by?The Rangathaswamy temple and the area around it called Ranganayakulapeta has an old world charm that reminds you of Srirangam, this temple finds a place in the list of prominent temples dedicated to Lord Ranganatha, we take pride in calling it the Srirangam of Andhra Pradesh !

After 7 days of breathing fresh air, binging on home food, traveling and basically having a whale of a time, we returned to Hyderabad, driving 450 kms to work directly from Nellore !

Legend of the Temple
As per the legend, Lord Vishnu wanted to visit Bhooloka along with His consort Goddess Sridevi. He said Adisesha to be the place as Lord’s residence to stay at Bhooloka. Obeying the order of the Lord, Adisesha took the form as a mountain in this place. Thus the place is called as Talpagiri Kshethra. It is believed that sage Kashyapa performed Poundarika Yaga on Ekadasi day here. Lord appeared and blessed him.

Related Posts

  • Vaishno Devi Temple,Katra Vaishno Devi Temple,Katra

    Vaishno Devi Temple is the most-sought after pilgrimage of the Hindus. Located at Trikoot Parvat, Mata Vaishno Mandir is the holiest shrine of India and it is famous all over the World. The temple is accessible by a journey of 13 kms from Katra. Katra is a small town that falls in Udhampur district of Jammu. From Jammu, Katra lies at a distance of 50 kms.

  • Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Vontimitta Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Vontimitta

    Vontimitta Sri Kodanda rama Swamy temple is a famous Hindu temple in Andhra Pradesh state is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is present in Vontimitta town of Rajampet taluk in YSR Kadapa District.

  • Khadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Kadiri Khadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Kadiri

    Kadiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple is located in the southeastern part of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, India. Lord Narasimha at Kadiri is swayambhu emerging from the roots of Khadri tree. He appears here as Ashta Bahu Narasimha (having eight hands) tearing Hiranyakasipu. We can see Prahlada standing beside him with folded hands.

  • Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, Medaram Sammakka Saralamma Jatara, Medaram

    Sammakka Saralamma Jatara or Medaram Jatara is a tribal festival of honouring the goddesses celebrated in the state of Telangana, India. The Jatara begins at Medaram in Tadvai Mandal in Warangal district.Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.

  • Ramalingeswara Temple, Warangal Ramalingeswara Temple, Warangal

    The Ramappa Temple, also known as Ramalingeswara temple is located in the Palampet village at a distance of about 77 km from Warangal. The temple is another example of Kakatiya Dynasty. This is one of the temples which was named after its chief architect. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the architecture of this temple is similar to the famous Ghanpur Group of Temples of Warangal itself. The temple is a master piece of Kakatiyan architecture and everyone must visit to get a glimpse in the life of Kakatiya people.

  • Lepakshi Temple, Lepakshi Lepakshi Temple, Lepakshi

    Lepakshi is a village in the Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) east of Hindupur and approximately 120 km (75 mi) north of Bangalore. Lepakshi is culturally and archaeologically significant as it is the location of shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra which were built during the Vijayanagara Kings' period (1336-1646).

  • Ram Mandir, Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Ayodhya

    Ayodhya is the place where Lord Sri Ram was born and ruled for many years (after killing Ravana). There was an existing temple built in this city, proofs of which have been found during ASI excavation. More than the physical temple and exact spot, the important point is the association of this city (town) with Lord Sri Rama, the most important incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

  • Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal

    Siddeshwara temple has a rich ancient history associated with it. The temple was built in 3rd century A.D. Even though built in a time period when life was totally different from today's world, people fascinate about the architecture of this temple a lot.

  • Sri Kakuleswara Swamy Temple, Srikakulam Sri Kakuleswara Swamy Temple, Srikakulam

    Srikakulam has a rich history and is the first capital of the Andhra Kingdom. The ancient Srikakuleswara Swamy temple is located on the banks of River Krishna and is considered to be the 57th of 108 Divya Desams, holiest of shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu, by Vasihnavaites. The temple has a rich cultural and historical legacy and is one of the oldest temples in the south. Great poets like Srinatha Kavi Sarvabhoumudu, Kasuala Purushottama and Narayanatheertha, the composer of Sri Krishna Leela Tharangini praised the temple in their works. The temple is located in the mandal of Ghantasala, which is a popular Buddhist center.

  • Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy Temple, Komaravelli Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy Temple, Komaravelli

    The Lord is believed to have manifested as Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy and made Komaravelli his abode in the eleventh century CE. The Lord married Golla Ketamma from the Yadava community and Medalamma from the Linga Balija community, which explains the association of those communities with the worship services of the Lord.

Latest Posts

  • Temples
  • Sacred Places
  • Articles
  • Pancha Sabhai Sthalams / Sthalangal
    Pancha Sabhai Sthalangal refers to the temples of Lord Nataraja, a form of Lord Shiva where he performed the Cosmic Dance. Panc..
  • Pancha Bhoota Stalas
    Pancha Bhoota Stalam or Pancha Bhoota Stala refers to the five Shiva temples, dedicated to Shiva, the most powerful Hindu god a..
  • 18 Shakti Peethas / Asta Dasa Shakti Peethas
    Astadasha Shakthi Peetas Lord Brahma performed a yagna to please Shakti and Shiva. Goddess Shakti emerged, separating from Shiv..
  • Navagaraha Sthala or Temple
    Navagraha Suriyan (Sun), Chandran (Moon), Chevvai (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Saturn), Rahu (..


  • Siddeshwara Swamy Temple, Warangal
  • 10 Unique things you should do in Kolhapur
  • Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Vaari Devasthanams, Bhadrachalam, Khammam, Telangana
  • Sri Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanam, Srisailam, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh
  • Maisigandi Maisamma Temple Kadthal,  Mahabubnagar, Telangana
  • Arulmigu Jambukeswarar Akhilandeswari Temple, Thiruvanaikaval, Trichy, Tamilnadu
  • Sri Lakshmi Tirupatamma Devasthanam, Penuganchiprolu, Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Subrahmanyeswara Swamy Vari Devasthanam, Mopidevi, Andhra Pradesh
  • Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devastanams, Vijayawada
  • Sree Bhadrakali Devasthanam, Warangal
  • Sri Lakshmi Ganapathy Temple, Biccavolu
  • Ashok Vatika
  • The Lords Own Country, Dwarka
  • Simhachalam Temple
  • Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple