Situated in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, the town of Mangalagiri lays between the two cities of Guntur and Vijayawada. It is located at the distance of 19km from Guntur and 12km from Vijayawada. The meaning of Mangalagiri is “auspicious hill” and it is considered as one of the oldest towns and pilgrimages in south India. The town is precisely located on Chennai-Kolkata National highway No. 5 and has an altitude of 30meters above sea level. The site is considered sacred and is home to Buddhist caves and Jain temples scattered all over Andhra Pradesh.
It is said that the Lord in the temple of Mangalagiri is worshipped since Satya Yuga which is the first of the four yugas according to Hindu mythology. There is another temple downhill where legends say Yudhishtira installed a deity for worship.
Mangalagiri was ruled by many ancient kingdoms and great kings since 225 B.C. The Satavahanas ruled it from 225B.C. , then the Pallavas. The Nizams of Hyderabad ruled it from the 1780s and later Circuit Committee of East India Company ruled Mangalagiri during 1794. The town was ravaged by Hyder Ali during 1780 but it could not be conquered. In 1816, the place was again looted by Pindaris.
Apart from hosting a number of sacred religious sanctums, the place also has a number of caves used by Buddhist monks as a resting place. These caves are some distance away from Mangalagiri and Vijayawada. Carved from solid rocks from hillside, the rock-cut structure was dedicated to Ananta Padmanabha Swamy and Narasimha Swamy. There is also a stunning 5 meter long figure of Lord Vishnu residing in the site.
Mangalagiri is a beautiful amalgamation of different religious paths intersecting their ways and thus forming a varied number of temples including three Narasimha Swamy temples and Jain temples which is equally fascinating to watch.
How to Reach
Mangalagiri is located on National Highway No.5 on the Guntur-Vijayawada road. Thus the town is easily accessible from both Vijayawada and Guntur city. Mangalagiri can be reached by road taking bus services from Vijayawada which is only 13 km south-east from Mangalagiri. It can also be reached from Guntur or Tenali by bus.
The South-Central railway gives access to the town through Guntur-Vijayawada section. Taxi services and rickshaws are also widely available to reach to the destination.
Mangalagiri is only 14 km away from Vijayawada airport that connects to major cities in India. The other airport near Mangalagiri is Rajahmundry airport which is 146 km away from the town. There is guest house and several lodging facilities available near Mangalagiri and also in Vijayawada for tourists to stay.
Winter is the most enjoyable period which is between October to February and it is therefore the best time of the year to pay a visit to this holy shrine of south.
With its numerous legends girdling the town of Mangalagiri and its natural vicinity, the Buddhist site and the adjoined temple is sure to attract many pilgrims and travelers alike.