On the outskirts of Hyderabad lie many small gems to be explored. Yadgirigutta is one of them and I visited it almost towards the end of my stay in Hyderabad along with Kolanpak and Bhongir.
Yagirigutta is a stone hill standing alone in the midst of a valley and is best known for the temple on its top – Shri Lakshmi Narsimha Swamy temple. Like every temple, this temple also has its legends and myths that are as amusing to listen. Literature tells me that this temple finds mention in the Puranas indicating its antiquity. The name comes from an ancient sage called Yadrishi who did penance here and pleased with whom the Vishnu appeared before him in the form of Jwala or fire. What is special about this temple is that it is dedicated to the Narsimha or the half man – half lion avatar of Lord Vishnu. There are not many temples dedicated to this avatar of his and the ones that are there are all found in the vicinity of this one. The motif of Narasimha can be seen all over – in form of carvings, paintings and curios.
As you climb the hill, the scene is like any other pilgrim place, with lines of shops, rows of Dharamshalas and lots of devotees moving around with loud music playing in the background. Colorful Gopurams indicate the general direction of the temple and the queues remind of the power of priests in these temples. I expected the temple to have a giant idol of the presiding deity, but it turned out to be a stone inside a natural cave on top of which the temple like structure has been built. There is a fire that is said to be ON all the time, without any apparent fuel. There is an idol, but that is an utsav murti or the idol used for the festivals to symbolically take the God out of the temple for a tour.
All around the temple there are many depictions of Narsimha avatar – in form of small idols, in form of various paintings, on the door designs, on the entrance torans and even in the nearby Surendrapuri Mythology Museum. Paintings depict the various stories and legends associated with Narsimha avatar of Vishnu. It is like the dominant figure overlooking you and everything happening around the hill.
Yadgirigutta is about 60 kms from Hyderabad and is well connected by road. Even if you are not the religious types go there for the landscape that you see from top of the hill.