Pushpagiri: A Hari-Hara Kshetram, Centuries-old History and a Unique Sreechakra

Pushpagiri, a small village in Cuddapah District of Andhra Pradesh, India, is one of the significant shrines in South India, with the history dating back to pre-vedic times. Pushpagiri (Pushpa=Flower and Giri=Hill), once called Kampalle, derived its name from an act by Lord Garuda, the vehicle-god of Lord Vishnu. To save his mother from his stepmother Kadhru, Garuda accepts his stepmothers’ wish of getting Amrutham/ holy nectar. Following this, Garuda wins a fight with King Indra (the heaven king) and wins the holy nectar.

Nandi, Chennakesava Temple, Pushpagiri, Andhra Pradesh

While Garuda was carrying that nectar, a drop of it was said to have fallen in a pond formed by the Pinakini River in Kampalle. With this, the waters in that pond gained ability to transform the old into young and give immortality to those taking a dip in it. Following this, the villagers started thronging into those waters. Having observed this, Lord Vishnu orders Garuda to cover that pond with a rock from a nearby mountain, to stop the people’s act. Garuda places the rock, but surprisingly, the rock starts floating like a flower. Then, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva drove the rock deep into the land with their foot, thus forming Pushpagiri (a flowery mound).

Pinakini River, Pushpagiri, Andhra Pradesh, India

The shrine located on the bank of Pinakini River houses a ancient Chennakesava Swamy Temple on the river bank, which also has idols of various other gods, and is rich in architectural value. Pinakini is named after Lord Shiva’s bow, Pinaka, which was said to have showed flow direction to the river, one out of three rivers formed as a result of Shiva’s cosmic dance, towards east.

The place is also called a Panchanadi Kshetram, as four rivers, Papagni, Kumudvati, Valkala and Mandali merge in River Penna/Pinakini, and called Panchanadis.

Chennakesava Swamy Temple, Pushpagiri, Andhra Pradesh

The shrine also houses Goddess Kamakshi and God Vaidyanatheswara as its main deities, and also has an unique Meru (Shrichakram) installed by Sage Shankaracharya. The shrine also houses a Hindu religious institution (Jagadguru Peetham) called Sri Pushpagiri Mahasamsthanam, established by Sage Vidyaranya, in the lineage of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Peethams, with Sri Vidhya Shankara Bharati Swamiji (49th Peethadhipathi) as its current Peethadhipati (the head). This is the only Shankara peetham for the Telugu-speaking regions.

On the whole, the shrine is famously called a Harihara Kshetram, hosuing both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

Every year, the Pushpagiri village grandly celebrates the Shankara Jayanthi, a festival day on which AdiShankaracharya is born, in the last week of April.



Author: Punyakshetram

Interested in covering pilgrimage-centric stories and interesting facts about various Hindu temples across the world.

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