Did you ever heard of a growing idol? Then you must know about Yaganti (originally Neganti) shrine in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The famous Yaganti cave and hill temple has with Umamaheswara as its main deity and also a maginificent Nandi idol, in front of ‘Garbhagruha’ as in all Lord Shiva temples usually. The interesting part of this temple is the ‘growing Nandi idol’.You heard it right. The Nandi idol in the temple has been growing gradually over the centuries. The idol, which was very small over the last century, has grown in size over a century, and has currently filled the space between the idol and the pillar beside it, the path of pradakshina (moving around holy idols in Hindu temple tradition).
According to the scientists, the rock of this idol has growing property, and so the idol has been growing 1′ inch in size for every 20 years. Currently, its of 5 ft high and 15 ft wide. According the Kalagnanam (future prediction) made by Potuluri Veerabrahma Swamy in the ancient times, the Yaganti Nandi will grow more in size and will come live to shout at its peak, which would be the end of Kaliyuga (the current Yuga).
The temple’s history dates back to around 15th century, during the period of Hari Hara Bukkaraya of Sangama Dyansty, Vijayanagara Empire. According to Sthalapuranam(history of a certain pilgrimage), Sage Agastya on his South India found a Lord Venkateshwara idol at Yagantiand wanted to instill the same here, however, couldn’t do so because of some defect in the idol. Then he prayed Lord Shiva, following which, he requested the Lord Shiva to be the main detiy of this temple, along with his wife Goddess Uma, as Umamaheshwara Swamy.
The name Yaganti (Ne’ganti), meaning Ne= Me and Ganti = Saw. The name was said to have derived when a devotee Chitteppa cried, “Ne Ganti Shiva, after finding the Lord Shiva in the form of a Tiger”, which means, “I saw Lord Shiva”.
The shrine is surrounded by hills and caves, and is of architectural significance.