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Interesting History of Kanipakam Varasiddhi Vinayaka Swamy Temple in Andhra Pradesh

2020 pandemic has adversely affected tourism. I sincerely pray Lord Ganesha that our nation comes out of this crisis situation, soon. And hope the situation becomes the same as it was before the pandemic.

In this post, I would like to bring back my travel memory to Kanipakam Vara Siddhi Vinayaka Swamy temple and would like to take the readers into a virtual tourism where they can enjoy the place.

During my visit to Tirumala in Jan 2007 along with a group of friend for performing Srivari Seva, I got the opportunity of visiting Kanipakam temple along with a group. We had booked a van for all the trips during our week days stay at Tirumala. We were fully immersed in Srivari Seva for almost a week during the Hindu month of Dhanur masam. So, there was shortage of time for sight-seeing. However, we could make time to visit Kanipakam temple and Ardhagiri Veeranjaneya Swamy temple.

Our trip started from Visakhapatnam and it's around 12 hours train journey. We reached Tirupati the next day early morning and refreshed in a local TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) Guest House. One of the senior member of the group took the entire responsibility and booked a 13-seater van to ride Tirumala (uphills).

On reaching uphills, the senior member completed all the formalities of Srivari Seva for group including accommodation which was an ordinary 2 bedroom flat without any furniture except for two big mattresses that was sufficient for the 13 members of the group. In the mornings during our week-day stay for Srivari Seva we were completely dedicated ourselves to the seva. In the afternoon, though, we didn't have much time to visit the nearby tourist places, yet we planned to visit Kanipakam temple and Ardhagiri Veeranjaneya Swamy temple on one fine day.

After we decided to visit these two important temples, the senior group member gathered some information about the temples. As per our plan, we reached the temple by 4.00 p.m for nijaroopa darshanam. The senior group leader proactively took up the responsibility, got the tickets and we all were happily seated in front of the main idol of Lord Ganesha and were blessed to have a wonderful nijaroopa darshan of Lord Ganesha.

Now let's know about Kanipakam and the history / sthala puranam of the temple.

Where is Kanipakam?

Kanipakam is small town in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh. It is basically a temple town located in the Chittoor district. In the ancient times the village was known as 'Viharapuri'. Later as the temple started gaining popularity, the name of the village changed to 'Kanipakam'.

The words 'Kani' and 'pakam' are Tamil derived words. 'Kani' means one and a quarter land and 'pakam' means irrigation i.e. flow of water into the field. The place gained importance and popularity in the recent times due to the Varasiddhi Vinayaka Swamy vari temple.

About Kanipakam Temple

The main deity of the Vinayaka (Ganesha) temple is Sri Vara Siddhi Vinayaka Swamy. The idol is believed to be Swayambhu i.e. self-appeared. The temple is more than 1000 years old and was built in the early 11th century C.E (Common Era) by Kulothunga Chola-I, a king of the Chola dynasty. Later on it was developed by the Vijayanagara Emperors in the early 14th century. The temple is located on the banks of River Bahuda.
Credit: Google Images
The main stone idol of Ganesha was found in a pool of water in a shallow well. The stone idol of the deity is retained in the same surroundings in a pool of water in a small well which is presently closed. The temple priests show and tell the devotees that "this is the well" and "here is the water". Saying so they will take the water in their hands to show the devotees.

History of the temple - The story of three physically challenged brothers

The history of the temple is quite interesting and is worth knowing / reading. According to sthala purana there were three physically challenged (deaf, dumb and blind) brothers - who had a small piece of cultivating land which was the only source of their income.

The three brothers used to work together. Two of them used to draw water from a nearby well to water the field. Once the well dried up and there was very little water left in the well which was not sufficient to irrigate their land. One of the brothers started digging the dried up well with the hope of getting underground water.

As he started digging, the rod with which he was digging hit a stone like object and he was shocked to see blood oozing out of it instead of water. Within no time whatever little water was there in the well turned red. As the astonished brothers touched the well water in which the blood was mixed, they got rid of their physically disabilities and had divine blessing.

Soon the news spread in the village like a wild fire and the villagers rushed to the spot. The villagers discovered the stone idol of Lord Ganesha in the well and tried to shift it to a nearby temple. But they could not move the idol as it was self-emerged. They were equally surprised to see the idol growing bigger in size.

The villagers felt the divine blessings and started offering prayers and breaking coconuts in front of the idol. Soon a temple constructed at the site and till to-date the idol lies in the same place where it was evolved.

There is also an interesting story about the Bahuda river that flows near the temple. Long ago, two brothers named Sankhudu and Likhitudu went on a pilgrimage to Kanipakam temple. After long hours of journey, the younger brother Likhitudu was too exhausted and wanted to have some food. He was tempted on seeing the ripe mangoes in a mangrove. The elder brother warned him not to pluck the fruit without the permission from the owner of the garden. The younger brother ignored his brothers words and plucked one fruit to fill his hunger.

The responsible Sankhudu reported the matter to the King of the area who immediately punished him by chopping off Likhitudu's arms. The two brothers felt sad for the incident. However, they went to the nearby river to take a holy dip before having the darshan of Lord Ganesha. To their surprise, Likhitudu got back his arms as soon as he took a dip in the sacred waters. From then onwards the river got the name of Bahuda ('Baahu' means arms) which means the 'Giver of Arms'.

Kanipakam is easily reachable from Tirumala-Tirupati. The temple remains open from 4.00 a.m to 9.30 p.m every day (subject to changes). The temple is heavily crowded with pilgrims during annual Brahmotsavams, which starts from the day of Ganesha Chaturthi.

After darshan we all did pradakshina 11 times, spent some time in the temple premises and had prasadam.

From here we made our way to one of the lesser known Hanuman temples located in a serene place on a hillock known as Ardhagiri also known as Arakonda. We had spent some time relaxing at this serene location, recharged ourselves and got back to our accommodation at Tirumala.

Other temples to visit around Kanipakam

  • The world famous Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy Temple
  • The famous Shiva temple at Sri Kaalahasti
  • Ardhagiri Hanuman temple
  • Tirupati Attractions.


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