Sri Trimukha Durgadevi Bhiravakona
Goddess Durga & Shiva
Bhairavakona is actually nestled in the thick forest of the Nallamala foot hills. Bhairavakona is about 150 kilometres from Ongole and is famous for many rock-cut temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and many other Hindu deities. Most of these temples are in ruins and date back to the 7th and 8th centuries. The architectural style of temples is similar to the temples that were constructed during the Pallava Dynasty. This Dynasty ruled Tamil Nadu and made it into prosperous region. Many of the temples have lingas as well as small images of Lord Shiva and other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Bhairavakona, a group of eight rock cut temples are located close to the borders of Nellore and Prakasam districts. The caves are situated amidst dense Nallamala forest nearer to Ambavaram - Kothapalli villages. From Onipenta village on the Mydukur - Porumamilla road (bus route), the cave is 12 km away. Other nearest towns include Kadapa (60km), Yerraguntla (50km), Mydukur (30 km) are nearest big towns.
There are eight rock cut cave temples having resemblance with Mamallapuram rock cut cave temples. There are eight cave temples excavated on the side of a granite cliff comprising carved architectural elements such as decorative pillars and finely sculpted panels. The Pallava architects started carving rock cut caves and the rock cut architecture of Mamallapuram commenced from late 7th century A.D. Bhairavakonda cave temples have resemblance with Mamamallapuram cave temples with certain Rashtrakuta-Chalukyan features.
Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here in the form of Kala Bhairava and hence the name Bhairavakona. Roughly the caves can be categorized into two divisions based on their rock cut architecture. The first group caves commencing from north have only shrine cells and completely bereft of any mandapam in front. The cave shrine appear with simple entrances guarded by sthanaka (standing) dvarapalas on either side. Each sanctum cell is provided with a Shiva Lingam. The Shiva Linga peeta sculpted from mother rock and the bull vehicle (Nandi) statue sculpted from the rock and set in front of each sanctum cell. The back wall of the sanctum in the central cave carved with bas relief image of Trimurti and this image reminds us the Mahesa image at Elephanta cave. The unique cave temples wherein Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Bhairava are worshiped together at one place. The central cave temple also has the idol of goddess Trimukha Durga Devi. A cave temple is also dedicated to goddess Annapurna and the shrine accessible through ladder platform. The northern most end of the rock bears two splendid images sculpted in conspicuous bas relief – a eight handed Hari Hra and ten-handed slim figure of dancing Siva facing the water falls,. The Trimurti rock cut caves (grihas) reminds us the Pallava caves at Mandagapattu and Mamallapuram To sum up the rock cut cave architecture can easily be assignable from 8th to 9th century AD.
The legend says that Lord Shiva and his consort goddess Parvati descended from their mount Kailash and were lured by its lush green vegetation, the cascading waterfall and the cave temples. They installed a Shiva Lingam resembling the one at Amarnath. The scholars assign date back to 7th - 8th century A.D.
Bhairavakona is surrounded by hills and cascading waterfalls. One of the cascades descends 200 meters and flows through Durga Devi Temple. Many people come to see the temple at nightfall when the moonlight falls on the water and reflects on the deity. This happens once year on Karthika Pournami.
Karthika Fullmoon day, found auspicious for Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, is celebrated in a large scale. Maha Shivaratri is another important festival attracts devotees in huge number.
From Nellore or Ongole city to Bhairavakona via Udayagiri Temple mukhadwaram to Bhairavakuna is situated in kottapalli village. From this village we can reach the Bhairavakuna with in 10 min, overall 5 kilometers from here.
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