Vizianagaram / Vijayanagaram / విజయ నగరం / विजयनगरम् is an ancient town and district in the northeast coast of Andhra Pradesh. The history of the district is naturally closely linked to the region around it. It is part of the Kalinga – Andhra region that was often included in the Ganga and Gajapati kingdoms of Kalinga. It was administered by the Chalukyas of Vengi, Cholas of Tanjavur, Gajapatis of Kalinga, Vijayanagara empire, the Golkonda sultans, Nizam of Hyderabad, French, the British and then finally independent India. The current district was formed in the 1979.
Vijayanagaram town is widely regarded as the music capital of the Telugu country. The music academy in Vijayanagaram produced Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, the most popular of Telugu singers in the modern era. And it still remains the shining star of the Telugu music world.
But perhaps the greatest and most tragic events of the history of the district is the Bobbili Yuddham. A battle over a Zamindari, between the Rajas of Vijayanagaram and those of Bobbili, both sides related by blood and marriage.
Temples of Vijayanagaram
The most significant historic temples of Vijayanagaram derive from the Bobbili battle. There are other more recent temples of very grand conception and construction.
Venugopala Swamy Mandiram at Bobbili
Venugopala Swamy mandiram at Bobbili was an ancient and timeless temple much revered in Bobbili for centuries. It was severely damaged during the battle of Bobbili. The battle carried away most of the royal family of Bobbili. Just a handful few had survived the battle. The fort of Bobbili was a wood fort with mud fortification and it was completely demolished with all the buildings and structures enclosed. Chinna Ranga Rao was the only surviving member of the Bobbili family. He rebuilt the temple few decades after the Bobbili battle. The mandapam in the temple was built in 1825 by Raja Krishna Dasa Ranga Rao. And the Gopuram a 50 foot tall structure was built in 1851.
Pyditalli Ammavari Devalayam
The history of this temple is shrouded in history. There are multiple versions of folk tales around this temple. One particular popular version maybe offered particularly because it relates to the same battle that defines modern Vijayanagaram. Pyditalli Ammavaru was sister of Vijayarama Raju, the main combatant of the Bobbili battle. He was killed by Tandra Paparayudu of Bobbili.
The sister of Vijayarama Raju died of shock. The lady later appeared in a dream to one soldier of her family’s army, Sripati Vada Appala Naidu, and informed him of a murti to be found in a tank near the town.
Pyditalli is much revered in Vijayanagaram. An annual festival called Srimanotsavam draws many lakhs of devotees to the temple.
The most spectacular temple complex in Vijayanagaram is Ramanarayanam. Inagurated in 2014, it is a most cherished spiritual center of the district and indeed the entire country. Built on a 15 acre plot, by a charitable trust funded and managed by the family of Sri. Narayanam Narasimha Murthy.
Based on the great epic of Valimiki Ramayana, this theme park is the first-of-its-kind in the country having been built entirely without taking / seeking donations.
It is uniquely built in the shape of a bow and arrow as a two-storey complex. With many trees dotting the landscape, one section showcases the sacred trees of Nakshatra vanam, Narayana vanam, Raasi vanam, Navagraha vanam, Vinayaka vanam, Saptarishi vanam, Panchavati vanam, Pancha bhoota vanam. These rare trees have been a part of Indian scriptures and some of them were especially brought in from across the country as well.