The Sun temple in North Coastal district of Srikakulam popularly revered as Arasavalli Suryanarayana temple is one of the most highly visited temple. Arasavalli is a small town, 3 kilometres away from Srikakulam. Referred earlier as Harshavalli meaning abode of joy, the temple is dedicated to the Lord Suryadeva or Sun God.
The Arasavalli Suryanarayana Swamy temple is perhaps the only Sun temple in the entire Coromandel Coast as the Konark temple in Orissa remained as an incomplete project till date.
Inscriptions on the temple walls indicate that it was constructed in the 7th century by the Kalinga Ruler Devendra Varma of Orissa. Further, it reveals that grants were made by Aditya Vishnu Sarma and Bhanu Sarma of Kalinga clan towards the maintenance of temple during the later periods.
The present construction is largely the result of the renovations carried out in 18th During the early 19th century, the local family Dusi made financial contributions for the development of the temple.
Built in typical Orissa Style, the temple holds testimony to the architectural skills of the Vishwakarma Brahmins or Maharanas of Orissa. Arasavalli Suryanarayana temple is highly renowned for its magnificence and beauty.
Special Features of Arasavalli Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
The temple is constructed in such a way that sun’s ray fall directly on the feet of the Lord for few minutes during the early hours of the day, twice a year in the months of February and June. Sun’s rays would fall on the feet of the Lord through the five entrance doors. These rays are believed to cure several eye ailments.
- The temple is built in Panchayatana style, wherein the main shrine is surrounded by four subsidiary shrines. The idol of the Lord Surya is at the center with Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu idols in four directions across the four corners of the quadrangle.
- The 5 ft tall idol of the Surya exquisitely carved in black granite bears lotus buds in his hand (hence referred to as Padma Paani), flanked by his consorts Usha, Padmini and Chhaaya riding on the seven horses driven by Charioteer Aruna. At the base of the idol are the gate keepers Pingala and Danda and high up are the two divine saints Sanaka and Sanandana holding Chatrams (umbrellas).
- A huge pillar was constructed by Jakkamasetty Venkanna in the temple premises in 1929 whose base is filled with jewels as an offering.
- It is believed that devotees visiting the temple are bestowed with good health after performing the Surya Namaskaras in the premises.
- It is regarded that the ill effects of the Ravi Dasa or Antar Dasa are nullified by offering prayers to Sun God.
According to the Padmapurana, the idol was believed to be installed by Sage Kashyapa for the welfare of mankind. The Sun God, termed as planetary God is thus considered to belong to Kashyapasa Gotra.
As per the Sthala Purana, Balarama in Dwaparayuga brought the River Nagavali to Earth by tilling the land and consecrated the temple of Uma and Koteswara on the shores of this river.
- When the Gods, Angels and their minions arrived on the shores of the Nagavali to worship Lord Rudra Indra, the king of Lords became late. By the time he arrived it was late in the night and he tried to gatecrash his entry. Then gate keeper Nandi didn’t allow Indra to enter the temple as it was time for Lord Rudra to rest with Goddess Parvati.
- Indra was adamant with his demand and attempted to force enter the temple. Infuriated by the persistence of Indra, Nandi kicked him violently who was sent flying in the air in east direction.
- Indra lay unconscious with body pains. Then he prayed to Lord Sun to relieve of the body pains and exhaustion. Surya Deva heeded to his prayers and touched him with his rays whereby Indra regained strength.
- Indra then requested Lord Sun to remain in this place and bestow health to mankind. Sun God obliged. Thus Lord Indra himself consecrated the place with the idol of Lord Sun.
It is said that Indra dug the land with his Vajrayudha whereby a pond appeared, the pond that is now known as Indra Pushkarini. Even today, devotees visiting the temples tonsure their heads, take a dip in the pond and then proceed for Darshan.
The most important festival celebrated in the temple is Radhasaptami. Others include Makara Sankranti, Mahashivaratri, Rakhi pournami, Dussera, Kalyanotsavam, Dolostavam, Janmastami, Deepavali and Vaikunta Ekadasi. All the Sundays in Maghamasam are considered sacred. Thousands of devotees from Andhra and neighboring state of Orissa visit the temple during Sundays.
Seva Programs In The Holy Shrine
Various Sevas performed inside the temple include Astottara Satanamarchana, Sahasranama Archana, KSheeranna Bhogam, Ksheerabhishekam, Tiruveedhi seva, Swamy vari kalyana seva and Suryanamaskarams.
Accommodation Facilities For The Tourists
Accommodation can be availed in Srikakulam or at the Andhra Pradesh Tourism and Development Corporation (APTDC)’s Haritha resorts in Visakhapatnam.
Tour Details With Andhra Pradesh Tourism
APTDC deploys a Non-AC coach one day tours that covers Arasavalli Sun Temple, SriKurmam, Buddhist Monastery, Kalingapatnam Beach and Srimukhalingam from Visakhapatnam.
Departure- 6:30 am Arrival- 8pm
Fare: Adult- Rs 800 and Child: Rs 640 (Fare includes Breakfast, Lunch, Tea/Snacks).
How to Reach
The temple is 3km from Srikakulam.
By Road: 3 km from Srikakulam
68km from Vizianagaram
110km from Visakhapatnam
- Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) operates buses from Srikakulam to the temple every 10 minutes and nonstop buses from Visakhapatnam to Srikakulam buses run every 15 min.
By Rail: Nearest Railway Station is Srikakulam Road
By Air: It is 110 km from Visakhapatnam airport.