An ancient temple that unfolds lesser-known chapters of history

A view of the Sri Someswara Swamy temple at Appikonda in Visakhapatnam
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A view of the Sri Someswara Swamy temple at Appikonda in Visakhapatnam

Highlights

When sage Kapila Maharshi was crossing the shores of the sea, he had halted at a place to perform a penance.

When sage Kapila Maharshi was crossing the shores of the sea, he had halted at a place to perform a penance. It's the same place where the famous 'swayambu' (self-manifested) Shiva Lingam of Sri Someswara Swamy emerged at Appikonda in Visakhapatnam.

The temple that has a history of 1,400 years was built during the period of Cholas.


The stone-carved structure of the ancient shrine had an old-world charm and stood the test of time.Located 30-km away from Visakhapatnam city, the temple unfolds lesser-known chapters of history.

Impressed by the picturesque locale, Kapila Maharshi aspired to build a shrine on his name. When the setting sun had cast its glow, the sage settled for a penance. With his immense cosmic powers, the Maharshi aimed at installing 101 Shiva Lingams before sunrise.

However, the penance was cut short as the sun rose after the emergence of 100 Shiva Lingams. Disappointed and angered with the shortage of one Shiva Lingam, the Maharshi cursed the place to remain as 'Appukonda' (debt-ridden hill).

Over the decades, Appukonda turned into Appikonda. Eventually, 95 Shiva Lingams disappeared as they were covered by sand dunes. When the temple was spotted in later years, another Shiva Lingam was found to be damaged.

Currently, the ancient shrine has four self-manifested Shiva Lingams. Since they emerged naturally on a Monday, the temple earned the nomenclature of 'Sri Someswara Swamy' temple.

During Shivaratri, the premises draw lakhs of devotees for the festivities that would last for three days. Along with the Elephant-headed God, the temple also has a 'sannidhi' of Lord Kumaraswamy along with Shiva Lingam with the celestial carrier Nandi sitting elegantly before the sanctum sanctorum. "The temple has a well close to the sea and it is as old as the temple itself.

Despite its proximity to the sea, the water in the well remains clean and pure. During special occasions, the celestial bath to the deities of the temple will be given by fetching water from this well," explains Chaduvula Nagaraju, priest at the temple.

Two decades ago, the shrine came under the ambit of the Endowments Department.

The temple was declared as a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. According to the Archaeology Department officials, the temple was built by King Upendra and the age of the temple was about 1,100 years.

"However, the locals have a different version to narrate and believe that the Chola-built temple is 1,400 years old," says V. Raju, a resident of the neighbourhood. At a time when temple tourism is gaining prominence, the ancient shrine is yet to hog the limelight.

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