Lord Sri Bala Balaji Temple with Divine Carvings
I heard that it was just a remote village in Mamidikuduru Mandal of East Godavari District, but I was struck by the beauty of the place as I was nearing it. It was situated on the holy bank of river Vynateya and flanked by river Godavari on three sides and the Bay of Bengal on 4th side looking like an island, flanked by striking farms, wide spread paddy fields, cattle grazing and ploughing the lush fields surrounded by coconut gardens, plain Mango and Jack trees giving the impression as if it were a part of heaven which came down to earth!! A place one would always cherish!!
Appanapalli; a small picturesque village; got its name after a Rishi (Hermit) called "Appana" who meditated and did penance for the betterment of the world. It holds a status as second Tirupathi of Konaseema. In the olden days it was famous for well-read Brahmins in Vedas who used to spend their time in reciting hymns and performing sacrifices as ordained in the scriptures. Historically, it was famous as the Center of unfailing rich cultural heritage of our region. Great penance and sacrifices were said to be performed here by many a sage. Although there are many forms of Maha Vishnu, the Lord resides in Appanapalli in the form of Bala Balaji (Bala means "child").
As we entered the temple premises, I was awestruck to see various beautiful lifelike sculptures depicting different avatars of Sri Maha Vishnu adorning the Gopuram, when we were met by a priest who performed pujas for us as well as described the legend of this temple to us. The legend was- Sri Molleti Ramaswamy, an ardent devotee of the Lord of the Seven hills, founded this Devasthanam. One night in his dream, the Lord ordered him to go ahead with his pledge to build a temple, with the share of profit he earned through his business, for the Lord without frequenting Tirupathi. Accordingly, he at once installed photos of Sri Venkateswara Swamy and Padmavathi Devi in his coconut shop. In course of time, thousands of pilgrims started visiting this place. Thereafter, it occupied a sacred place of devotional importance in our state.
Throughout the year, festivals like: Kalyana Mahotsavams from Jyeshtha Suddha Dashami to Jyeshtha Chaturdashi, Mukkoti Ekadashi, Uttaradwara Darshanam, Laksha Kumkuma Puja (on Vijayadashami) to Padmavathi Devi, Shami Puja, Laksha Tulasi Puja to Swamy on Karthika Suddha Ekadashi, Laksha Chamanthi Puja to Andal Devi here are performed and celebrated with much gaiety and devotion. The annual Brahmotsavam of His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Srimanarayana China Jeeyar Swamy varu is celebrated with intense devotion from Jyesta Sudda Dasami to Jyesta Sudda Chaturdasi during which devotional discourses and pouranic programmes are held.
FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION
Facilities of every kind is being provided to the devotees visiting the Lord every day so that they won’t have to face any hardships. Food is being provided freely through annadanams schemes. Safe deposits are also available for the pilgrims. Well-built bathing ghats, separate rooms for ladies for changing their dresses after the holy dip at the Snanala Revu, a bathing ghat, adequate toilet facilities, etc have been provided. Pilgrims who would like to stay there can avail T.T.D choultries and decent Guest house provided to devotees by the Devasthanam.
HOW TO REACH
Although there are buses plying from Kakinada to Appanapalli one can also travel in private vehicles. One can reach Appanapalli which is about 72 kms from Kakinada via Yanam & Bodasakurru. One can also visit Appanapalli from Kakinada via Ravulapalem which is about 110 kms. Piligrims travelling from Amalapuram can reach there via Ambajipeta which is about 35 kms. One can also reach Appanapalli from Amalapuram by boarding Bodasakurru Ferry which is about 13 kms.
For further details and enquiries and bookings, one can write or call:
Assistant Commissioner and Executive Officer, Sri Bala Balaji Devasthanam, Appanapalli, Mamidikuduru Mandal. East Godavari District, Phone No: 08862-239562