The temple itself is a short climb from the Annavaram village, and is also accessible by car. Legend has it that the location of the statue of the deity appeared in a dream to a local brahmin E. Prakasam, who with the help of the local zamindar (landowner) Sri Raja I.V.Ramarayanam traced the statue to the top of the hillock and helped to set up the temple in about 1891.
The name Annavaram is a conjugation of the words Anina (Wanted) and Varam (Boom). This temple is now considered to be second only to the famous Venkateswara temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is constructed in the classical Dravidian style with two tall towers (gopurams) facing due east and west.
The temple complex offers great views of the Bay of Bengal (on a clear day) 11 miles east of the temple as well as the village of Annavaram 300 feet below.
The large central courtyard of the temple has facilities for pilgrims to bathe, stay or eat, as well as halls and rooms for various religious ceremonies (marriages etc).
A stroll through the temple shows that the temple was constructed and extended over time, with some old buildings and some more recent construction. The oldest part of the temple as it stands today dates to just over 110 years. But if the legends are true, then a temple may have existed in this very place for many centuries before falling into disrepair.
Pilgrims flock to Annavaram from all over the state to fast and pray. On any day of the year, the temple is a hub-hub of activity.
I must confess that I’ve never been inside the sanctum itself in all my visits to this temple. I find the environs of the temple fascinating and love observing the faith and piety in the pilgrims visiting the place. I also find the views in and around the temple beautiful and serene.
Annavaram is definitely worth a visit, even if you’re non-religious, and particularly if you are a practicing hindu. The trip from Visakhapatnam takes about 2.5 hours by hired taxi cab. On a clear day you should also be able to see Bay of Bengal (but I’ve never managed to see this in all my visits).
Travel from Visakhapatnam (about 90Km) takes around 3+ hours by road but a whopping 4+ hours by train. The train ride is scenic and includes more than 30 tunnels en route from Visakhapatnam.
The lighting inside the cave brings out the beauty of the geological formations, but it was extremely difficult to set up a tripod due to the sheer number of visitors.
The speleothems are still being formed inside these caves, and there is a constant drip of water from the roof of the caves. The picture below shows some of the drip points on the roof of the cave.
All said, a visit to Borra caves is highly recommended if you are anywhere close to Visakhapatnam. The natural beauty of the surrounding Araku valley, with its own distinctive coffee beans, and indigenous tribals, make this spot an ideal day trip.
Visakhapatnam (aka Vizag) is a large coastal city in the eastern coast of India in the state of Andhra Pradesh. I am a frequent visitor to this city as this is where my wife’s family live. Vizag is sandwiched in a narrow strip of land between the bay of bengal and the eastern ghats mountain range that runs along the eastern fringe of India. Here are some pictures from my recent visit earlier this year.
Visakhapatnam is an important port on the east coast of India and is the only natural harbour on the eastern seaboard of the country. Due to its strategic importance, it houses the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
The eastern ghats on which Visakhapatnam nestles offers beautiful vistas of the sea and the city. Prominent among this are the Kailasagiri Hills, a popular spot for visitors.