Veerannagattupalli, hamlet of idupulpaya, popularly known as Gandi kshetram – Situated on the border of Rayachoty & Pulivendula taluks at a distance of about 4.5 KMs from Vempalli town in Pulivendula Taluk and about 45 Kms from Rayachoty town.
The importance of the place is on account of the temple of Veeramjaneya swamy on the bank of river Papagni familiarly is known as Gandi anjaneya swamy temple. Gandi is the term used for a narrow passes between two hills and river Papagni flows through this Gandi or pass. Formerly it was called ‘Hiranyaghattam’. There is a dilapidated temple of lord Veerabhadra swamy in Veerannagattupalle renowned for its architecture. Veerabhadra Swamy is popularly called Veeranna and this may be the origin of the name for the village. It might have also derived it’s name after the presiding deity, Veeranjaneya swamy at the famous sacred place, Gandi.
The temple of Veeranjaneya swamy at Gandi, on the bank of the Papagni river is the place of worship attracting people from the neighboring districts. About two furlongs from the Anjaneya temple towards Veerannagattupalle there is Bhumanandasharamam established in 1930 and in it there is also ramalingeswara mandiram.
River papagni is reputed to be sacred at all places but the following five places are of special sanctity. They are the Nandi Hills, Gandi, Kesava teertham near pavuralagutta, Bhaskarakshetram near vempalle and Sangamam near Kamalapuram where the river joins Pinakaini. The places where the rivers flows from south to north are rare and noted for sacredness and Papagni flows from south to north at Gandi. At a distance of four furlongs from Gandi on the opposite bank of Papagni near Veerannagattupalle, the hill pavurallagutta or Paravathadri is said to be the Kesavatheertham. Namalagundu, a rock on the western bank of the river, is also a place to visit near Gandi. Everyone that visits it puts namams on the rock. Mathanga caves and Dasaraiah caves are also noted in the vicinity.
The legend about Gandi says that while lord Rama was proceeding to Lanka (Ceylon) Vayudeva (god of Wind), father of Anjaneya was doing penance at this place. Rama spent sometime here. Vayudeva requested Rama to visit this place again on his return journey to Ayodhya. Rama complied with the request after putting an end to the demon king, Ravana. In order to accord welcome to the lord, Vayudeva tied across the river from one top of the hill to the other a wreath of gold flowers which is described in the following sloka in Vayupuranam:
Before leaving the place, lord Rama drew a picture of Anajaneya on a rock with the end of his bow. It was installed by Vyasarisshi (This Vyasarishi is believed by some to be Vyasarayaacharlu, the acharya of Madhvas who was born on 22-04-1447 and to whom the installation of 202 images of Hanuman is attributed.). Perhaps an account of this legend, the Gandi kshetram was known as Vayukshetram or Vayuteertham in pouranic days.
The image has no little finger. It is believed that by the time the sculpture who was evidently giving an impressive shape to the finger drawn by Rama reached the fore-finger, blood began to flow from the image and he stopped there. The image at the feet of lord Anjaneya is that of Udgavi Acharyulu or Gandi Acharyulu. It is he that first constructed the sanctum sanctorum and brought the temple to the notice of the public. He has inscribed his name on the rock by the side of Anjaneya as vasantacharyulu. He has ordained that the members of his family should worship Anjaneya every day and often to himself the naivedyam which was offered to the lord. His desire is being carried out even today.
The sanctity of Gandi can also be found in the following passages:
“Scarcely less famous in the passage of the Papagni through the palakonda range near Vempalle. Here the hills attain a height of nearly 2000 feet, and the river takes a winding course between towering cliffs till it emerges in the plain that stretches towards Kadapa. The legend runs that when the news of Ramas victory over Ravan was brought, a triumphal wreath of gold was hung across the gorge, and it is said that it’s semblance, which is only seen at the approach of death by those whom the god’s love, appeared to sir Thomas Munro on his last journey to Kadapa.”
“A short time before his death, whilst on his way to Bellary, Sir Thomas traveled through the Kadapa district. He passed from the upper table land of the sub division to the valley below the ghauts by means of the narrow gorge where the Papagni breaks through the hills. Whilst riding, he suddenly looked up at the steep cliffs above, and remarked to the natives riding behind him. ‘What a beautiful garland of flowers they have stretched across the valley’. They all looked, but said they could see nothing: ‘Why there it is! All made of gold!’ Again they looked, but saw nothing. Sir Thomas made no further remark but one of his old native servants quietly observed ‘alas! a great and good man will soon die’. A few days afterwards, and Sir Thomas munro has passed away.”
Lord Munro most unexpectedly died of Cholera at Pattikonda in Kurnool district about six months after the Gandi incident. There appears to be a stone inscription recording that the wreath would be visible only to great people who would attain salvation in six months after seeing the golden wreath.
Sri Veeranjaneya swamy Tirunala is celebrated during the entire month of Sravanam (July – August). The Saturdays of the moth attract large crowds. The devotees take their bath at Papagni, worship the lord and fulfill their vows. The dhyanam or mantram adopted for the worship of Veeranjaneya swamy is –
“Sri Papaghni vimalathatini teera seshaachalastham
Premaloka pranyarasam Gandi sathkshetram
Bhumanandashrama jansadopasi thanghri dwayantham
Bhaktathranaika karunachanam nemi veeranjaneyam
Anandambuga Seshashailathatamam Darudibapaghni thee
Ranam Gandi yanan brasiddhamagu kshetram bandu venchesi Bhu
Manandashramavasabhakthathathi bremanbrochuchunnati ni
Venakekkati dikkatanchu goluthun veeranjaneya prabhu.”
This is an ancient celebration attracting devotees from Rayalaseema ( Kadapa, kurnool, Anantapur & Chittor) and neighbouring districts. Ten to fifty thousands of Hindu devotees congregate during the celebration. But piligrims from distant places like Chennai (Madras), Mumbai (Bombay), Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore and other parts of Andhra Pradesh are found to visit the place during the other months to enjoy the solitude and peace of the place. Several stop here for weeks and months and pilgrims are found practically at all times. Those suffering from hysteria, mental trouble and evil spirits spend 21 or 41 days doing seva (worship) to the lord and get relief. Archakas are pancharatna Vaishnavas, descendants of Udgavi Acharyulu.
In Bhumamnandashramam, the death anniversary of Sadhu, Sadhu ramaiah, who died in the year Pramadhi on Saravan Bahula trayodasi ( July – August) is celebrated annually on that Trayodasi. During summer, religious discourses are held in the ashramam inviting learned men. The ashramam is improved by munificent devotees of the neighborhood.
Recently, Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams (TTD) taken over this temple. There are choultries and rooms for the pilgrims to halt.
How to Reach Gandi Temple:
Nearest Airports: Kadapa, Tirupati, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad.
Nearest Railway Station: Yerraguntla, Kadapa
Vemapalle is connected by bus from Kadapa, Rayachoty & Proddatur in Kadapa district, Kadiri, & Tadipatri in Ananatapur district. From vempalle the short distance can be covered by autos, buses.
Piligrims from chittoor district should reach by bus Gandi via Rayachoty.
Nearest Bus station: Vempalle