Name of the Temple
Navabrindavanam has the Samadhis of nine saints, followers of Madhvacharya, and predecessors of Sri Raghavendra. Madhvacharya himself merged with the divine at Badrinath, and thus does not have a tomb, while Sri Raghavendra’s Samadhi at Mantralyam is a famous pilgrim place in Andhra Pradesh. This is among the few places where nine saints have their tombs, and its importance lie in the fact that these saints are believed to have attained ‘Jeeva Samadhi’, that is, they are believed to be alive even today under their tombs!
The oldest tomb is that of Padmanabha Tirtha, the prime disciple of Madhvacharya, who attained Samadhi in the year 1324AD, while the near by new Samadhi of Sri Suseendhra Tirtha, the guru of Sri Raghavendra, who attained Samadhi in 1623. The most famous saint entombed here is Sri Vyasaraja (1539) – the Raja Guru (literally, the king’s preceptor) of Krishnadevaraya. It is interesting to see that for over 300 years, this was the site chosen by nine saints to attain Samadhi, which seems to hint at some attraction other than simply the calm and peace which is evident even today. Legend tells us that the place is sacred by association with Prahalada, who was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Vishnu. This is believed to be the site where Prahalada performed penance to atone for the sins he had incurred by bringing about the death of his father, the demon Hiranyakashipu. Incidentally, both, Sri Vyasaraja and Sri Raghavendra are considered incarnations of Prahalada.
The nine tombs are sort of clustered around, in a circle, and a yellow line is drawn around them. There are boards warning us to keep outside the painted line, since we are not allowed to get too close and disturb the saints at peace in their Samadhi. There is a small shrine with an idol of Hanuman inside, called the Avatharatraya Hanuman. This idol is believed to have been installed by Sri Vyasaraja, and depicts Hanuman, Bheema and Madhvacharya in one form – the face and figure is that of Hanuman, the shoulders and build resemble that of Bheema, and the manuscript in the hand symbolizes Madhvacharya. (For those who need an explanation for this interesting depiction, it is believed that all three were incarnations of Vayu, the God of Wind).
There are two other shrines here – one of Lord Ranganatha, and another Hanuman temple, as well as a cave where Prahalada is believed to have worshipped. It is customary to light ghee lamps at these shrines before going on to circumambulate and pray at the Navabrindavanam. Since no puja materials are available here, it is advisable to carry whatever one needs.
Since it is located on an island, the only approach to Navabrindavanam is by boat – a coracle from the outskirts of Hampi, or a motor boat from the town of Anegundi. The river is exceptionally clean and the water invites us to have a dip, which speaks volumes about the place! (Of course, that might have been due to the fact that we visited just after the rains and the river was in full flow… I don’t know what the situation will be in peak summer!) During monsoons, the island is practically inaccessible, since the river is usually full and rages on, not allowing boats or any other means of access
1 Sri Padmanabha Theerthar – the first and a direct disciple of Sri Madhvacharya.
2 Sri Jayatheerthar/Sri Raghuvaryar – There is a lot of debate whether the second brindavana in Navabrindavan belongs to Sri Jayatheerthar also known as Teekachariar or Sri Raghuvaryar.
3. Sri Kaveendra Theerthar- Moolaguru to two important Madhva Maths.
4. Sri Vaageesa Theerthar.
5. Sri Vyasarajar- Sri Vyasaraja as we saw earlier was the previous incarnation of Sri Raghavendra. He was the Raja Guru of the Vijayanagar Empire and has installed over 700 Hanuman idols all over the country.
6.Sri Srinivasa Theerthar – Next in lineage to Sri Vyasarajar.
7. Sri Ramatheerthar – Sri Rama Theerthar succeeded Sri Srinivasa Theerthar.
8. Sri Sudheendra Theerthar – Sri Sudeendrar succeeded Sri Rama Theerthar. He was Sri Raghavendra’s guru and the noble saint who initiated him into sanyas.
9. Sri Govinda Odayaru
Sacredness of Nava Brindhavan:
Each and every Brindhavan, by itself is very sacred and had they been located in different places also, every place would have become very sacred and popular on its own. Now, if all of them are concentrated in one single place, a place chosen by nine great saints in a period of about 300 years, you can understand the sacredness of the place.
Anegundhi is the birth place of Sri Hauman, the avatar of Sri Madhwar in the previous yugas and so there is no surprise that Sri Padmanabha Theerthar, the 1st student of Sri Madhwar and other Madhwa saints chose this place.
The brindhavan of Sri Vyasaraja Theerthar is found at the center of the place. Though he comes in the middle in the order, the others who brindhavanised before him left the central place for him for some reasons. Sri Vyasarajar, the Rajaguru of Krishna deva raya is considered the next avatar of Brahalatha and the previous avatar of Sri Raghavendhra Swamy. The place where Sri Vysarajar is brindhavanised is considered the place where Brahalathar had penanced in the Grutha yuga to cleanse the sins for being instrumental in killing his father Hiranya kasibu. Vyasaraja stayed at Hampi-Anegundhi for nearly 40 years before, during and after the Krishnadevaraya period. This is the place between Tara parvatham and the Chakra theertham of Kishkintha
This is about 60 kms through Hospet-Hampi-Kamalapur-Kambli-Gangavathi-Anegundhi.
Temple Telephone Number:
Sri Raghavendra swamy mutt
(Govt of Karnataka undertaking),
Kamalapur (near Hampi) – PIN: 583 221
Tel: 08394 – 241474/ 241574