Among few pilgrimages we made this year; Annavaram is one. It is the abode of Lord Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy. The temple is situated on a hillock called Ratnagiri, in Annavaram. Here, Lord Sri Satyanarayana manifests himself in the form of Trimurthis - three Gods that is Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The Goddess here is called Ananta Lakshmi and Satyavathi Ammavaru. This Temple town is named Annavaram because whatever wishes a devotee makes here; are fulfilled. In Telugu; one particular meaning of Anna is - what I say/said and Varam means a - boon. So Annavaram stands for fulfilling whatever wishes one seeks.
Annavaram is easily accessible from Hyderabad. It is just an overnight journey by train. All trains from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam pass through Annavaram. I went there along with my wife and eldest son Srikanth. We travelled there by train and were at Annavaram for two days. I booked accommodation for our stay at Annavaram and train tickets for our journey in advance and the trip went off well.
The Lord of the hills Meru and his wife Menaka had two sons, Bhadra and Ratnakara. Bhadra became a rishi and performed penance for his beloved Lord Rama, on the banks of River Godavari in Dhandakaranya. Lord Rama did not fulfill Bhadra’s wish during his incarnation as Rama. But several years later as Bhadra’s penance intensified, Lord Vishnu once again took the form of Rama and appeared before him as Vykunta Rama along with Sita Devi and Laxmana Swamy. Lord Rama granted him Moksha and the deities at this place are in this form of God’s manifestation. And this place came to be known as Bhadragiri and as Bhadrachalam. Ratnakara followed in the footsteps of his brother. With great devotion for Lord Vishnu, he did penance on the hillock adjacent to River Pampa. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and offered him moksha and settled on this hillock in the form of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy. And this hillock came to be known as Ratnagiri and the place as Annavaram.
The construction of the temple resembles a Chariot with four wheels. The main deity of the temple is 4 metres high and in cylindrical form. The base/feet at the lower portion of the temple and the top portion represent Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu and the middle portion Lord Shiva.
The most important Pooja/Seva to be performed here by devotees is Sri Satyanarayana Swamy Vratham. From morning till evening as long as the Temple is open one can perform Vratham at any chosen time. Vrathams are performed inside the Temple and all around the Temple independently for small batches of couples, after which they are sent for Darshanam of Sri Satynaranayan Swamy.
In ancient times when Narada Mahamuni was saddened by seeing the problems and misery of mankind he approached Sri Maha Vishnu for a remedy to this situation. In reply; Lord Vishnu told Narada that Satyanaryana Swamy Vratham would relieve men of their problems and would ensure good health, happiness and prosperity. Narada Mahamuni passed on this information to those facing problems. The experience of people who have performed this Vratham and benefitted through it since ancient times are told as stories and the popularity of Sri Satyanaryana Vratham has increased. Today Sri Satyanaryana Swamy Vratham is performed all over the world by devotees for all round wellbeing, in terms of good health, happiness, wealth, success and relief from all sorts of problems, for the entire family. And performing Sri Satyanarayana Swamy Vratham at Annavarm is very significant as it is said to be equivalent to many performed at home.