‘Annavaram’ village is located on the banks of Pampa River in East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. The temple of Lord Sri Satyanarayana Swamy, is located on ‘Ratnagiri hills’ of this village, thus this village Annavaram became a famous pilgrimage.
Lord Sri Satyanarayana Swamy, one of the forms of Lord Vishnu, is also called as ‘Satyadeva’. Satyadeva’s reference is mentioned in Revakhanda of ‘Skandapuranam’. According to the history of the location, Meru, the king of Holy Mountains and his wife Menaka did penance and begot two sons Bhadra and Ratnakara by the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Both the sons were devotees of Lord Vishnu and they too did penance to please Lord Vishnu. When they were asked to seek a boon, both of them wished to become abode of the God. By Lord Vishnu’s grace, Bhadra became a hill named Bhadrachalam, on which Lord Sri Rama’s temple is situated. Ratnakara became Ratnagiri, on which Lord Satyadev appeared as a ‘swayambhu’ which means ‘self-created’. After few days, one Brahmin of the village by name Earanki prakasam got a dream wherein lord appeared and asked him to trace His idol on the hill and re-consecrate it. Next day morning the Brahmin informed his dream to the then Village Head Sri Raja Ramarayanam. They both along with other villagers traced the idol on the hill and built temple.
The main temple is constructed in the form of a chariot with the four wheels at each of the four corners. On the way from hill down towards the foot of the hill, we see temple of Lord Sri Rama, and the shrines of Vana Durga. Lord Sri Rama is considered to be the Kshetra Palaka of this holy abode of the Lord Satyadeva. Vana Durga is believed to be guarding Lord Satyadev’s premises. The temple of Grama Devatha (village deity) “Nerellamma” is in the village at the foot of the hill.
The temple is in two floors; the ground floor contains the yantra. On the four sides of the yantra there are four deities Ganesha, Sun God, Bala Tripurasundari and Maheswaraswamy which constitutes Panchayathanam (5 main Gods to be worshipped). In the 1st floor the main deity Lord Satyadeva is in the centre, Goddess Anantha Lakshmi is in the right and Lord Shiva is on the left.
The presiding deity is in form of the Trinity namely ‘Hari Hara Hiranya Garbha Thrimurtyatmaka’. The main idol is about 13 feet high in a cylindrical form, the base being in the lower sanctum representing Lord Brahma (the creator) and the top is in the upper sanctum representing Lord Vishnu (the protector), and the middle portion represents Lord Siva (the destroyer).
‘मूलतो ब्रह्म रूपाय मध्यतस्च महेश्वरम् अग्रतः विष्णुरूपाय त्रैक रूपाय ते नमः’
The name Anna-Varam goes with the activity of free food distribution by the local people at this location (Anna means food and varam means boon). Another version says ‘Anna’ or ‘Anina’ – a Telugu word means ‘Said’, ‘Varam’ means boon, thus ‘Annavaram’ means ‘a boon that is said (being asked)’ which signifies possessing boon from the Lord when asked by devotees. Truly as per the name of the place, the Lord in Annavaram is believed to fulfil all wishes of devotees.
Satyadev is called ‘God of truth’, He showers His eternal blessings on those devotees who speak only truth and stick to the promises they give to mankind and God. There is a ritual called ‘Satyanarayana Vratam’ associated with this God, performed with utmost discipline by His devotees. Hindus perform Sri Satyanarayana Vratham for relief from troubles and for prosperity. The devotees pray to the God seeking a boon and will promise that after the wish is fulfilled they will perform the ‘Vratam’. Though there are specific days and months considered auspicious for doing this vratam, it is also said in the Vrata story that the devotees can perform Vrata on any convenient day of any month. It is also followed as a customary tradition by Hindus of many regions of India, that the next day after the wedding, the bride and bridegroom will perform Sri Satyanarayana Vratam at bridegroom’s home.
We can reach Annavaram by train or by bus from many cities of Andhrapradesh and Telangana states. Flights are available to Rajamundry and from there we can go to the temple by bus or cabs.