The Brahmanda Purana states that Ahobilam was the kingdom of Hiranyakasipu in the Satyuga and Lord Narasimha comes out of a pillar from the place of the demon.
Ahobilam, located in Karnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the hills of the eastern ghats, In addition to the nine shrines, there is a temple for Prahaladavarada Varadhan in the foothills of the mountain. The entire Eastern Ghats range is believed to be Sri Adi Sesha – the great serpent bed of Lord Vishnu. On his seven hoods lays Tirupati, on stomach Ahobilam and on its tail lays Sri Shailam.
The hill of Ahobilam is known as Garudadri, after taking darshan of Jwala while walking towards Prahalad Mettu you will see the shape of the mountain as if it is like an eagle. Garuda once desired wished for a vision of Lord Nrisimha in the form of the Avathara. To fulfill his wish, the Lord settled in the hills around Ahobilam in the midst of dense forests in nine different forms. For this reason, this hill came to be known as Garudadri,
When lord Narasimha appeared and killed Hiranyakashypu he was in Ugra form, his roars gave shivers to all three lokas. The devatas, rishis were terrified. Witnessing this wonderful pastime, the Devatas glorified Lord Narasimha with the following sholka
“Aho Veeryam Aho Souryarn Aho Bahuparakramah
Naarasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Aho Balam.
Oh! what a great valor he has! oh, his great gallantry! oh those great powerful shoulders of the greatest of the Gods Lord Narasimha, and what a mighty cave it is! and what a mighty divine strength He has!
In this sacred Place Garuda, Brahma, Parashurama worshiped the Lord Narasimha. It is believed that when Sri Rama was in the forest, we know from Seshadarma that he prayed to the Lord of Sri Ahobila with Panchamrita Stotra. In the Archavatara, Lord Srinivasa, who is the giver of many boons in the Maluyuga had married Padmavati only after offering worship to Sri Narasimha of this mountain. It is held that the shrine of Lord Srinivasa, to the south of Narasimha’s temple within the enclosure, lends the view.
The Nava Narasimhas
There are nine temples of Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam which house the self-manifested Deities of the Lord.
jwala ahobila malola kroda karanja bhargava
yogananda kshatravata pavana nava murthayaha
The nine Deities are Sri Jwala Narasimha , Sri Ahobila Narasimha , Sri Malola Narasimha , Sri Kroda Narasimha , Sri Karanja Narasimha , Sri Bhargava Narasimha , Sri Yogananda Narasimha , Sri Kshatravata Narasimha and Sri Pavana Narasimha .
Ugra Narasimha or Ahobila Narasimha.
garudadri guhagehe gajakhundasarittate
hiranyasthaanvahankaarhaari simhaya mangalam
This is the oldest temple among the nine temples in Ahobilam. This is also the main temple where the deity is situated in a cave. Here the Lord resides in shaligrama form. Ugra Narasimha is seen sitting in sukhasan pose tearing the chest of Hiranyakashipu.
Sri Kroda Narasimha
varahkundey medhinyai varaahaarthapradhaayiney
dhanthalagna hiranyaksh dhamshtra simhaaya mangalam
After killing Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narasimha was very angry with Lord Brahma because of the boon he had awarded to Hiranyakashipu. He summoned Lord Brahma but Brahma was afraid to come near the Lord. While he was coming to see the lord Vedas slipped from his hands and fell down. The Vedas when hit the earth it was absorbed inside, Bhumi Devi held them. The Devtas requested Narasimha dev to retrieve the Vedas. Lord Narasimha took the Kroda form (one horned boar) and dived inside the earth to come out with Vedas and Bhumi Devi sitting on his shoulders. Lord took this very special form. In this cave shrine, there are two deities, one of Lakshmi-Narasimha and another Sthanaka figure of Varaha Narasimha with his consort, goddess Bhudevi. The goddess is shown as embracing the ‘snout’ portion of the lord, just as she did while being raised by him up from the ocean waters after piercing Hiranyaksha with his tusks and then slaying him. Varaha stands in a tribhanga posture with only two hands, the head of the boar and the tail of the lion on a human torso.
Sri Malola Narasimha
vaarijaavaaritha bhayay vaneepathi mukhaiswarai
mahithaaya mahodhaara malolyasthu mangalam
The Deity of Lord Narasimha here is in a peaceful form since Lakshmidevi is also present. Ma means Mother Lakshmi and Lola means beloved. The Supreme Lord Narasimha is the beloved of mother Lakshmi and hence is glorified as Malola Narasimha. This place is also known as Markonda Lakshmi Kshetra. The God is seen seated here in Sukhasana posture with his left leg folded while the right leg is shown dangling at an angle. The goddess is shown seated on the left thigh of the Lord with Kataka and Parisaritya vamahasta. The feet of the goddess rests on padma which appears to have sprouted from the earth. The Lord’s two upper hands hold Chakra and Sankha, his lower right hand is in abhaya pose and the lower left hand is shown embracing his consort.
Sri Jwala Narasimha
hiranyashtambha sambhuthiprakhyat paramaatamaney
prahladhaarthimushey jwaala narsimhaya mangalam
The temple of Sri Jwala Narasimha lies on a hill called Achalachaya Meru and is on the base of Ugra Stambha. This is the exact place where Lord Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu. It was here that the anger of Lord Narasimha was on its pinnacle. The first pair of hands catch hold of Hiranyakasipu’s crown and renders him motionless, while the other pair by tightly gripping the sword-carrying hand of Hiranyakasipu completely disarms and overpowers him. The second pair of hands is engaged in tearing open the entrails of the demon lying on the folded right leg of God. The pair of hands holds Sankha and Chakra and the fourth pair holds the intestine of the demon in the shape of a garland.
There is a small pond near this temple called Rakta Kunda Tirtha. Here Lord Narasimha washed His blood-stained hands and hence the color of the water of this Kunda turned red. Today also one can see the red stains around this tirtha. The water of this tirtha is crystal clear and is very sweet.
atyam vidhathum nijabruthya bhaashitham
vyaaptham swabhutheshu swachirey swachaathmanaha
adhrushyathaam adhbutharoopam udhvaham sthamba
sabhamam na mrugam na manusham na bhootho na ambharey mruthyuhu na naraih na mugrairapi surasura mahorakhai
This mountain is the remain of the pillar from which Lord Narasimha appeared. It is said that when the Lord emerged out of the pillar, the whole pillar was shattered to pieces. His first step produced 172 sounds which are the first basic tenets of 172 classical ragas. Of these only 52 melakarta ragas exist today and even these cannot be mastered by any individual of this material creation. This is also called as Ukku Stambha. Ukku in Telugu means steel. Atop Ugra Stambha there is an impression of the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who visited this place during His south Indian trip.
bharadwaja mahayogi mahapaathaka haariney
thaapaneeya rahasyartha paavanayasthu mangalam
This temple is on the banks of the river Pavana and hence the Lord is known as Pavana Narasimha. This is the most peaceful form of the Lord amongst the nine Narasimha temples. The Lord here liberates devotees from all the sins of past lives and the present lives which might have been committed knowingly or unknowingly. Sage Bharadwaja rid himself of the great sin of Brahma-hatya at this place. The main deity is actually a Lakshmi Narasimha deity, with four hands. The upper two hands carry Sankha and chakra. The lower right hand is in abhaya pose, while the lower left hand is shown as embracing Lakshmi seated on His left thigh. The Lord is seated in Sukhasana posture on AdiSesha with His left leg folded while the right leg is bent at the knee. Dangling down over the head of Narasimha is found a seven-hooded snake (Adisesha) spread like an umbrella. Lakshmi is shown seated on the thigh of the Lord with the right hand embracing God.
Sri Yogananda Narasimha
chathuranana chetobja chitrabhaanu svaroopine
vedadri gahavarasthaaya yogaanandaaya mangalam
After killing Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narasimha dev here taught Prahlada few yogic postures to practice. This form of the Lord is seated in a padmasana with yogapatta around His legs.
Sri Chatravatha Narasimha
haahaa hoohoo vakya gandharva nrittageetha hritaatmaney bhavahantritat chathravataimhaya mangalam
Ever seen Narasimha dev smiling, this deity of He is famous as Chatravatha Narasimha, he is smiling and seem to be enjoying music. The left hand of the Lord is in the tala mudra. This tala mudra is not seen in any other form of the Lord in any other place.
Once two Gandharvas named Haha and Hoohoo came from Meru parvat to entertain the lord. Hearing their ecstatic music Narasimha dev became engrossed in the music so much so that he started smiling and started giving tal on his left thigh.
The deity is seated in the padmasana pose on a low padmapitha. The two upper hands hold the Chakra and Sankha. The Lower right hand is in the abhaya posture, while the lower left hand is a Katihasta, placed on the waist and the left thigh.
Sri Bhargava Narasimha
bharagavakhya tapasveesa bhaavanaa bhaavithathmaney
akshaya theera theerthastu bhargavayaasthu mangalam
Here Lord Parashurama, who is also known as Bhargava, performed penances to please Lord Narasimha. Lord Parashurama wanted to have darshan of the Lord right at the moment when he tore apart the chest of Hiranyakashipu. Pleased by the penances of Parashurama, Lord Narasimha gave Him the desired darshan. When the Lord was giving darshan, Hiranyakashipu who was lying on the lap of the Lord, looked towards Parashurama. Parashurama then requested Narasimha dev to manifest Himself in that form. And from then on the Lord is being worshiped here and is known as Sri Bhargava Narasimha Swamy. This is one of the most ferocious forms of Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam. This temple is located on the banks of Akshaya Tirtha which is considered on par with the sacred Pushkara Tirtha. Parashurama would bathe in this Kunda and use this water for the worship of Lord Bhargava Narasimha. Sage Vasishtha and other sages had performed penances here. One can also have darshan of Prahlada at the lotus feet of the Lord.
Sri Karanja Narasimha
karanjamoole maatharaste yathra saarangaschakra dhrutham gobhoo
hiranya nirvinna gobila gnyanadhayiney prabanjan sunaaseera kaaranchaayasthu mangalm
The Deity of Lord Narasimha is under the Karanja Tree, hence He is known as Karanja Narasimha. Once Hanuman was performing austerities in Ahobilam and was continuously chanting the holy name of Lord Rama. Immediately Lord Narasimha appeared before him and asked, “Yes you called me?” Hanuman was surprised and said to Narasimha, “You are disturbing me. Please go away.” Narasimha replied, “I am Rama. Because you called Me, I have come.” Hanuman was again surprised and asked, “How can you be Rama? You don’t have a form like that of Rama.” Immediately Lord Narasimha manifested Himself like Rama with a bow in one hand and Sudarshana in the other hand. Hanuman got convinced and from then on started to worship the form of Sri Karanja Narasimha. There is a small altar of Hanuman in the temple. The deity of the Lord appears to be seated in meditation, with a hooded cobra over the head. The upper right-hand holds a Chakra and upper left hand has Sarangaor bow. The lower hands are in Dhyana mudra.
Sri Prahlada Varada Temple
The temple of Sri Prahlada Varada is situated in Lower Ahobilam. Here Lord Narasimha is blessing Prahlada Maharaja. The family Deity of Sri Srinivasa of Tirupati is Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam. Because the Lord was in the fierce form, Srinivasa installed the Deity of the Lord in the Shantha form and worshiped Him before His marriage with Padmavathi Devi. The utsava Deities of Sri Pavana Narasimha and Jwala Narasimha are worshiped in this temple. This place is also called as Chinna Ahobilam or Diguva Tirupati.