A lizard incarnation of Lord Venkateswara draws many

Entrance to Venkateswara Metta Colony in Visakhapatnam.Photo: K.R. Deepak  

Passing through the arch at the entrance and moving a little further towards the road, one can get a glimpse of a stone engraving of a lizard, an incarnation of Lord Venkateswara Swamy at Sri Balligiri Venkateswara Swamy temple.

The over 200-year-old shrine that houses the reptile avatar of Lord Malayappa Swamy is what made Venkateswara Metta located at Allipuram popular. Its history dates back to Dutch period. Legend has it that the Lord appeared in a Dutchman’s dream and instructed him that his self-manifested stone carving (swayambhu) be installed in the temple.

Once the construction of the temple was taken up sourcing soil from Rangoon, the Dutchman started making exorbitant profits and his fortunes took a new turn. Gradually, the number of devotees increased and is now the most frequented shrine in the port city.

The temple priest said water, milk, turmeric and flowers used for giving a celestial bath to the engraving at the shrine would mysteriously find their way into the sea even though there was no apparent passage.

In later years, it was renovated by the Endowments Department where a statue of Lord Venkateswara Swamy was installed beside the stone engraving. Eventually, a long stretch of stairways gave way to roads. “In 1960, a number of thatched houses were gutted due to a major fire. It is only after a few years that people started trickling in, making the place their home. Though basic amenities have been provided, we endure frequent power disruption in the area. Despite our repeated visits to the Electricity Department, the problem has remained unresolved,” says Gopala Rao, retired employee of Hindustan Shipyard Limited, residing in the colony for over 40 years.

The muck-filled drains dot the old settlement. As one enters the tiny aganwadi centre located close to the temple, the air hangs heavy with the smell of boiled eggs and dal being cooked. “This congested centre caters to 26 children. We find it really tough to continue here sans a fan. Moreover, the recent heavy rains had blown away a couple of tiles, giving way to leaky roofs. Earlier, our centre used to be at the GVMC-run community building premises, close to the current venue, where we were comparatively better,” laments S. Rani Pushpavalli, Aganwadi teacher. She said she had approached Visakhapatnam South MLA Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar to resolve the issue but no action had been taken so far.

Zone III Commissioner: V. Chakradhar; Mobile No: 9848889701; Helpdesk No: 0891-2707299.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 6:21:55 PM |

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