Surya Narayanswamy Temple, Arasavalli, Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh
In this temple, the God is represented as riding in a chariot drawn by seven horses and driven by Anoora.
Surya Narayanswamy Temple
Location: Arasavalli, Srikakulam.
The worship is as old as the Vedas and Gayatri mantra is also addressed to the Sun God. The description of Lord Sun is given in great detail in the Vishwakarma Silpa according to this `his chariot should have one wheel and the Lord should have a lotus in each hand and seven horses should draw the chariot`. The chariot is called Makaradhwaja. His two gatekeepers Danda and Pingala have swords in their hands. In the Bhavishya Purana Lord Surya began to burn Asuras with his heat, which thereupon attacked him. The other Gods felt they should help Lord Surya placed Skanda on the left of Surya and Agni on the right. Agni being reddish-yellow in color is called Pingala. In the temple of Surya, Soma and other Grahas should be established. The existence of Sun temples or Aditya Grihas is well known from 400 BC, Ktesias mentions a place at six days journey from Mount Abu, where people worshipped the Sun and the Moon.
Agasthya Maharshi is said to have taught the Aditya Hridaya or prayer to Lord Sun, to Rama on the eve of Lord Rama`s fight with Ravana. In the Bhavishya Purana, Samba, son of Srikrishna, was cured of leprosy by constant worship of the Sun God. One day when Surya`s children were quarrelling, his wife naturally took sides with her children, and cursed Yama to become a Chandala and Yami to run away from the house. Yama became an outcast, and Yami or Yamuna became a running river. Lord Surya got suspicious since no mother would curse her own children, and learnt of the deception. Lord Surya discovered went and brought his consort back after reconciliation. They brought out twins called Aswins who were divine physicians.
This temple is an ancient and powerful temple. Local legend states that it was Lord Indra who founded the temple. The sthalapurana narrates the events connected with the foundation of the temple. Once upon a time Lord Indra, the Lord of Heaven, attempted to force his way into the temple of Koteeswara at an untimely hour and the gatekeeper Nandi kicked him out. Indra, fell two miles away, unconscious. While unconscious he perceived Lord Surya who would cure his pain if he enshrined the Sun God in temple. After regaining his consciousness Indra remembered the dream and installed the idol of Lord Surya where he lay and established a beautiful temple, said to be designed by Maya the chief architect and came to be called Arasavalli temple.
The idol of the Lord is carved out of black granite and shows the Lord with two lotuses held in both hands. The hood of Adisesha is spread over the idol. On the other side are the figures of Usha, Padmini and Chaya, the three consorts of the Lord. At the base is the figure of Pingala and Danda, his gatekeepers, and there are the divine saints Sanaka and Sananda holding two chamaras in their hands. The God is represented as riding in a chariot drawn by seven horses and driven by Anoora. There is enough historical evidence to show that the temple has existed for a long time.