Ahobilam or Ahobalam is a major center of pilgrimage in south India. According to the legend, this is where Lord Narasimha blessed Prahlada and killed the demon Hiranyakashipa. It is an important place of worship for Vaishnavas. It is one of the 108 Divya desam.
Ahobilam is located in the Nandyal Taluka of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located at a distance of 40 km from Nandyal, and is conveniently accessibly by bus from Nandyal, Kurnool and Hyderabad. Ahobilam is not connected by rail; the closest railway stations are Nandyal (on the Bangalore-Vizag(Vishakapatnam) route) and Cuddapah (on the Mumbai-Chennai route).
There are nine temples around the Nellimala Forest range. Few temples can be reached through trekking. Some temples are inside the cave. Some temples are very difficult to trek. However, this is disputed by other historical data, which indicates that Multan in Pakistan was formerly Mulastan, which used to have a large Narasimha worshipping Vaishnava community. The temples were later destroyed by Islamic invaders, and the residents killed or forcibly converted to Islam. The holy shrines of Ahobilam (all the Nava are Nine Nrusimhars) are eulogized by Thirumangai Mannan. Hence Ahobilam is one of the 106 Divya Desams. The hereditary powers of the temple rest with the Pontiff HH Azhagiyasingar of Ahobila Mutt. Currently the 45th Jeer of this lineage is the reigning Pontiff . The Azhagiyasingars have the unique privilege of being Aradhakars to a Divya Desam (a distinction no other Pontiff enjoys). Occasionally when HH Jeer performs Mangalasasanam (pays respects at the temple) at Ahobilam, the Serthi Utsavam is performed (the Moolavar of Malola Nrusimhar and the Utsavar) are united. This place was visited by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and it is located in remote place far away from main roads. The Nellimala hills are personified as Adisesha with his head at Tirumala, middle at Ahobilam and the tail at Srisailam.
According to legend it is believed that when the Devas saw the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as half lion half man they shouted "Ahobala" (great strength) as well as "Ahobila" (great cave in which the current sanctum is). Hence this place could be called "Ahobalam" or "Ahobilam". Another Legend talks about that Lord Garuda did penance to see Lord Vishnu in Lord Narasimha form. Hence, Lord Narasimha took nine different forms in this hill. Lord Narasimha in nine forms are
1. Varaha Narasimhar
2. Malola Narasimhar
3. Yogananda Narasimhar
4. Pavana Narasimhar
5. Karaancha Narasimhar
6. Chakra Vada Narasimhar
7. Bhargava Narasimhar
8. Jwala Narasimhar
9. Ahobila Narasimhar
Legend also states that Goddess Mahalakshmi was took birth as a tribe named ChenchuLakshmi and married Lord Narasimha after the death of Hiranyakashpu.
The Lord Narasimha is a vara prasaddhi (boon giver). He is the Lord who had taken a special LionMan form in order to save his devotee. He is there in different form as Ugra Murthi, Shanta Murthy, Yoga Murthy and Kalyana Murthy with his consort Sri Mahalakshmi.
Narasimha Jayanthi will be celebrated with pomp and glory. The annual festival is during the Tamil month of Maasi. The local tribals celebrate the marriage of Goddess Mahalakshmi as ChenchuLakshmi and Lord Narasimha.