– By Dr. A Pranesh
Tripurantakam is situated about 93 kms from Srisailam, on Srisailam – Guntur road and about 150 kms from Vijayawada.
Tripurantakam seems to have existed since Tretayug as it is mentioned in Skanda Purana. There lived two demons (Rakshas) named Tripura and Andhakasura, who were great devotees of Lord Shiva. They were harassing ever one in all the three worlds. Then Indra and other gods prayed Shiva to relieve them from distress. Lord Shiva destroyed the two demons Tripura and Andhakasura and made Tripurantakam his abode. Hence he is called Tripurantakeshwara and his consort Bala Tripurasundari.
Tripurantakeshwara temple is on a hill, where as Devi temple is located downhill. There is no motor able road up the hill but have to climb the steps to reach the Shiva temple.
Tripurantakam is considered to be the eastern gateway to Srisailam. This was developed by Chalukyan kings in 11th century, and is evident in the inscriptions found at the temple.
On either sides of sanctum sanctorum we find the sculptures of Bhadra and Anubhadra carved on the wall. On the northern side of the temple, there is an opening, which is believed to be a tunnel to Srisailam. There is also a temple for Veerabhadreshwara but unfortunately the head of the idol was destroyed by religious fanatics long ago.
Bala Tripurasundari temple is located downhill about 2 kms away from Tripurantakeshwara temple. Devi temple is located amidst a tank and during rainy days, temple is surrounded by water. The sanctum sanctorum of Bala Tripurasundari is slightly under ground and the local priest says that on the back of devi’s idol, Beeja mantra (seed syllable) is engraved. Since public are not allowed in the sanctum, we will have to depend on the words of the priest. The temple also has a Sri Chakra in the Sanctum.
In the temple passage, there are plenty of excavated statues of Goddess Chinnamasta and other yoginis. Local priest and also people offer worship to these idols regularly.