ANANTAPUR: A Nandi idol at the Umamaheswara temple in Yaganti in Kurnool is growing. It’s now a full-on tourist attraction. Sources also add that the Kalagnanam by the Saint Pothuluri Veerabrahmendra Swamy claims Yagan-ti Basavanna will come alive and shout when Kali Yuga ends. This too has raised public interest.
The Basavanna idol over the last century has apparently been growing continuously. Locals say the idol, situated next to a pillar, was initially much smaller. Former Pathapadu sarpanch Chandrasekhar Reddy, whose family has been regular devotees for centuries, said, “There was a space to do pradakshinas (rounds) around Basavanna a century ago, but now it has taken up the gap between the stone pillar.”
Experiments on the idol revealed that the rock actually has some properties that makes it grow. Officials from the Archaeological Survey of India have confirmed that the idol increases its size by an inch every 20 years. The department collects data along with the size of the idols every 15 years.
Mines and Geology department assistant director C. Mohan Rao from Elur said that stones grow due to chemical reactions. “The rock has silica substances and iron particles. When a mineral is converted to other granules of Silica, it expands.”
The current size of Basavanna idol is about five feet high and 15 feet wide. It resembles the dimensions of the big Nandi of Lepakshi. Mr Balireddy (65) of Meerapalli observed that there was clear indication in the Kalagnanam of Veerabrahmendra Swamy, who had spent a few years to write the Kalagnanam at Yaganti, about the growth of Nandi.
In fact, this temple was constructed by King Harihara Bukka Raya of the Sangama Dynasty of the Vijayanagara empire in the 15th century.
According to Stala Puranam, the sage Agastya wanted to build a temple for Lord Venkateswara on this site.
However, the statue that was made could not be installed as the toe nail of the idol was broken and there was a certain disfiguration. The sage was upset about the damage and performed a penance for Lord Shiva, who then appeared as Uma Maheswara carved from a single stone.
Another feature of the temple is crows seem to stay away from the Yaganti area.
“Because legend has it that when Agastya was performing his penance, crows often disturbed him forcing him to put a curse on the birds, which stopped them from entering the site,” claimed temple official Sreenivasulu.