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Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple At Ryali In Andhra Pradesh – Associated With Shiva And Mohini Avatar of Vishnu

The Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple, located in Ryali, Andhra Pradesh, stands opposite the renowned Mohini Avatar Temple of Vishnu. This temple is dedicated to a Shivalinga, a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva, which holds a profound mythological significance.

Mythological Significance

According to legend, the Shivalinga in the Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple was installed by Lord Brahma to commemorate a fascinating episode where Lord Shiva became enamored by the enchanting beauty of Vishnu's Mohini avatar. After installing the Shivalinga, Lord Brahma performed an abhisheka (ritualistic bathing) with water from his kamandalu (water pot), thus conferring the name Kamandaleshwara upon the deity.

The Story Behind Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple

The narrative begins with Lord Shiva hearing tales of the captivating form of Mohini, an incarnation of Vishnu. Intrigued by the descriptions, Shiva, accompanied by his consort Bhavani (Parvati), approached Vishnu with a request to witness this beguiling form. Vishnu, ever merciful, agreed and manifested as Mohini.

In a nearby forest, Shiva beheld a stunningly beautiful woman playing with a ball. A sudden breeze caused Mohini's attire to flutter, revealing her ethereal beauty, which left Shiva spellbound. Her large, expressive eyes, radiant earrings reflecting on her cheeks, and the untamed elegance of her hair framed a visage of unparalleled allure.

Mohini wore a gleaming saree and a delicate belt around her hips, and her soft feet moved gracefully as she played. As she glanced at Shiva and smiled bashfully, Shiva became completely captivated, forgetting his surroundings, his wife Uma, and his divine responsibilities. Mistaking Mohini's playful glances as signs of mutual attraction, Shiva's desire to be near her grew irresistibly.

Driven by intense longing, Shiva pursued Mohini even in Bhavani's presence. As he neared her, Mohini began to tease and evade him, darting behind trees and bushes with a playful smile. Despite his divine composure, Shiva's senses were overwhelmed, and he chased Mohini like an elephant pursuing a mate.

After a persistent chase, Shiva managed to grasp Mohini by her braid. However, Mohini deftly slipped from his grasp and continued to flee. Unrelenting, Shiva resumed his pursuit, consumed by his desires.

The Legacy of Devotion

The installation of the Shivalinga by Brahma at Ryali is a tribute to this divine play. The temple stands as a testament to the intricate interplay of attraction and divinity, showcasing the profound impact of Vishnu's Mohini avatar on Lord Shiva. Devotees flock to the Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple to worship the Shivalinga, seeking blessings and experiencing a piece of the mystical lila (divine play) that once captivated the gods.

The Uma Kamandaleshwara Temple, with its rich mythological backdrop and spiritual significance, remains a revered site, drawing pilgrims and visitors who wish to connect with this unique aspect of Hindu mythology.