The temple’s history dates back to 2nd Century AD, though the presiding deity is believed to be self-manifest (swayambhu). Situated on the National Highway-4 and 35 km away from Chittoor, the Moghili temple draws huge crowds on Saturday and Monday from all over the southern States.
According to sthala puranas, Lord Shiva had put a test to Brahma and Vishnu to end their egos. Both had failed to detect the beginning and end of Shiva Linga. While Vishnu accepted his defeat, Brahma brought ‘Moghili flower’ to give a false account that he had detected the two mighty expanses.
Enraged at the flower, Shiva pronounced a curse that it would be unfit for doing pujas. When the Moghili flower sought mercy of the Lord, Shiva pardoned it, saying that the flower could be used only for rendering pujas to him. While the Lord was covered among Moghili flowers, a local hunter Mogilappa hit the Shiva Linga with a crowbar thinking that it was a stone. Realizing his mistake, the hunter turned an ardent devotee of the Lord and obtained ‘kaivalyam’ (merger) with the Lord.
Built by merchants
Around first and second centuries AD, pepper merchants moving southward detected the Shiva Linga in the forest location and built a temple, which grew into prominence gradually. In the late 10th century, the Chola kings renovated the temple.
Since then, the temple witnessed patronage of various kings, including the Vijayanagara dynasty, and later came into the fold of zamindars of Bangarupalem. At present, the temple is under the control of AP Endowments Department, and still enjoying the patronage of the present heir of erstwhile Bangarupalem zamindars.
‘Hari Hara Kshetram’
Temple chief priest Gangadhar Gurukul told The Hindu that the Moghili temple is famous as ‘Hari Hara Kshetram’.
“This is the only place where one could see the presence of both Shiva and Lord Krishna on the same premises. It is a proven phenomenon that women with no children could conceive if they perform bath at the temple tank and offer prayers to the Lord. Thousands of women devotees perform the rituals here, coming from all over India. The temple is also known for curative powers for those afflicted with leprosy and various ailments,” he said.
Hundreds of devotees throng the temple during Karthika month to worship the Lord.
“Though the temple is becoming famous, there are no proper facilities for the devotees. Till now, the temple witnessed development only through donations. We immediately require rest rooms for devotees to make night stays, particularly for pilgrims coming with family members.
Though it is under the State government, we have to depend mostly on erstwhile Bangarupalem zamindars’ descendants to carry out festivals. As the temple is situated on the Chittoor-Bengaluru national highway, there is immense potential to develop the temple on the lines of Srikalahasti,” the Gurukul said.