Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kuravpur Pilgrimage - Sreepada Sreevallabha

Shripad Shri Vallabha
Shripad Shri Vallabha is considered as the first avatara (incarnation) of the deity Shri Dattatreya in kaliyuga. As per some of the experts he is supposed to have lived from 1320 AD to 1350 AD. He was born in Pithapuram, a town in Godavari district of state Andhra Pradesh.
ShriVallabha was the third son of Aappalaraja sarma and Sumati. After he left their house for Kashi-yatra (Kashi or Banaras or Varanasi Piligrimage), he stayed most of his life in Kuravpur (Kuravapura).




Life Story
Shripada srivallabha was born to Sri Appalaraja Sarma (of Aapastambha Shakha Brahmin) and Sumathi on Bhadrapada Sudha Chavithi( Ganesh Chaturdi). Going in to his birth secrecy, when Appalaraja Sarma family was preparing for the shraaddha (a yearly ceremony to pay homage to the departed soul), around noon time some Bhikshuk came for bhiksha. Before feeding the invited Brahmins, she fed this brahmin considering him as Dattatreya. Dattatreya became quite happy and offered her a boon. She asked for a son "knowledgeable like you" for which Dattatreya said "yes". She had before two sons, who were blind and lame and several others which did not live long. Dattatreya blessed her by saying that she will have world famous son who will be guru to all. Both husband and wife became happy to hear the blessings and she had Shripada. Shripada finished his studies of Vedas, Shastras etc by the age of Seven and after his "Upanayan" (Munja) he started lecturing on these. When he reached age of 16, his parents thought of getting him married. However, he said that he is married to only one woman "Vairagya-stree" (Vairagya means Dispassion, stree means Woman) and thus he should be called "Shriya-Vallabh". Thus the name "Shripada ShriVallabha". He left their home for Kashi-pilgrimage. Before leaving he made his two elders brothers who were blind and lame, as normal humans and asked them to take care of their parents. He left Pithapuram for Badarikedar towards North. After the pilgrimage, he went to Gokarna Mahabaleshwar in South. After sepnding 3 years at Mahabaleshwar he went to Shri Shaila mountain (Sri Sailam). After staying there for 4 months he finally settled in Kuravpur near Krishna river.

Kuravpur कुरवपूर

Shri Shripad Shrivallabha Dhyaana Sthaan at Kuravpur
Shri Shripad Shrivallabha Dhyaana Sthaan at Kuravpur

Shripadji stayed here most of his life. It appears that this place must have been quite well habitated. The story of Vallabhesh Brahmin shows that the village must have been quite big enough to at least accommodate about 1000 Brahmins. Now (as of 2006AD) the population has reduced and there are lot many fields in between the temple and the village. The village is at one end of the island and the temple is at the other end. There are two, frequently used, routes to reach Kuravapur. One is via Raichur in Karnataka state and another one is via Makthal in Andhra Pradesh state. Either way one has to cross the Krishna river in a small elliptical boat (Putti or Theppa) to reach this island.
Via Raichur: Raichur is about 10 or 12 hours journey from Pune by train. At Raichur one can hire a bus/rickshaw towards ATKUR (40 km). At ATKUR one can hire a Putti to cross the Krishna river and reach Kuravpur. There is also a KSRTC bus service from Raichur bus stand to Atkur, which leaves for Atkur at 7:30 am, 10:30am, 1:30 pm, 4:00pm and 7:00pm. The 13:30PM bus ends at Atkur(village), the other buses end at the bank of Krishna.
Via Makthal: Makthal (Mahaboobnagar district, Andhra Pradesh) is 68 KM from Mahaboobnagar bus station and 168 KM from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Some buses from Hydrabad to Raichur, via Mahaboobnagar, stop at Makthal. Mahaboobnagar is connected by rail route also. One has to hire an auto or taxi (jeep) from Makthal to river bank(ask for Panchdev Pahad or Vithal baba ashram). River bank is 17 KM from Makthal. There are two locations on the river bank where Putti or small boats can be hired. One is Panchdev Pahad and another one is behind Vithal baba ashram (1KM from ashram). Number of boats near Vithal baba ashram are less.
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