ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Navanarasimhakshetra: On the Pattern of Nine Shrines and Nine Narasimhas of Ahobilam


Debicka-Borek Ewa - Jagiellonian University, Department of Languages and Cultures of India and South Asia, Krakow, Poland


28 – South Asian sacred spots: Nodal Points in Webs of Connections


 Te paper aims at discussing the unique group of nine Narasimhas and their respective shrines that traditionally form a cluster in a Vaishnava center of Narasimha worship in Ahobilam (Andhra Pradesh), the site thus also known in the region as navanarasimhakshetra. Why and how such a concept was conceived in this particular place? Is it a certain common myth, natural surrounding shaped by Nallamalla Hills, or any other idea that joins the nine shrines together? How does the rich symbolism of a digit nine lend to the concept/s behind the group of nine Narasimha shrines? In an attempt to shed some light on these questions, I consult selected chapters of the undated Sanskrit glorification of the site, i.e. Ahobilamahatmya, and other textual sources connected to the site.