(Last Updated on : 25/08/2010)
Kesava temple of Andhra Pradesh is situated at a small town called Ryali. Ryali is located near Rajahmundry in last Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. This town attracts the large number of visitors and the pilgrims for this unique temple.
The Kesava temple of Ryali has a beautiful shrine, which is popularly known as the 'Jaganmohini Keshavaswamy temple'. The temple has a distinguishing feature and its art and architecture are unique. The most attractive point here is the image of the presiding deity. Both the front and the back of the presiding deity are gracefully carved in black stone. The front side of it portrays Keshava or Vishnu, a male and the reverse portion outlines Jaganmohini, a lovely and attractive female figure assumed by Vishnu. This form was taken by Vishnu to deceive the asuras, the strong enemies of the devatas, who wanted to have a taste of the heavenly nectar 'amrita'. This exclusive idol is about two metres high. It was carved skillfully carved to evoke respect and adoration in the minds of the devotees. God Vishnu, who is known here as Keshava is shown with four hands. He is shown holding the usual 'shanka' and 'chakra' in two hands, while in the other two hands he holds the 'gadha' and the 'Mandhara' mountain.
The idol of the Kesava temple of Ryali is of several hundred years old but still it looks very fresh as if the sculptor has just made it through his chisel. One can see the sculptural representations of the ten incarnations of Vishnu (Dasha avatharas) on the front side of the idol. The figure of the river goddess, Ganga Mata can be seen at the feet of the deity, from which drops of holy water trickle at all times of the day.
The back portion of the idol, which displays the lovely female form of Jaganmohini and this figure, displays fine and flowing hair, perfectly combed and knit with flowers. The waist and arms of this female figure is decorated with various jewels. The ornaments can be seen on her legs also. Her body is covered with a sari and the lovely lines and curves of her shapely figure lend additional charm to her grace.