Shriman Nimbachala Mahatmyam (Sthala Puranam)
Shri Nimbachalam is one of the famous hill shrine temples of Lord Shri Laxmi Nrusimha Swamy. This hill shrine is located in Nizamabad District of Andhra Pradesh 5 kilometers away from the temple town of Bheemgal. The main temple cave is situated on the pious, sacred Hillock that shines with golden tower. This Sthalapurana, with the name of Shriman Nimbachala Mahatmyam, is in the “Brahma Vyvarthaka Puranam” which is one amongst the “Ashtadasa Puranas”. According to Sthalapurana this hillock is two yojanas (26 Kmts) away on the south side of Goutami river.This Puranam says that Lord Nrusimha was pleased by the penance of Brahma and Prahlada and upon their prayer he has conceded their wish to stay back on that sacred hill. Shri Nrusimha Swamy, with his consort Shri Mahalaxmi sitting on his left thigh, is accompanied by Naranarayana (Krishna, Arjuna) and Parama Vaishnava Hanuman, Bhagavathothama Garuda and Shri Man Madhwacharya. It is the second temple in India after Badrinath where Swayambhu Naranarayana are worshipped at one place. In order to serve His Holiness, the gods from heaven have taken the shapes of rocks and trees on the hillock. In the early days, this Puranam (sthala Puranam) was told by the great Rishi Sutha to Shounakadi rishis, by Shri Vedavyasa deva to Janamejaya raja, Markandeya to Maharaja Chandragupta, by Vashishtha Mahamuni to Mandhata Maharaja as katha-parampara in detail. The word Nimbachalam is the combination of two Sanskrit words “Nimba” and “Achalam”. “Nimba” literally means “Neem” tree and “Achalam” means "one that does not has movement or life i.e. a hill". As it was covered by Neem trees it got this name.
Nimbachalam – the Tapobhoomi (the abode of Penance and Tapasya)
At the time of wedlock between Shiva and Parvathi, Vidhata Brahma, who performed this ritual happened to see the feet of Parvathi and due to that unholy glance had to loose his Brahma Charya, By this Lord Shiva turned furious and decapitated Brahmas fifth head. In order to get rid off his sinful thought, Brahma performed penance over here. Lord Shiva also performed penance to get rid off the sin of decapitating (Brahma hatya Pataka). With the order of Shri Nrusimha Swamy lord Shiva took the form of “Jodulingalu” (Dual Phallic) on the hill. The king of Kambhoja province Dharmapala took holy dip in the Chintamani lake, which is on the western side of the hill and performed tapasya for thirty thousand years for which he was gifted with the Darshan of Shri Nrusimha Swamy. A Brahmin from Kashi, out of his ignorance, had physical interaction with his daughter for which he did penance for twelve years and got relieved of his sin and attained salvation. At the time of Narasimhavatara, Shri Maha Laxmi could not stand in front of Shri Nruhari because of his furious anger and fuming, raging, stormy roar of Nrusimha. She had to hide in the lotus (Kamalam) for few moments, due to fear, in the pushkarini (or temple pond) for which it is named as ‘Kamala pushkarini’. Prahlada in order to pacify Nrusimha performed tapasya over the hill, which was serene, and with perfect tranquility. Nrusimha Swamy was gratified with his meditation and accepted to stay back on the hill as per the wish of Prahlada.
King of Suras, Devandra, along with his wife Shachi did pooja of Swamy Varu with ‘suvarna pushpalu’ and ‘santhana pushpalu’ With the order of Vashishtha, Raja Harischandra did penance over here to get rid of non righteous act of selling his wife and got relieved of his wrong doing. In Tretha yuga, Shri Rama along with his consort Sita and brother Laxmana visited this temple shrine on his way to South India (Dakshinapatha). With the orders of Shri Rama, Hanuman performed tapasya and with the command of Shri Varu he stayed back at the bottom of the hill towards west. With the direction of Brahma, Yamadharma raja performed tapasya at the hill and with the orders of Shri Swamy Varu stayed back in the form of ‘Bilwa Vruksham’ or ‘Pathri Vruksham’ because of which in this temple ‘pathri leaves’ are offered to Shri Swamy Varu which is unique through out the world as nowhere pathri leaves are offered to Lord Vishnu. The two river goddesses ‘Chintamani’ and ‘Viraja’, with the order of Shri Maha Vishnu took the shape of lake and river respectively. Chintamani Lake is at the foot of the hill towards west. Viraja river flows seven kilo meters (7 Kmts) away from the hill shrine. This river is 2 Kmts away from Bheemgal towards south, flowing from east to west.
Once when Bhrugu Maharshi visited Kailasam, he was stopped by Nandi at the entrance due to which Bhrugu got enraged and cursed Nandi to become an animal for his misbehavior. Nandi, in turn approached Lord Shiva who has asked him to do penance at the bank of a lake situated in Bheemgal, which later on has come to known as‘Nandi Tataka’ After the end of Krishna Avatar, Yudhistira and Arjuna were in grief. Krishna appears in front of Yudhistira and says “Dharmaja! I am not disappearing from this mortal world. I along with Arjuna (with “Amsha Bheda”) in the form of Naranarayana will be at Badrinath and Nimbachalam. You go to those places and worship me”. Saying thus Lord Krishna disappeared. The Almighty is being worshipped by scores of devotees every day.