Vishnu temple. Being a devotee of Lord Vishnu and having renovated the temple of Lord Jagannatha at Puri, he decided to propagate vaishatvism in the Srikakulam region once again. With the raise of Vaishnavism, the prevalent cult of Virasaivism declined. He was also great lover of art and patron of dance.

Anand Tirtha, the great devotee of Lord Kirshna preached his Vaishnava cult through out his region, even persuading two ministers of kalinga court, Sobhana Bhatta and Syama Sadtry, to become his disciples. They came to be known as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirhta respectively.

Narayana Tirtha became regent after the demise of the Kalinga ruler, Bhanu deva, in 1227 AD. In this capacity, he visited Srikakulam, which was then part of Kalinga Empire.

He stayed there for 11 years propagating the Krishna cult. Jayadeva’s Getthagovindam enriched the local devadasis and Rajannartakis.

One of the disciples of Narahari Bhatta, Gopalakrishna Saraswathi, lived in this region. He composed many songs on the Leela of Lord Krishna as did Lilasuka, composer of Sri Krishna Karnamrita. At this time about the 14th century AD, the worship of Krishna held complete away from the minds of local people and the dancer reelected this feeling of total devotion to the Blue God. Into this prevailing atmosphere of Krishna-Intoxication was born a boy name Siddhappa. He was an orphan.

But the villagers knew him to be a Brahmin. A kind landlord performed his Upanayam (sacred thread ceremony). Later Siddhappa married but hardly remembered his infant bride. She remained in her parent’s home. All he loved and cared for was dance. Dance and dancers were his magnificent obsession.

Narahari Tirtha, who had in his days of retirement, became the head of the Udipi Math, established a branch of it at Srikakulam. Siddhappa would rest here, in a state of trance under the magic spell of the all-nigh performances, which he could not resist; their color, rhythm and spectacle and their spiritual thrust simply filled him with transcendental joy and ecstasy. One night, dreaming of Krishna dancing on him, he woke up crying “Krishna! Krishna! The head of the math hearing his piteous cries was deeply moved. He decided to send this homeless boy to principle Math at Udipi. The twenty years that Siddhappa spent at this Math, studying and subjecting himself to its austere discipline, saw him emerge a profound scholar and dedicated artist;Natya Sastra formed a part of his life. He was beautiful and charming. He could sing like a Gandharva. Every movement of his body showed a “Mudra”. He came to Srikakulam Math as a young scholar and divine dancer. At first, nobody recognized him. He had himself know to all, by the help of the math. Then, they began to recognize him, elders blessed him. His arrival was informed to his father-in-law. They directed young Siddhendra to join his wife, now a beautiful women, who was living with her parent in a village, on the other side of the river Krishna. He sent a word to this father-in-law, that he was coming.

The weather was clean and sunny when he began to swim in the river. But suddenly the sky darkened and the clods gathered menacingly. In the sever thunderstorm that followed he felt entrapped in midstream. He realized that he was face to face with death. In sheer panic he took to Aturasanyasa as old people do in their last movements. He promised Sri Krishna, the Lord of his devotion, that if only he spared his life, he would renounce all worldly ties and take to the life of Sanyasis. The Lord heard his prayers and Siddhappa found himself wafted to other bank of the river where nestled his parents in-law’s village, he found his way to their house where he was greeted enthusiastically.

Before long his bride with the delicacy and freshness of flowers in full boon and decade and bejeweled like a little princess, arrived with grace and dignity, charmed by this vision of loveliness, Siddhappa forgot his promises to the Lord and approached her. No sooner the girl removes her veil to look at him, she shrieked -‘you sanyasa’ and fainting slumped on the floor.

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