Mantralayam is a pilgrim village located in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River on the border with neighbouring Karnataka state. The village is known for the brindavan of Raghavendra Swami, a saint who lived in 17th Century and who entered into a samadhi alive in front of his disciples. Thousands of people visit the Raghavendra Matha and temples which are located on the banks of Tungabhadra River.
Mantralayam is known for Sri Guru Raghavendra Swami, a saint who entered into a samadhi alive in front of his disciples in 17th Century. He was a Madhwa saint who is considered to be a reincarnation of Prahlada (A daitya king who was saved by Lord Vishnu’s Narasimha avatar)
Raghavendra was born as Venkatanatha in the town of Bhuvanagiri, Tamil Nadu into a Deshastha Madhva Brahmin family of musicians and scholars. His great-grandfather Krishnabhattar was a tutor to Vijayanagara king Krishnadeva Raya and his father Timmanacharya was an accomplished scholar and musician. After the fall of Vijayanagara empire, Timmanacharya migrated to Kanchi with his wife Gopikamba. Venkatanatha had two siblings: Gururaja and Venkatamba. Venkatanatha’s education was undertaken by his brother-in-law Lakshminarasimhacharya at Madurai, after the early demise of his father, and he was subsequently married.
According to Raghavendra Vijaya, his triumph in debates at Thanjavur attracted the attention of Sudhindra Tirtha, the erstwhile pontiff of Kumbakonam mutt. Though initially uncertain about the prospect of renunciation, Venkatanatha relented to Sudhindra’s demands and was ordained as a monk in 1621. After the death of Sudhindra Tirtha in 1623, Venkatanatha succeeded him as the pontiff the mutt and took on the name Raghavendra Tirtha. He undertook a pilgrimage visiting places including Udupi, Kolhapur and Bijapur. He received grants from Dodda Kempadevaraja and settled down in the village of Mantralayam, which was presented to him by the Governor of Adoni. He died in 1671 and his mortal remains are enshrined in Mantralayam. Traditional accounts report that Raghavendra asked his tomb (Brindavana) to be built around him as he entered into a state of samadhi. He was succeeded by his disciple Yogeendra Tirtha. In 1801, while serving as the Collector of Bellary, Thomas Munro is believed to have come across an apparition of Raghavendra.