Dharmapuri is a small town, which is famous for the temple of Lord Sri Laxmi Narasimha Swami. The town is situated on the southern bank of River Godavari near the town of Karimnagar. Dharmapuri is considered to be one of the oldest villages of Andhra Pradesh famous for an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu where the Lord takes the form of Narasimha Swami.
Though the place is not very popular but the temples the artifacts, the epigraphs indicate that this tiny village has been a busy centre and had a lot of importance culturally and religiously from Vedic times. Many people say that this place is called as Dakshina kasi, but actually it is called as 'Dakshina Vahini' as the river flows from North to South. "Kumbh Mela", the great confluence of holy waters is performed here.
While you are on the visit to this temple, don't forget to go around for some equally prominent and ancient temple near Dharmapuri. There is a Rama Lingeshwara Temple, which has a history that Lord Rama visited this place and installed the idol of Lord Shiva. He worshipped the idol (Shiva Linga made of sandstone) as long as He stayed in that place. This temple was ignored for certain period of time but now the idol is worshipped with all the necessary rituals.
A few metres away, there is another temple of Lord Narasimha, manifested as Nutana Narasimha Swami. The temple boasts of a history that some Brahmin (priest) from a nearby village found the idol of this Lord in the cave and consecrated it there. This temple is said to be powerful and draws number of pilgrims every year.
Another temple is that of Gomateshwara (Shiva temple) where the idol is said to be consecrated by Gowtama Rishi at the time when he brought the river Godavari to this place. There are other two, rather latest origin temples, one dedicated to Lord Dattatreya and another to Lord Rama, on the banks of Godavari. These temples do not find a mention in the puranas. The Kalyanotsavam festival of the Lord is celebrated in the Phalguna month (starts in the month of February-March) which is attended by most of the pilgrims.
There are many legends associated with this place. This holy place with its presiding deity "Santa Narasimha Swami" is mentioned in the Brahmananda Purana. Yet another un-published palm leaf manuscript written in Sanskrit with the title "Dharmapuri Kshetra Mahatmyam" describes the Puranic story and the greatness of this place and the Lord in great detail.
Another legend has it that the Great King Bali (Bali Chakravarthy) performed the Dharma Devta Yagna in this place. King Bali made the people of his region take a vow that they will follow Dharma and live according to the right dharma of life. Hence this village is called as Dharmapuri.
The Kurkiyala inscription of Jinavallagha dated to A.D.945 mentions this village as Dharmavura or Dharamapuramu; gifted by King Arikesari II to his court-poet Pampa as an agrahara for his great work Vikramarjuna Vijaya.