Draksharamam is among the most frequented pilgrim centres in South India. It is a Shiva Pancharama and one of the 18 Shakti Peethas. It is famous as a Shiva kshetra and a Shakti kshetra. Lord Bheemeswaraswamy and Manikyamba are the presiding deities. This place is also called Dakshina Kashi. An interesting legend is associated with the name of this place and the existence of Lord Shiva here. During Tarakasuravadha, the Shiva Linga that was in the throat of Tarakasura broke into five pieces and one piece fell here. Thus, it was called Draksharamam. After Sati's death, the 12th part of her body, i.e. her left cheek, fell here. This is known as Goddess Manikyamba.
About The Temple
The temple has a two-storied complex and looks like a fort. It has two prakarams. The outer one has four entrances in four different directions with beautifully carved Gopurams. Each entrance is called by the name of one form of the Goddesses i.e. Gogulamma, Nookambika, Moodhambike, Ghattambike. Lord Bheemeswar Swamy is the main deity in the form of a Shiva Lingam that's about nine feet tall. A flight of steps leads one to the upper level of the Sanctum where one can see the upper part of Lord Bheemeswar Swamy. The speciality is that the early morning sunlight falls on the Shiva Lingam, which is a crystal texture. There are black stripes on the upper part. These are said to be the markings of the tiger skin worn by Lord Shiva when He was in disguise of a Hunter when he fought with Arjuna. Manikyamba Devi’s shrine is at the back of the temple on the left. The goddess looks towards the left, signifying her as the Vamachara Devatha. Lord Vishnu's shrine is at the entrance of main temple. He is the Kshetrapalaka of Draksharamam. He is seen with his consort, Lakshmi. There are other small shrines inside the main temple premises. To name a few, there is the, PraakaraBhairavudu, Viroopa, Natarajeshwar, Vaamana, Visheshwara, Dancing Ganapathi, DundhiGanapathi, Goddess Kanakadurga and Goddess Annapurna and Kashi VishweshwaraSwamy temple which faces south and is on the right.
For the Abhisheka, water from Sapta Godavari Kundam is used. Legend has it that the Saptamaharishis divided the Akhanda Godavari River into seven different streams for the sake of their penance. Out of these seven streams one was Draksharamam. The Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinis, were believed to have gone underground. These streams later merged at this pond and was thereafter were called Sapta Godavari Kundam.
About The Deity
The main deity of the temple is in the form of Linga of nine feet height. It is made of a crystal.
Legend and Stories
The legend behind the temple is that the Idol of Lord Shiva present in the form of Siva linga at this temple was laid by the god Surya. This temple was built by angels and stopped incompletely at sunrise. Thus, the perimeter was not completed before sunrise and it still stands incomplete. It is believed that one part of 18 pieces of Dakshayani is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati fell here. Lord Shiva is accompanied by Goddess Parvati as Manikyamba at this temple. Some Purohit of this temple found 108 Shivite temples built around 40 km radius of this temple. A legend of this temple also says that the inner walls of the temple were once filled with diamonds that provided the required light for darshan. But those diamonds were turned in to stones, when Aurangazeb invaded the temple to plunder the diamonds making the inner sanctum dark.
History of The Temple
Archaeologists found that this ancient temple was constructed during 8th Century CE to 11TH Century CE. There is a construction of a five storied Gopuram at the entrance of this temple. There is also a two-stair mandapam. The inner temple known as Garbhalaya resembles the culture of ancient architectural work. There are several Shasanas of Chola and Sathavahanas to Vijayanagra and the Reddy Kingdoms written time to time from centuries on the stone walls of this temple. The scripts of the Shasanas found to be in Dravidian, Tamil, Devanagri and Telugu scripts with the combination of Sanskrit and Telugu languages.
The main festival of the Bhimeswara temple is Maha Shivaratri, on the 28th day of Magha Masam(February/March) every year. Thousands of people visit the temple and worship the lord by fasting and staying awake all night long, reciting the Pamchakshari or reading Shiva Puranas. The most auspicious month is Karthika Masa (October/November). Thousands of devotees light lamps in front of Lord Shiva and Goddess Manikyamba. The other festivals include Vaisakha Pournami, Sravana Purnima, Karthika Purnima, Vasantha Panchami, GowriVratam and SaranNavaratrulu.
The nearest airports are at Rajahmundry and Vijayawada, at about 50 km and 200 km distance respectively. The nearest railway station is at Samarlakota and Kakinada which are at about 50 km and 30 km distance respectively. Draksharamam is at 50 km distance from Rajahmundry. It is well connected by Road route. APSRTC maintaining many buses from various Depos from Kakinada(30 km), Vijayawada(200 km), Vishakapatnam(190 km) etc.
Sri BhimeswaraSwamy Temple
Draksharamam, Ramachandrapuram Mandal,
East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh-533262.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Relief from diseases
- Purchase of vehicles
- Gain Knowledge
Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree
Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.
Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat
Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.
The temple is open from 06:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 03:00 pm to 08:00 pm. But in every month on the day of Masa Shivaratri and in a year on the day of MahaShivaratri temple is opened all the time starting from 6:00am to 8:00pm.