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Important Religious Centres in A.P and Telangana
by Vanaja Teegavarapu Bookmark and Share

God is unique, is omni-potent and omni-present, is power. God had manifested himself into different forms for the benefit of the innocent, ignorant people of mankind. We wish to explain the significance of the manifestations in different places.

One of the significant and important manifestation of Lord Vishnu is Lord Narasimha, which is in the form of half man, half lion with human like torso and lower body, face like lion and hands with claws. The four sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanathkumara, Sanath Sujata, are mind-born creations of Lord Brahma, who are brahmacharies, chiranjeevis. They wander throughout the materialistic and spiritualistic universe by performing “Harinama Smarana”. During one of the sojourns, they arrived at Vaikuntha (abode of Lord Vishnu) and were obstructed by Jaya and Vijaya [the dwara palakas (gate keepers)] at the 7th gate (innermost gate). Sages were so angry that they cursed the gate keepers to be born on earth, thrice, as demons. Lord Vishnu assured the gate keepers that they would be born on earth as demons and they would be released by different incarnations of Lord Vishnu by killing them, return them to Vaikuntha. Later they born to sage Kasyapa and his wife Diti as Hiranyaaksha, Hiranyakasipa. Hiranyaksha was killed by Varaha (Lord Vishnu’s incarnation). As Hiranyakasipa was blessed by Lord Brahma that he should not be killed by humans, animals, birds, either in the morning or in the night, either on the land or on the space, either with steel or wood, either indoors or outdoors. On the request of his son Prahlada, Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Lord Narasimha, killed Hiranya Kasipa during twilight hour by putting the body of the demon on thighs, and sitting on the entrance of the court room, opening the stomach by piercing his claws into the body. Lord Narasimha remained on earth by Prahlada’s prayers.

Narasimha Swamy temples:

Simhachalam: Simhachalam is called “Hill of Lion”. (simha means lion, achala means hill), It is near Vishakhapatnam in present Andhra Pradesh Its presiding deity is Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha combining the features of Varaha and Narasimha. As the idol is ferocious, it is covered with sandalwood (chandanam) to look like Shivalinga and once in year the sandalpaste is removed (chandana visarjana). Pilgrims visit the temple mostly on that day. The temple was built by Kalinga kings, which has orissan and chalukyan features.

Antarvedi: Lord Lakshmi Narasimha swamy installed himself in this place on the request of sage Vaashishta in East Godavari district of present Andhra Pradesh. The temple is situated on the banks of Godavari, hence the river name is Vaashishta Godavari and it is called second Varanasi. This place is the confluence of river Godavari and Bay of Bengal. The temple was built in 18th century.

Vedadri: The temple is situated on the banks of river Krishna near Vijayawada in present Andhra Pradesh. According to “Brahmanda Purana”, demon Somakasura, (demon of yore: past), stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma, and hid himself in the ocean. Lord Vishnu installed himself as Panchamurty (Panchamurthys are Jwala, Saligrama, veera, Yogananda, Lakshmi Narasimha) on Saligrama mountains (saligrama mountains are the the forms of the Vedas) after killing the demon in the incarnation of “Matyavatara”and brought back the Vedas. After killing the demon king Hiranya kasipa, Lord Vishnu was installed as Jwala Narasimha on “Vedashikara”of Saligrama mountains.

Mangalagiri: Lord Vishnu was manifested on Mangalagiri (mangala means auspicious, giri means hill), as Lord Narasimha near Vijayawada. As legend says after killing Demon King Hiranya Kasipa, Lord Narasimha killed Demon Namuchi (he was blessed by Lord Brahma with boon that he should not be killed by either humans or animals or any other forms) and settled on this hill. Lord here declared that he would be satisfied with ghee in Trete yuga, with milk in Dwapara yuga, with jaggery water (panakam in telugu) in Kali yuga. Hence Lord is Called Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. The speciality of the temple is, only mouth is visible as no idol existed (God is self-existent here). God is offered jaggery water (prasadam) only and when this is actually poured into mouth the gargling sound is audible and half the vessel (small or big) is finished, sound is stopped, remaining water is thrown out. This peculiar phenomena occurs recurringly during the course of the day. This is the significance if this temple.

Ahobilam: This place is in the midst of Nallamala hills in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. This place is mentioned in Brahmanda Purana, and Lord Vishnu manifested as Lord Narasimha in Ahobila (cave). Hence the name Ahobilam. This is place where Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narasimha from the stone pillar. The Nallamala hills are personified as Adisesha with his head in Tirumala, middle in Ahobilam, and the tail at Srisailam.

Yadagirigutta: In Treta yuga, Sage Yadarishi (son of Sage Rishyasringa and satya devi) performed penance in the cave on a hill (hill means gutta in telugu) near Hyderabad in present Telagana state and presently named Yadaadri. Pleased with the penance,Lord Vishnu appeared in five forms (Jwala, Yogananda, Gandabherunda, Ugra, Lakshmi) of Lord Narasimha, Later all the forms manifested into single form as Lord Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. Hence the place is called “YADAGIRIGUTTA”. The garbhagruha of Lord is in a cave, under the huge slating rock which covers half the abode. Here the Lord is famous as “Vaidya Narasimha” because Lord has taken role as doctor.

Lord Shiva temples:

Srimukhalingam: Srimukhalingam is place in the Andhra Pradesh and is in border of Orissa. Lord Shiva temple was built in 11th century by Eastern Ganga Kings, which is on the banks of river Vamshadhara and the deity is called Srimukhalingeshwara. Here the deity is not in the form of Shivalinga, and It is in the form of fossil of the trunk of Mahua tree with naturally carved face. The temple was built in odissan style (Indo-Aryan). The temples here are fantastic and remained in its pristine glory even today. Architechtural style of these temples is same as that of Lingaraj temple in Bhuvaneshwar (Orissa) built in 17th century by the sculptures, who were supposed to be the succeeding generations of the sculptors of Srimukhalinga temple.

Kanakadurga temple: After killing the demon Mahishasura, on the request of sage Indrakeela, Goddess Durga manifested herself as swayambhu on the Indrakeela mountains (sage Indrakeela performed penance on these mountains). Hence the mountain is named as Indrakeeladri, which is on the banks of river Krishna in Vijayawada in A. P. According to the legend, Goddess Durga turned to golden colour when she was killing the demon Durgama. Hence the name Kanaka Durga (kanaka means gold). Another legend says that Arjuna, third one of the Pandavas, named “Vijaya” by Lord Shiva after Arjuna was blessed by Pashupatastra after performing penance on Indrakeeladri mountains. Hence the place is named as Vijayawada. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as Lord Malleshwara Swamy after Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Shiva with Jasmine (mallelu in telugu) flowers.

Srisailam: Srisailam is a place in Kurnool in A. P, where one of the 12 Jyothirlingas, Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramarambika, one of 18 maha Shaktipeethas situated. It is one of the 275 paadal petra stalams [name of temples (stalams) that were sung (paadal) in the verses]. Paadal petra stalams are 275 temples that are revered in the verses of “SHAIVA NAYANARS” in 6th to 10th century A. D and are among the greatest shiva temples of the continent and Srisailam is called “THIRUPPARUPATTAM” (Andhra Pradesh). Some important paadal kshetrams are Gokarnam (Kar), Indraneelaparvatam (Nepal), Anekatangavadam (Gourikund: base camp for Kedarnath),Tirukkedaram (Kedarnath),Thirukkayilaayam (Mount Kailash). According to Shivapurana, Lord Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar “The Jyothirlinga”, when an argument of ‘supremacy of creation’ arose between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu. The Jyothirlinga is supreme reality in which lingam represents beginningless and endless, stambham symbolizes the infinite nature of Lord Shiva.

Kaleswaram: It is located exactly at the merging point of river Godavari and its tributary Pranahita in Bhupalapally district in Telangana state. Hence it is called Dakshina Gangotri. Here the deity is Lord Shiva (two Shiva lingas were found on single pedestial, one is named Lord Shiva and another one is named Lord Yama) and is called Lord Kaleshwara-Mukteshwara Swamy. It is one of the three Lord Shiva temples mentioned in Trilinga Desam.

Vemulavada: Here Lord Shiva manifested as Lord Raja Rajeswara Swamy in the form of “Neela Lohita Shiva Lingam” and his consort is Goddess Sri Raja Rajeswari. This shrine is one of the ancient temples, which is popularly known as Dakshina Kasi (Lord Shiva wanted to reside in Vemulawada after Kasi, Kedaram, Chindambaram in Tamilnadu Srisailam), and is also called ‘HariHara Kshetram’. Shri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy is Kshetrapalaka here. According to the Bhavishyothara Purana Surya Bhagavan (sun-god) recovered from the disability by praying at this shrine. Hence the temple is called “Bhaskra Kshetram”. Lord Indra purified himself from ‘Brahmahatya Dosham’ by worshipping Lord Raja Rajeshwara here. This town is in Karimnagar district of A. P.

Srikalahasti: The temple is located on the banks of river Swarnamukhi in Chittur district of A. P near to Tirupati, and is one of the ancient temples for Lord Shiva in South India. Here the Shivalinga is white and swayambhu. It is Popularly known as ‘Dakshina Kailasam’ and is called ‘Vayu Linga’, which is one of the “Panchabhuta Lingas”. [Panchabhuta lingas are Prudhvi (earth) lingam in Kanchi (Tamilnadu), Vayu (air) lingam in Srikalahasti, Jala (water) lingam in Jambukeshwara (Tamilnadu), Aakasa (sky) lingam in Chindambaram (Tamilnadu), Agni (fire) lingam in Arunachalam in Tamilnadu). This was originally built by Pallavas and later by chalukyas, Vijayanagara kings. Here Lord Shiva was worshipped by three staunch devotees, Sri (spider), Kala (snake), Hasti (elephant) with severe bhakti and devotion, they were blessed with moksha. Hence Lord is named as Sri Kalahasteeswara. His consort Goddess Parvati is called as Goddess Jnana Prasunambica Devi.

Pancharama kshetras: After demon Tarakasura was blessed by ‘Atmalinga’ of Lord Shiva and the boon “not to be killed by anybody other than Lord Shiva’s son” by Lord Brahma, Lord Kumaraswamy (son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati) broke the Shivalinga into five pieces which fell on the five places called Amararamam, Draksharamam, Somaramam, Bhimaramam, Kumararamam and the temples were built on them. Locals believe that one should visit all pancharamams in a single day. These Kshetras are all in present A. P.

Lord Vishnu temples:

Bhadrachalam: The place is called Bhadragiri or Bhadrachalam (giri means hill) in border of Telangana and A. P border, which is named after sage Bhadra [son of mountain king Meru and Menaka (apsara)], and is encircled by Goutami, tributary of Godavari. According to Ramayana, Lord Rama with his consort Sita Devi and his brother Lakshmana stayed (14 years of exile) on this mountain near ‘Parnasala’ in Dandakaranya. Sage Badra being a staunch Ramabhakta requested Lord Rama to stay on his head forever. But Lord Rama could not stay, as Sita Devi was kidnapped by Demon King Ravana. Lord Rama went in search of her, saved her by killing king Ravana and went back to ‘Ayodhya’ by “Pushpaka Vimana”. Not knowing Lord’s return, Sage Bhadra was performing severe penance through the yugas. Thus lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Vaikuntha Rama (for Bhadra, only Lord Rama was god, he knows only Lord Rama, Sita Devi, Lakshmana), rushed to Bhadra with Sita Devi and Lakshmana, signaling his arrival by blowing shanku. Thus the idols of Lord Rama with four hands [shanku on right, chakra on left, dhanurbana (bow and arrow) in remaining two hands], Sita Devi sitting on the left lap of Lord Rama and on the left side Lakshmana were installed. Hanuman’s idol was installed outside the temple complex.

In the 17th century these idols were found by an old lady named Dammakka. Kancharla Gopanna [who is also called Bhakta Ramadas (dasu in telugu means servant, Ramadasu means Rama’s servant) who was also vaggeyakara, had built the temple when he was thahsildar of that region: which was under the ruler Nizam Taneshah. He was imprisioned by Nizam, as Gopanna used govt’s money to complete the temple without taking the permission from Nizam. Then Lord Rama with Lakshmana repaid 6 lakh mohurs [those mohurs were called ‘Rama Mada’ (mada in telugu means coin) which were supposed to be the currency when Lord Rama was ruling in Treta yuga] and Nizam released Gopanna. The important utsavams in Bhadrachalam are Vykunta Ekadasi and Srirama Navami started by Bhakta Ramdas. Origanally Srirama Navami is celebrated as birthday of Lord Rama in Indian subcontinent. Here in Bhadrachalam, Ramdas started to celebrate Sitarama kalyanam on Srirama Navami (origanally Rama’s marriage was celebrated on the day which was 14 days earlier to Srirama Navami). After the darshan of Lord Rama, Nawab Tanesha started believing the Lord and proclaimed that he and his successors would continue to implement the tradition of offering the ‘pattu vastram, talambralu’ (yellow rice) and pearls (Hyd is and was famous for the pearls) on ‘Srirama Navami’, and state govt is implementing the tradition even now.

Tirupati: Tirupati is in Chittur district of A. P and near to Chennai. Tirumala hills cosists of 7 hills, which represents 7 heads of Adi Sesha. Main temple is on Venkatadri hills. After killing the The demon Hiranyaksha in the manifestation of Varaha, Bhu Devi: the presiding deity: requested Lord Varaha Swamy to stay on Venkatachalam, hence lord here is called Lord Venkateswara (ven means sin, kata means destruction, eswara means god). As Sri Laxmi Devi, consort of Lord Vishnu, left Vaikuntha (the abode of Lord Vishnu) on being angry with Lord who was hit on the chest by sage Brighu (had an eye in the foot), Lord also left Vaikunta in search of Laxmi Devi and reached Thirumala hills (Venkatachalam) and stayed there as Srinivasa with the permission of Lord Varaha Swamy. There Srinivas met old lady Vakula Devi (Yashoda Devi in Dwapara Yuga, who did not have previlage of enjoying the Lord Krishna’s mariaige) arranged Srinivas marriage (Yashoda Devi’s wish to be fulfilled in this incarnation of Kali Yuga) with Padmavati, daughter of Aaakasha Raja. After the marraige Lord transformed into idol and is called as Lord Venkateshwara (this incarnation was not mentioned in any puranas). Lord stays here with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi till the end of Kali Yuga. Nagalapuram is a place near Tirupati. Here Lord Vishnu in his ‘Matsyavatara’ (saved Vedas from Somakasura), installed himself as Lord Vedanarayana Swamy.

Dwaraka Thirumala: Here Lord Venkateswara was swayambhu, his feet were in the ant hill ‘valmikam’ and was installed on Seshachalam hills. According to the legend sage Dwaraka unearthed the deity from valmikam, hence the name ‘Dwaraka Tirumala’. In Treta Yuga King Aja, grandfather of Lord Rama worshipped the Lord in this place. The historical fact Is 400 years back another idol (taller than swayambhu) was brought from Tirupati, which was installed on the back of swayambhu and pratishta was performed according to Aagamashashtra. Locals believe that Lord here is the brother of Lord at Tirumala. The place is popularly known as (chinna: chinna in telugu means small: Thirupathi).

Sri Kurmam: The temple is in Srikaakulam district and dedicated to Sri Kurmanatha which is second avatara of Lord Vishnu. The moolasthanam is considered as large Saligrama (black coloured fossil). The image is fossil of an big turtle and the head of the deity is Kurma (tortoise) form, which is represented by Vishnunamam, tail is represented by saligrama, presented by Adi Shankaracharya, The unique feature of this temple is that it has 4 dwajastambhas, one at front and one at back as Lord faces the back of the temple. The temple constructed in Orissan style.

Ryali: Ryali is is East Godavari district in A. P. Here the idol is called Lord Jaganmohini Kesawaswamy, which is 5ft in height. The front side of idol is Lord Vishnu and back side is Jaganmohini in female attire, which is carved in single blackstone (salagrama ekasila). The idol was sculpted with representations of dasavataram and Goddess Ganga was sculpted between feet of the idol, where water trickles down 24 hours. According to the legend Lord Vishnu incarnated as Mohini (female) to distribute ‘Amrutam’: the elixir of life: to suras and asuras and another legend says that Mohini killed the demon Bhasmasura. Here Lord Shiva is swayambhu and is called Lord Uma Kamandaleswara Swamy, the temple was built exactly in front of Jaganmohini temple.

Annavararam: Annavaram is in East Godavari district of A. P. The temple was built on the Ratnagiri mountains adjoining Pampa river, where Lord Vishnu was incarted as Lord Satya Deva (Lord Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy). According to the Sthalapurana, sage Ratna [son of Meru (mountain) and Menaka, brother of sage Bhadra) performed severe penance to have Lord Vishnu to reside on his head permanently as Lord Satya deva. Here Lord blessed the devotees with anina (wanted) varam (boon). Hence the place is called Annavaram. Here the temple is based on the shilpashastra, which reminds Prakriti –Universe. The front side of the temple was constructed in the form of chariot with four wheels at each of the four corners, The Meru on the floor with the pillar at the centre and wheels depicting the sun and the moon, reminds the Juggernaut moves on the wheels of the time forever. The idol is 13ft high in the cylindrical form, the base being in the lower sanctorium representing Lord Brahma (the feet of the idol), top of the idol is in the upper sanctorium and represents Lord Vishnu, the middle portion represents Lord Shiva (the base of the upper sanctorium). The idol of Lord representing ‘TRIMURTHI’ is a unique attraction here (Lord Brahma denied worship everywhere). Here Lord is prayed by this sloka,

MULATO BRAHMA RUPAYA, MADYATASCHA VISHNU ROOPINE
AGATHA SHIVA RUPAYA, TRAIKARUPAAYATE NAMAH.


Tulasi plant is also represented by sloka. Here Lord Shiva’s idol was also installed according to the belief that Shiva and Vishnu are one and same. The temple has two floors, ground floor contains yantra (the feet of the Lord). In the first floor the moola virat (Lord Satyanarayana Swamy) is in the centre, idol of the Anantha Lakshmi is on the right, Lord Shiva is on left. Here the most important utsavam is Satyanarayana vratam (mentioned in Skanda purana, Revakande). Here Lord Rama is Kshetrapalaka.

Shaktipeethas:

Pithapuram: Pithapuram is in East Godavari district in A. P. This is one of 18 maha shaktipeethas, Goddess is called Puruhutika Devi, Her consort is Lord Kukuteswara. According to the legend, Lord Indra was cursed by Gautama Maharshi for his infidelity. He regained from the curse by performing penance to Goddess Parvathi. Here Sati Devi’s left hand, peetham had fallen, hence the name Peethapuram. Later on it changes Pithapuram. This temple was established by Lord Indra, worshipped by Lord Rama in Treta yuga, Kunthi and Pandavas in Dwapara yuga. Sripada Srivallabha (Lord Dattatreya) was born here.

Draksharamam: Draksharamam is in East Godavari district of A. P. Here Sati Devi’s left cheek had fallen. Here Goddess is Manikyamba Devi who is one of 18 Mahashsktipeethas. Her consort is Lord Bheemeswara.

Srisailam: Here Sati Devi’s neck had fallen. Goddess Bramarambika here is one of 18 Mahashaktipeethas. Her consort is Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy.

Alampur: Alampur is in Gadwal district of Telangana state. Here Sati Devi’s upper teeth had fallen. Here Goddess is Jogulamba who is one of the 18 Mahashakthipeethas. Her consort is Lord Bala Brahmeshwara. Navabrahmas were installed here.

Bhasara: Bhasara is in Nirmal district of Telamgana state. Goddess Gnana Saraswati Devi was installed by Maharshi Veda Vyas, when he with his desciples and sage Vishwamitra were in search of peaceful abode after Mahabharata war, selected this place in Dandakaranya. This place was called Vasara (place to live). Later on the name changed to Bhasara. The place is given prominence of shaktipeetham for Saraswati Devi as Sarasawati shaktipeetham is unavailable to Indians (temple is in Azad Kashmir). The temple is important for ‘AKSHARABHYASAM’.

Sun Temple;

Arasavilli: Arasavilli is in Srikakulam district in A. P. Here the temple for Lord Surya was built by Kalinga rulers in 7th century A. D. It was built in Orissan style, and it is built in such a way that sunrays fall on the feet of God twice a year in the months of feb and jun during the early of the day. Here Sun-God is depicted as riding in a chariot drawn by seven horses. Here Sun-God believes to cure skin deseases.

Jain Temple;

Kolanpak: It is near Yaadaadri. The place is famous for Jain mandir, which flourished in Rashtrakuta period and many Jain inscriptions, artifacts were found. Jain activity was re-established in early 18th century after the downfall in 13th century. Here the idols of first thirthankara Lord Rishabhadeva, Lord Namitha and last thirthankara Lord Mahaveera were installed. The idol of Lord Rishabhadeva was carved from single piece of Jade. Recently the temple had been renovated keeping the old temple at back. Here one shivalinga with thousand small shivalingas carved on it was installed.

Buddist Places:

Amaravati: Present capital of A. P and is near to Vijayawada. This place was built under the reign of Emperer Ashoka. This place (Dharanikota) is interpreted as abode of immortals in pali, and consists of Buddist Stupa and 2000 years old relics. According to Vajrayana traditional sources, Gautama Buddha conducted the Kalachakra ceremony here.

Nagarjunakonda: This is near Nagarjunasagar Dam in Telangana state. This is historical hill, named after Nagarjuna (master of Mahayana Bhuddism in South India) served as the hub of Buddism, which is one of the richest Buddist sites in India and hosts the relics of Buddist universities, monastaries whose students were from China, Sri Lanka and other parts of India.

God is Almighty, who is our ultimate goal. God is light and energy. God may manifest self into some more different manifestations for the benefit of the mankind in future.

Information given in this article is genuine as author visited all the religious places.

Information for the visitors: The religious places in Telangana are to be start from Hyderabad (India). The places in A. P can start from Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam (Vizag) or Rajamundry (mid-way between Vijayawada and Vizag).

Pancharama Kshetras

Pancharama kshetras are five (pancha) Shiva Linga Khetras situated in the present day Andhra Pradesh. These kshetras are also called “Aramas” (places), hence the name “PANCHARAMAALU”. The significance of these temples is that all the Shivalingas are formed by single Shivalinga which is worn by the demon Tarakasura.

According to the Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana, Demon Tarakasura performed severe penance for Lord Brahma in Madhuvana, and Lord Brahma blessed Tarakasura with two boons. 1. No one should be as strong as him (Tarakasura), 2. A male child from Lord Shiva only should be able to kill him (as Lord Shiva was deeply depressed by the demise of his wife Sati Devi). Tarakasura was happy to have this boon. As Taraka was not satisfied by Lord Brahma’s boons, he started penance for Lord Shiva. Lord was pleased by the penance and blessed Taraka with 50ft shivalinga, which can protect him from all types of physical harms, and feeling happy Taraka wore the shivalinga on his neck.

Sati Devi, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, married Lord Shiva against her father’s wishes and she immolated herself in “DAKSHA YAGNA” as she was an uninvited guest, and Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. Enraged at the insult and grief, Lord Shiva as Veerabhadra destroyed Daksha’s Yagna and picked the Sati Devi’s body and performed “TANDAVA NRITYA” (celestial dance of destruction). Lord Vishnu used “Sudarshan Chakra”, which cut through the Sati Devi’s corpse and the parts of the body fell on the Indian Subcontinent (according to Skanda Purana, remaining part of universe was just the land). These places are called “Shakti Peethas”.

As Tarakasura had a clever boon that he could be killed only by the son of Lord Shiva, Tarakasura was repeatedly defeating the Devathas (Lord Shiva was still in grief of Sati Devi’s demise). Lord Shiva pleased by the prayers of Devatha’s, broke his grief and married Parvati (daughter of Himavat, and the incarnation of Sati Devi) in early Vaivaswata manvantara and Lord Subramanya was born.

As Lord Subramanya wanted to save devatas from Taraksura, Lord Subramanya fought against Tarakasura and Lord used “SHAKTI AAYUDHA” which torn the Taraka into pieces, but all the pieces reunite. As this happened many times, Lord Subramanya by the advice of Lord Vishnu broke the Shiva Linga into five pieces using “AGNEYASTRA” (weapon of fire). When pieces of Shiva Linga trying to unite by chanting “OMKARA NAADA”, Surya Deva (by the order of Lord Vishnu) fixed those pieces by worshipping them, and installing and building temples over them as they started growing by themselves. They fell in five places, and are called “Pancharama Kshetras”. All the five Shiva Lingas have got scaly (rough) markings, believed to be formed by the power of (AGNEYASTRA).

SHIVAYA VISHNU RUPAYA, SHIVA RUPAYA VISHNAVE

Which means Shiva and Vishnu are one and same. Hence in all the 5 temples, Lord Vishnu was installed in different forms as kshetrapalaka. Locals believe that one should visit all Pancharamas in a single day.

Drakhsaramam: This place is one of the 18 maha shaktipeethas. Here Sati Devi (Dakshayani = daughter of Daksha Prajapati in Svayambhu Manvantara) is called Sri Manikyamba devi, Lord Shiva is swayambhu (self-manifestation) as Lord Bheemeswara swamy. Here Lord is worshipped by Surya Deva (sun-god) and to control the anger of Lord Shiva, Lord Chandra installed 8 Someshwara temples in nearby places in which Kotipalli and Someshwaram are most important. The temple construction started in 9th century and completed in 11th century. This is also called “DAKSHINA KASI”. Now it is in control of Archealogical survey of India. Earlier it was called “DAKSHAVATIKA” and it is one among the Trilinga Kshetras (Srisailam, Draksharam, Kaleswaram). So undivided Andhra Pradesh was called “Trilinga Desam”. This place is called “BHOGA KSHETRA” and “MUKTI KHETRA”. Kasi is called “MUKTI KSHETRA”. Lord Lakshmi Narayana is the kshetrapalaka of the temple. Here Shiva Linga is 60ft (unsure) in height and half the Linga is white (in the ground floor), other half is black (in the first floor). All the pujas are performed here (first floor).

Amararamam: Here the temple was installed by Lord Indra, hence the name Amararamam (lord Indra’s abode is Amaravati) and village name is Amaravathi. The Shiva Linga is 9ft (unsure) in height and is in light ash colour. The consort Lord Shiva is Goddess Bala chamundeswary. Here kshetrapalaka is Kalabhairava and lord Venugopalaswamy was installed. The significance of this temple is that it has 4 “DWAJASTAMBHAS”, which cannot be found anywhere in India.

Ksheeraramam: Here The Shiva Linga (unique milky white colour) was installed by Lord Vishnu and worshipped by Lord Rama, Sita Devi. Hence the Lord is named as Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy. The consort is Goddess Parvati. The temple was built by Chalukya Kings in 10-11 centuries, and gopuram of the temple is tallest in Andhra Pradesh, which is 125ft in height and has 9 floors. According to legend, Lord Shiva brought out milk by piercing the place of earth, where the temple was built, with an arrow. Hence the name PALAKOLLU (palu in telugu means milk). Here Sree Ramachandra is the Kshetrapalaka.

Somaramam: Here the Shiva Lingam is called Lord Someshwara Janardhana Swamy, which was installed by Lord Chandra and is in Bhimavaram. The Lingam in the temple is Spatica Lingam and the temple was constructed by Chalukya King in 4th century. Here it is believed that the colour of lingam changes to white colour during full moon day and blackish brown during amavasya day (no moon day). The face of the lingam here is called “SADYOJATHA MUKHA SWAROOPA” (sadyojata means it represents ICCHA SHAKTI, this face Lord Shiva will give both happiness and sadness to all creatures) and is the speciality of this temple. The consort is Goddess Sri Raja Rajeswari, and over the garbhalaya, Goddess Annapurna temple is situated, which is the also speciality of temple cannot be found anywhere in India.

Kumararamam: Here the Shiva Linga is called Lord Kumara Bhimeshwara Swamy, which was installed by Lord Kumarswamy and is in the place called Samarlakota, hence the name Kumararamam. The consort here is Goddess Bala Tripura Sundari. The temple was constructed by Chalukya king Bhimeshwara in 9th century and temple architecture resembles Draksharama temple’s architecture. The greatness of this temple is that the rudrabhaga (which is on the first floor) is worshipped, as the 16ft high Limestone raised from ground floor to the first floor, piercing through the roof. Here the kshetrapalaka is Lord Janardhana Swamy.

Lord Shiva blessed us with his darshan in these five temples recently. These temples are the treasures of Andhra Pradesh. Let us pass them on to the future generations to keep them alive and safe.

To visit the Panchaaraamaas, start from either Vizag or Vijayawada.

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18-Jan-2020
More by :  Vanaja Teegavarapu
 
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