Revered as Dakshina Kasi, Draksharamam, the Pancharama Kshetra in East Godavari is one of the highly visited temples in Andhra Pradesh. The main deities of the temple are Lord Bhimeswara Swamy and Goddess Manikyamba, making it a famous Kshetra of Shaiva (Shiva) and Shakti (Goddess Parvati).
This region of Andhra Pradesh was popular as Trilinga Desa in ancient times due to the presence of three sacred Shivalingams at Srisailam, Kalahasti and Draksharamam. The Shivalingam at this temple was believed to be installed by none other than Lord Surya.
Draksharamam temple was built by Eastern Chalukyan King of Vengi, Bhima between 9-10th centuries when the kingdom was under the attack of Rashtrakuta Kings.
Inscriptions dated back to 11th century are found in temple premises which can be traced back to Eastern and Western Chalukyas as well as the Kalingas and Cholas. The inscriptions are found in Dravidian, Telugu, Devanagiri and Tamil scripts.
During the horrific battle of slaying of demon Tarakasura, the Shivalinga in his throat broke into five pieces that fell in different places which became the Pancharama Kshetras. One such piece fell at Draksharamam.
According to another legend, Draksharamam was considered as the place of Daksha Yagna. Since Sati immolated herself at Yagna hall, no sacrificial ceremonial Yagna rituals are performed in this place.
Draksharamam is one of the Ashtadasha Shaktipeetha’s and twelfth of the eighteen proposed by Sri AdiShankaracharya. The divine site one of the unique sacred places where both God and Goddess are highly revered. Other pilgrimages which fall under this category are Varanasi where Lord Vishwanatha and Goddess Annapurna are worshipped, Srisailam where Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bramaramba are adored.
The temple located on the banks of river Godavari is considered as an architectural marvel.
Sthalapurana says that the temple was built in a single night by the angels or the Gandharvas. The construction of the boundary wall couldn’t be completed before sunrise and remains left unfinished till day. It is believed that several attempts were made to construct the wall but it would collapse within few months.
The unique style of the temple is the presence of two-storeyed Mandapa supported by massive intricately carved pillars.
The four different entrances to the temple located in four cardinal directions are named after the four Goddesses- Nookambika, Gogulamma, Moodhamabike and Ghattambike.
The main deity of temple Lord Bhimeswara present in inner sanctum sanctorum is in the form of Shivalingam.
Shivalingam, which is 9 feet high has crystal texture. When the early morning Sun’s rays fall on the Shivalingam, black stripes appear on the upper part. The inner sanctum sanctorum has high pedestal built for the Archakas to perform rituals. The Lord is accompanied by his consort Dakshyani (daughter of Daksha).
Interesting Facts About The Shrine
The shrine of Goddess Manikyamba considered as the one the 18 pieces of Sati that fell here. It is regarded as Shakti Peetha. The Goddess face looking towards left is signified as Vamachara Devatha.
The shrine of Lord Vishnu is located at the entrance of the temple and is the Kshetrapalaka (guardian) of the temple.
Within the temple complex there are smaller shrines of Praakara Bhairavudu, Virupa, Nataraja, Vamana, Vishweshwara, Dundhi Ganapati, Goddess Annapurna and Goddess Durga.
There is a small pond, called Godavari Kundam near the temple whose waters is considered very sacred and is used for performing Abhisekham (Puja).
According to a legend, Saptamaharishis divided the Akhanda Godavari into seven streams. Of them Draksharama, Vishwamitra, Bharadwaja, Jamadagni known as Antarvahinis have gone underground and merged together as a pond called Sapta Godavari Kundam.
Festivals and Activities
Important festivals celebrated in the temple are MahaShivaratri, Devi Navatrulu, Subhramanya Sashti, Kalyanam celebrations on Bhishma Ekadasi and Jwalathoranam during Kartika month.
Activities of Temple
Laksha Patri Puja, Lakshakumkumarchana, Laksha Vattula Nomu, Ekadasa Rudram, Sahashra Kumkumarchana and Rudra Homam
Other Attractions Near Draksharamam
Chalukya Bheemeswaram Temple at Samalkota
Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary
Matlapalem Mahalakshmi Temple
Nearest accommodation for devotees visiting Draksharamam can be availed from Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) resorts in Kakinada. The temple Trust also provides modest accommodation facilities at reasonable rates.
How to Reach Draksharamam
By Road: 6km from Ramachandrapuram
28 km from Kakinada
40 km from Rajahmundry
185 km from Vijayawada
By Rail: Nearest Railway Station is Kakinada.
By Air: Nearest Airport is at Rajahmundry.