Draksharamam, is one of the most frequented pilgrim centre of South India. It is one of the Shiva Pancharamas and one of 18 Shakti Peethas.
Draksharamam, is one of the most frequented pilgrim centre of South India. It is one of the Shiva Pancharamas and one of 18 Shakti Peethas. It is famous as both Shiva kshetra and Shakti kshetra. Lord Bheemeswara swamy and Manikyamba are main the deities here. This place is also called as Dakshina Kashi.
There is an interesting legend regarding the name of this place and existence of Lord Shiva in this place. During Tarakasura vadha, the Shiva Linga which was in the throat of Tarakasura broke into five pieces and one of the pieces fell here. Thereafter, it came to be known as Draksharamam.
After the death of Sati, the 12th part of her body i.e. her left cheek fell here which is now known in the form of Goddess Manikyamba.
The temple is a 2 storied complex and looks like a fort. It has 2 Prakarams(paths). The outer Prakaram has 4 entrances in 4 different directions with beautifully carved Gopurams and each of the entrance is known in the form of 4 different forms of Goddesses i.e. Gogulamma, Nookambika, Moodhambike, GhattambikeIn this temple we can see Lord Bheemeswar Swamy, who is the main deity in the form of a tall Shiva Lingam. The Shiva Lingam is nearly 9 ft. 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 of this Shiva Lingam is that, the early morning tender Sun light falls on the Shiva Lingam. The Shiva linga is of 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 present in backside of the temple at the left corner. Goddess face is looking towards left, signifying her as Vamachara Devatha.
Lord Vishnu shrine is present at the entrance of main temple. He is the Kshetrapalaka of Draksharamam. Lord Vishnu is present here along with his consort, Lakshmi Devi.
There are other small shrines inside the main temple premises. To name a few, there is the, Praakara Bhairavudu, Viroopa, Natarajeshwar, Vaamana, Visheshwara, Dancing Ganapathi, Dundhi Ganapathi, Goddess Kanakadurga and Goddess Annapurna and Kashi Vishweshwara Swamy temple which faces south is on the right side of Bheemeshwara Swamy temple.
For performing puja (Abhisheka), water from Sapta (seven) Godavari Kundam (pond) is used as it is considered sacred. Legend has it that the Saptamaharishis (Seven Sages) to achieve the ends of their penance divided the Akhanda (unbranched) Godavari River into seven different streams. Out of these seven streams, Draksharamam. 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.
HOW TO REACH
Draksharama is situated just 6 Kms away from Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. One can reach by bus only. Excellent bus facility is available from Kakinada and Ramachandrapuram. The nearest railway stations are Kakinada, Rajahmundry. Samalkot (junction) where people can get down in case they want to visit this place. Few trains give stop at Annavaram also. People travelling by train from any part of the country can get down at Samalkota.