LocationDraksharamam Temple is located at the Draksharamam village in Ramachandrapuram Mandal of the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. It is situated 34 km away from Kakinada, its district headquarters. It lies on the eastern banks of Godavari River. It is one of the Pancharama Kshetras dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is popularly known as “Lord Bhimeshwara Swamy Temple”. It is considered highly sacred place, next only to Benaras, in context to Shiva temples in the whole country. That’s why, this place is also known as “Dakshina Kashi”.
History of the TempleThere are many myths and legends associated to the temple. According to one legend, there was a king named Daksha Prajapati held a great Yagna in order to humiliate his son-in-law, Lord Shiva. All Gods were invited to this holy procession except Lord Shiva and his daughter, Sati. Though uninvited, Sati attended the Yagna. She was humiliated after seeing on her arrival that no one from the family greeted her and asked for her well being. Therefore, Sati subjected herself to self immolation and fell down dead instead of facing her husband with a fallen face. Thus, the place came to be known as Daksha Vatika and later as Draksharamam. When Lord Shiva came to know about her tragic end, he went down to her dead body and danced in Pralaya Tandava. At this point of time, to calm Lord Shiva’s grief, Lord Vishnu sent down his Chakra and cut down the body of Sati into 18 pieces which fell in 18 different parts at different places. Sri Manikyamba of Draksharamam is the Twelfth, out of the 18 pieces that fall on earth. One legend also says that Sage Vyasa did penance at this site only and installed the Shiva Lingam.
This temple is said to be built by Eastern Chalukya Kings between the 9th and 10th century when their kingdom was under attack by the Rashtrakootas. They fought as many as 350 battles between them. The temple contains more than 400 inscriptions dated back to the 11th century.
Architecture of the TempleThe temple has two Prakarams. The outer Prakaram has four entrances, each with a gopuram. The west gopuram is a five tiered one. The inner Prakaram has its entrance towards South and exhibits a two storied verandah in its premises. The typical Chalukyan art and architecture can be seen in the Mukha Mandapam. Thera are also various shrines inside the temple dedicated to Ganapati, Lakshmi Narayana, Navgrahas and Sankaranarayana.
The main sanctum sanctorum is two storied. The walls surrounding both levels are engraved with exquisite work and art. The two separate stairs will lead you to the upper level of sanctum where the main deity of Lord Bhimeshwara is enshrined in the form of 10 feet high Shiva Lingam. Goddess Manikyamba is Lord Shiva’s consort here. The inner sanctum is very dark. Legends say that there were diamonds inside the inner walls of the temple which provided the required light in ancient times. But, when Aurangzeb invaded the temple to take all the riches, all the diamonds got converted into stones. The diamond shape rocks inside the inner sanctum are the proof of this happening. There is also a small temple inside the temple that is said to be for the tiny creatures that inhabit the land. This temple boasts a rich history and it has also witnessed different rulers over the centuries, right from the Cholas to Vijayanagara and Reddy kingdoms. The Shashanas written on the stone walls of the temple depict this fact.
Best Time to VisitOctober to April
Maha Shivaratri is the main festival celebrated here. Thousands of devotees flock to this temple during this time.
Temple TimingsDaily Dharma Darshanam: 6AM to 7AM and 7.00PM to 8.00PM
Wednesdays: 6AM to 11:30AM and 3PM to 8PM
Rest of the days: 6AM to 12PM and 3PM to 8PM