Draksharamam - Pancharama Lingam

Draksharamam is a shaivite shrine 185 km. from Vijayawada, 17 km. from Kakinada, 40 km. from Rajahmundry and 466 km. from Hyderabad. Draksharama is considered to be one of the five Arama kshetras dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is located in East Godavari District near Kakinada. The place also known as "Dakshina Kasi" (Southern Banaras) along with SreeSailam and Kaleswara constitute the three sacred Shivalingams of the State, giving its ancient name "Trilinga Desa".

The Bhimeswara temple at Draksharama has two prakaras. The inscriptions here suggest that the temple was built by Bhima, the Eastern Chalukyan King of Vengi(9th -10th centuries), when his kingdom was under attack by the Rashtrakootas. The temple art thus shows the influence of a blend of sculptural traditions of Chalukya and Chola styles.

The temple has four entrances in the outer prakara each marked with a gopuram, facing the four cardinal directions. On the south is the entrance to the inner prakara, which is lined by a pillared two-storeyed verandah.

The main temple is twin storeyed. Two flights of stairs lead us into the upper level of the sanctum. This has a pillared pradakshina on three sides and a Garbhagriha. Bhimeswara is enshrined in the form of a ten feet high Shivalingam in this Garbhagriha. Another feature of the temple is the narrow mantapam that is seen in the premises. Shiva's consort here is Manikyamba. The temple walls and pillars are decoratively carved with mythological figures.

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 at Draskharama. Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinies, were believed to have gone under ground. There is Sapta Godavari Kundam (Seven river pond) near the temple where the devotees bathe. Sivarathri attracts huge crowds of pilgrims.


STAHALA PURANA

Once Daksha Prajapathi decided to perform a Yaga. In pursuance of the same, he had been to Kailasa to invite Gods and Goddesses to sanctify his 'Yazna' and accept his hospitality. But when he had been there, Lord Siva was in his Court immersed in his spiritual splendour. But Daksha Prajapathi out of his ego of being the father-in-law of Lord Siva, mistook the Lord's trance as indifference towards him. So, being put out at the difference of his Son-in-law he came back without inviting the Lord and the Lady to his sacrifice.

Sati in her womanish nature requested Siva to permit her to attend, the sacrifice at her parental home, even uninvited and have the pleasure of the performance and the association of her kith and kin. But Siva explained her the tragic implications that she might have to face at her parental house and let her to at her own wish. But, when she actually stepped into her parental home, none greeted her or even just asked her a mutual exchange of her well-being. Then Sathi was put out with the humiliation she had to face amidst her own blood and then and there, decided to give up her body instead of facing her beloved husband with a fallen face. So, she gave up her body then and there and fell down dead. Siva having come to know of the tragic end, sent his son 'Veerabhadra' to boot down the ego of Daksha.

Siva in his pangs of separation with Sati came down to her dead body and shoultered the corpse over his shoulders and danced in 'Pralaya Thandava'. At this juncture, the Lord Vishnu, the presenting, force of Universe, sent his 'Chakra' to cut down the body of Sathi and redeem the grief of Lord Siva. The Chakra came and cut the body of Sati into eighteen pieces feel in eighteen parts of this 'Punyabhoomi' of ours and came to be known as 'Ashta Dasa Peethas' and out of these eighteen Sri Manikyamba of Draksharama is the Twelfth.

It is said that Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva has killed the demon Tarakasura, on the request of the gods. The Shivalinga in the throat of this ardent devotee of Shiva, Tarakasura, is said to have fell in five different places that became the "Panchaarama Kshetras". They are Draksharama, Komararama, Ksheerarama, Bheemarama and Amararama. It is also said that the linga here was later installed by Vedavyasa.

Another legend says that the three demons Taarakaaksha, Kamalaaksha and Vidyunmaali, who were the children of Tarakasura, have obtained the boon of death by the arrow that could set afire their three cities at once. Finally after the Tripura Samharam, when they were killed by Lord Shiva, all that is said to remain was the Panchaarama lingas.

Famous Telugu poet Srinatha is said to have written Prabandha Kavya Bhimakhanda about this sacred place.