Draksharama is a town in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a Pancharama kshetra and also an Ashtadasa Shakti Peeta. It is built like a fort. It has two prakarams and the outer prakaram has four entrances with 4 gopurams.
Sri Bheemeshwara Swamy and Manikyamba Devi are the chief deities in this temple. Lord Vishnu is the kshetra palaka of this kshetra. Sri Vyasa describes this kshetra extensively in the Skanda purana. It is famous as a Shiva and Shakti Kshetra.
Gopuram which is used as the main entrance along with a mandapam.
The 4 gopurams of the outer prakara are named after 4 goddesses Gogulamma, Nookambica, Moodhambike and Ghattambike. This temple was renovated by the Eastern Chalukya Bhima in 10th century.
The outer prakaram is very big. The whole temple is said to be built on 12 acres of land. Temple is under ASI and apart from the temple and structures, vast lawns have been made in outer prakaram giving a beautiful look to the place. The wall is like a fort wall with some carvings. In one corner of the outer prakaram, a ruined Mandapam has been converted into an office which the ASI uses now.
Draksharama is also known as Daksha Vatika and Daksha tapovana. It is said to be the place where Daksha Prajapati conducted his yagna and where Sati Devi unable to bear the insult to her husband Shiva by her father, immolated herself in the yagna fire. An enraged and griefstriken Shiva does the pralaya tandav and carries Sati Devi body and roams the earth. Lord Vishnu, with his chakra cuts the body into pieces and the places where they fell become Shakti Peeta. Daksha Vatika is where her cheek is said to have fallen and is mentioned by Adishankara in his poem.
Kalabhairava temple with 8 lingas called the Astabhairavas.
Amma is known as Manikyamba here. Adi Shankara is said to have installed a Sri Chakram in this temple. She is seen standing on a Srichakra. The Srichakra is covered throughout the year, it is seen by devotees only on one day and we were lucky to see it.
A big Mandapam in outer prakaram
The lingam of Bheemeshwara is the largest Swayambhu sivalingam. It towers at 15 feet.
Here Nandi doesn’t look at Shiva but his head it tilted towards Amma.
There is a huge peepal tree with many carvings of nagas around it. When we go to the side of the 4th Gopuram, we can see a shivalingam and Nandi. Ganesh is also kept there. It has a very strong aura.
Going through the 4th gopuram, we reach the Sapta Godavari Kundam which was formed by the water of 7 rivers, brought by the Sapta Maharishis. This water is considered sacred and it is used to perform abhishekam to Mahadev.
Entering the inner prakaram, going through the Prakara Mandapam we can see various gods in different alcoves. Chaturmukha Brahma, Natarajeshwara, Saptamatrukas. There are other shrines to Kanaka Durga and Annapurna Devi also.
The temple which is 2 storied, has a prakara Mandapam which is also 2 storied. The shivalingam is a sphatika lingam and very powerful. In the beginning the power coming out of the shivalingam was so intense that the saptarishis too couldn’t approach Deva, so they installed 7 lingams in surrounding places with the cooling nature of the moon. Surya installed the eight lingam to bring a soothing lunar energy over Deva, thus covering all 8 directions and making him approachable. The eight places where the shivalingam were installed by the Saptarishis were Penumuru, Kollanka, Dangeru, Vella, Kotipalli, Someshwaram, Venduru and Korumilli. These places are within 3 – 12 miles from Draksharama.
A miniature temple fully carved.
In the second floor, beside Deva is the Murti of Sati Devi also known as Dakshayini. The pillars in the second floor have carvings, but being too immersed in seeing Deva and due to the crowd, couldn’t take pictures of the pillars.
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