Pancharama – Kumararama Bhimeswara Swamy Temple
It has been written in the Puranas, that to visit a Shiva temple a person has to have the "yogam" / "Yog"(opportunity given by god/boon). I guess I had the Yogam!! My joy knew no bounds when I got the opportunity to visit the Kumararama Bheemeshwara Swamy temple at Samalkota!!! This temple usually sees very less crowds and is empty almost all round the year except during the festivals. Samalkota, also known as Samalkot/Samarlakota is a small town in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. It is the home to one of the Pancharama temples.
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 Kumararama. Lord Bhimeswara Swamy was installed by Kumara Swamy (son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati) and hence the temple is called KumaraRama. This temple was built in Dravidian style, by the King Chalukya Bhima. Hence the name is Bhimeswara.
The temple has a mandapam that is supported by 100 pillars and is of great architectural importance. The temple has an Ekasila Nandi (A Bull carved out single stone) guarding the Shiva Lingam at the entrance of the temple. Goddess Bala Tripura Sundari (Incarnation of Goddess Parvathi consort of Lord Shiva) is enshrined at the ground floor of the temple. The main entrance of the temple is also called as Surya Dwaram. The main shrine is a free standing monument lying at the center of the inner enclosure. The temple is a rectangular structure and has two stories. The lime stone Lingam, installed in the shrine, is 14 feet tall, so tall that it rises from the pedestal on the ground floor and enters the second floor by piercing the roof, where the Rudrabhaga is worshipped. Darshan of Shiva lingam is at the first floor. Steps are available at both the side. The present Vimana of the main shrine has been renovated and is covered with thick plaster. It consists of flat pattas, row of geese kutas, salas, simhalalatas, lotuses and kalasa. It is a dvitala vimana of the dravida order with regional variations. To the East side, there is a mandapam called Koneti from where Pushkarni (Pushkarini) lake can be seen here.
During Karthika and Margashira masam that is November/December months Abhishekams are carried out daily. During the months of February/March, Kalyana Mahotsam Magha Bahula Ekadashi day is celebrated. Dussera is also celebrated in the months of October.Till Maha Shivarathri, lot of grand celebrations in the temple can be seen especially the car festival.. These festivals are truly a great and blessed sight.
There are a lot of budget hotels available in Samalkota. One can even stay in Kakinada or Rajahmundry where there are an unlimited choice of stays.
HOW TO REACH
Samalkot is 40 Kms from Annavaram, 15 Kms from Kakinada, 49 kms from Rajahmundry, and 125 kms from Visakhapatnam. As Samalkot is on the Vijaywada-Howrah broad gauge railway line of South - Central Railway, a lot of trains stop here. One can access this place by buses as this connected with National Highways. The nearest airport is at Rajahmundry, but not many flights stop by here unlike Visakhapatnam where one has a lot of options. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), Kakinada Depot offers a travel package which covers all the 5 Pancharamas (Amaravathi, Bhimavaram, Palakollu, Draksharama & Samalkota) in a span of 24 hours. The journey starts at 8.00PM every Sunday and ends at 8.00P.M next day covering 700 km approximately.
Executive Officer, Sri Chalukya Kumararama Sri Bhimeswaraswamy vari Temple Samalkot East Godavari District.