Sri Bhimeswara Swamy temple
Sri Bhimeswara Swamy temple, in Draksharamam, is said to be the site of the ill-fated Daksha Yagna. Draksharamam, 46km south of Samalkot via Ramachandrapuram, is also a Shakti Peeta, and is one of the better known Shiva temples in Andhra Pradesh.
This temple, like the one in Samalkot, was constructed during the same period (9th /10th centuries), and by the same monarch. And like in Samalkot, it is double storeyed, the Lingam is tall, and pierces through the roof to the first floor, where poojas are conducted. At just under three metres (nine feet), the diety is not nearly as tall as its Samalkot counterpart. The temple is so constructed that the first light of the sun falls on the Lingam, it is said. The architecture of the temple is almost like the one in Samalkot, with a double-storied coridor running along the insideof this vast shrine. However, this shrine is located in the heart of the town, unlike its Samlkot counterpart.
As mentioned earlier, this temple is one of the 18 Shakti Peetas in the country. It was the abode of Daksha Prajapati, and the place where the ill-fated Daksha yagna, that brought about Sati's demise, took place. According to the Skanda Purana, Daksha, the father of Sati, and the father-in-law of Lord Shiva, decided to conduct a grand yagna, without inviting his daughter and son-in-law. Sati, nevertheless, went there, against Shiva's wishes. She was humiliated, and, rather than face her husband's wrath, immolated Herself. Shiva then sent His trusted aide, Veerabhadra to avenge Her death. Veerabhadra killed Daksha and laid waste his entire domain. Shiva then carried Sati's body and indulged in the Pralaya thandava (daance of death). To save the worlds from catastrophe, Lord Vishnu intervened by using His chakra to cut Sati's body into 18 pieces. The place where these pieces fell came to be known as Ashta Dasa Peetas, Draksharama being the twelfth. Sati is worshipped here as Sri Manikyamba, and is as much venerated as Shiva. It is one of the few places where Shiva and Parvathi are equally prominent, Srisailam and Varanasi being the other two. There are many sub-shrines inside the temple, dedicated to Sri Bhairava, Viroopa, Nataraja, Vamana, Dancing Ganapati, Goddesses Kanaka Durga and Sri Annapoorna.
There are about 800 inscriptions in this temple, which, though as old as the Samalkot shrine, appears to be in a much better shape. A modest-sized nandi sits in between the shrine and the flag staff,on the ground floor. The front entrance has a modest Dravidian-style gopuram. The central vimanam is surrounded by Nandis in various shapes. There is a huge tank to the left of the now main entrance. The tank has a causeway leading to the shrine.
How to get there:
Draksharama is six km from Ramachandrapuram, the nearest big town. Ramachandrapuram is 40km south of Samalkot, on the Howrah-Vijayawada section. Buses between Ramachandrapuram and Yanam pass through Draksharama. Kakinada, 35km, is the nearest major railway station. The railway station at Draksharama, is served by a single passenger train. Rajamundry is the nearest airstrip, while Vizag is the nearest full-fledged airport.
There are a couple of guest houses, besides the Devasthanam choultry. Quality rooms are available in Kakinada and Ramachandrampuram.
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