Draksharamam Bhimeswara Swamy Temple in Andhra Pradesh is the abode of Lord Bhimeswara Swamy and Goddess Manikyamba. It is in Draksharamam, East Godavari District. The preceding deity is in the form of a “Linga”, 2.6 meters tall of one large Crystal (known as the “Spatika Linga”).
Another popular name of the temple is Dakshina Kasi Kshetram. The literal translation of Draksharamam is ‘Abode of Daksha Prajapathi’, the father of Sati and the father in law of Lord Shiva. Sati was the wife of Lord Shiva. The Draksharama Temple is one the Five Powerful Temples of Lord Shiva which are known as “Pancharamas” in Andhra Pradesh.
Bhimeswara Swamy temple or Draksharamam is 25 km from Amalapuram and 28 km away from Kakinada on the Eastern bank of Godavari River. The ‘Skanda Purana’ of Shri Vyasa exhaustively describes the history of this pilgrimage destination. According to mythology, when Dasksha decided to perform a Yagna, he made a trip to Kailash Parbat. He did so with an intention to invite the Gods and Goddesses to grace the occasion and sanctify the ‘Yagna’. However, the Lord was in a spiritual trance and did not realize that he had a visitor.
Dasksha mistook this as being indifference on Lord Shiva’s part and returned without inviting the Lord and Sati. In spite of not getting the invitation, Sati expressed her desire to attend the pooja to the Lord. The Lord warned her that she will not be welcomed in her home but when Sati insisted, he let her go. As expected, Sati was not greeted warmly in her father’s house and everyone gave her the cold shoulder.
Humiliated by this, Sati decided to give up her life instead of returning to her husband with a fallen face. She dropped down dead in her father’s house. When Shiva learnt about this tragedy, he sent his son Veerabhadra to break Daksha’s ego and he himself came down to Daksha’s home. Veerabhadra, along with other Siva Ganas, including Kali, brought down Daksha and destroyed the Yajna. Lord Shiva carried Sati’s dead body over his shoulders and danced the ‘Pralaya Thandava’ or the destruction dance.
At this moment, Lord Vishnu descended and in order to redeem Lord Shiva’s grief, he cut down Sati’s body into 18 pieces with his ‘chakra’. The places on earth where the 18 pieces fell came to be known as the ‘Ashta Dasa Peethas’ and Sri Manikyamba of Draksharama is the twelfth of them and it is believed that the left cheek of Sati fell here.
The water from the Sapta Godavari Kundam (seven Godavari pond) is very sacred and is used for performing pooja. According to mythology, “Saptamaharishis” or the Seven Sages divided the Godavari River into seven streams in an attempt to end their penance. Of these seven streams, Draksharamam, Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as the “Antarvahinis” and are believed to have gone underground. Later, these streams merged into a pond which is now known as Sapta Godavari Kundam.
The Temple is open for pilgrims from 5.30 AM to 1.30 PM & 1.30 PM to 9.00 PM.