Bhadrachalam Temple – Sree Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple
Bhadrachalam temple is the abode of Shri Sita Ramachandra Swamy. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama.The temple is located on the banks of Godavari river. The area is called as Bhadrachalam and is the venue of grand celebrations on Rama Navami day, when the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and his consort Sita takes place with much fanfare. Bhadrachalam Temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Rama (the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Bhadrachalam Temple is closely associated with the life events of Saint Kancharla Gopanna, who was a great devotee of Lord Rama lived in the 17th century. It is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, considered to be one of the greatest holy shrines in South India with a very rich and unique historical background.
History of Bhadrachalam Temple
The temple in Bhadrachalam is closely connected with the life of the 17th century saint composer Kancharla Gopanna, who was known as Bhakta Ramadas. Gopanna the Tahasildar of Bhadrachalam (second half of the 17th century), is said to have used money from the government treasury to build this temple, and was imprisoned in a dungeon at Golconda. Lord Rama is said to have miraculously given the Sultan the money spent by Gopanna, after which he was released. Gopanna then became Bhadrachala Ramadasa and went on to compose innumerable number of songs in Telugu in praise of Rama.
Rama is said to have crossed river Godavari on his way to Shri Lanka to rescue Sita, at the spot where the Bhadrachalam temple stands, on the northern bank of the river. Legend has it that, the son of Meru and Menaka, Bhadra, performed penances towards Rama here. Kabirdas, a Muslim by birth is also closely associated with this temple. It is believed that the images of the deities miraculously disappeared when Kabir was refused entry into the temple and that they reappeared miraculously upon his being permitted to enter. Ramadasa heard the news that the villagers of palvoncha paragana were proceeding to witness Jatara at Bhadrachalam. Out of curiosity, he also visited Bhadrachalam. He found the deities in an amazing appearance; and Ramadas then asked the villagers to contribute liberally for the construction of the temple. The villagers appealed to him to spend the revenue collections for the construction of the temple with a promise to repay the amount after harvesting the crops.
When the temple reached completion, he had a problem of fixing the ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ at the crest of the main temple. The Golconda king Tanishah, the then ruler of Qutub Shahi kingdom became a devotee of Rama, who realized the devotional spirit of Ramadas after his imprisonment and took over the charge of temple administration.
The Golconda king, Tanishah realized Ramadas’s devotional spirit and dedication towards Rama, when Rama and Lakshmana repaid 6 lakhs Mohurs in the form of Ramoji and Lakshmoji, the servants of Bhakta Ramadas for the release of their devotee from imprisonment. Thanisha gave voucher to these divine looking persons who approached him at his house during late night. Then they kept the voucher under the pillow of Gopanna where he was jailed. Tanishah who woke up the next morning realized that those divine looking persons were none other than Rama and Lakshmana and made arrangements to get release of Gopanna and prayed to forgive him by placing all the Gold Mohurs received previous night at the feet of Gopanna. But he refused to take back those mohurs except two as a mark of divine significance, and these two coins can still be seen in Bhadrachalam temple.
Influenced by Lord Rama, Golconda ruler Tanishah earmarked the income derived from the said Palwoncha paragana which came to Rs 20,000 and odd, for the maintenance of the temple which was continued during Qutub Shahi’s reign and for offering pearls on the occasion of Kalyana mahotsavam (Shri Rama Navami) to deities on an elephant through a specially sent messenger. That procedure of sending pearls to the deities is still followed by present State Government during Shri Rama Navami festival.
Bhadrachalam attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world, every day. This hilly place that is encircled by holy river Godavari flowing towards southern direction is the famous shrine Bhadrachalam. The name is derived from Bhadragiri (mountain of Bhadra: a boon child of Meru and Menaka). The history of this shrine stands for the significance of Ramayana era. The coherent hill place existed in “Dandakaranya” of Ramayana period where Rama with his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana had spent their vanavasa. The vicinity of the temple had its incongruous mixture in another story, which depicts the exigency of “Shri Mahavishnu” to manifest himself as Rama and shuffled again to the mortal coil, after Ramavatara, to fulfill his promise to his Bhakta Bhadra (a mountain king), a sage who had been continuing the intense penance to get grace of Lord Rama.
The history depicts that the need that emerged the incarnation of Vykunta Rama, which was to fulfill a long desire of his ardent devotee Bhadra. The saint Bhadra performed penance at the bank of river Godavari in Dandakaranya to get grace of lord Rama and in countenance of his beloved God. The exulted “Rishi” implored Rama to be seated on his head, but Rama who was in search of his consort Sita, gave promise to his Bhakta that his desire would be fulfilled on his way back, after finding Sita and accomplishing the process of punishing the wicked Ravana and establishing the ‘Dharma’. Thus the sage had been in continuation of the frightened penance, as Rama could not accomplish the promise in Ramavatara. Then Shri Mahavishnu manifested himself as Vykunta Rama and rushed to his devotee Bhadra, signaling his arrival by blowing ‘Shanku’, accompanied by his consort Sita and brother Lakhsmana, resembling that of ‘Gajendra Moksham.’
Significance Bhadrachalam Temple
- Shri Rama is represented as a charming person, of handsome beauty, and well-built physique, wearing in his two hands, the Dhanus and the Bana, and standing in the ‘Tribhanga’ attitude as opposed to the ‘Samabhanga’ pose.
- Sita stands near him, also in the Tribhanga attitude, with a lotus in one hand and the other hand shown in the ‘Katyavalambita’ posture. If there is any temple in which the devotees are captivated by the sheer magic of the beauty of the icon of the Lord, it is at Bhadrachalam.
- Temple exhibits the importance of Ramayana, one of the great canons of Hindu literature.
- The location Bhadrachalam exists in Dandakaranya, the spiritual significant region where Lord Rama, Goddess Seetha and Lakshmana had spent 14 years of Vanavasam.
- Lord Rama takes His abode on the head of the sage Bhadra (immovable hill) the shrine was came to be called as Bhadrachalam.
- A sub shrine of Goddess Lakshmi is inside the temple complex of Bhadrachalam temple.
Timings of Bhadrachalam Temple
- Abhishekam takes place from 00 AM to 8.00 A.M
- Kesavanaamaarchana takes place from 8.30 A.M to 8.00 P.M
- Sahasranamarchana takes place from 8.30 A.M to 9.30 A.M
- Suvarna Tulasi Astotharanamarchana (on Saturdays) happens from 8.30 A.M to 9.30 A.M
- Suvarna Pushpa Astothara Namarchana (on Sundays) happens from 8.30 A.M to 9.30 A.M
- Sakalbhishtaprada Sree Ramapuja takes place at 8.30 AM
- Nitya Kalyana Ubhayam happens from 9.30 A.M to 11.00 A.M
- Rajata Ratha Seva takes place at 6.30 PM
- Alaya Chuttu Seva takes place at 8.00 PM to 8.30 P.M
- Vahana Seva (Garuda, Hamsa, Hanumantha, Rajadhiraja) lastly happens from 8.00 PM to 8.30 P.M.
Festivals at Bhadrachalam Temple
- Vykuntha Ekadasi“ a religious festival that attracts lakhs (hundred thousand) of devotees from all over the country at this famous shrine Bhadrachalam, is celebrated in the months of either December or January in ‘Dhanur Masam’ on the day of either Pushya or Margasira shuddha Ekadasi. The ten day festival called Adhyayanotsavams and Dasavatara Mahotsavams (10 incarnations) of Sri Maha Vishnu are preceded to Vykuntha Ekadasi Fete.
- Sri Rama Navami(the most popular one at Bhadrachalam) is being celebrated on every ‘Chaitra shuddha navami ‘ on the auspicious ‘Punarvasu’ -‘Janma Nakshatra’ (birth star), of Lord Sri Rama. The Kalyanamahotsavam of Sri Rama with his consort Sita is celebrated on the holy occasion which falls either in the last week of March or first week of April. This divine festival is celebrated in a resplendent manner amid chanting of hyms by priests in Kalyanamantapam, richly engraved and exquisite sculptures depicting events from our Itihasas and Puranas, at the vicinity of stadium, where lakhs of devotees congregate to witness it.
How to reach Bhadrachalam Temple
- By air: Vijayawada is the nearest airport from where flights can be availed by.
- By rail: The nearest Railway station is Bhadrachalam (Kothagudem) which is about 40 km from the place.
- By road: The state bus service, TSRTC operates numerous buses connecting the town to various places like Kothagudem, Hyderabad, Khammam, Warangal, Tirupati, Rajahmundry, Nalgonda, Chennai, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
Hotels near Bhadrachalam Temple
- The Sita Nilayam Cottage, Bhadrachalam at Sree Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Vaari Devasthanam is a good place to check in. It has nice accomodations that the travellors find to be refreshing.
- Srinidhi Resdidency at Rajaveedhi is a great place that has excellent accommodations and closest to the temple entrance.
Places to visit near Bhadrachalam Temple
- Parnasala is a significant and wonderful sightseeing destination of Bhadrachalam. Parnasala is a popular village located in the Khammam district of Telangana, India.
- Jattayu Paaka (Yetapaka)- This Place is situated from 2Kms away from Bhadrachalam. According to Itihasas, the bird Jatayuvu, a devotee of Rama had obstructed Ravana while he was proceeding on the chariot after kidnapping Sita. After the fearful battle between Ravana and Jataayuvu, the heavily injured bird had waited at this place in search of Rama. A wing of this bird fell at Rekkapalli, about 55 Kms from here, in V.R. Puram Mandal.
- Sabari in Bhadrachalam is the place where River Sabari joins River Godavari. The place also has mythological significance as a woman named Dhammakka used to live here that used to have dreams in which Lord Rama appeared.