Monday, 21 October 2013

Drashavatika Manikyambha - Draksharamam

Manikyamba Devi:-

Manikyamba Devi is an incarnation of Goddess Shakti. The popular belief is that the spot where left cheek of Goddess Sati fell after her death is the spot where Goddess Manikyamba Devi appeared. This spot is believed to be the Draksharamam Temple (Sri Bhimeswara Swami Temple) in Andhra Pradesh.his place is also called as Dakshina Kashi.

As per the legend in South India, the body fell in 18 spots known as Ashta Dasa Peetahs. The spot where the left cheek of Goddess Sati fell is spot associated with Goddess Manikyamba Devi. Out of the eighteen places Sri Manikyamba of Draksharama is the twelfth place. This story is mentioned in the Skanda Purana.Draksharamam is located about 28 Km from Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

Draksharamam is a Shavite shrine. It is belived that sage Vyasa who performed penance here named this as Dakshina Kasi (Southern Benaras). Legend has it that the Saptamaharshis (Seven sages) to achieve the end of their penance divided the akhanda (unbranched) Godavari river into seven different streams at Draksharama. Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinies, were believed to have gone under ground. There is Sapta Godavari Kundam (Seven river pond) near the temple. Devotees bath in this kundam. Sivarathri attracts huge crowds of pilgrims.

Lord Vishnu shrine is present at the entrance of main temple. He is the Kshetrapalaka of Draksharamam. Lord Vishnu is present here along with his consort, Lakshmi Devi.

Sthala Puranam:-
There are three stories related to Manikyamba devi. First one is, A Brahmin widow made a golden idol to remember her died daughter. But after some time, the idol got talking power. This idol was decorated with Manikyas(gems), hence the name Manikyamba or Manikyeswari. Bhimadeva, a new king came to this area taken that idol and worshiped her as his Kula devata. Some stories also tells us that Manikyamba name comes from a word Mainakamba, That means she was the daughter of Menaka devi, wife of Himavanta. Gradually the word Manikamba turned as Manikyamba in time period.

On every Ekadasi day Lord Bhimeswaraswamy and Manikyamba devi ekanta seva will be performed. Eight slokas will be sung by priests regarding Manikyamba devi and Bhimeswaraswamy and their romantic love story.Fridays also important days to worship Manikyamba devi. Kumkumarchana will be done in Fridays.

This Holy Pilgrimage is one of the rare few, where the God and Goddess are equally important. One is Varanasi in Northern India with Viswanatha and Annapurna. Second is Srisailam in Southern India with Sri Mallikharjuna and Bramaramba and third is Draksharama with Bhimanatha and Manikyamba.

There are many mythological anecdotes scattered in many of the Sacred puranas about the 'Swayambhu' aspect of the Lord's existence here.

Legend about the Manikyamba :-

Dakshaprajapati, father of Goddess Parvathi arranged for a yagna and did not invite Lord Shiva’s family. But, Goddess Sathi(incarnation of Goddess Parvathi) took her own invitation and got criticized by her father and sacrificed herself in the same fire which leaded Lord Shiva to create Lord Veerabhadra with his hair to destroy the yagna. After the destruction, Lord Shiva had done rudrataandavam carrying his wife’s deadbody in anger.  Lord  Vishnu had used his Sudarshan to  cut Sathi Devi’s deadbody into 108 pieces to make Lord Shiva peaceful. The places where the parts of Sathi Devi had fallen are called Shakthi Peetams (holy places of Goddess), one among them is Draksharamam and the goddess here is named as Manikyamba.

Once upon a time, demon Tarakasura had his tapas and booned by Lord Shiva with his AtmaLinga. With this proud, Tarakasura had committed many sins against devas. Due to this all devas went to make Goddess Pravathi marriage with Lord Shiva in order to kill Tarakasura by giving birth to Lord Shanmukha. Shanmukha went for a battle against Tarakasura. On Lord Shiva’s suggestion, Shanmukha destroyed atmalinga in Tarakasura’s neck and killed him. The pieces of atmalinga had fallen at 5 holy places in Andhra Pradesh which are popular known as Pancharamams. One is Amareshwara installed by Lord Indra in Amaravathi, the second is Someswara  installed by Lord Chandra in Bheemavaram, the third is Ksheera Ramalingeswara installed by Lord Rama in Palakollu, the fourth is Kumara Rama Bheemeswara installed by Shanmukha in samrlakota and the fifth one is Bheemeswara who had shown himself in Drakshramam. In order to purify the piece fallen in Drakshramam, the sages requested River Godavari but Godavari had responded late which made Lord Shiva to emerge himself in Draksharamam. River Godavari came here with the request of Saptarshi  hence called SapthaGodavari which is located on east to the temple as Pushkarini.

On a day, Lord Shiva tested Sage Vyasa by not getting him any food by donation in Kasi. Sage Vyasa lost his patience on his hungry tried cursing Kasi but Goddess Annapurna had provided food to Vyasa and his disciples and Lord Shiva had ordered him to leave kasi. The goddess had suggested Drakshramam, an equivalent of Kasi in order to spend his remaining life. Vyasa Treated it as Dakshina Kasi and devoted to Lord Shiva which is also named as Vyasa Kasi. Lord Shiva preached vyasa that Kasi is meant for liberation of soul but not for luxury living while Draksharamam  is meant for both which is also stated in Bheema khandam.

Bhimesvara Swamy :-
The Shiva deity is thought as Bhimesvara Swamy. The Draksharamam Bhimeswara swamy Temple is located on the eastern bank of Godavari river. The consort of Lord Bhimesvara is Manikyamba. In keeping with native belief the Shiva lingam at the temple was put in and established by the god Suryabhagavan (sun). Maha Shivaratri, Devi Navaratrulu, Karthika Masam, and Dhanurmasam square measure the most festivals celebrated at this temple.

History of Draksharamam:-

Draksharamam is a Shavite shrine 185 kms from Vijayawada, 17 km from Kakinada and 40 km from Rajahmundry. It is believed that sage Vyasa who performed penance here named this as Dakshina Kasi (Southern Benaras). Legend has it that the Saptamaharshis (Seven Sages) to achieve the ends of their penance divided the akhanda (unbranched) Godavari river into seven different streams at Draksharama. Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinies, were believed to have gone under ground. There is Sapta Godavari Kundam (Seven river pond) near the temple. Devotees bathe in this kundam. The festival of Sivarathri attracts huge crowds of pilgrims. According to another local legend, a king by name Daksha Prajapati performed a great yagya with the motive of insulting his son-in-law Lord Siva. The king invited everyone except his own son-in-law. Parvathi, Shiva's consort, though uninvited, attended the yagya and was ill treated. Unable to withstand the insult.

she subjected herself to self immolation. Thus this place is known as "Daksha Vatika". And later as Daksharamam or Draksharamam.

There is another important story regarding Manikyamaba devi. Manikyamba devi is a daughter of a prostitute. One day she saw Lord Bhimeswara in her dream, and decided that she will marry Lord Bhimeswara only. She showed great devotion towards Lord Shiva, and finally got Lord Bhimeswara swamy as her husband.graved on the walls of the temple. The temple art shows the influence of a blend of sculptural traditions of Chalukya and Chola styles.

A 14th century poet Srinatha mentioned Manikyamaba devi as one of 18 Shaktipeethas in his work Bhimakhandam.
prithivi padunenimidi yogapithashakti
ganamulo nencha sarvashringara yaguchu
bhimanathuni sannithi prema velayu
manikadevi sakala kalyana murti.

Architecture of Drasharamam Temple:-

According to local legend, the temple was built by angels in one night. The construction of the perimeter wall could not be completed before sunrise and still stands incomplete. Several attempts have been made to construct the uncompleted part of the wall but all those efforts have failed with the constructed wall collapsing within a few months.

 The speciality of this Shiva Lingam is that, the early morning tender Sun light falls on the Linga. There are nearly 800 ancient scripts on the walls of the temple.

Manikyamba Devi’s holy place is present in backside of the temple at the left corner. Goddess face is looking towards left, signifying her as Vamachara Devatha.

The outer prakaram is pierced with four entrances each with a gopuram. The gopuram on the west is a five tiered one. The entrance to the inner prakaram is on the south. A pillared two storeyed verandah lines the inner prakaram (tiruchutrumaaligai in the ancient temples of Tamilnadu). The sculptural work in the mukha mandapam depicts clear Chalukyan features.There are shrines to Lakshmi Narayana, Sankaranarayana, Ganapati and the Navagrahas.The sanctum is two storeyed. The walls surrounding both levels are beautified with sculptural work. Two flights of stairs lead to the upper level of the sanctum. Bhimeswara is enshrined in the form of a ten feet high Shivalingam in the sanctum. Shiva's consort here is Manikyamba.Mahashivaratri and Navaratri are some of the festivals celebrated .

 This temple was built by the Eastern Chalukyan King of Vengi - Bhima, during very troubled times (9th -10th centuries), when his kingdom was under attack by the Rashtrakootas. Inscriptions reveal that he had to fight as many as 360 battles. Chalukya Bhima also built the Chalukya Bhimeswaram temple at Samalkota nearby. The Draksharamam temple contains as many as 400 inscriptions going back to the 11th century. These inscriptions can be traced back to the Eastern and the Western Chalukyas as well as the Cholas and Kalinga rulers.

Manikyamba temple:-
Manikyamba devi is the wife of Lord Bhimeswara swamy. Lord Bhimeswara swamy temple is one of the Pancharama kshetras and is considered as one of the Trilinga kshteras. Here there is a big temple of Lord Bhimeswara swamy in many Prakaras. Manikyamaba devi temple present in inner circle (prakara) of Lord Bhimeswara swamy temple. It is present in North East Corner of the campus. There is a Srichakra below Manikyamaba mata idol. Manikyamaba devi will see left side, suggesting us she was worshiped previously in Vama marga (Left route). Sun god and Saptarshis worshiped Lord Bhimeswara swamy and Manikyamba devi here.

Stories behind Draksharama Temple:-

As per locale narrations, sacred Draksharama Temple has a ‘Shiva lingam’ enshrined by god Surya while angels took charge to construct this temple within a night. But unfortunately, the fencing of the temple remained incomplete till sunrise. Now, frequent effort of constructing the fence goes in vain whenever it is built. It collapses within few months itself.

Another legend briefs regarding inner walls that once upon a time when they used to be studded with precious diamonds those were the eminent source of illumination inside the temple. After foreign invasion of Aurangzeb onto the temple, the riches of it were looted & diamond turned into stones mysteriously. The walls embellished with diamond-shaped rock are the evidence of such prevailing myth.

One more legend conveys that future beings would be dwarves while the structure of the temple would appear gigantic before them. Therefore, the innermost tiny sanctum would have been constructed for the tiny beings of the future. But some views confirm it as the prototype of the original temple.
Description of the temple’s structure:

Architectural style: Ancient south Indian style.

The spectacular architecture of the temple consists of two-staired mandapas along with two walls.
Sanctum (inner garbhaalaya): The d├ęcor and crafting of inner garbhaalaya signify the work of master
craftsmanship representing cultural richness of the contemporary era. It’s also a library for the students of archaeological architecture.

Inner sanctum:-
This innermost shrine has pedestal which is particularly built for the priests to perform their rites & rituals. It remains dark since Aurangzeb plundered the diamonds studded into its walls that act as light source.
Ventilation & illumination: The ventilation & illumination of the temple depict mastermind of the contemporary architects since they made all impressive arrangements for the inflow of rejuvenating air along with the marvelous lightning arrangements inside the temple premise.

The intricate crafting or carving on the pillars represents them praiseworthy.
Inscriptions & scripts: The dynasties which once ruled over this region are inscribed on its walls showing testimony from the empire of Cholas & Sathvahanas  to Vijaynagara & Reddy. The inscriptions are written in Dravidian, Tamil, Devanagiri, Telugu scripts in Sanskrit & Telugu languages.
Shiva lingam’s height: The prime deity’s Shiva lingam is made up of a large crystal of 2.6 meter high which is the longest Shiva lingam in the world.

The temple here is very big constructed in an area of 12 acres sorrounded with huge walls. There are 26 Lords exist as a family. Dundi Ganapati and Natya(Dancing) Ganapati welcome us at main entrance.The trunk of Ganapati faces to his right which resembles Ganapati in Kasi. The temples of Lord Lakshmi Narayana Swamy, Goddess Annapurna along with Lord Visveswara Swamy and Virupaksha Swamy, Bala Bheemeswara, Saptha mathrukalu, Lord Suryanarayana Swamy, Lord Subrahmanyeswara Swamy, Lord Lakshmi Ganapati, Lord Brahma installed by KrishnaDevaraya exist here. There are halls for Navagraha and Ashta Dikpalakas.

For performing puja (Abhisheka), water from Sapta (seven) Godavari Kundam (pond) is used as it is considered sacred. Legend has it that the Saptamaharishis (Seven Sages) to achieve the ends of their penance divided the Akhanda (unbranched) Godavari River into seven different streams. Out of these seven streams, Draksharamam. Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinis, were believed to have gone underground. These streams later merged at this pond and was thereafter were called Sapta Godavari Kundam.

Daily Dharma Darshan:-

6.00AM to 7.00AM and night 7.00PM to 8.00PM
Wednesdays: 6.00AM to 11.30AM and 3.00PM to 8.00PM
Rest of the days: 6.00AM to 12 noon and 3.00PM to 8.00PM

The temple is noted not only for its architectural beauty and historical importance, but also for its sanctity and holiness and attracts pilgrims in thousands every year.

Festival & Event:-
Mahashivratri, Devi Navaratrulu (Navaratri), Kartika Masam, Dhanur Masam are the main festivals celebrated at this temple.

Additional places of interest around Draksharama include Samalkot (Pancharama, Kumararama Bheemeshwara temple), Annavaram, Thalupulamma Thalli and Rajahmundry. Tourists better plan their stay either at Kakinada, Samalkot or Rajahmundry. Travellers can also make Rajahmundry as the center place for their trip.

Location of Manikyamba Shaktipeeth:-
By Bus:-
Draksharamam is at 50 km distance from Rajahmundry. It is well connected by Road route. APSRTC maintaining many buses from various Depos from Kakinada(30 km), Vijayawada(200 km), Vishakapatnam(190 km) etc.
By Train:-
Nearest Railway station is Samarlakota and Kakinada which are at about 50 km and 30 km distance respectively.
By Air:-
Nearest Airports are at Rajahmundry, Vijayawada which are at about 50 km and 200 km distance respectively.
See Draksharamam map


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  2. Wonderful post about this place. Thanks for sharing about this lovely place in this blog. Well written with nice pictures.Wonderful information about this place. If anyone wants to visit this place, then book your bus tickets in Kaleswari Travels.

  3. A grate place .Much to be explored and to be explained to public.