Bhadrachalam / भद्राचलम्

Bhadrachalam is a Pilgrimage town situated on the banks of the river Godavari in Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh. This place has a famous temple of Lord Rama. The temple on a small hillock and has the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, which are considered to be self-manifested idols. Lord Rama is in the Padmasana pose with four hands, front left hand around Sita on His left side same hand holding the bow and arrow, front right hand in Abhaya mudra (blessing devotees), and Conch (Shankha) in right hand and Wheel (Chakra) in the left hand of rear hands. To the left of Sri Rama and Sita, there is idol of Lakshmana.

 

According to a legend, in Treta Yug during Ram Avatar (form of Lord Vishnu), a sage Bhadra who was son of Meru and Menaka, performed penance at the bank of river Godavari to seek boon from Sri Rama that Rama will be seated permanently on Bhadra’s head. Rama who was in search of his beloved Sita, promised Bhadra that after punishing Ravana, while He returns to Ayodhya, on the way would visit Bhadra. But after killing Ravana, Rama forgot the promise and went directly back to Ayodhya with his wife and brother. Thus the sage waited long even after the end of Ram Avatar, and one day started severe penance for Lord Rama again. Then Sri Maha Vishnu manifested himself as Vaikuntha Rama and rushed to his devotee Bhadra, signaling his arrival by blowing conch, accompanied by his consort Sita (form of Goddess Lakshmi) and brother Laxmana (form of Adisesha). Lord Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana appeared in front of Bhadra and as promised turned into idols to stay permanently on Bhadra Mountain. Thus the place is named as Bhadradri or Bhadrachalam (Adri or Achalam means mountain).

 

One day, Lord Sri Rama appeared in a dream to a tribal woman called Pokala Dammakka and informed the existence of idols on Bhadragiri. When Dhammakka saw the idols in ant hill, she cleared the place with Godavari water; covered idols with a thatch hut made of dry leaves on dry stems as pillars, and offered puja to the deities.

 

At that time, Kancherla Gopanna who lived in the village of Nelakondapalli near Bhadrachalam, was appointed as Tahsildar of ‘Palvoncha Paragana’.  One day he visited the village fair (Jatara) and found the deities in an amazing appearance. Pokala Dammakka pleaded him to construct a temple for Sri Rama, hence Gopanna collected some contributions from local villagers. Because the amount was not sufficient, he spent the money collected from the land revenues, and constructed the temple and ornaments to Rama, Sita, Lakshmana with an amount, without the permission of the Nizam Nawab Taanisha. He was dismissed from service for mis-utilisation of revenue for constructing the temple and was kept in jail for long in Golkonda Fort and was tortured. Unable to withstand the miseries, Gopanna implored Rama to relieve him by singing many praising and emotional songs.

 

One night, two divine looking persons approached Nizam Nawab at his house introduced themselves as Ramoji and Laxmoji, the servants of Gopanna, and repaid all amount in Mohurs, to release Gopanna from jail. Nawab Tanishah woke up next morning and realized it was not any dream because there was really the amount kept near the bed. He rushed to the jail, released Gopanna, and prayed to forgive him. Gopanna was called as Bhakta Ramadasu, the songs that Gopanna prayed to Sri Rama got popularized as Ramadasu Keertanalu. Bhakta Ramadasu also wrote ‘Dasaradhi Sathakam’. The ornaments of Rama, Sita, Lakshnama and Couple of Mohurs can still be seen kept in Bhadrachala Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy vaari Devasthanam.

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