The Kumarama Beemeswara Temple is located one kilometre away from Samarlakota city, Andhra Pradesh and is one of the oldest temples in India. Completely made up of limestone the Linga installed in the shrine is sixteen feet tall and is completely white making it very unique.
The Linga arises from the ground and is so tall that it goes through the second floor and pierces the roof. This temple also has the Nandi statue that is carved from a single stone earning the name Eka Sila Nandi. The Pushkarni Lake can be viewed from the east side of the temple’s mantap.
There is an interesting story behind the origin of this temple which further adds to its allure. Retold by ardent devotees this story talks about the valour of Karthikeya the son of Shiva and Parvati also fondly called Kumara Swamy, hence the name of the temple is Kumarama Bhimeswara.
The story behind the Temple
The story is mentioned in the Skanda Purana and Brahnmananda Purana and it goes like this…
When the ocean was being churned (Samudra Manthan) with the auras at one side and the deva on the other side, they were both pulling the Adishesha nag. While doing this many amazing and invaluable objects came bubbling forth from the ocean. The Amritha Atma Lingam was one of the holy objects that emerged from this ocean.
The demon Taraksura stole the Amritha Atma Lingam and wore it around his neck. This exemplified his powers making him almost impossible to defeat.
Kumara Swamy or Subramaniam Mahadev who was the commander in chief of the army of devas fought Tarakasura but was unable to defeat him. Despite breaking Tarakasura’s body into multiple pieces the pieces joined again making Tarakasura whole.
To put an end to this Kumara Swamy sought the divine deity Sri Vishnu’s help. Maha Vishnu advised Kumara Swamy to break the Atma Linga itself into many pieces and to not allow the Linga to rejoin. Kumara Swamy proceeded to break the Atma Linga into many pieces and when these pieces fell on earth he established them on the earth itself preventing them from joining.
By doing so, the Atma Linga was broken into five pieces each with a lot of divine and spiritual power. The deities Indra, Surya, Chandra, Sri Vishnu and Kumara Swamy worshipped the Linga in their respective places and prevented them from joining. After this Kumara Swamy was able to defeat Tarakasura.
In this place, the famous Kumarama Bhimeswara Temple was established by the Chalukya Kings of the Chalukya dynasty which still stands to this day.
History of the Temple
The Chalukya Kings of the South started the construction of this temple in 892 CE. It was completed around 922 CE. It is a national heritage site. This temple was commissioned by King Chalukya Bhima to record his three hundred victories in war, hence the name Kumara Swamy Bheemeswara honouring both the deity and the King who created this temple.
This temple was built in Dravidian style and the Katakiya rulers who came after them honoured this sacred place by adding the temple pillars with sharp finishes. Shasanas were scripted into the pillars of the temple which lists the gifts given to the temple through the ages.
Features of the Temple
This temple is an architectural wonder that has witnessed the test of time. Made entirely of limestone this marvel stands strong to this day. A unique feature of this temple is the mantapam that is supported by a hundred pillars. The Eka Shila Nandi is the statue of a bull carved out of a single stone facing the Atma linga and protecting it at the same time.
The temple is a rectangular structure made up of two floors. The Linga can be viewed from the first floor. There are beautiful apsaras sculpted on the pillars of the temple. The main entrance of the temple is called the Surya Dwaram and is an independent structure located in the middle of the inner enclosure.
The main deity of the temple is Mahadev Shiva in the form of a Linga. It also pays homage to the female power hence the Goddess Balatripari Sundari is also established.
According to the Puranas this powerful temple is classified as Yogakshetram which means people who have the fate to visit this temple can only visit this temple.
This temple is maintained by the Andhra Pradesh Government. They maintain their own tourism package which covers all the 5 temples (Pancharamas) that have Atma Lingams in them as per the story. Within a span of 24 hours Amaravati, Bhimavaram, Palakollu, Draksharama and this temple Kumarama Bheemeswara temple is covered. One should visit all five temples to feel the spiritual power and get a better grip on history.
The tourism package is run by the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and starts from the Kakinada Bus Depot. The journey begins at 8 PM every Sunday and ends at 8 PM every Monday covering a total of 700 kms. One can log in to the Andhra Pradesh tourism website to get further details.
When to visit the temple?
This temple can be visited all around the year. But the festival season starts during the month of Karthika and Margashira. This falls in the months of November and December according to the English calendar. During this period abishekams are performed daily. There are many festivals such as Kalyana utsavam celebrated during February and March and till Maha Shivratri grand celebrations can be witnessed.
The temple timings are as follows:
|Morning||6 AM to 12 PM|
|Evening||4 PM to 8 PM|
How to reach this temple?
One way to reach this temple is to book the services of the Andhra Pradesh tourism department. If one decides to travel privately then the nearest railway station is in Kakinada 12 kms away from Samrlakota. By road, Samarlakota is 15 kms away from Kakinada, 49 kms from Rajamundry and 125 kms away from Vishakapatnam.
By flight, the domestic airport is in Rajamanundry and the International airport is in Vishakapatnam.
There are many budget hotels available in Samarlakota. Tourists and pilgrims can make Rajamundry their centre place for the entire trip and visit all the five spiritual temples.
For tourists travelling by road coming in from the North, first, have to reach Vishakapatnam and then travel towards Rajamaundry on NH-5 after which they can reach this holy place. For tourists coming in from the Vijaywada side also need to reach Rajamundry before proceeding to Samarlakota. Hence it makes sense to have Rajamundry as the central place.
This beautiful edifice is a silent witness to man’s history. It is a part of Ancient India and holds a lot of spiritual power. This temple is over a thousand years old and is built by Chalukya Kings with a strong architecture and sound foundation. Devotees from all over the world visit the temple to witness the Atma Lingam for themselves.
Not everyone can visit, only the destined ones with Yogakshetram can visit this temple. This holy place has seen the comings and goings of many devotes and will continue to see many more, granting their wishes and making their dreams come true. This temple is part of India’s heritage and culture and is a living proof of the technology and wisdom that existed in Ancient India.