Bhadrachalam is a key pilgrim town located in the Bhadradri Kothagudem District of Telangana. Bhadrachalam is situated on the banks of the Godavari River and is dedicated to Lord Rama. Bhadrachalam was part of East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh till 1959.
History of Bhadrachalam temple
Bhadrachalam, the temple of Lord Sri Rama has a history of construction in the 17th century by the devotee Kancherla Gopanna. Gopanna also popularly known as Bhadradri Ramadasu or Bhadrachala Ramadasu (1620 – 1680) was a devotee of Lord Rama and a composer of Carnatic music in the 17th century.
His devotional lyrics to Rama are popular as Ramadaasu Keertanalu in South Indian classical music. His devotional worship made Bhadrachalam a place of religious importance for Hindus. Moreover, Bhadrachalam town has several Hindu temples that have much significance in the epic Ramayana. Hence, Bhadrachalam is also referred to as “Dakshina Saketa Puri”.
Indian Mythology says that the present town of Bhadrachalam was once part of the Dandakaranya forest. It is the same forest that Lord Sri Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana visited during their Vanavasam according to history.
The Dandakaranya jungle which is now in the vicinity of the Bhadrachalam was the place for Rama’s retreat and a place called Parnasala. This place is 32 km away from the location where Rama had built a shelter for himself and Sita. It is the same place where Sita was abducted by Lanka’s ruler, Ravana.
The name Bhadrachalam originated from the word Bhadragiri which represents the Mountain Abode of Bhadra, the child of Meru and Menaka. The famous temple at Bhadrachalam temple is dedicated to worshiping Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana, and their idols are believed to be Swayambhu which means self-manifested.
For the tourist’s representation, there is a picturesque display of a few scenes from Vanavasa at Parnasala. Pilgrims can get to see the footprints of Sita devi, Maarecha who appears in the guise of a golden deer, and Ravana who appears in the form of Sanyasi for Bhikshatana.
There is also Sita Vaagu where Sita bathed and gathered turmeric and Kumkum from the nearby stones. Yetapaka which is located 2 km from Bhadrachalam has a history where the bird Jatayuvu, a devotee of Rama tried to stop Ravana while he was going on a chariot by kidnapping, Sita. A fierce battle took place and in the battle, it was believed that a wing of the bird had been found at Rekkapalli.
According to Puranas, it is believed that Rama killed around 14,000 demons belonging to Khara and Dushana. So, this place got famous as Dummugudem as it was built on the ashes of these demons. People have found hot water springs after digging a pit in the riverbank at Gundala, located 5 km away from Bhadrachalam.
It is also believed that once upon a time, the divine trio of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara dipped in the holy water here during the winter season. Bhadrachalam temple is heavily flooded by devotees during Sree Rama Kalyanam. Kothagudem is the nearest railway station present at a distance of 40km from Bhadrachalam. One can also easily get buses to Khammam, Hyderabad, and Vijayawada from Kothgudem.