The Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Rama (avatar of the god Vishnu). It is located on the left bank of the Godavari River at Bhadrachalam town in the Telangana state. The temple is also called as Bhadrachalam Temple. It is considered as one of the greatest Hindu temple in South India for pilgrims.
Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple Legend
According to the legend, Rama stayed in the Dandaka forest his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana at the 14 years long Vanavasa time. Bhadra, son of Meru and Menaka, performed penance towards Rama on the banks of the Godavari River for several years. Please by his devotion, Lord Rama promised him that he will meet him after searching Sita who was abducted by the demon king Ravana. However, Rama could not accomplish the promise in his lifetime. But Bhadra continued his penance.
Long after, pleased by his devotion, Maha Vishnu rushed to Bhadra and appeared before him as Rama. But he (Vishnu) appeared with his four celestial arms holding a shankha (conch) in his right upper hand and the Sudarshana Chakra (discus) in his left upper hand and a bow and an arrow in his lower hands. Sita was seated on his left lap and Lakshmana stood to his left. The hill place where the Deities were seated on, was the head place of Bhadra – achalam ( hill ) ,thus this shrine was transformed into Bhadrachalam .
Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple History
In the 17th century, a tribal woman named Pokala Dhammakka who lived in Bhadrareddypalem, found the idols of Vykuntha Rama, Laxmana and Sita in an anthill. She dissolved the anthill using the hundreds of pots water from the Godavari River and took out the hidden idols. Being a devotee of Lord Rama, she constructed a prayer hall for the deities with the help of villagers.
Later, in the year 1674 A.D., the temple was constructed by Kancharla Gopanna popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas. He was tehsildar (or revenue officer) of Bhadrachalam under Nawab Abul Hasan Qutb Shah known as ‘Taneshah’ of Golkonda. He was true devotee of Rama and was given the title of Ramadas by a Muslim saint Kabirdas. While collecting taxes in the area, he observed the decrepit state of the temple. Gopanna decided to construct the temple by raising donations from local villagers. But the contribution was found less after collecting all. So he spends the money nearly six lakh varahas from the land revenues without taking permission of the Nawab.
After knowing the facts, Nawab Shah dismissed him from service for mis-utilisation of revenue for constructing the temple and imprisoned him for 12 long years in Golkonda Fort. Gopanna prayed to the Rama by singing many praising and emotional songs. The Nawab realised Gopanna ‘devotional spirit and dedication towards Rama, when Rama and Laxmana repaid 6 lakh Mohurs exposing themselves as Ramoji and Laxmoji, the servants of Bhakta Ramadas to get release of their devotee from the imprisonment. He gave Gopanna an allowance for life and donated the area around Bhadrachalam to the temple.
Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple Architecture
The temple is divided into three parts. The first is believed to be the head of Bhadra, where a shrine is dedicated to him. Inside, on a rock structure, the supposed footprints of Rama can be seen. The second part of the temple is the sanctum where the central icon resides on a place considered equivalent to Bhadra’s heart. The third part is the Rajagopuram (main tower), which is located at Bhadra’s feet.
The temple has four entrances; there are 50 steps to be climbed to reach the main entrance. The Rajagopuram is located at the northern entrance, which is called the Vaikuntha Dwaram. Directly opposite to the sanctum is a gold-plated dwajasthambam (flag post), on which are carved images of Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu.
On the top of the vimana of the sanctum is an eight-faced Sudarshana Chakra with a thousand corners, that was engraved by Gopanna, who found it lying in the waters of the Godavari River.
The temple remains open in the morning from 4:30 AM to 12:00 PM and in the evening from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
- The suprabhata seva (pre-dawn ritual) begins early in the morning at 4:30 AM
- Balabhoga (minor food offerings) are from 5:30 AM to 7:00 AM
- The regular archana (prayer) activities are held from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
- Rajabhogam (main food offering) is served to the deity from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM
- Then the temple remains closed until 3:00 PM
- Darbar seva (the king’s court ritual) is performed from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
- After a break to offer food to the deity from 8:30 PM to 9:00 PM, the temple is closed after performance of the pavalimpu seva (the sleeping ritual).
The major festivals celebrated in this temple are
- Vaikuntha Ekadashi
The other prominent festivals celebrated at Bhadrachalam are Hanuman Jayanti, Sabari Smruti Yatra, and Dhammakka Seva Yatra. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated at the Dasanjaneya temple, with leaf worship and Thiruveedhi utsavam being the main events.
How to reach the Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple
The nearest airport Rajahmundry domestic airport is about 117 KMs. Other airport Hyderabad is about 300 KMs away.
The nearest railway Station Bhadrachalam Railway Station also known as Kothagudem railway staion is about 40 KMs away.
Bhadrachalam town is well connected to the other cities of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.