Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BHADRACHALAM RAMAR TEMPLE

Courtesy:Sri.PP.Ramachandar

  Hyderabad Travel Diary

 

                                   The ostensible reason for our Nine Day trip to Hyderabad was to see the ailing younger brother of my Father-in-law. We saw him, offered solace and set on a journey to get solace for ourselves. Excellent company—my wife's sister and her husband and the two of us made a Good Quartet. First place of pilgrimage was "Bhadrachalam.

 

                                                 PART ONE—BHADRACHALAM

 

                                      Perhaps the only time where Lord Rama gave darshan to a Muslim ruler was when the Muslim ruler had jailed for twelve years his Minister's nephew  Gopanna—who misapplied Government funds to build the Temple at Bhadrachalam. The Lord gave gold against  the funds used by Gopanna and the King released him. Now for the full story.

 

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                                                Bhadrachalam is in Khammam District of Telangana, It is situated on the banks of Godavari River is famous for the temple of Lord Rama...

 

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                                                      Note that Sita is sitting on the lap of Rama...

 

                                The town has a documented history  of Lord Sri Rama temple constructed in 17th Century CE (nearly 370 years ago).Legend has it that the present town is situated in an area which once formed part of the  Dandakaranya forest, and said to have been visited by  Rama, Sita and Lakshmana during their exile . The forest in the vicinity of the temple was the site of Rama's retreat and it was at the Parnassala--32 km from here that he built a hut for himself and Sita . From here only  Sita was abducted by Ravana.

 

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                                  " Sri Mahavishnu "  manifested himself as Rama long after Ramavatara  to fulfill his promise to his Bhakta Bhadra (a mountain king), a sage who had been continuing a frightening penance to get grace of Lord Rama. The name Bhadrachalam is derived from  Bhadragiri  (Mountain of Bhadra - child of Meru and Menaka).

 

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                                                 The temple at Bhadrachalam has the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana which are considered to be Swayambhu . Lord Sri Rama appeared in a dream to a woman called Pokala Dammakka and informed her about the existence of vigrahas on Bhadragiri hills. To her surprise she found the "Vigrahas" and put up a modest structure. She  cleared jungle and offered puja to the deities.

 

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  Parnassala

 

                                     This is supposed to be the exact spot where Rama, during his vanavasa in Dandakaranya, constructed a hermitage and spent his exile with his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana. Agastya had selected this spot for Rama which is about 35 km from Bhadrachalam.

 

Jatayu Paaka

 

                                  This place is situated from 2 km away from Bhadrachalam. According to Itihasa, the bird Jatayu, a devotee of Rama had obstructed Ravana while he was proceeding on the chariot after kidnapping Sita. After the fearful battle between Ravana and Jatayu, the injured bird had waited at this place for Rama's arrival.

 

Dummugudem.

 

                                 Here Rama is called the Atmarama. The story goes  that Rama killed 14,000 demons headed by the brothers Khara and Dushana. As the village was said to be built upon the ashes of these demons, the place is named after as Dummugudem.

 

Gundala

 

                                   It is a place 5 km away from the sacred town Bhadrachalam, where springs of hot water could be traced on the river bank when we dig a pit at any place in this area. It is believed that the divine trio (Brahma Vishnu Maheswara) took dips in this water during winter, according to Brahma Purana. There is temple of Lord Shiva on the opposite bank of Gundala in a village named Raigudem on the hill where Lord Shiva and all jyothir lingas replica are preserved.


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 Bhakta Ramadas

 

Popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas, he was born Gopanna to Linganna Mantri (a surname he kept as a result of one of his forebears being a minister at the court of a king) and Kadamba  in 1620 in Nelakondapalli, a small village in Khammam district,

 

 Legend

 

 

 According to a legend, there was a rishi  named Bhadra, son of Meru, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, who was promised moksha by Him. Bhadra Maharishi did intense penance until Tretha yuga was over and Lord Rama, who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was back to his original avatar. Pleased by Bhadra's devotion, He appeared in the form of Lord Rama (as per Bhadra's wishes) and granted him moksha. This explains the unique form of the deity at Bhadrachalam. The hillock on which Bhadra Maharishi did penance and attained moksha, is called Bhadragiri / Bhadrachalam after the rishi. Another legend associated with the place is that Lord Rama once appeared in the dream of a woman called Pokala Sammakka and informed her about the existence of idols on the Bhadragiri hills. To the astonishment of the woman, the idols were found on the hill, where she got a modest structure built.

 

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A Bit of History ; A Bit of Background.

 

                                         The Muslim King Abdul Hasan Tani Shah  features in the story of Ramadas. Tani Shah means "Jovial King" His maturity of spirit was evident in his rare experience with Ramadas and his vision of Lord Rama and Lakshmana. We have a practice of the Nizam of Hyderabad making a grant for the festival at the Bhadrachalam Temple. Except for a brief period of the agitation of Kasim Rizvi and the Razakars.

 

                             Tani Shah's minister Madanna was the uncle of Ramadas, known as Gopanna.  As the Rama shrine in Bhadrachalam was in a damaged state, Ramadas diverted the revenues of the treasury towards the Rama Shrine. He was arrested and thrown into a prison in Golconda. During his 12 years incarceration Ramadas sang most of his moving songs. He was even beaten and cries out in anguish.

 

                             The moment of liberation arrives. Rama and Lakshmana put on the guise of two employees, enter the apartment of Tani Shah and pay him the entire amount in gold. The Ruler realizes that the two are Rama and Lakshmana and he ran to release Ramadas. The latter congratulates the King." You have seen face to face Rama.    I have not yet.". The King put Ramadas in a a palanquin and took him in a procession to Bhadrachalam. Rama and Lakshmana walked ,bow in hand, on either side of the palanquin".