Introduction Five famous Siva temples found in different regions of A.P. are together known as 'Pancharama Kshetras'. We can know the reason for the formation of Pancharama temples in Andhra Pradesh through various Puranas and epics. A demon named Tarakasura through his devotion and tapas won a boon from God Siva called 'Aatma Lingam'. By possessing this unbelievable gift from God Siva, he became greedy. Using the magical influence from this God-given boon, he used to torcher Devatas. Devatas then went to God Vishnu to tell their problem and asked him to give relief from the cruel demon Tarakasura. God Vishnu then sent Kumara Swamy, the son of Siva-Parvathi to solve their problem. Then Kumara Swamy went to fight with Tarakasura. In this battle, he has broken down the 'Aatma Lingam' of Tarakasura into five pieces which have fallen at different regions of Andhra Pradesh and then they got transformed into five Siva Lingas. Thus these temples of five Siva Lingas became famous and were popularly called as 'Pancharama Temples'.
Daksharamam The first Pancharamam located in Ramachandra Puram town of East Godavari District of A.P. It is 41 Km. from Rajhamundry city. This ancient religious place is formerly known as Daksha Vatican or Daksha Tapovana. As Daksha Prajapathi carried Yagna in this place, the place got its name Daksharamam. This temple is believed to be constructed by Chanakya King Bhimudu. The artistical sculpture of this temple is a great asset to this temple. In ancient Puranas, the importance of this temple was mentioned in many places. The deity Siva located in this place is known as Bhimeswara Swamy. Epics and Puranas say the Siva Lingam in this place is established by Sage Vyasa. In this temple, the Siva Lingam appears to be like a tall pillar which measures 60 feet and the Lingam can be seen from two stairs. The specialty of this Siva Lingam is half of the Lingam is white in color and the other half is in black color. The Archana for the Lingam will be done from the top floor.
Daksharamam Temple in East Godavari District of A.P. (Courtesy:-www.wikipedia.org)
Amararamam It is the second of Pancharamam and it is one of the oldest Siva temples. This temple is located 28 Km. away from Guntur district. This famous Siva Lingam is located in Amaravathi town besides Krishna river in the district of Guntur, A.P. The deity Siva located in this region is known as Amareswara Swamy. The consort of Lord Amareswara Swamy here is Bala Chamundika. In the Sanctum Sanctorum of this temple, a white glistening nine feet Siva Lingam can be viewed by the devotees. This temple is constructed 20 feet above the ground level on a wide platform. It is believed that Lord Siva was self-manifested in the form of tall Siva Linga to full fill the wishes of devotees. Ancient Puranas claim that Indra established this Siva Lingam in his Capital Amaravathi by taking a broken piece of 'Aatma Lingam' fell in this place. The temple walls are filled with many ancient inscriptions which narrates the ancient glory of this temple. Inscriptions of King of Vijayanagara Srikrishnadevaraya also can be seen on the walls of this temple. Mahasivaratri festival will be celebrated with great pomp and gaiety in this temple. The towering Gopuram of this temple is constructed in Dravidian style.
Ksheraramam The third Pancharamam is Ksheraramam, located in Palakollu town of West Godavari District of A.P. The diety in this place is popularly known as Sri Ksheraramalingeswara Swami. This is a very large temple with the longest towering Gopuram. The height of this temple is 120 feet and the Lingam here is white in color. Puranas says that this temple was established by Sita and Ram in Treta Yug. An Epic story tells, in this place, Lord Siva shot an arrow into the earth which leads to the flow of milk from this place and thus this place got the name 'Ksheera Puri'. Ksheera is known as milk and later this place name was slowly changed into 'Palakollu' and this word also gives the same meaning milk only. It is believed that staying one day in Ksheeraramam is equivalent to staying one year in Varanasi.
Somaramam This is the fourth Pancharamam located in Bhimavaram of West Godavari district. The diety Lord Siva in this temple is known as Someswara Swamy. It is one of the protected National Monument. The Lingam in this temple has a specialty. In the Sanctum Santorum, the Lingam present is very short unlike other Lingams of Pancharamam. The face of the Shivalingam in this Pancharama temple is known as 'Sadhyajathamukha Swaroopam'. This temple is believed to be installed by the God Moon. In Sanskrit Moon is known as 'Soma'. Hence the Temple got its name Someswara as it was built by God Somasekhara. During the normal days, the Lingam appears to be white in color but on Amavasya day the Lingam turns to black color. Again after the return of Pournami, the color of the Lingam changes back to white. So the Lingam in this temple is white in color for 15 days and the remaining 15 days of the month it is black in color.
Kumara Bhimaramam It is the fifth Pancharamam found in A.P. It is located in Samarlakot in East Godavari district of A.P. The limestone Siva Lingam is 16 feet tall. The diety Lord Shiva in this temple is known as Kala Bhirava Swamy or Bheemeswara Swamy. The Lingam in this temple is believed to be installed by Lord Kumara Swamy. This temple was believed to be built by King Bheemudu of Chanakya dynasty and later improved by Kakatiya kings. A Mandapam supported by 100 pillars can be seen in this temple. At the entrance, we can view a monolithic 'Nandi' which guards Siva Lingam. The entrance of this temple is known as 'Surya Dwaram'. The architecture of this temple is in Dravidian style. Thousand years back idols were obtained recently during the excavation within the premises of this temple complex.
A video to show Five Pancharamalu in A.P.:-
A good article and the details about the places are given in detail. I have visited all the five places. Each of these places is unique and a visit to these places at least once in a lifetime is a must. The APSRTC is running buses to all these five places as a combined tour. The bus will start early morning and take you to all the five places and by evening it will drop you back at the starting place. This facility is available from important towns of Godavari Districts. People who want to have a special leisurely visit can plan their stay at either Rajahmundry or Kakinada and from there two of these places each day and the final day at Amaravathi is the best way to enjoy the tour. Kakinada and Rajahmundry are good cities and good accommodation and food are available in both places. Cabs are also available.