Finally! 2 weeks after our weekend trip to Bhadrachalam, here I am with the pics of this beyotiiiphuuuul place 😀

Situated on the banks of River Godavari, Bhadrachalam is a place of  great mythological and historical significance. It derives it’s name from Bhadragiri (Mountain of Bhadra-a boon child of Mount Meru and Menaka). The history of this shrine depicts that  Lord Vishnu manifested himself as Rama long after Ramavatara, to fulfill his promise to his Bhakta Bhadra (a mountain king), a sage who had been continuing his penance to get grace of Lord Rama.

Bhadrachalam is most picturesquely situated in an area, which once formed part of the Dandakaranya forest, visited by Sri Rama,Sita and Lakshmana during their exile (Vanavasam).

The temple at Bhadrachalam has the idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana and are considered to be Svayambhu idols (self-manifested ones). Sri Rama appeared in a native woman called Pokala Dammakka’s dream  and informed her about the existence of vigrahas [Idols] on Bhadragiri hills. Dhammakka cleared the jungle, put up a modest structure and offered Puja to the deities. This was the origin of the present temple.

The temple in Bhadrachalam is closely connected with the life of the 17th century saint composer Kancharla Gopanna who was known as Bhakta Ramadas. He was employed in the court of Abdul Hasan Tana Shah and said to have utilized money from the government treasury to build this temple, and thus,  was imprisoned in a dungeon at Golconda Fort [this is one of the major landmarks on the map of Golconda]. We can see Lord Hanuman and other idols engraved by Bhakta Ramadas on the walls of this prison. It is said that Rama & Lakshmana in the guise of two youngsters paid up his dues to the king and got his release papers. These coins and many other ornaments made by Bhakta Ramadas for his most revered deity, still find a place in the temple museum even today.

Anybody who visits this place cannot just return without paying a visit to Papikondalu [Papi Hills]. It’s rightly said that this place is akin to Kashmir.  I so felt it looked like Munnar too 😀

A few settlements here and there

Breathtakingly beautiful!

A part of the Eastern Ghats with Godavari taking her route all along, towards the east, a cruise over the river with enchanting mountain ranges all around is a must-do, atleast once in a lifetime!

Entire area of Papikondalu is covered by tropical rain forests and deciduous rain forests.

We got down at one point along the cruise and trekked up in search of the source of this waterfall!

And we found trees with snake-shaped [plait!?! whatever] branches all around 😛 Don’t u feel so 😉

Our air-conditioned [which we never used ;)] cruise ship

The secret element of the trip was our visit to a place called Parnashala [about 32 kms from Bhadrachalam] I got to know we were visiting this place, just minutes before we landed there 😉

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

It is said the Rama, Sita and Lakshmana spent some of the 14 years of exile at this location. The locals believe that Sita bathed in the stream here and dried her clothes on ‘Radhagutta’ where the imprints are seen even today. The demon king Ravana parked his Pushpaka on the hillock on the opposite side of the river and abducted her. An earthen ditch reportedly caused when Ravana removed earth to carry off Sita to Lanka can be seen here. This is where Rama killed Maricha, who came disguised as a golden deer to deceive Sita.

Parnashala temple
The golden deer!
This is believed to be the exact spot where they had their hut!
Lakshmana draws the Lakshman Rekha and proceeds to help Rama
Ravana comes for alms

Ravana takes his form and forces Sita to go with him

Sita’s footprints
Rama’s footprints

If you want to visit Bhadrachalam:

Bhadrachalam is about 130 kilometres (approx. 82miles) from district head quarters Khammam and 320 kilometres from Hyderabad. The nearest railway station to Bhadrachalam is at a distance of 40 kilometres, in a town called Kothagudem. The railway station at Kothagudem was named as Bhadrachalam road due to its proximity to the important pilgrimage center. However, the Kothagudem railway station does not provide access to many important destinations. Hence, to travel to other cities such as Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, etc., the district head quarters, Khammam is the nearest Railway station.

To get to Papikondalu:

You have to travel to Kunavaram, which is about 50 kms from Bhadrachalam [1.5-2 hrs by road], to catch a boat which takes you for a 7-hour cruise over the waters of Godavari. I think the cost is Rs.250/- per head which includes lunch and tea.