Dear members,
Do you know that there are five temples in Andhra Pradesh dedicated to Lord Shiva and are called Pancharama Kshetras. The meaning is : Pancha-five, Aarama-Peace, Together they mean five places of worship where one gets peace of mind. One gets into a pleasant state of mind.
Since it is long ,it may be in probably 3 posts. The temples are are spread over 3 districts of A.P.,namely,Guntur,East Godavari and West Godavari.
Now on to these PANCHARAMA TEMPLES.
Varadarajan



Pancharama - Five Temples Dedicated to Lord Shiva

Pancharama is the name given to those five temples which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. These places are distributed over three districts, East Godavari, West Godavari and Guntur of Andhra Pradesh in India. All Hindus consider visiting these temples as very sacred. Pancha means five and Aarama is peace. Aarama is something related to Buddhism which is actually aims at pleasant state of mind. So Pancharama means five pleasant and peaceful places.

There are two stories related to Pancharama temples. One story related to Pancharama temples is in Bheemeshwara Puranam written by Shree Nathudu. The Story goes like this...
Devatas and Asuras (Rakshasas) stirr the sea to get nectar (Amrit). After getting the Amrit, Devatas meet Lord Vishnu to avoid distributing the nectar to Asuras as it may lead to problems. Lord Vishnu takes the birth as Mohini and distributes Amruth only to Devtas. Asuras get angry and worship Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva gets satisfied by their worship and blesses Asuras with lot of powers.
With these powers Asuras start torturing people and Devtas. Again Devtas worship Lord Shiva to avoid this. Lord Shiva gets angry and starts punishing Asuras. During this war, a Shivalingam worshipped by Thripurasura (Tripurasura) remains un damaged even though all Asuras die. Lord Shiva (Mahadeva) makes this Lingam into five pieces and makes this installed in five different places. These five places (Prathishtapana) are now famous as Pancharama.

The second story begins from Hiranya Kashipu and his son Simuchi. The son of Simuchi, Tharakasura worships Lord Shiva and gets his Atma Linga. Then, Tharakasura starts troubling people and Devatas. As per blessings, Tharakasura dies only by a boy. Devatas go to Lord Shiva to find solution for finding a solution to punish Tharakasura. Lord Kumara Swamy Avtar thus happens and and boy kills Tharakasura. After when Tharakasura dies, the Athmalinga gets divided into five. Each one gets installed by Devatas in five different places. These places are called Pancharama Kshetras.

Below are the details of Pancharama Kshetras and the five faces of Lord Shiva

1. Amararama - Amaravati (Sri Amareswara Swamy)


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Amaravati is a historic pilgrimage center and a storehouse of ancient Buddhist sculpture. Amaravati is home to the Amareswara temple which constitutes one of the five Pancharama temples of Andhra Pradesh sacred to Shiva, the other four being Kumararama (Kotipalli), Ksheerarama and Bheemarama and Draksharama. Amaravati is located about 15 miles away from Guntur near Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

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The temple of Lord Amareswara located on the banks of river Krishna, is rich in Dravidian and Buddist architectures. The Lingam is 15 feet high, carved out of marble. The city was named Amaravati after Indra's capital here. Tradition says that Indra and Devas had worshipped the Lord here. Goddess Shakthi is worshipped as Bala Chamundika Devi.
The white Linga is quite unique and the priests have to ascend the steps for offering abhishekam. As the name Amaravati implies, legend has it that Amaravati was once the abode of the Gods - the Devas, the yakshas and the kinnaras, who performed penances to Shiva to request him to rid the earth of the mighty demon Tarakasura.
Legend has it that Shiva's son Subramanya vanquished the demon. It is believed that the Shivalingam that shattered Into five pieces was a huge one, and the biggest of the five pieces is a fifteen foot long column of white marble which is worshipped as Amareswara at the Amaravati temple (this is very similar to the Shivalingam at the Draksharama temple). Legend has it that it was installed by Indra the king of the Devas, Brihaspati the guru of the Devas and Sukra the preceptor of the Asuras.

The Amaravati temple is located on a small hillock referred to as Krouncha Shaila, alongside the river Krishna which flows for a short distance in a North-Southerly direction, although for the most part, the river heads eastwards towards the ocean. The river Krishna is held in reverence at this pilgrimage site, and a ritual dip in this river here is considered to be meritorious.
The temple has ancient origins, however the structural foundations as seen today, seem to date back to the 11th century CE. The Vijayanagar kings did provide grants to maintain the temple. However it was the local kings of the 18th century CE that provided vast endowments to this temple. The temple is decorated with four lofty gopurams in its outer circumlocutory path.

How to reach Amaravati:
Amaravati is at 35kms distance from Guntur. There are so many non-stop buses from Guntur. It takes about 45 minutes journey. Buses will leave us at temple. In Karthika masam APSRTC maintains special Pancharamas tour buses to cover them all in a single day.