Bhadrācalam

(‘mountain of Bhadra’)

Bhadrācalam—also known as Bhadra-giri—is considered as one of the 25 important places of pilgrimage associated with Śrī Rāma. It is situated in the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. It is 50 kms. (31 miles) from Kothagudem, the place famous for the coal mines of Singareni.

Śrī Ramā Temple at Bhadrācalam
Śrī Ramā Temple at Bhadrācalam

The sanctum of the temple has all the three images, of Śrī Rāma, Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa. According to the sthalapurāṇa (local mythological accounts), the three appeared before the sage Bhadra (personification of the mountain Bhadragiri, consi-dered as the son of Meruparvata or mountain Meru and Menakā) and transformed themselves into stone images at his request, to stay there permanently. An anthill grew over the images and they were hidden from the human gaze for centuries.

The presence there of the images was revealed accidentally or by divine dispensation to one Pokala Dammakka, a childless widow who had adopted a boy named Rāma. She retrieved the images and preserved them, offering a simple worship. One day in a dream she saw the sage Bhadra who instructed her to keep up her devoted worship until such a time when a great devotee of Śrī Rāma will come and construct a temple for the images. Later, when Kañcarla Gopanna (A. D. 1630-1687) who was the tax-collector of the Muslim ruler Tanisha visited the place, she revealed her dream to him. Since he was a great devotee of Śrī Rāma, he got the temple built. Though he was punished by the ruler for the ‘misuse’ of State funds, Śrī Rāma came to his rescue in a miraculous way.

Gopanna became a famous composer-musician, now well-known as Bhadrācala Rāmadāsa.

The temple was built in the 17th century and was thoroughly renovated during the 1960’s.

Śrī Rāma-Navamī and Vaikuṇṭha Ekādaśī are the biggest festivals conducted in this temple.

Temples of Narasiṁha and Govinda-rāja as also the Rāmadāsa Dhyānamandira are places of importance for the pilgrims.

About 36 kms. (20 miles) away is the Parṇaśālā where Śrī Rāma and Sīta stayed, before Sītā was abducted by Rāvaṇa, the demon-king. A rivulet, Śītāvāga by name, flows nearby.

Dummaguḍem (16 kms. or 10 miles from Bhadrācalam) where Śrī Rāma is said to have killed Khara and his army of 14,000 demons, as also Guṇḍala (5 kms. or 3 miles down the river, from Bhadrā-calam) containing hot springs are other places of interest.