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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Bhimeswara Swamy temple, Samarlakot, Andhra Pradesh

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Bhimeswara Swamy temple at Samarlakot, East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh is known as one of the Pancharamas.

Legend behind the Pancharamas                                  

According to the Shiva Purana and Skanda Purana, Demon Tarakasura performed severe penance for Lord Brahma and received two boons from Lord Brahma. The first boon being that no one should be as strong as him (Tarakasura), and the second boon being that only a male child from Lord Shiva should be able to kill him (as at the time Lord Shiva was deeply depressed by the demise of his wife Sati Devi, Taraksura thought that it would be almost impossible for a child to be born to Lord Shiva).

Thereafter Tarakasura performed penance for Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased by the penance and blessed Taraka with a shivalinga, which can protect him from all types of physical harms. Taraka wore the shivalinga on his neck and due to the Linga’s super natural powers Taraka was undefeatable.

As Tarakasura had a boon that he could be killed only by the son of Lord Shiva, Tarakasura was repeatedly defeating the Devas (Lord Shiva was still in grief of Sati Devi’s demise). Devas then plead with Lord Shiva to save them from the clutches of Tarakasura. Pleased by the prayers of Devas, Lord Shiva broke his grief and married Parvati (daughter of Himavat, and the incarnation of Sati Devi) and Lord Subramanya was born.

Kumara Swamy, son of Siva and Parvathi, was the commander-in-chief of the devas, fought with Tarakasura in the war and used his Sakthi weapon to kill Tarakasura. Kumaraswamy several times broke Tarakasura’s body in pieces but the pieces started joining again and again. Subramanaya Swamy was confused and requested Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu advised Kumara Swamy to break shiva linga worn by Tarakasura into pieces and said only then the demon can be killed.

Maha Vishnu also said that even after breaking the shiva linga, the broken shiva linga pieces will try to reunite again. To prevent this reunion Lord Vishnu advised Kumaraswamy to fix all these broken pieces in those places where they fall, by worshipping and building temples over those pieces. As advised by Lord Vishnu, Kumara Swamy used Agneyastra (weapon of fire) to break the Siva Linga worn by the demon.  The Shiva Linga broken into five pieces but the broken pieces tried to reunite.

To prevent this Indra (King of Devas), Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Lord Vishnu and Kumara Swamy worshipped the Lingas at the respective places simultaneously, where five temples have been built, known as Pancharamas. The Linga installed and worshipped by Kumaraswamy at Samarlakot is known as Bhimeswara Swamy. The lingas installed by Indra (Amaravathi), Surya (Draksharamam), Chandra (Bhimavaram) and Lord Vishnu (Palakollu) are the other four places of worship.  All the pancharama temples are in Andhra Pradesh.


The Samarlakota shiva temple construction began in 892 AD and was completed in 922 AD during the period of Eastern Chalukyas by King Chalukya Bheema-I. Here the Linga is made of calcium and limestone and appears in white colour. The temple was rebuilt during Musunuri Nayaks from 1340–1466 AD. Musunuri Nayaks adopted the Kakatiya style of architecture.

The goddess in this temple is known by the name Bala Tripura Sundari. The inscription related to the temple says states that Chalukya Bhima, the son of Vikramaditya having been victorious in three hundred and sixty battles ruled the earth for thirty years.

As the shiv ling was originally placed here by Kumaraswamy, it became popular as Kumararama.  Since the formal temple structure was built by King Chalukya Bhima in Dravidian style this temple is called by the name, Bhimeswara Swamy temple.  This place is also known as Purva Chalukya Bhimavaram as the Eastern Chalukyans ruled this place.


The temple is a rectangular structure with two storied building. One can see the sculpture design of both Eastern chalukyas and kakatiyas in this temple.  A mantapam supported with one hundred pillars is built here along with Eka Shila Nandi (Single Stone Bull) at the temple entrance opposite to Shiva Lingam. Main temple prakara walls are specially built of dressed sandstone. On the ground floor of the temple the idol of Goddess Bala Tripura Sundari the incarnation of Goddess Parvati is installed.

the main shrine of the temple lies in the middle of the inner sanctum. It is a rectangular structure enshrined with the 14 feet tall limestone Shiva lingam that begins from the podium on the ground floor and rises till second floor piercing through roof where the presiding deity is called Lord Rudrabhaga. Devotees can offer their prayer to lingam from first floor. Pushkarni Lake is situated to the east of temple.  


Some of the festivals celebrated at Samarlakota Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy Temple are:

During Karthika and Margashira months in November/December, Abhishekams to Lord Shiva take place every day. During the months of February/March, there are celebrations of Kalyana Mahotsavam on Magha Bahula Ekadashi day.

Dussehra celebrations also take place in the months of October. Maha Shiva ratri festival is celebrated in the month of Phalgun on chaturdasi day with grandeur.

How to reach?

Kumara Bheemeswara Swamy temple is situated just beside the Samarlakot Railway Station (around 1 KM). Samarlakot railway station is on the Chennai-Howrah main railway line. Samarlakot town is linked to NH 16 that runs along east coast of West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Nearest cities are Kakinada (15 KMs) and Rajamundry (38 KMs). AP Road Transport Corporation and AP Tourism Development Corporation also conduct pilgrimage tours to Pacharamas.


  1. https://www.papikondalu-tour-package.com/temples-around-rajahmundry/bhimeswara-swami-temple-samarlakota.php.
  2. https://eastgodavari.ap.gov.in/temples/sri-chalukya-kumararama-sri-bhimeswaraswamy-vari-temple-samalkot/.

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Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex- Senior Banker, Financial and Management Consultant and Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. Areas of Specialization & Teaching interests - Banking, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Global Business & Behavioural Sciences. Qualification- M.Com., M.B.A., A.I.I.B.F., PhD. Experience- 25 years of banking and 16 years of teaching, research and consulting. 200 plus national and international publications on various topics like- banking, global trade, economy, public finance, public policy and spirituality. One book in English “In Search of Eternal Truth”, two books in Telugu and 38 short stories 50 articles and 2 novels published in Telugu. Email id: [email protected]


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