Bhimavaram

Bhimavaram is famous for Sri Gunupudi Someswara Janardhana Swamy temple, a Pancharama shrine.  Bhimavaram is near Palakkolu, on the state highway to Vijayawada (107km).  Built during the Ninth century, during the reign of Bhima I, the Lingam changes colours black/brown on New Moon and off-white on Full Moon day.  Goddess Annapurna's shrine is built on top of the Shiva shrine, something not seen eleswhere in India.  The temple's antiquity is traced to a much earlier period, for the Lingam is said to have been installed by Chandra, Moon.  It is for this reason that the temple is known as Sri Janardhana Swamy temple, Somaramam Chandra Prathishta:  installled by Chandra at Somaramam (Moon's domain).  The location of the Goddess' shrine over the sanctum, besides being unique, is said to symbolise the fact that the Ganges flows from Lord Shiva's head.

The Dwajasthambham (flag post), in front of the Rajagopuram, is unique as well, for on its top is Nandi, facing the shrine.  The temple pushkarni is called Somagundam.  There are shrines here for the Navagrahas, Vinayaka, Subramanya and Hanuman.  Near the sanctum is a marriage hall, where mass marriages are conducted during Shivarathri. They also take place in the mandapam near Goddess Annapoorna's shrine on top.  Locals opine that getting married at this shrine would lead to a peaceful and understanding wedded life.

How to get there

Palakkolu to Bhimavaram is 20km, roughly a 45 minute journey.  Those coming from Vizag can come along the National Highway up to Ravulapalem (230km), or from Rajole Palakkolu.  Here turn left towards Narasapur. Devotees from Vijayawada and beyond can come via Gudivada (64km). Alternatively, they can come by Narasapur-bound trains.  Vijayawada is the nearest airport.

Accommodation

Bhimavaram is a commercial town, with plenty of lodges.

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