Sri Uma Markandeswara Swamy Temple
Sri Uma Markandeswara Swamy Temple is on the banks of the Godavari, in Rajamundry, the temple town and capital of East Godavair district. Rajamundry is also famous for the bridge across the Godavari, connecting the city with Kovvur. It is Asia's second longest rail cum road bridge.
The temple is dedicated to Markandeya, the boy who was fated to live for only 11 years. As the hour of reckoning arrived, the boy, a great devotee of Shiva, clung to the Lingam that he had been worshipping. He outwitted Yama (the God of Death), with the help of Shiva, who granted him long life. The episode occurred in the place where the shrine now stands, and te Lingam here is the one that Markandeya worshipped, say the temple authorities. The shrine was patronised, among others, by Raja Raja Narendra, the greatest of the Eastern Chalukyan rulers, the Cholas and the Reddy kings. It is at a level lower than the road.
Sri Shyamalamma Temple
Sri Shyamalamma temple, by the side of the raod, looks more like a big roadside temple. The locals call it Somalamma temple, but the Somalamma idol was removed about a century ago, and the huge idol of Sri Shyamalamma was installed in its place. Sri Shyamalamma is the patron deity of Rajamundry. The Somalamma idol is now in another part of the city, and is brought to Her original home (the present Shyamalamma temple) on Ugadi (Telugu New Year) day.
Sri Sarangadhareswara Temple, on the outskirts, is dedicated to the son of the great monarch, Raja Raja Narendra. Raja Raja Narendra (1022-1064) was the son of the Eastern Chalukya, Vimaladitya, and Kundavi, The daughter of the great Chola emperor, Raja Raja (984-1014). He married Ammanga Devi, the daughter of Rajendra Chola (1014-1044). Raja Raja Narendra is said to have built this city, which was then known as Rajamahendravaram.
Raja Raja Narendra and Ammanga Devi had a son named Sarangadhara. The King also had another wife, Chitrangi. It is said that Chitrangi's son, Vijayadhithyudu, bore a grudge agains Sarangadhara, and spread a rumour that his step brother had an illicit relationship with his mother. When news reached the king, he ordered the chopping of Sarangadhara's hands and feet. The gruesome punishment, it is said, was carried out where Sri Sarangadhareswara temple now stands. Saranga's pitiful cries that he was not guilty of any crime reached the ears of Sage Meghanadha, who was mediating in the hills nearby. The sage also came to know that he had been wrongfully punished. He advised Saranga to meditate on Lord Shiva. Saranga did as he was told and the Lord, it is said, restored his hands and feet.
Sri Sarangadhara Temple
Sri Sarangadhara temple is located some way from the town, on Korukonda Road, on Sarangadhara Metta, a small hill, and the Lord here is known as Sri Sarangadhareswarudu. The Lingam in the sanctum was the one worshipped by Saranga. Adjunct to the sanctum, in a mandapam, is this newly-renovated temple, is the rock on which the prince's hands and feet were chopped. Behind the rock is a statue of prince Sarangadhara.
How to get there:
Rajamundry is a major city, 150km from Vijayawada, on the Chennai-Howrah trunk line. So is the highway. It is 435km from Hyderabad. Vijayawada is the nearest airport.
Plenty of hotels near the railway and bus stations.
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