Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Manikyamba Devi-Draksharamam

Manikyamba Devi temple at Draksharamam in Andhra Pradesh is one of the Ashtadasa Shakti temple. It is believed that the Navel part of Devi Sati has fallen here when Lord Vishnu has cut her corpse with his Sudarshan Chakra. It is also one among the five powerful temples of Lord Shiva, well known as Pancharama temples. Here Lord shiva is in the name of Bhimeswara Swamy and her consort is devi Manikyamba. Temple is situated on eastern Bank of the great river Godavari.

Manikyamaba devi temple present in inner circle (prakara) of Lord Bhimeswara swamy temple. It is present in North East Corner of the campus. There is a Srichakra below Manikyamaba mata idol. Manikyamaba devi will see left side, suggesting us she was worshiped previously in Vama marga (Left route). Sun god and Saptarshis worshiped Lord Bhimeswara swamy and Manikyamba devi here.

According to local legend, sacred Draksharama Temple has a ‘Shiva lingam’ enshrined by god Surya. The temple was built by angels in one night. The construction of the perimeter wall could not be completed before sunrise and still stands incomplete. Several attempts have been made to construct the uncompleted part of the wall but all those efforts have failed with the constructed wall collapsing within a few months.  The specialty of this Shiva Lingam is that, the early morning tender Sun light falls on the Linga. There are nearly 800 ancient scripts on the walls of the temple. The Siva Linga in this temple is said to be one large crystal which is 2.6 meters high. Siva is accompanied by Dakshayani, who is the first wife of Siva.

Legends of Manikyamba Devi:

There are three stories related to Manikyamba devi. First one is, A Brahmin widow made a golden idol to remember her died daughter. But after some time, the idol got talking power. This idol was decorated with Manikyas(gems), hence the name Manikyamba or Manikyeswari. Bhimadeva, a new king came to this area taken that idol and worshiped her as his Kula devata. Some stories also tells us that Manikyamba name comes from a word Mainakamba, That means she was the daughter of Menaka devi, wife of Himavanta. Gradually the word Manikamba turned as Manikyamba in time period.

                There is another important story regarding Manikyamaba devi. Manikyamba devi is a daughter of a prostitute. One day she saw Lord Bhimeswara in her dream, and decided that she will marry Lord Bhimeswara only. She showed great devotion towards Lord Shiva, and finally got Lord Bhimeswara swamy as her husband. A great Poet Srinatha, belonging to 14th century also mentioned this story in his great work, Bhimakhanadam. From there onwards Manikyamba devi was worshiped as Mother goddess. Manikyamba devi also considered as Kula devata of vesyas.

Legend of Bheemeswar:

                Once upon a time, demon Tarakasura had his tapas and booned by Lord Shiva with his AtmaLinga. With this proud, Tarakasura had committed many sins against devas. Due to this all devas went to make Goddess Pravathi marriage with Lord Shiva in order to kill Tarakasura by giving birth to Lord Shanmukha. Shanmukha went for a battle against Tarakasura. On Lord Shiva’s suggestion, Shanmukha destroyed atmalinga in Tarakasura’s neck and killed him. 

                The pieces of atmalinga had fallen at 5 holy places in Andhra Pradesh which are popular known as Pancharamams. One is Amareshwara installed by Lord Indra in Amaravathi, the second is Someswara installed by Lord Chandra in Bheemavaram, the third is Ksheera Ramalingeswara installed by Lord Rama in Palakollu, the fourth is Kumara Rama Bheemeswara installed by Shanmukha in samrlakota and the fifth one is Bheemeswara who had shown himself in Drakshramam. In order to purify the piece fallen in Drakshramam, the sages requested River Godavari but Godavari had responded late which made Lord Shiva to emerge himself in Draksharamam. River Godavari came here with the request of Saptarshi hence called SapthaGodavari which is located on east to the temple as Pushkarini.

A 14th century poet Srinatha mentioned Manikyamaba devi as one of 18 Shaktipeethas in his work Bhimakhandam.

prithivi padunenimidi yogapithashakti
ganamulo nencha sarvashringara yaguchu
bhimanathuni sannithi prema velayu
manikadevi sakala kalyana murti.

                Draksharamam is a Shavite shrine. On a day, Lord Shiva tested Sage Vyasa by not getting him any food by donation in Kasi. Sage Vyasa lost his patience on his hungry tried cursing Kasi but Goddess Annapurna had provided food to Vyasa and his disciples. Lord Shiva had ordered him to leave kasi. The goddess had suggested Drakshramam, an equivalent of Kasi  to spend his remaining life. It is believed that sage Vyasa who performed penance here named this as Dakshina Kasi (Southern Benaras). Legend has it that the Saptamaharshis (Seven sages) to achieve the end of their penance divided the akhanda (unbranched) Godavari River into seven different streams at Draksharama. Bharadhwaja, Viswamitra and Jamadagni streams known as Antarvahinies, were believed to have gone underground. There is Sapta Godavari Kundam (Seven river pond) near the temple. Devotees bath in this kundam. Sivarathri attracts huge crowds of pilgrims.

Drakshavati Sthitashaktih vikhyata Manikyambika /
varada shubhadadevi bhaktamoksha pradayini //


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