Wooden Shiva Lingam of Sangameshwara Temple Kurnool Andhra Pradesh
is one of the ancient and unique hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located at the convergence of the Krishna River
which originated in the western ghats near Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra and Bhavanasi River
which originated from Nallamala Hills, in the foreshore of Srisailam Reservoir
. These rivers together flow till Srisailam Jyothirlingam and then mix into the ocean. This temple can be only visited during summer. After the construction of Srisailam Dam it got submerged under water in 1980 for about 23years and then came to surface for first time in 2003.
View of Sangameshwara Temple Kurnool AP
Lord Shiva is one of the trinity gods in Hindu Religion
who fulfills the desires of his devotees who worship him with utmost devotion. There are various Shiva temples located in different places across India. Some famous temples of Lord Shiva like Amarnath and Kedarnath are not easily accessible and are located at the unlikeliest places. It is the divine power of Lord Shiva which attracts people to visit his shrines be it in any part of the world. Here is one such amazing shrine of Lord Shiva at the confluence of seven rivers best known as "Sangameshwara Temple in Kurnool"
Sangameshwara Temple Surrounded by Water Kurnool AP
Legend of Sangameshwara Temple:
This place is very sacred as it got religious sanctity due to the Sangameshwara Temple
which is well versed in Skanda Purana and is also known as Saptanadi, as the seven rivers which flow from different places, combine here and finally mix in the ocean. The temple is mainly situated at the convergence of rivers Krishna
and Bhavanasi, which meet with the tributaries named Tunga
According to mythology, once when the Pandavas
of Mahabharata Epic came to Kurnool during their exile after visiting "Srisailam Mallikarjuna Temple"
, they wanted to do penance for Lord Shiva as Shri Krishna suggested them to do so. At that time Dharmaraja
(best known as Yudhishtira
the eldest of Pandavas
) decided to install a Shiva Linga in this region. So, Dharmaraja asked his brother Bhima to bring a Shiva Linga from Kashi. When Bhima failed to reach on time, Dharmaraja installed a Neem log
(in the form of Shiva Linga) and worshipped it. Later, they consecrated this Linga at the convergence of the rivers Krishna and Bhavanasi along with other five tributaries. Hence, the Linga was named as 'Sangameshwara'
(Sangama, where the rivers meet).
Sangameshwara Temple near Srisailam Reservoir Kurnool AP
Thus this temple is submerged for 8 months when the Srisailam Project is full and open for 4 months (March, April, May and June) when the water levels are low and the temple resurfaces.
Significance of Sangameshwara Temple:
The temple complex is popularly known as Pancheshwaram (which is a combination of five temples that includes Sangameshwaram, Sidheshwaram, Kapileshwaram, Someshwaram and Malleshwaram). It is said that Lord Shiva gets fulfilled all the wishes of his devotees who come to him to pay their respect and offer prayers.
Submerged Sangameshwara Temple Kurnool AP
The Sangameshwaram temple got submerged after the construction of Srisailam Dam in 1980 and was not relocated like many other ancient temples of this locality. It got resurfaced in the year 2003, as it remained hidden under water for about twenty years.
Deity in the Temple:
As seen in other temples the Shiva lingam of this temple is unique which is made up of Neem log and is placed in the inner sanctum sanctorium. Behind Lord Shiva is seen on the right side Lord Ganesha with Bhima Lingeshwara Swamy and on the left side Goddess Lalitha Devi (Goddess Parvathi).
The Shiva Lingam inside this temple is more than 1000 years old and stands as the sacred place for several sages, rishis who performed penance here to Lord Shiva. When Bhima
failed to return on time with Shiva Lingam from Kashi, Dharmaraja installed this wooden lingam and thus Lord Shiva is known as Bhimalingeshwara Swamy
in this temple.
Celebration in Temple:
When the temple is open the deity is worshipped by the priests and devotees who conduct several rituals specially on mondays and masa shivarathris. The Shiva Rathri Festival is very well celebrated if the temple resurfaces from the water and a huge crowd of people throng to the temple to worship the deity.
Now as the wooden lingam was installed, to lower Bhima's
anger Dharmaraja took the one Bhima brought from kashi and got it installed in the water by Bhima
himself and named it as the "Bhima Lingeshwara Swamy''
and then constructed the temple. Thus it is said that the one who comes to visit Sangameshwara Temple should first visit the "Bhima Lingeshwara Temple"
and then come to here, as is mentioned in the Sthala Purana.
Bhima Brother of Pandavas
Architecture of this Temple:
The temple being submerged in the water for a long time is still visited by a number of devotees in summer when the water is low. The Wooden Shiva lingam (Neem Log) is in good condition irrespective of submerged in water and stands as an amazing temple to see.
There is evidence that temple is dated 8th and 9th century and has inscriptions of 13 shasanas in the temple premises which state that the King Shri Krishna Devarayulu of Vijayanagaram Kingdom visited this temple twice in his ruling period and donated many precious ornaments and lands on the Lord's name. The current temple which is visible to us was constructed around 200 years ago in a very simple manner.
Vijayanagaram Shri Krishna Devaraya
The 339 years old Great Marathi warrior Shivaji Maharaja also visited Sangameshwara Swamy Temple in his lifetime and then he reached Srisailam is also well mentioned in the scriptures.
The Great Warrior of Maratha Shivaji Maharaja
Now this temple is visible in summer when the water levels are low and opened for public during these days. Now, this temple is constantly resurfaced every year in summer since 2003. However, this age-old architecture is under threat because of the water flowing from Srisailam Dam. People come here from different places to visit this temple which remains open for 40 - 50 days to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. One has to opt boats as the temple is surrounded by water. The Sanctum Sanctorium is full of devotees who perform several poojas and rituals to this wooden Lingam inside the temple.
After seeking darshan of Sangameshwara Swamy one can visit the Srisailam Dam and Reservoir constructed at the border of Mahabubnagar and Kurnool district. It is one of the beautiful tourist attractions which attracts pilgrims and tourists visiting this place. As it is situated on the top of the hill one can see the beautiful sight of full Kurnool City.
The Magnificient View of Srisailam Dam
An ancient Dargah is also next to this place which can also be visited upon coming here as it has special attraction holding two trees one above other.
How to Reach:
Sangameshwara Temple in Kurnool of Andhra Pradesh is open only for 40 - 50 days during April-May (when the water levels are low). One has to take Boats from the shore to visit this temple.
By Road:This place is 55kms away form Kurnool city and 20kms from Nandikotkur from where one can take buses to Mucchumari village which is 16kms away and from here one can opt auto, jeep to reach the Sangameshwara Temple which is again 8kms in distance from here.
The other way to reach Sangameshwara temple is to travel from Atmakur in Kurnool jilla to Kapileshwaram from where this temple is 5kms away and one can reach here with the help of auto, jeep and also come in private vehicles.
When the temple is visible the Government transport RTC organises bus services from distant places to this region and Pagidyala.
By Air: There is Greenfield airport in Kurnool built by Bhogapuram International Airport Company Limited (BIACL) which was set up by AP Government in May 2015.
By Train: Kurnool railway station is the nearest railway station.
Image Courtesy: www.nativeplanet.com, hinduismlifestyle.blogspot.com, srikrishnadevarayal.blogspot.com