About the Temple
Located at Palakollu of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, Sri Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy temple is known as one of the Pancharama Kshetras. The main deity is Lord Shiva who is worshipped here as Sri Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy. It is among one of the five Shiva temples especially, in South India that creates the Pancharama Kshetram. The other four temples are Amararama temple in Amaravathi, Draksharama Temple in Draksharamam, Kumararama Temple in Samalkoti and Somarama Temple in Bhimavaram.
History of the Temple
The temple is a huge structure with a towering Rajagopuram. Here, the shiva lingam is tallest, milky white and it is made of white marble which can be viewed through the all four windows of the Garbha graham. The temple tower stands 120ft tall with 9 floors. The temple was built during the 9th century under the rule of Chalukya Bheema. The Prakara was designed during the 10th century and gopuram was constructed during 14th Century. Kalyana mandapam and Ashta Bhuja Lakshmi Narayanaswamy temples were built in the 17th century. The temple mandapam has 72 pillars carved out of black stones.
It is believed that spending a day in Ksheerarama is equivalent to spending a year in Varanasi.
Other shrines at the Temple
The temple complex houses shrines of many deities such as Lord Kashi Vishweshwara, Goddess Parvathi, Goddess Lakshmi, Nagareshwara Lingam, Lord Vigneshwara, Veera Bhadra, Sapta Matruka, Goddess Kanaka Durga, LordBrahma, Goddess Saraswathi, Lord Kumara Swamy, Lord Kartikeya, Goddess Durga, Kala Bhairava, Naga Sarpa, Nataraja, Lord Dattatreya, Nageshwara, Shaneeshwara, Radha Krishna and Shankara.
Legend of the Temple
As per the legends, Upamanyu, the son of sage Kaushik, asked Lord Shiva for sufficient milk supply so that he can carry on the rituals during the festivals in the temple. Lord Shiva filled the entire Ksheera Pushkarni Tank with the milky ocean or Ksheera Sagaram. Since then, this place is known by various names such as Ksheerarama, Palakollu, and Dugdhapovanam.
According to another hearsay, Lord Ram along with Sita and Lakshman had worshipped Shiva at this spot. Once, Maharishi Agastya told Lord Ram that his complexion has become black after killing Ravana who was a Brahmin. In order to get rid of the black complexion, Lord Ram was advised to take a dip in the holy river and also installs Shiva Lingas. After installation of various Shiva Lingas, Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lakshmana decided to visit Gosthani river to install Shiva Linga. Goddess Sita had asked Hanuman to acquire it. Hanuman couldn’t arrive on time and Sita made a Shiva Linga containing sand and snails. She did puja. When Hanuman saw this, he got disappointed. Hence Lord Ram assured Hanuman that first, devotees would pray in front of the Shiva Linga brought by him and then that of Sita’s.
Festivals and Celebrations
Maha Shivarathri and Navratri festivals are celebrated joyously in this temple.
How to reach
By Road: Bus services are available from all major places in Andhra Pradesh to reach the temple in Palakollu. The nearest bus station is at Bhimavaram.
By Train: The nearby railway station is Palakollu which is 1 km away.
By Air: The nearest airport is Rajahmundry Airport which is 83 km away.