Pancharama Kshetras - Story of the five sacred temples of Shiva

Devout Hindus in South India, especially in Andhra Pradesh, hold the Pancharama Kshetras in high reverence. These five ancient temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, are located at different sites across the state. Each temple’s shivalingam was installed by a different deity and all originated from a single lingam with a fascinating history. According to legend, the lingams at these temples are fragments of a single, original lingam.


As the story goes, the asura king Tarakasura possessed a powerful lingam that rendered him invincible. In the war between the devas and the asuras, Kartikeya, the son of Shiva, confronted Tarakasura. Despite repeatedly breaking Tarakasura's body, the pieces would reunite, leaving Kartikeya baffled. Vishnu then appeared and revealed that Tarakasura's invincibility was linked to the intact lingam he wore. Vishnu instructed Kartikeya to shatter the lingam, and to prevent it from reassembling, the fragments needed to be worshipped and enshrined where they fell.

Kartikeya used his celestial weapon, the agneyastra, to break the lingam into five pieces. These fragments began to rejoin, but by Vishnu's order, Surya established them at their respective locations and built temples over them, thus preventing them from reuniting. These sites became known as the Pancharama Kshetras. Each of the five lingams bears scale-like marks from Kartikeya's agneyastra.

Pancharama Temples

  1. Amararama (in Amaravathi): Located in the Palnadu district on the banks of the Krishna River, the Amara Lingeswara temple is believed to have been worshipped by Indra. The temple complex includes many smaller shrines, with Bala Chamundeswari as the presiding goddess. The Venu Gopala Swami temple is also situated within the compound.
  2. Draksharama (in Draksharamam): Near Ramachandrapuram, this large temple complex is under the control of the Archaeological Department. Rama, followed by Surya and Indra, is said to have worshipped Shiva here. The temple also houses Manikyamaba Devi, one of the 18 Shakti Pithas.
  3. Somarama (in Bhimavaram): The Someswara Swami temple is located in Gunupudi. It features a holy pond called Chandra Kundam. Chandra (the moon god) is believed to have worshipped Shiva here to absolve his sins, hence the deity is named Someswara. The lingam is said to change color with the lunar phases—black during Amavasya (new moon) and white during Purnima (full moon). The Annapurna Mata temple is on the second floor.
  4. Ksheerarama (in Palakollu): According to local legend, the Ksheera Rama Lingeswara temple is where the deity offered the Sudarshana Chakra to Vishnu. The sage received boons and milk (kshira) from Shiva here. Parvati is the goddess worshipped at this temple.
  5. Kumararama (in Samalkota): Located about 20 km from Kakinada, this ancient temple is also under the Archaeological Department’s care. Kartikeya is believed to have established the lingam here, hence the name Kumararama. Bala Tripura Sundari is the presiding goddess.

These temples are not only significant religiously but also hold historical and cultural importance, attracting devotees and tourists alike.

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