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Old 10th May 2018, 13:37   #1
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Default The Grandeur of Andhra & Telangana

Our Grandeur of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Summary of the Travel:
Date: 16-Mar-2018 (Friday) to 26-Mar-2018 (Monday)
Total Days traveled: 11
Distance Traveled during this trip: 3175 Km
Route taken / Places Visited: Bengaluru – Hyderabad – Bhadrachalam – Simhachalam – Srikurmam – Pancha Rama – Hyderabad – Bengaluru


What prompted us to undertake this travel?
Our many years of pilgrimage travel which is in abundance in our country, our experience during these travels has given us rich culture, tradition, history, discipline, thus resulting in a feeling of being cleansed. The minimum conveniences in remote pilgrimage sites, trek to temples, austerity, discipline in food habits has always had a long lasting impact on our holistic wellbeing. Inspite of hectic schedules, it amazes us how our energy levels has sustained from early mornings to late nights, definitely the source of energy has come from the sanctum darshan, holy charanamruth and Prasad.

There are many famous pilgrimage sites commonly visited by most. However there are so many lesser known temples in remote locations, less frequented. In our quest on these lines we have travelled along the length and breadth of India from J&K (Amarnath, Vaisho Devi) to Kanyakumari and Gujarat (Dwarka) to West Bengal (Ganga sagar). Listening to discourses of Sri UV Velukkudi Krishnan, now Dushyant Sridhar brought light on the Divya Desams, Vaishnava tradition and the story behind each. This aroused in us a devotion to visit the temples.

Some of the pilgrimages we have undertaken are given below:
  • Char Dham of India (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram)
  • Ashtavinayak - The eight Ganesha temples in Maharashtra are Mayureshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar, Varadavinayak, Chintamani, Girijatmaj, Vighneshwar, Mahaganapati
  • Aaru padai veedu (6 abodes of Murugan - Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram and Thiruchendur)
  • Dwadasa Jyotirlingas (Baidyanath, Bhimashankar, Grushneshwar, Kashi Vishwanath, Kedarnath, Mahakaleshwar, Mallikarjun, Nagnath, Omkareshwar, Rameswaram, Somnath, Triambakeshwar)
  • Navagraha Sthalams in Tamil Nadu (Sooriyanar Kovil, Thingaloor, Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Thiruvenkadu, Alangudi, Kanjanur, Thirunallar, Thirunageswaram, Keezhperumpallam)
  • Panchabhuta Sthalams - Srikalahasti, Thillai Nataraja Temple Chidambaram, Annamalaiyar Temple Tiruvannamalai, Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchi, Jambukeswarar Temple Thiruvanaikaval
  • Nava Narasimhan - Ahobila Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha, Bhargava Narasimha, Chatravata Narasimha, Varaha Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Paavana Narasimha, Karanja Narasimha
  • Gomukh to Ganga sagar. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh and the tributary eventually meets the ocean at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Ganga begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
  • Char Dham of Uttarkhand (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath)
  • Panch Prayag (Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Devprayag)
  • Vaishno Devi (few times), Amarnath, Golden Temple Amritsar
  • Shirdi, Shani Singnapur, Aundh Nagnath, Parli Vaijnath, Ambejogai, Pandharpur, Kudala Sangama, Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple, Ganapathipule.
  • 108 divya desams or vishnu sthalams (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...avelogue.html? (108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue)). Presently covered 104 out of 108 divya desams and 2 more yet to be visited by us. The balance 2 are out of this world and human being cannot visit them namely Thiruparkkadal and Vaikundam, which are beyond Bhoolokam
  • 276 Shiva Sthalams or Paadal Petra Sthalams. We have embarked on this trip to 276 Shiva Sthalams and have visited 80 out of 276 temples.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, apart from Nava Narasimhan & jyotirlingas we have visited Tirupati, Puttaparthi, Panaga Narsimhan Vijaywada, Dwarka Thirumala.

We had the plan to visit Simhachalam during our earlier trip to Andhra Pradesh 8 years ago but decided to return back from Vijaywada as my father was unwell. Finally we could visit these temples long planned, coupled along with our plan to present the paper in Hyderabad University.

Google maps for marg darshan have been extremely useful to travel through these remote places, villages & also to locate the temple without seeking for guidance from the locals. However, a word of caution is that we can’t be 100% dependent on the maps. During this visit also we faced a couple of issues with the routes suggested by google maps. After visiting Amaravati, our next destination was Hyderabad. There are 2 routes from Amaravati to Hyderabad; (1) via non-toll road and we avoided this road as it would take longer on non-toll roads and we were uncertain about the road condition (2) via Vijaywada. Google maps indicated to take a longer route to cross a bridge when we enter the city, however there is another bridge that can be easily crossed that maps did not given an alternate. We checked with the local traffic police at the entry of the bridge and it was open for all traffic.

Our travelogue update will contain details of itinerary, day plan and temples visited along with its route map which will help others to plan an independent trip.

Be tuned to this page to get more updates on our Travelogue.



Rann of Kutch travelogue
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...us-kutch.html? (Rann-dezvous at Kutch)


108 Divya Desams travelogue
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...avelogue.html? (108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue)


Delhi to Bangalore and Navagraha Sthalams, Ganapatipute travelogue
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...patipule.html? (XUV500 Travelogue: Delhi – Bangalore – Navagraha Sthalams – Ganapatipule)


Spiti Splendour travelogue
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...i-xuv500.html? (Spiti Splendour - Delhi to Spiti in an XUV500)


Travelogue to Golden City Jaisalmer
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...aisalmer.html? (To the Golden City, Jaisalmer)



Some teasers from our trip
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by navin : 10th May 2018 at 15:00. Reason: It's Andhra and not Andra
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Old 10th May 2018, 15:53   #2
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Day 1:

Summary of the Day:
Date
: 16-Mar-2018 (Friday)
Distance Travelled during the day: 612 Km
Time Taken: 07:50 hrs
Route taken: Devanahalli (towards Bengaluru Airport), Nandi Hills, Chikkaballapura, Penukonda, Anantapur, Gooty, Dhone, Karnool, Mehbubnagar, Jadcherla, Gandiguda (entry into Nehru ORR of Hyderabad)
Places visited: Osmania University, Chutneys-Hitec City


Route taken from Bengaluru to Hyderabad

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We had an early start (5:40 am) from our home at Bengaluru; we reached our usual stop at the highway leading to Lepakshi at 7:30 am.


The drive from Bengaluru was quite comfortable as we did not find much traffic on the ORR and the (un)famous traffic jam at KR Puram and Marathalli. It took us almost an hour to come out of Bengaluru, crossing the airport. We were happy to have had an early start.

We had breakfast at the local restaurant at Lepakshi that served us spongy, soft, white and steaming hot idlis with typical Andra side dishes of groundnut chutney, tomato chutney and sambar and to wash it down with a cup of hot tea. We have already visited Lepakshi during one of our earlier visits to Hyderabad and we drove down further via Gooty, Kurnool, reaching Hyderabad at 13:30. (Adding some of the photos of Lepakshi from our earlier visit).


The Entrance gate to Lepakshi


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Lepakshi: Veerabhadra temple in the temple town of Lepakshi is an example of the Vijayanagar architectural style and art. Located in Anantapur District. Take a left turn as soon as you cross the Karnataka Border and enter into Andra Pradesh. After you take a left turn, the temple is around 16 km from the highway. Total distance is about 141 km, travel time of 2:45 hrs (early morning) on AH43 from Sarjapur Road, Bangalore.

Lepakshi is culturally and archaeologically significant as it is the location of shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra which were built during the Vijayanagara Kings' period (1336–1646). The temples are the location of mural paintings of the Vijayanagara kings and Kannada inscriptions. Near the temple complex is a large granite Nandi bull. On a hillock known as Kurma Saila, "tortoise shaped hill", are other temples to Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Srirama, and Durga.

Google Name: Shri Veerabhadra Temple, Lepakshi Temple Road, Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh.


A statue of Nandi at the Entrance gate to Lepakshi

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A restaurant run by AP Tourism, which seems to be a usual stop for state run buses entering Telangana / Andra from Karnataka

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Magnificent Nandi - a good heritage spot for photography

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The temple gopuram of veerabhadra swami

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Shiva Linga at the Veerabhadra Temple

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While driving we noticed lots of tomatos spread over the road side. Anxious to know such huge amount of tomato, we stopped over to find out the reason.


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A good Samaritan drove good 20 km on his tractor everyday with cart loads of surplus tomato from his field to feed the monkeys.

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This particular patch of land which was a habitat for monkeys does not have water source and hence the tomatos served as a source of water and food.


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Feeding the monkey

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Pose with the good samaritan

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A close-up of monkey and the loads of tomatos

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Well marked exits on the Nehru ORR. These exits reminds us of our stay in Birmingham and our drive within UK, well marked exits on the Motor ways. It enables us to plan our route well in advance. I also noticed that the exits are clearly shown in the google map on this Nehru ORR.


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Hyderabad: We filled our car XUV5OO tank full at Indian Oil CoCo, Hitec City and then had lunch at Chutneys, Hitec City. We chose to taste the Hyderabadi Veg Briyani. We rate 5-Stars to the Chutneys Veg Briyani, very well layered, good quality rice that stood up to the standard and repute of Hyderabadi Briyani (a good option for vegetarians to taste the Hyderabadi Briyani).

Waiting anxiously for the yummy Hyderabadi Briyani

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I am enjoying the Briyani

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One can see the various layers of Hyderabadi Briyani - normally served in a handi to retain its flavours, "dum". There was splendid aroma emanating from the handi of ghee, spices and pure saffron.

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We then drove down to Osmania University, Secunderabad after a sumptuous lunch (which is good one hour’s drive) and checked into the Osmania University Guest House as we were attending a Seminar the next day. The university campus bore a very historic look, pristine natural campus which housed a temple of “Dhyana Saraswati Temple” that also had deities of Ganesha and Hanuman, established and maintained by Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. We had to look out for food options outside the campus. One have to go all the way to Tarnaka for food, which is about 2 Km from the campus.



colour overloaded on a bike

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Highlights of our incredible India as a mistress of spices !

Red chilli being sun dried.

Relived old memories of our last visit during 2010.

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Old 10th May 2018, 16:47   #3
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Day 2

Summary of the Day:
Date:
17-Mar-2018 (Saturday)
Distance Traveled: 36 Km
Places visited: Osmania University, Hussain Sagar Lake, Birla Temple, and Necklace Road


Gyana Saraswathi Devasthanam, temple that has sanctum of Ganesha, Hanuman and Saraswathi, in the campus of Osmania University being maintained by Sri Kanchi Kama koti Peetham.


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Osmania University is a public state university located in Hyderabad, India, founded in 1918 with the help of chief architect of Mahbub Ali Khan – Nawab Sarwar Jung. It was established and named after the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan. It is the third oldest university in southern India, and the first to be established in the erstwhile princely State of Hyderabad.

The University College of Arts and Social Sciences has an architectural heritage structure similar to College of Sultan Hassan in Cairo, Egypt.


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In the evening we made time to take a quick drive around Hussain Sagar Lake and enjoyed the amazing weather (untimely for this time of the year due to disturbances in the Bay of Bengal). We made full use of this weather for a walk around the lake, snacked with hot and spicy “bhutta”.


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Later we drove uphill to Birla Mandir, where we had a great darshan of Lord Venkateswara.



Necklace road looked beautiful in the night light. There was calmness and still amidst the traffic when one looked at the statue of Buddha in the middle of the Hussain Sagar Lake.



Hussain Sagar is a heart shaped lake in Hyderabad built by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah during his rule in 1563. It is spread across an area of 5.7 square kilometers and is fed by River Musi. A large monolithic statue of the Gautama Buddha, erected in 1992, stands on Gibraltar Rock in the middle of the lake. It also separates Hyderabad from its twin city Secunderabad.

Hussain Sagar was built across a tributary of the river Musi river in 1563 by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. The lake was named after Hussain Shah Wali, who helped to design it. It is an artificial lake that holds water perennially fed by canals from Musi river. Hussain Sagar was the main source of water supply to Hyderabad before Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar were built on river Musi.

Birla Mandir: This white marble temple of Lord Venkateshwara floats on the city skyline, on Kala Pahad. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirumala Tirupati. Apart from the main shrine, the consorts of Lord Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines. The temple also has separate shrines for various Hindu gods and goddess including Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Saibaba. Selected because teachings of holy men and Gurbani are engraved on temple walls. Birla temples are open to all, as identified by Mahatma Gandhi and other Hindu leaders.


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Ample parking space for vehicles is available in the nearby Birla Planetarium or museum and we can take a walk to the Birla Temple.


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Necklace Road is a boulevard in Hyderabad, adjoining the Hussain Sagar lake, which connects NTR Gardens to Sanjeevaiah Park. It is named after the first and the famous Necklace Road in Mumbai's Marine Drive. The road from Sanjivaiah park connects to the Tankbund road which in turn connects to the NTR Gardens completing a circle. This stretch of road, along with the Tank Bund, appears in the form of a necklace as seen from the sky - and hence the name.


Secunderabad: The town is famous for bearing the nickname ‘The twin city of Hyderabad’. Secunderabad also spelled sometimes as Sikandar-a-bad) is the twin city of Hyderabad located in the state of Telangana. Named after Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, Secunderabad was founded in 1806 as a British cantonment. Although Hyderabad and Secunderabad are together referred to as the twin cities, they have both different histories and cultures, with Secunderabad having developed directly under British rule until 1948 and Hyderabad as the capital of the Nizams' princely state of Hyderabad. Secunderabad is also one of the largest cantonment areas of India. The town is distinct from the other places in Andhra Pradesh due to the majority of its population being Anglo-Indian and Parsis. The town’s various forts and the famous hussain sagar lake are a must visit.


Here are some of the main tourist attractions / places to visit in the twin city:

Birla Mandir, Birla Planetarium, Charminar, Golconda Fort, Hussain Sagar Lake, Indira Park, Jaganath Mandir, Jalagam Vengal Rao Park, Konaseema, Laad Bazaar, Lumbini Park, Nehru Zoological Park, NTR Gardens, Ramoji Film City, Saidanimba Tomb, Salar Jung Museum, Sanjeevaiah Park, Snow World, Trimulgherry Fort



Jagannath Mandir at Hyderabad

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The famous Charminar of Hyderabad


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Photos of the busy streets taken from the 1st floor of Charminar

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Photo taken with my XUV in front of the Charminar


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Old 11th May 2018, 11:43   #4
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Very well documented travelogue. Andhra travelogues are generally less so nice to see one. Thanks for sharing.

This reminded me of my trip to Hyderabad last year in October.
I didn't document the travelogue here because many things didn't go as per plan
  • Heavy rains and flooding cancelled our plans of Necklace road and hussain sagar
  • Heavy rains also cancelled our Birla Mandir plan
  • I was not aware of the Muharram day and this Spoilt our Charminar visit plan
  • Bawarchi was also closed because of this
  • Got a speed ticket on the ORR

The only thing that was kind of okay was the Ramoji film city tour. Although I felt we were rushed, it was not spoilt like other things at least

May I know why you left out the Golconda fort in Hyderabad? you may choose to ignore this question if it is coming up in the subsequent posts.

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 11th May 2018 at 12:07.
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Old 11th May 2018, 11:55   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hemanth.anand View Post
Very well documented travelogue. Andhra travelogues are generally less so nice to see one. Thanks for sharing.

May I know why you left out the Golconda fort in Hyderabad? you may choose to ignore this question if it is coming up in the subsequent posts.

Thanks that you liked the travelogue Hemanth.

Good question. This trip of ours to Andhra & Telangana was a combination of pleasure trip and paper presentation in the University. We had a weeks time in between and hence opted to travel to places in Telangana / Andhra that we had planned for years but could not visit. This will be covered in our updates on Bhadrachalam, Srikakulam and Pancha Rama temples.

Also our relatives came from Mumbai and the preference was to visit Ramoji City.
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:22   #6
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Nice travelogue - must explore Hyderabad next time around
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:34   #7
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Day 3:

Summary of the Day:
Date:
18-Mar-2018 (Sunday)
Distance Traveled: 314 Km
Route taken: NH65 Narketpelli, Suryapet, Khammam, Yellandu, Kothagudem (bypass), Bhadrachalam
Places visited: Bhadrachalam


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We left Hyderabad at 6:30 am, had idli for breakfast at Tarnaka. We usually prefer Idlis for breakfast as it is safest on the tummy during the travel. After having breakfast, we then drove towards Bhadrachalam. It was an amazingly foggy morning, with poor visibility of upto 100 mts. It could have been due to the depression in the Bay of Bengal. We had our cars hazard lights ON. This reminded us of our drive in and around Delhi during winter season. Once we started from our home at Delhi to drive to Mathura during December alongwith our relatives. After driving for few Km, we had to retrace back due to dense fog and poor visibility. In this trip from Hyderabad to Bhadrachalam, the fog cleared as soon as the sun was in full shine.


The video of the foggy morning drive




The route to bhadrachalam was via the ghat sections nearing Rajmundhry and most of the route was through the ghat sections.

As we approached Bhadrachalam, the road leading to the temple city had tableau depicting stories from Ramanayana. Bhadrachalam bore a very festive look on the auspicious day of Ugadi with devotees adorned new clothing, fresh jasmine flowers and colourful toran / lightings.


Entrance Gate to the temple town of Bhadrachalam

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We reached Bhadrachalam at 12:30 pm. We were blessed to have an elaborate, energized, satvik lunch at Sri Amba Satram, run by Sri Sringeri Mutt. We were served with a lot of devotion by young students of the veda patashala.

After resting we went for evening darshan at 5:00pm. An ascent of steps from the entrance of the temple, leads to the raja gopuram. We had a pleasant darshan with not much queue during this time of the year and was blessed to be able to render Bhadrachalam Ramadas keertnas in the front of the deity. The outer praharams of the temple bore paintings of the legend of Bhadrachalam Ramadas and the occurrence of the statue of Rama Seetha & Lakshmana. It also houses a small museum, where one can see century’s old Gold & Diamond jewelry and ornaments that the Lord adorned.


At the entrance of the Bhadrachalam Temple

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The devotees started to gather as the evening progress for a reading of the panchangam beckoning the lunar calendar New Year. The utsava murthy was brought in procession, shodasa upachara pooja was performed. All devotes were given the panaga Prasad containing all flavours sweet, sour, bitter which has a philosophical significance representing the various flavours of life.

Mobile phones are not allowed to be taken inside the temple and needs to be deposited at the cloak room provided at the entrance of the temple. The charges are Rs5 per mobile.


Well lit temple - pic taken after having the darshan, festive season of Ugadi

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Google Name: Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy Devasthanam, Bhadrachalam


Following is the details about the temple from www.bhadrachalarama.org

The Sree Seetha Ramachandra Swamy shrine at Bhadrachalam, the most famous temple in the country dedicated to Lord Rama, is situated on the left bank of the Godavari river. It is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, considered to be one of the greatest holy shrines in South India with a very rich and unique historical background. The Temple was constructed in the 17th Century by the local Tahsildar, Kancharla Gopanna, popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas, a fervent devotee of Lod Sree Rama.

The puranic and historic facts relate that Lord Rama long after he had shed his mortal coils manifested himself to save his devotee Bhadra Maharshi whom he promised 'moksha' after intensive prayer. That is why the village is named after Bhadra as Bhadradri or Bhadrachalam. Srirama appeared in a dream to a woman called Pokala Dammakka and informed here about the existence of vigrahas on Bhadragiri hills. To her surprise she found the "Vigrahas" and put up a modest structure. This was the origin of the present temple.

History of temple
A sacred place that attracts lakhs of devotees from all over the world, it is the abode of Lord Rama (The seventh incarnation of SriMahavishnu). This hill place which is encircled by holy river Godavari flowing towards southern direction is the famous shrine Bhadrachalam - The name derived from Bhadragiri (Mountain of Bhadra - a boon child of Meru and Menaka). According to mythology, the significance of this shrine dates back to the Ramayana Era. This coherent hill place existed in "Dandakaranya" Of Ramayana period where Rama with his consort Sita and brother Laxmana had spent their vanavasa - and Parnashaala (the place connected to the famous Golden Deer and the place from where Sita was abducted by Ravana) is also in the vicinity of this temple site. It is at this Mandir site that, long after Ramavatara, Bhagawan Mahavishnu manifested Himself as Rama again to fulfill a promise He made to His Bhakta Bhadra, who continued his Tapas through Yugas, praying for the grace of the Bhagawan Sri Ramachandra murthy.

Bhakta Ramadas and construction of temple
Bhadrachalarama temple was constructed by Kancharla Gopanna popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas in the year 1674 A.D.

Kancharla Gopanna, popularly known as "Bhakta Ramdas", a fervent devotee of Rama, was born to Linganna Murthy and Kamamba in Nelakondapalli village of Khammamett Taluk in 17th century (1620 AD). He was nephew of Akkannna, the administrative head in the court of Nawab Abul Hussan shah known as 'Taneshah' of Golkonda (he was the last ruler of Golconda before Aurangazeb captured it in 1687A.D.) and was appointed by him as Tahsildar of 'Palvoncha Paragana'. Thus he was discharging his official duties earnestly and collecting revenues due to the Nawabs in continuation of daily preaches -Chanting of 'Ramanama' and the feeding the poor at his house. Ramadasa, who heard the news that the villagers of palvoncha paragana were proceeding to witness a Jatara at Bhadrachalam, became curios and he too visited Bhadrachalam. He found the deities in an amazing appearance. Ramadas, then asked the villagers to contribute liberally for the construction of the temple. After the contributions were found to be insufficient, the villagers appealed him to spend the revenue collections for the construction of the temple with a promise to repay the amount after harvesting the crops. Accordingly, Ramadas constructed the temple with an amount of Rs 6 Lakhs collected from the land revenues without the permission of the Nizam Nawab.

When the temple reached to the nearing completion, he had a problem of fixing 'Sudarshana Chakra' at the crest of the main temple. He was deeply distressed and fell into sleep. On the same night, Rama in his dream asked him to have a holy dip in river Godavari where he will find that-accordingly. On the next day morning Gopanna did so and found holy Sudarshana Chakra in the river with out much difficulty. He presumed that Sudarshana Chakra itself was shaped up with the divine power of his beloved God Rama. Soon after the construction, his miseries started. He was dismissed from service for mis-utilisation of revenue for constructing the temple and was kept in jail for 12 long years in Golkonda Fort and was tortured. Unable to withstand the miseries, Ramadas implored Rama to relieve him by singing many praising and emotional songs which got popularized from the stanzas of 'Dasaradhi Sathakam' and 'Keertanas' of Bhakta Ramadasa.

The Nizam Nawab Tanishah, the then ruler of Nizam's territory became a devotee of Rama who realised the devotion spirit of Ramadas after his imprisonment and took over the charge of temple administration. This resembles the communal harmony amongst the Hindus and Muslims. The Nizam Nawab realised Ramadas devotional spirit and dedication towards Rama, when Rama and Laxmana repaid 6 lakh Mohurs exposing themselves as Ramoji and Laxmoji, the servants of Bhakta Ramadas to get release of their devotee from the imprisonment. Thanisha gave voucher to these divine looking persons who approached him at his house during late night. Then they kept the voucher under the pillow of Gopanna where he was jailed. Tanishah who woke up on the very next day morning realised that those divine looking persons were none other than Rama and Laxmana and made arrangements to get release of Gopanna and prayed to forgive him by placing all the Gold Mohurs received last night at the feet of Gopanna. But, he refused to take back those mohurs except two as a mark of divine significance. (Those two can still be seen kept in Bhadrachala Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy vaari Devasthanam).

Influenced by the majesty of Lord Rama, Golkonda Ruler Tanishah earmarked the income derived from the said Palwoncha paragana which came to Rs 20,000 and odd for the maintenance of the temple which was continued during Nizam's reign and offering Pearls (Mutyala Talambralu) on the occasion of kalyana mahotsavam (Sri Rama Navami) to Deities on an elephant through a specially sent messenger. That procedure of sending pearls to the Deities is still followed by present state Government and continues to offer during Sri Rama Navami Festival (Kalyana mahotsavam). Tumu Narsimha Dasa,Tahasildar of Palwoncha paragana, along with his associate Varada Ramadasa came here from Guntur and took over the charge of Bhadrachalarama temple after Ramadas made inscripted the performance of Nitya Poojas and sevas right from early morning "Suprabhata Seva" till night "Pavalimpu Seva" before closure of the temple as "Silaasaasanaalu" on these two pillars. This inscription gives details of daily dictum and daily rituals also.


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Old 11th May 2018, 12:37   #8
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Nice travelogue - must explore Hyderabad next time around
Thanks Ajmat. Yes, there are lots of places which attracts not only tourists but also locals to visit.

We had to be choosy to pick the places to visit, given the number of days of stay at Hyderabad. Also missed meeting my office friends, though some of them were quite anxious for the meeting.
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Old 11th May 2018, 21:55   #9
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Wow, that is some travelogue! Thanks for sharing, very interesting.


Jeroen
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Old 11th May 2018, 22:44   #10
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Thank you for this most detailed travelogue. I must say you have an eye for photography. And Lord Hanuman must be very pleased with you. :-)
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Old 12th May 2018, 12:48   #11
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Wow, that is some travelogue! Thanks for sharing, very interesting.


Jeroen

Thanks Jeroen, This has been a long planned trip (like few more we have in the planning). India is huge with lots of travel destinations. We try to take out time whenever feasible.
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Old 12th May 2018, 14:15   #12
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Day 4:
Summary of the Day:
Date
: 19-Mar-2018
Day: Monday
Distance Traveled: 364 Km
Time Taken: 7:30 hrs
Route Taken: Bhadrachalam - Nellipaka, Kummuru, Maredumilli, Rampachodavaram, Jaggampeta, Dharmavaram, Kathipudi, Tuni, Anakapalle, Simhachalam
Places visited: Simhachalam


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At Bhadrachalam we had tea at around 6:30 am at the local chai wala and left for Simhachalam. The previous day after our dinner, the restaurant person mentioned that they would open at 6:00 am and will have breakfast also ready by then. However, when we reached at 6:30 am, they did not even have idli ready due to less tourist during this month. The route to simhachalam was through the forest area. As we approached the road to forest area, we spotted few CRPF jawans, armed on their open jeeps. We took the direction as per google maps route and it leads us through the thick forest area with a single well laid road in the middle. We were a bit apprehensive about the safety of the route, but were soon happy to spot villages and a car or two from the opposite direction.


Few pics at the Manyam View Point

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XUV looking grand at the Manyam View Point

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Yes these is a beautiful scenario in the Andhra Pradesh

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It was day light and we had idlis and hot vadas at a village eat-out. It was a pleasant drive, along the plains of the woods and we reached Visakhapatnam via anakapalli. The roads lead to the hill of Simhachalam, the abode of Lord Varaha Nrsimha. We reached the hill top of Simhachalam in the afternoon. The drive to the top of the hill was 3 km with a couple of hairpin bends.

Sokuleru View Point - along the drive from Bhadrachalam to Simhachalam

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XUV at Sokuleru View Point

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River along the drive enroute Simhachalam

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The view and drive from the hill top of Simhachalam

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The beautiful temple view the lush green surroundings, the wind brought in chants of the lord. In this place, one could experience an instant feeling of high prana.


Garuda welcoming devotees, when we approach the entrance of the Simhachalam temple, at the hill-top

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Right in front of the temple, there is an information counter. Here the booking of rooms to stay at the temple venue was done at the information counter. We could easily get a very good accommodation as it was not peak season and we were told that one could easily have darshan and go directly to the sanctum sanatorium. According to the person incharge at the information counter, the wedding season is usually most crowded, when one needs to book rooms in advance.

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The main entrance to the temple of Simhachalam

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Huge parking area in the front of temple at the hill top of Simhachalam

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A Pic taken at the night, a beautiful view of the Simhachalam temple

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Our XUV in the front of the temple entrance - This pic was possible as there was literally no crowd at the temple. Worth visiting and having darshan of the Lord when the crowd is less, otherwise long queue and wait time at the temple.

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A view of the temple from XUV mirror

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BP Ghar CoCo (Company Owned Company Operated) enroute in Andhra Pradesh

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Good roads enroute from Bhadrachalam to Simhachalam

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The building where anna danam is provided to all devotees during afternoon and evening

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A picturesque View of the temple from our stay

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We parked our vehicle and headed for lunch at the temple dining hall at 2:00 pm. The room had a lovely view of the Rajagopuram from its balcony. After having lunch we checked into our room. We then had an afternoon nap and freshened up for the darshan. At 4.30 pm we attended the Sahasranama archana. The sahasra nama sewa permits us to have darshan at the inner sanctum sanctorum. We were seated in utter bliss at the lotus feet of the Lord, while the sewa lasted for approx. half an hour.

The Varaha Nrsimha idol is swayambu and had a different look, which we have not seen earlier. After the blessed darshan we had Prasad and retired for the day.

Google name of the temple: Sri Varahalakshmi Narasimha Swamy Vari Devasthanam, Simhachalam Hill, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh 530028




Here is the detail of the temple from the Simhachalam Devasthanam temple web site http://simhachalamdevasthanam.net/home.html#


The local Sthala purana contains a mythical account of the foundation of the Temple which relates to the well-known story of the demon King Hiranya-Kasyapa and his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksha who are brothers and mighty demon lords bent upon disturbing the peace of the world.

But before they could complete their act Lord Narayana rescued him by jumping over the hill and lifting up Prahalada from the sea. Simhadri is thus the place where the Lord rescued Prahalada.

The form of Varahanarasimha (Dwayavathara) was assumed by him, on the prayer of his devotee, Prahalada, who wanted to see both the incarnations of the Lord, the one by which he had already killed Hiranyakasha and the other by which he would kill Hiranyakasipu.

According to Stalapurana, Prahalada was the first person to construct a temple round the Deity. He accomplished this after his father’s death at the hands of Narasimha. But at the end of that life-cycle (Krita yuga), the temple was neglected and began to decay. Even the Deity was not taken care of and crests of earth slowly gathered round the image.



The exact age of the temple is not known, but it contains an inscription, dated as far back as 1098-99 A.D. of the Chola king Kulottunga-I, who conquered the Kalinga territories, and it must thus have been a place of importance even by that period. Another inscription shows that a queen of the Velanandu chief Gonka III (1137-56)covered the image with gold a third says that the Eastern Ganga king Narasimha.


Architecturally the temple apparently deserves high praise. This temple contain a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a smaller tower above it, a square sixteen pillared mandapam (called the mukhamandapam) facing this, and an enclosing verandah, all made of dark granite richly and delicately carved with conventional and floral ornament and scenes from the Vaishnavite puranas. Some of the carvings are mutilated (by Muhammadan conquerors, it is said). One of the pillars is called the kappa stambham or 'tribute pillar'. It is credited with great powers of curing diseases and granting children. In the verandah is a stone car with stone wheels and prancing stone horses.


Outside this inner enclosure there is the excellent natyamandapam on the north side of the temple, where the god's marriage is performed. This is supported by 96 pillars of black stone, arranged in sixteen rows of six each, which are more delicately carved than any others in the temple, are all different in the details of their design, and yet avoid incongruity of effect by adhering to one general type - especially in their capitals, which are usually of the inverted - lotus shape.

The deity is kept covered with an unctuous preparation of sandal paste. Once a year i.e, on akshaya thritheeya day (3rd day of Vaisakhamasam) this sandal paste will be removed in a ceremony at the festival called Chandanayatra (Chandanotsavam) and Nija roopa darsanam of Swamy Vari will be provided to devotees. It is the most important festival in this temple.




Visakhapatnam is the largest city of Andhra Pradesh. The climate is tropical and humidity is high throughout the year. The city has all the necessary attractions and resources to make it one of the top tourist destinations in India. Its various beaches, hilltops and a wildlife sanctuary attract a major tourist crowd. The place is the major port of the Indian National Army and is the deepest ports of India. There are various valleys like the Araku Valley, which is a picturesque location for picnics and is a hill station that has some really great trekking hotspots. The various beaches like Yarada, dolphins end, Sri Kanakamahalakshmi Ammavari Devasthanam and Rishikonda are situated in some of most picturesque locations and are relatively clean and are frequented by many tourists.
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Old 14th May 2018, 09:01   #13
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Very nice travellogue. Thanks for sharing. Pilgrimage focused travelogues are not very common especially to the level of detail you have penned down. Will be invaluable for people looking to do similar circuits. Still remember reading your Divya Desam travelogue. Was immensely informative.

Thanks once again.
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Old 14th May 2018, 14:47   #14
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Our Grandeur of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana



Some of the pilgrimages we have undertaken are given below:
  • Char Dham of India (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram)
  • Ashtavinayak - The eight Ganesha temples in Maharashtra are Mayureshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar, Varadavinayak, Chintamani, Girijatmaj, Vighneshwar, Mahaganapati
  • Aaru padai veedu (6 abodes of Murugan - Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram and Thiruchendur)
  • Dwadasa Jyotirlingas (Baidyanath, Bhimashankar, Grushneshwar, Kashi Vishwanath, Kedarnath, Mahakaleshwar, Mallikarjun, Nagnath, Omkareshwar, Rameswaram, Somnath, Triambakeshwar)
  • Navagraha Sthalams in Tamil Nadu (Sooriyanar Kovil, Thingaloor, Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Thiruvenkadu, Alangudi, Kanjanur, Thirunallar, Thirunageswaram, Keezhperumpallam)
  • Panchabhuta Sthalams - Srikalahasti, Thillai Nataraja Temple Chidambaram, Annamalaiyar Temple Tiruvannamalai, Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchi, Jambukeswarar Temple Thiruvanaikaval
  • Nava Narasimhan - Ahobila Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha, Bhargava Narasimha, Chatravata Narasimha, Varaha Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Paavana Narasimha, Karanja Narasimha
  • Gomukh to Ganga sagar. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh and the tributary eventually meets the ocean at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Ganga begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
  • Char Dham of Uttarkhand (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath)
  • Panch Prayag (Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Devprayag)
  • Vaishno Devi (few times), Amarnath, Golden Temple Amritsar
  • Shirdi, Shani Singnapur, Aundh Nagnath, Parli Vaijnath, Ambejogai, Pandharpur, Kudala Sangama, Kolhapur Mahalakshmi Temple, Ganapathipule.
  • 108 divya desams or vishnu sthalams (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...avelogue.html? (108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue)). Presently covered 104 out of 108 divya desams and 2 more yet to be visited by us. The balance 2 are out of this world and human being cannot visit them namely Thiruparkkadal and Vaikundam, which are beyond Bhoolokam
  • 276 Shiva Sthalams or Paadal Petra Sthalams. We have embarked on this trip to 276 Shiva Sthalams and have visited 80 out of 276 temples.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, apart from Nava Narasimhan & jyotirlingas we have visited Tirupati, Puttaparthi, Panaga Narsimhan Vijaywada, Dwarka Thirumala.
Sir, unbelievable.
How do you take out time and find energy to visit those many places.

Which is your preferred means of transportation.

Do you plan these during off peak season mostly?
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Sir, You are a very blessed person to undertake so many pilgrimages. Thanks for sharing this travelogue which is a definitive guide for anyone planning to visit these pilgrim centers. I loved reading your Divya Desam travelogue in one go.

Please keep writing!
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