Spiritual and Scenic Konaseema
We recently (September 2017) enjoyed the beauty of Konaseema along with the blessings of Gods / Goddesses. I would like to share my travel experience so that it can be helpful to others for their future planning in and around Rajhamandri / Konaseema.
Day 1 – Part 1 – Khammam to Rajhamandri: Started at 6 in the morning from Khammam and Reached Rajahmundry / Rajamahendravaram / Rajamandri by noon.
Route: Khammam > Tallada > Kallur > Sathupally > Jilugumalli > Rajhamandri.
Till Jilugumalli route was Ok or good. From Jilugumalli to Rajhamandri it was worst. I know this condition before the travel itself but I have no option as taking other routes will take 2more hours. As it is two lanes road (Without Divider), I could manage with slow driving.
Breakfast: We had breakfast in a village on the way exactly in the border of Telangana and AP. It was very simple and tasty.
Stay: It may not be of interest to you as we stayed at one of our friend’s home there who helped us in planning the tour for the next three days. We thought of looking for resorts but none of them were available as our plan was too late and all of them were full. Our experience started from that home it self. Their home is in a colony with full of greenery. So we decided to keep this home as our center point for this 3 days.
Day1 – Part 2 – Rajhamandri Sight Seeing
- Boating at Gowthami Ghat At around 2PM. Behind Iskon Temple. They charged Rs. 300 for 4adults and 2 children. It was a small boat and we were the only people in the boat. There were also speed boats and other boats with different amounts. We completed our boating etc. by 3.30PM. It was about to start raining so we thought we will go to our next place. Decent car parking for about 30 cars in the lane beside Iskon.
- Kotilingala Revu: Iskon temple reopens at 4:30 so we thought we will complete the Kotilingala Revu. Some reason we were struck in the rain and couldn’t reach the venue properly. It was literally heavy rain.
- Nitya Harathi Spot and Selfie Spot – I Love Rajhamandri – Selfie Spot is just a simple Selfie Spot. Nothing great I felt about this place. But Opposite to this place we have got the Pushkar Ghat where Nitya Harathi takes place. It is in between Two bridges. It is another scenic place and is well maintained. Basic Car parking was also there.
- ISKON Temple: We reached ISKON temple by about 5;30PM. As usual ISKON temple was good. Don’t expect it to be like Bangalore ISKON. But is good enough and peaceful. The Vedic Museum is a very good attraction and worth visiting once. It was ₹15 per adult and ₹10 per child.
Day 2: Started our day 2 at around morning 6AM. We missed Ryali in this trip so which was covered in Day 4.
Route: Rajamandri > Samarlakota > Pitapuram / Pithapuram > Korangi > Yanam > Draksharamam > Kotipalli / Kotiphali > Rajhamandri
- Samarlakota: After an hour of journey from Rajhamandri, we reached Samarlakota where we visited Kumara Bheemeswaraswamy Temple which is one among the Pancharamam. An ancient temple with Koneru opposite to the temple. Very scenic and calm when we visited. May be it is so peaceful because early in the morning!!! Darshan of 14ft tall Shiva Linga has to be done in two halves from two stairs. After the darshan, we had a pradakshin again on the top floor. It was good experience but felt bad with the maintenance of the temple. Basic brooming also was not happening there. Very unfortunate that such an ancient temple was not maintained properly. Overall, experience was very good at the temple. We had breakfast at the parking space and moved towards Pithapuram.
- Pithapuram / Pitapuram / Peetha Puram: After Samarlakota we reached Pithapuram after an half an hour of journey. Visited Kukkuteswara Swamy, Shaktipeetham, Dattatreyudu and Paadagaya. Started with Paadagaya / Pushkarini (Koneru) and then had the Darshan of Kukkuteswara Swamy, followed by Swayambhu Sripada Srivallabha Dattatreyaswamy and then had the blessings of Sri Puruhitika Devi which is one among the Shakti Peeethas.We started to Korangi from there.
- Korangi / Coringa / Corangi / Koringa: Its a sophisticated walk in the forest. They have laid down wooden bridges in the forest where we can walk freely while enjoying the nature. We have spent about 3hours. Its about 3kms from the main road. Road was very bad and I was panic to drive my car and break it. So we took an Auto Rickshaw from there. He charged ₹200 for the same and said that he will wait for an hour. We thought we will complete it in an hour but took almost 3 hours there. So he demanded an additional ₹50 which we felt reasonable for his time. Road was really worst and you can’t even walk, forget about driving. In the next few months this problem may not be there as they are laying a new BT road. Note that identifying this spot is difficult as the maps will take you to the Korangi village. It comes almost very near to Kakinada City and much before the Korangi village. Inside the Korangi Wildlife Sanctuary, you don’t really find any wildlife in fact. It is just a walk inside the forest which is worth visiting. Thought it is for 3kms, you don’t really need to walk entirely. After every few metres there is a way to exit. We have walked only for about 1km and we enjoyed the same. We reached the boat point after walking and had really a nice boating there. Very nice view of the water of Koringa River and Sea Sangamam from the boat. Worth visiting.
- Yanam: From Korangi we started towards Yanam. Yanam is another town on the banks of River Godavari. Though it is inside the Andhra Pradesh it is not part of AP but is part of Pondicherry which a Union Territory. Shiva Linga with Two elephants is an attraction there followed by Bharat Mata Statue. All together we only spent an hour here including lunch. Very good scenic place.
- Draksharamam: It took around 45mins from Yanam to reach Draksharamam. Draksharamam is another Pancharamam where we also visited another Shaktipeetham Manikyamba Devi. This is another two storied Shiva Lingam similar to Samarlakota. The architecture also almost similar to Samarlakota and also has the pushkarini. We have spent around an hour here.
- Kotipalli / Kotiphali: This is another ancient temple. The shivalinga is submerged in the water and is known to be equal to Koti (one crore) Shiva Lingas. This is the reason why the name Kotiphali. The name became Kotipalli later. This linga pratishtha was done by Indra. There is another Linga which is in the main temple also known as Chaya Someswara whose pratishta was done by chandra. Soma Pushkarini / Chandra Pushkarini is another attraction.Started back to Rajhamandri from the new road constructed for the purpose of Pushkara. It was a single road but is decent enough to travel. It was almost dark when we started and the journey is really very nice. We touched the highway near to Ravulapalem after travelling for about an hour.
Day 3: Started our day 2 at around morning 6:30AM.
Route: Rajamandri > Penugonda > Bheemavaram > Yanamadurru > Palakollu > Antarvedi > Rajamandri
- Penugonda: After travelling almost 1hour 15mins from Rajamandri we reached penugonda which is also the birth placce of Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari. Visited Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari and Shiva Linga. Shiva Linga is the main diety here. Cleanliness of temple is very bad. They are constructing a new Vasavi Dhamam, not sure if their focus has been reduced on temple. Basic cleaning like throwing of the garbage out of the temple is not happening. It could be due to nava ratris but for sure cleaning has to be maintained in the temple. We had breakfast on the way to Bheemavaram.
- Bheemavaram: This is another Pancharamam which came after travelling 1hr 15min from Penugonda. It is around 2hrs if we come directly from Rajhamandri, so we decided to travel via Penugonda so that we can also cover Penukonda. After visiting Somaram which is a linga installed by Chandra, visited Annapuran Devi and then left to Yanamadurru.
- Yanamadurru / Yamapuri / Yamunapuram: It was around 15mins from Bhimavaram. It was not in our plan initially but added after one of the archaka told us in Bhimavaram. Its a shiva temple without Shiva Linga but is with Shiva in Shirshasana posture. In the same diety, we can see Godess Parwati along with 3months baby Kumaraswamy. Road construction work is going on inside the village so had little bit difficult in accessing the temple by car. In a few days of time, that problem must be over. Started to Palkollu via Bhimavaram.
Palakollu: It was almost 11.30 at Yanamadurru and 12:30 Palakollu temple will close. So we had to rush and there was a traffic jam at Bhimavaram, we would have taken another route instead of Bhimavaram. But finally, we reached Palakollu by 12:30 but the temple was open till 1PM and we had a peaceful darshan. Palakollu is another Pancharam with the name Kshiraramalingeswara. After the Darshan we climbed the Pedda Gopuram which is 120ft and 9floors. Steps are too small but sufficient enough to climb one after the other. Watching the golden color temple from the top is really excellent. You can also see the aerial view of the city. Had lunch in a hotel near by and started to Antarvedi.
- Antarvedi: After travelling about 1:30 hours we reach Antarvedi Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. Temple is very ancient and is good. We took the Antaralaya Darshan as in normal darshan we couldn’t see the murthy properly. After spending for some time at temple we started to beach where we spent almost two hours playing in the water. After the beach we visited the Sangamam place where Godavari meets Sagar (sea). There is also a lighthouse here. At Sangamam place, water is little dangerous so we were not supposed to get into the water there. That was the reason why we had to visit a different place to get in to the beach. Started back to Rajamandri at around 6:30 in the evening. Again half of the route google has given was single road but the road was in good condition. Especially, from Antarvedi to the main road is single road with two sides water is actually thrilling to drive.
Day 4: Ryali and Dwaraka Tirumala
Route: This is not really a planned route as we covered Ryali as missed it in day 2. Ryali > Dwaraka Tirumala.
- Ryali: We started at around 10 in the morning from Rajhamandri, reached Ryali after about 45mins of travel. It took almost an hour for Darshan. It could be it is Vijaya Dashami day. We had the Darshan of Jaganmohini Swamy where we can see Venkateswara in the front and Jaganmohini on the back side. It is a Ekashila and swayambhu. The carving of the murthy is really great. If it is a swayambhu it is great. If it is manmade it is even great as carving so many things is really great. After that we visited the Shivalayam which is also Swayambhu.After that we started to Dwaraka Tirumala.
- Dwaraka Tirumala: A very nice and peaceful place which is similar to Tirumala. That could be the reason why it is called Chinna Tirupathi. We had lunch and climbed the hill by car, hill is just around 0.5 km. Not too high. Once you reach the hill, you can see the beautiful surroundings as well as well maintained area. We took room in one of the devastanam maintained choultry. It was very good and clean room. We took AC room but we didn’t use the AC at all during our stay as there is no power and during the power cut it runs on generator and hence no ACs. After getting fresh, visited Shivalayam and then we had darshan of Govinda. This is similar to Tirumala with heavy rush and long queues. It took an hour to complete the Darshan. Before that we were in the queue line for an hour as the Darshan was not yet started. We stayed in the night and started back via Eluru where we realized from a friend that we missed couple more temples (Maddi Anjaneya, Gubbala Mangamma) and one which are a must watch at Dwaraka Tirumala.
Missed Places: Knowingly / Unknowingly we missed the following places but are worth considering next time.
- Dhavaleswaram Near Rajamandri
- Bikkavolu/Bikkavole Near Rajamandri
- Maddi Anjaneyaswamy Temple in Dwaraka Tirumala.
- Gubbala Mangamma and Other places in Jangareddy Gudem.
- Jeelakarragudem Caves.
- Mavullamma Temple in Bhimavaram
- Kakinada Beach.
Conclusion: For sure, a must visit once again to this area and thanks the ancestors of Konaseema who installed various trees because of which the current greenery in this area. I hope current generation will understand and continue plantation around the Rivers. I complete understood the purpose of Rally4Rivers by Sadguru. A sincere thanks to every one who saved our Rivers.
Why don’t you be part of this Yagna and give a missed call to 8000980009 and pass on the Spiritual and Scenic places to our next geneartion? #Rally4Rivers