Someswaram or Kotipalli (Kumararama)
is an important pilgrimage center in coastal Andhra Pradesh, located near Rajahmundry.
Located nearby is Drakshaaraama, one of the five well known pancharaama shrines dedicated
to Shiva in Andhra Pradesh. Kotipalli or Kumararama is regarded as one of the
the five pancharama temples are Draksharama,
and Bheemarama and Amararama.
tie together the five Pancharama temples dedicated to Shiva.
Koti Palli or Koti Theertham is located at confluenece
of the river Godavari with the sea. At the origin of the river is the Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga shrine in Maharashtra.
The river Godavari is revered as one of the gifts of nature and is held in great regard
both at its origin Triambakeshwar and at its confluence with the ocean. Thus, worship at Someswaram
or Kotipalli is closely associated with a ritual bath in the river Godavari.
Someswaram is rich in legend and tradition. Shiva is worshipped here as
Someswara or Koteeshwara and Parvati as Rajarajeswari. The Mahasivaratri
festival is celebrated in great splendour here.
Legend has it that the moon God Chandra was cursed by Daksha
to lose his brilliance and that he was relieved of his curse after he offered worship to Shiva
at Koti Theertham at the mouth of the river Godavari. This legend is very
similar to the one held at Somnath Jyotirlinga
shrine in Gujarat. It should also be noted that Draksharama
- one of the pancharaama shrines, is associated with the legend of the destruction of (the
vain) Daksha's ritual sacrifice.
For time immemorial it has been believed that a ritual bath in the river Godavari
at Kotipalli is symbolic of a new beginning in life, a change in direction. Legends
illustrating this symbolism have a common theme, that of forgiveness of heinous sins
committed by repentant souls.
The most classic of these legends is that of Ahalya-Indra saapa
vimochanam. This legend occurs in the grand epic Ramayana. Gowtama believed to be one of
the foremost rishis of ancient India was married to Ahalya. Indra the king of the Devas
lusted after Ahalya and using a ploy, diverted Gowtama and assuming the
disguise of Gowtama led Ahalya in his embrace. An enraged rishi cursed his wife who
petrified into a rock immediately and was absolved of her curse by Rama (incarnation of
Vishnu). Indra the king of Devas was cursed with a life of disease. Legend has it that he
lived through his curse and performed severe penances (at the instance of Gowtama rishi)
and finally was absolved of his curse and forgiven when his penance concluded with a
ritual dip in the Godavari river at Someswaram.
It is to be known that the one of the characters in this legend, i.e. Gowtama Rishi is
believed to have brought the river Godavari down to the earth at Tryambakeshwar where the Godavari
is referred to as the Ganga.
There are several other local legends associated with Kotippalli, all
based on the theme of forgiveness of sins of lust.
Also located in Kotipalli is the shrine to Sidheeswara Jagannatha
- connected with the legend of Vaamana avataram. Legend has it that the devas prayed to
Vishnu at Kotithirtham requesting him to curb the power of the demon king Mahabali.
A ritual bath in the river is considered special in the month of Kartika,
and on Mahasivaratri day earlier on in the calendar year.
It should be noted that Bhimavaram in West Godavari district also bears a
temple dedicated to Someswara and it is also considered to be Somaramam.
This temple is of historic significance as it was patronized to a great deal by the Chalukyas.
This temple is associated clearly with legends related to the moon God Soma.
The temple tank here is known as Chandra Pushkarini. The Someswara lingam
(crystal) is said to glow with differing levels of brightness depending on the phase of
the moon. Ths Shivalingam is 5 feet in height and is housed in a two storeyed sanctum,
with Annapurna - Parvati on the 2nd floor.
Abodes of Shiva
The birth of Skanda