Samalkot is located at a distance of 12 km from Kakinada, 52 Km from Rajahmundry. Bhimavaram, which now forms part of Samalkot town, is known as Bhimavara Kshetram with its famous temple of Kumararama – Bhimesvara.
The village was known in the past as Chalukya Bhimavaram according to the inscriptions found in the temple. It is situated at a distance of about 11 kilometers to the North of Kakinada in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and is on the Chennai – Howrah broad gauge railway line of South – Central Railway.
The place was under the yoke of several ruling houses from Nandas of Pataliputra to Asaf Jahis of Golkonda in its long history and was subjected to so many vicissitudes from the dawn of Christian era. Among the various dynasties that ruled over this region the Eastern Chalukyas had a lion’s share in shaping its destiny and as such it is no wonder that they had the privilege of exercising greater control and conspicuous influence than other dynasties.
The Eastern Chalukyas, also known as Vengi Chalukyas, ruled Andhra country for four and half centuries from AD 624 to AD 1076. The Kingdom of Vengi comprised at its greatest extent the whole area between the Mahendra Mountains in Kalinga and the Maneru River in Nellore; its Western boundary ran in general along the foot of the Eastern Ghats, though temporary extensions often brought areas of farther west under the rule of Vengi from time to time.
There were about 30 kings in this dynasty starting with the founder king Kubja Vishnuvardhana (AD 624 – 642) to the last king, Vijayaditya-VII (AD 1068-1076), who ruled first from Pishtapura, next from Vengi and then from Rajamahendri (Rajahmundry) and their hisotry is largely a record of disputes about succession. For some time the Rashtrakutas and the Chalukyas of Kalyani from the West and later the Cholas from the South interfered in these dispute. Of the kings, Narendra Mrigaraja Vijayaditya (AD 805 – 846), Gunaga Vijayaditya (AD 848 – 891), Chalukya Bhima-I (AD 892 – 922) Danarnava (AD 971 – 973), Ammaraja II (AD 945 – 970) and Rajaraja Narendra (AD 1019 – 1060) are the greatest patrons of Art & Architecture and Telugu Literature.
Rajaraja Narendra is said to have laid the foundation of the new city called Rajamahendravaram (Rajahmundry) after his name. On the request of Rajaraja Narendra, his court poet Nanayya began to translate Sanskrit Mahabharata into Andhra Mahabharata, which stood as a land mark in the development of Telugu literature. his temple, known as Kumararama at Bhimavaram in Samalkot is one among the five important and popular ‘Pancharama’ temples of Andhra.
The other four temples dedicated to Siva are Amararama at Amaravati (Dist. Guntur), Daksharama at Daksharama (Dist. East Godavari), Kshirarama at Palakollu and Somarama at Gunupudi – Bhimavaram (both in Dist. West Godavari). There is an episode on the origin of these ‘Pancharamas’ which is also found in ‘Bhimesvarapurana’ written by Srinatha (AD 14th – 15th Century). According to it, Lord Vishnu, in his charming and fascinating incarnation of Mohini started distributing the nectar (amrita) obtained after the hazardous churning of the ocean to both the demons (asuras) and divined (devas) Dissatisfied with the injustice meted out to them in the manner of distribution of nectar, the asuras lead by the lords of Tripuras resorted to severe penance on the advice of the celestial sage Narada and were blessed with boons by Lord Siva.
Thus with the power newly acquired through the boons, they inflicted atrocities on the devas, who sought refuge with Lord Siva.On hearing the pitiable plea of the devas, Siva killed the asuras with his infallible Pasupata (a spiritual weapon of flame), which reduced them and their kingdoms to ashes. This material aspect of Siva is better known as Tripurantaka. However, a huge stone linga, worshipped by Tripuras, remained intact after the encounter. This was cut into five lingas by Lord himself and distributed for the purpose of installing at five different places which came to be locally known as Pancharams.According to the inscription at Pithapuram
The temple of Kumaram Chalukya Bhimesvara was constructed by the famous Eastern Chalukya king Chalukya Bhima-I towards the end of the 9th century AD and the presiding god Siva, in the form of tall Sivalinga, was named after the monarch as Chalukya Bhimesvara. The inscription states that Chalukya Bhima, the son of Vikramaditya having been victorious in three hundred and sixty battles ruled the earth for thirty years.The Bhimesvara temple at Samalkot is similar in architecture to that of the Bhimesvara temple at Daksharama. The temple is surrounded by two prakara walls built of dressed sand stones. The outer prakara wall is pierced by gopura – entrance on all the four sides. The four gopura – dvaras have ardha – mandapas on either side. The inner enclosure wall is divided horizontally into two sections separated by a cornice. It has a two storeyed pillared mandapa running all the inner side.
The main shrine is a free standing monument lying at the center of the inner enclosure. The temple is a rectangular structure and has two storeys. The lime stone Linga, installed in the shrine, is so tall that it rises from the pedestal on the ground floor and enters the second floor by piercing the roof, where the Rudrabhaga is worshipped.
The present Vimana of the main shrine has been renovated and is covered with thick plaster. It consists of flat pattas, row of geese kutas, salas, simhalalatas, lotuses and kalasa. It is a dvitala vimana of the dravida order with regional variations. Like in Daksharama, a miniature temple model, found in the court yard of the temple, shows the whole temple with all the architectural details, possibly used as model before erecting the temple ranging from AD 1147 to 1494, recording gifts made to this temple. These epigraphs refer to the construction of mukhamandapa at the Eastern entrance in AD 1394.
Further the erection of the additional structures like Srimukhamandapam and niluvu mandapam on top of it in AD 1422 are also mentioned in the inscriptions.
There is a monolithic pillar on the western side, locally known as kappa stambham containing an inscription which records that when some thieves pulled down the nandi from the pillar from material gains, a new one was fabricated and installed by a lady named Lakshmi wife of Narasimudu, after bringing the stone from Kotilingalu at Rajahmundry.
Maha Shiva Ratri(February/March)
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1.R & B Guest House is available at Peddapuram which is at a distance of 5 Kms.
Sri Chalukya Kumararama Sri Bhimeswaraswamy vari Temple
East Godavari District
pin- 533 236.