Visiting Bhadrachalam for the first time ? Or wondering how to plan for a trip Bhadrachalam. I might be of some help for you and is based on my direct experience done very recently ( Jan 2017).
River Godavari, Sree Rama’s temple, Paapikondalu, Parnasala .. all made my trip very memorable. I did my self car drive from Hyderabad and it was a very pleasing experience.
Bhadrachalam (My Day 1).
If you plan to stay at nice Hotel, consider making reservation at Haritha. This is normally booked completely online, so make a reservation a day or two before you start, and don’t expect the availability after reaching to the site. This is little far from the temple ( nearly 0.75 km) and may not be convenient if you like to go to temple frequently by walk. There are some places available near the temple as guest houses. If you stay very close to temple you may even want to walk to Godavari as well.
Bank of Godavari is very near to the temple and have some good time in clean and pure Godavari. Priests will be available around if you like to have any special pooja to be done, be aware of their requests for donations ( like Godana/ Bhudana ). You can also drive your vehicle to very near of the bank. You will have to cross the steps for rest rooms or dress changing places. There is also good Anjaneya and Markandeya temple. Boat services also available to take you to the other side of the bank. Fee for the boat service is Rs. 40/- per passenger.
Temple timings are 04:30 AM to 09:30 PM daily with the lunch closing from 1:00 PM – 03:00 PM. There are various services being offered like Antaralaya Archana. During Saturdays and Sundays in the mornings around 05:30 AM, special swarna pushpa archana is offered for which you will have to buy the tickets on previous day ( around 05:00 PM ). You can also visit Sri Ramadasu and other idol temples including the Bhadra Konda.
History: During the age of Tretayuga, Lord Sri Rama is asked to go vanavasa for 14 years by Dasharatha Maharaja helplessly because of the demand from Mata Kaikeyi utilizing the boon given to her by Dasharatha Maharaja. Lord Sri Rama happily follows the word. He gets in to Vanavasa along with Mata Sita and his brother Laxmana. They enter in to Dandakaranya forest which is now in South India ( Telangana ) and builds Parna Sala and stays here for a while. During the Kaliyuga and under Nizam’s rule, Sri Ramadasu become staunch devotee of Lord Sri Rama and builds the temple currently we are seeing. He was also punished and sent to Jail on the account of using Public/King’s money and too with out the proper approval. Lord Sri Rama along with his brother Laxmana appeared to Nizam king in dream. Sri Rama made the payment in the form of Gold Coins of Tretayuga and also ordered to release Sri Rama Dasu from the jail. It is very well believed that Sri Rama Dasu did not take the Mukthi and instead requests him to stay with his Lord Rama and enjoy while all the devotees come and pray in the temple.
Planning ( My Day 2).
Book a package for boat tour ( either 2 days or 1 day) which includes the options of with transportation and without transportation. Transportation is the conveyance used to take you to Pochavaram from Bhadrachalam. These guys normally use Tata Magic vehicle to transport.
Boat actually starts from a place called Pochavaram, which is nearly 70 km from Bhadrachalam and normally takes aournd 1:40 min on your car (for Non Transportation option). This includes single and double line road. Only one fuel (Petrol/Diesel) pump is available on the Bhadrachalam outskirts and on the way, so make sure you have enough fuel otherwise fill it. You will have the alternative of buying it on the road ( small shops).
if you like to go with Transport option, you will have to pay Rs. 200 extra per passenger at the time of booking. This is generally Non Refundable. You will be asked to assemble around 8 AM near the temple ( generally at your broker office of package booking) and will have to experience the ride on Tata Magic for around 2:30 hours. I hope my explanation will give you enough details needed to consider while booking.
These packages include Breakfast, serving of T ( 2 times), Lunch and evening snacks ( 2 biscuits). You will also be taken to very ancient nice Shiva Temple and you can cover Sri Ramakrishna’s matam in the same compound. Lunch halt will be at Kolluru. South Indian Lunch will be served which includes Rice, Curry, Dal, Sambar, pickle, Biryani/fried rice and paapads. This is vegetarian. Non vegetarian lovers can purchase Bamoo chicken at the cost of Rs. 100/- per plate.
You have the choice to go either for 1 day or 2 days. 2 days package allows you to stay at Kolluru in the night and have a sleep in Huts in the bank of the river. These are provided with common bath rooms. Please dont expect the excellent conditions and be prepared to enjoy the time with mosquitos based on the time/season you are going.
You are expected to reach to Pochavaram by 10:00 AM and your tickets are tagged to boats in a sequential manner. If you are late ( especially when you are taking your own transport and got delayed in starting..) No Worries. There will be number of boats to accommodate you. It was little hot and humid for us. we did experience the starting of the hot summer.
Here are some references for purchasing the package tours. These can be either from Bhadrachalam or from Rajahmandry.
History: Once it was decided only Sage Gautama can bring the sacred river Godavari to this place which will help cleanse the papas of whoever touches forever. With the help of God Vighnesha, a magic cow is created and sent to the fields of Gautama’s Ashram when sage Gautama is performing his Tapa. Sage Gautama wanted to drive away the cow and makes an attempt using the dharba and Maya Cow dies because of that act. This causes sage Gautama, a sin which he likes to cleanse and is advised to bring Godavari and clear his sin. Sage Gautama does a strong penance and satisfies Lord Shiva and is awarded with a boon of his choice, then sage Gautama requests river Godavari to flow at his ashram place. Mata Godavari also asks sage Gautama to walk forward and show him the way otherwise there is a chance for Mata to flow in direction of down. While bringing the river he has to cross this mountain place which was being ruled by a demon called as Paapi. Paapi obstructs sage Gautama and asks him fight with him and win the fight, then only he can cross the place. Sage explains him his condition and nature of his personality and tells him he has no interest to go for a fight with him. Sage also requests him to give just the paapidi ( its on the head with hair where you split to form two parts and shows like a line) place to have the river flown. Demon is convinced and agrees however his aggressiveness angers Mata Godavari, and as soon as river starts flowing, demons head breaks in to two pieces because of the force of water. Thats why this place is called as Paapidikondalu and it became called as Paapikondalu.
Parnasala ( My Day 3).
You will have to drive around 35 KMs from Bhadrachalam to visit the place. First you will have to cover the rock place where you can see Mata’s Nara Cheeralu place, Stone Bowl place in which they had their food and also their Rock Chair. This place also has rock based turmeric and sindhoor ( Pasupu ad Kumkuma). Rama and Sita used to have some play time on this rocks with ona guntalu. This normally take one hour ( and also depends on the devotees visiting ) during the normal day.
You will have to drive to actual Parna Sala from here which is around 2 KMs. This is also on the bank of Godavari. Boat tours are available which you can purchase directly on the site.
This is the place where Ravana has abducted Sita Mata from with the help of another Demon which turned in to golden deer. Ravana came in the form of begger while Lord Rama has gone to catch the golden deer on the wish of Sita Mata.