The Pancharama Temples are five ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Andhra Pradesh, India. The word ‘Pancharama’ is divided into two parts, ‘pancha’ meaning five and ‘Arama’ meaning peace.
It is believed that the Shivalingas at these temples are made from one single Shivlinga. This powerful Shivlinga was owned by the asuraTaraka who wore it around his neck. According to the puranas Taraka had acquired a boon from Shiva that only Shiva’s child could kill him. Due to this boon and the Shivalinga, he became invincible. He started creating havoc over Earth.
Finally Taraka and Shiva’s son Kumara Kartikeya came face to face. But even after using many divine weapons Kartikeya was unable to kill Taraka. He used the powerful weapon Shakti Aayudha and due to its influence Taraka’s body was torn into pieces. But surprisingly all the pieces came together and Taraka was resurrected. Kartikeya kept on striking again and again but pieces of Taraka’s body kept on re-uniting. Then Lord Vishnu appeared to help Kartikeya. He instructed Kartikeya to first break the Shivlinga that Taraka was wearing. After the Shivalinga is broken, its pieces will try to unite and to prevent this situation these pieces should be fixed in different places. It is only after this that the demon Taraka could be killed. Kartikeya followed Lord Vishnu’s advice and broke the Shivalinga into five pieces by using his Agniastra(weapon of fire). After this he killed the demon Taraka.
The five pieces of Shivalinga were placed in five different places and five temples were built over them. These five temples came to be known as Pancharama Temples. The Shivalingas in these five temples have got scaly markings. It is believed that they were formed due to the Agniastra used by Lord Kartikeya.
The first temple among these temples is Amararama. It is located in Amaravathi on the banks of Krishna river. Shiva is worshipped here as Amara Lingeshwar. Goddess Shakti, Shiva’s consort resides here as BalaChamundeshwari.
The second temple is Draksharama, which is near Ramachandrapuram. It is believed that Lord Rama worshipped Shiva over here. Goddess Shakti resides here as Manikyamaba Devi.
The third temple is Somarama. It is believed that Lord Chandra got rid of his sins here by worshipping Shiva. Shiva is worshipped here as Someshwara. Annapurna Maata, one of the manifestations of Shakti is also worshipped here.
The fourth temple is Ksheerarama. Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Ramalingeshwra. Parvati is the main goddess here.
The fifth temple is Kumararama. It is believed that lord Kartikeya himself laid the Shivlinga here. Maa Tripura Sundari is the main goddess here.
There are many festivals celebrated in these temples. During the Hindu months of Kartik and Margshish, the Abhisheka of the Shivalingas in these temples takes place. A grand celebration takes place on Maha Shivratri. The major attraction is the car festival.