My Spiritual Journey to Pithapuram
I had never ever dreamt in my wildest dream that I would land up at a place called Pithapuram. Actually, a few months back I was not even aware whether such a place existed on this earth but phir kisi ne dimag ki batti jalayi , khub sara gyan diya and Pithapuram became the destination that I wanted to visit ever since I learned about its rich history and culture. You may think what is so special about this place that I was so seen on visiting it.
Well then let me introduce you to Pithapuram.
- Pithapuram is a town in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is famous for its ancient temples, especially the Sri Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple, which is one of the oldest Shiva temples in India.
- Secondly, it is said to be the birthplace of Sripada Srivallabha, the first incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, who is considered the guru of all gurus in Hinduism.
- Puruhutika Temple – Pithapuram is also home to one of the 18 Shakti Peethas, where the seat of Goddess Sati fell when Lord Vishnu cut her body with his Sudarshana Chakra. I was curious to see and experience these sacred sites for myself and feel the divine energy that flows through them.
- Lastly the Kunti Mahadeva temple.
My story, my experiences:
Actually, the whole idea of this trip happened when my friend Pratik Gandhi and I were having a discussion on the topic of incarnations of Lord Dattatray during this discussion he enlightened me about this place called Pithapuram and he expressed his desire to visit this place. However, like so many plans that most of us keep making during our meets, this too was forgotten and went into cold storage, however, whenever we met we kept discussing this program and finally when we saw a long weekend of Gandhi Jayanti we decided to go for this trip. We booked our tickets online and boarded a train from Mumbai to Pithapuram, The journey took about 22 hours and I enjoyed the scenic views of the countryside along the way. We reached Pithapuram in the afternoon.
After getting down from the train, we boarded an autorickshaw from outside the station to go to Sripad Srivallabh temple and checked into the lodge run by the temple trust just next to the temple. We were given the option of putting up in the hall and a locker was provided to us free of cost, we deposited all our luggage in the locker and got ready. As Sripad Srivallabh temple is closed during the afternoons we decided to visit Kukkuteshwara Swamy temple first. ( Actually, this temple is also closed in the afternoon, but my logic behind visiting this place first was that we can explore the temple complex which has a pond and other things)
We took an auto to go to Sri Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple, This temple is hardly at a distance of 2 km from Sri Sripad Srivallabh temple. Sri Kukkuteswara Swamy Temple complex was huge and had several shrines dedicated to different deities. The main attraction was the Shiva Linga, which is said to have emerged from a rooster’s (kukkuta) egg.
As soon as we entered the temple complex we saw a small statue of lord shiva and a square pond in which what actually caught my attention was the idol of a lying demon with three sages sitting on it. Upon enquiring as to who was the demon in the idol I was informed that it was Gayasura. I researched more about this Gayasura which I am sharing with you below.
LEGEND OF GAYASURA
Pithapuram is also known as Paadagaya. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kukkuteshwara Swamy. The Purana of Paadagaya is as follows.
Gayasura was the son of Tripurasura who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Gayasura worshipped Vishnu and was granted a boon by Lord Vishnu that he would die only by the Trimurtis (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva). Getting emboldened by the boon, Gayasura committed atrocities against all the Gods and humans. Finally, the Trimurtis decide that Gayasura should be punished and so they come to him disguised as Brahmins. They tell him that they want to perform yagna on a pure body for seven days, so as to bring rains to the parched lands.
They tell him that they want to do yagna on his body and that until the yagna is over he has to lie down and cannot get up. if he gets up before the seven days are over he will die. Gayasura agrees and increases his body, his head reaches Gaya (in present-day Bihar), his abdomen reaches Jajpur (in present-day Orissa) and his feet reach Pithapuram (Andhra Pradesh). The Yagna starts and after six days are over, before the seventh day Shiva crowed like a cock to trick Gayasura. Gayasura assuming that the seven days are over moves his body. The Brahmins tell him that since he has moved before the seven days and yagna are over, he has to die. Gayasura realizes that they are the Trimurtis and gladly gives up his life. Gaya, where his head was, is known as Sirogaya (head gaya), and a Vishnu temple was built. Jajpur is called Naabigaya (navel gaya) and a Brahma temple was built. Pithapuram was called Paadagaya (feet gaya) where the Shiva temple was built. Lord Shiva is known as Kukkuteshwara Swamy here as he crowed like a cock.
As the main temple opens after 4:30pm, we spent our time visiting other small temples that surrounded the Kukkuteshwar temple. As soon as the temple opened we joined the queue of the devotees who had come to visit this temple, We soon reached the garbhgrah where the Linga was adorned with flowers and vermilion and had the Nandi facing it. I offered my prayers to Lord Shiva. I felt a sense of peace and calmness as I bowed before Linga from outside and received lord shiva’s divine blessings.
I then proceeded to the Puruhutika Temple, which was located just next to Kukkuteshwar Swamy temple. This was where the seat of Goddess Sati had fallen and where she was worshipped as Puruhutika Devi or Rajarajeswari Devi. The temple was small but beautiful, with intricate carvings on the walls and pillars. The idol of the Goddess was made of black stone and had four arms holding various weapons and symbols. She looked fierce but also compassionate, as she smiled at her devotees. I bowed before her and asked for her grace and protection.
After visiting these two temples, we came out to the Padagaya Sarovar, which I explained earlier was a pond inside the complex. Generally, people who visit this temple offer prayers to their ancestors in this pond, as it has the footprints of Gayasura and Lord Vishnu on its banks. Gayasura was a demon who performed penance and became so pious that he turned into a holy place called Gaya. Lord Vishnu came down to earth and placed his feet on Gayasura’s head, making him immobile. This way, he ensured that people could perform rituals for their ancestors at Gaya without being disturbed by Gayasura’s movements. I took a dip in the pond(of course symbolically by sprinkling the water on my head) and performed tarpana, which is a ritual of offering water to one’s ancestors.
I spent some time in meditation at the temple and felt a surge of bliss and joy in my soul. I felt like I had met my guru and received his guidance and love. I thanked him for his grace and left the temple with a smile on my face.
How to reach:
Temple is located on the outskirts of Pitapuram (very near to National Highway)
Pitapuram is 16 km from Kakinada
10 km from Samalkota
72 km from Rajahmundry
157 km from vizag towards kathipudi
43Km from annavaram .
Every 10 minutes bus facility is available from Kakinada
Every 15 minutes bus facility available from samarlakot
Every one hour bus facility available from Rajahmundry
Every 30 minutes bus facility is available from Annavaram.
Nearby railway station is pitapuram.
Domestic airport nearby pitapuram is Rajahmundry and International Airport is Visakhapatnam.