Travel to Bhadrachalam

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Bhadrachalam is a major pilgrim town in Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. Centre of attraction is the temple of Sri Ram built by Ramadas in 1630 AD. Ramdas was then tax revenue collector (or tahsildar). He collected money from people to build this temple and when the collections were not sufficient, used tax collections and consequently was jailed for 12 years by the king Tani Shah of Golconda (now Hyderabad). Moved by the plight of his devotee Sri Ram and his brother Laxmana repaid the money owed to the king and got Ramadas released. For more information, visit www.bhadrachalarama.org

Getting There

Bhadrachalam is connected by road and rail network. The nearest railway station is Bhadrachalam Road (station code: BDCR), 40 km from the town. Locally, Bhadrachalam Road Railway Station is more commonly referred to as Kothagudem Railway Station. It takes approximately 50 minutes to travel from Kothagudem Railway Station to Bhadrachalam by bus and the fare is about Rs 20.

Bhadrachalam is: 120 km from district head quarters, Khammam325 km from the state head quarters, Hyderabad, where the nearest airport is (Shamshabad) By road from Hyderabad follow this route: Hyderabad – Suryapet – Khammam – Kothagudem– Palvancha(This Is Beautiful Town In Khammam District, Kothagudem Thermal Power Station-KTPS Located in Palvancha Town.) – Bhadrachalam. Buses ply from Vijayawada and other major towns in Andhra Pradesh.

If you want to go to Bhadrachalam from Hyderabad by train, you have Machilipatnam/Manuguru express(Train No:7050) at Secunderabad Station every day at 10:45 PM. You need to take the ticket upto Kothagudem. You can reach the Kothagudem by 04:45AM. From there you need to travel by Bus to Bhadrachalam. There are lot of Buses from there. Bus fair is around Rs. 18-20. You can reach Bhadrachalam in 50 minutes. While return you need to travel in Train No:0340(Link Secunderabad Express) from Kothagudem. It starts there at 10:15 PM.

If you wish to travel by Road, there are number of APSRTC busses ply to the place. It will be around 315 kms from the capital city Hyderabad. The tourism department buses are also ply to Bhadrachalam. It will take you non-stop with a break at the Guest House on the Highway near Narketpally. It will be a 7 hours journey from Hyderabad to Bhadrachalam. Suppose if you start at Hyderabad by 10 pm in the evening you can reach by 5 am next day.

The courtesy and the behaviour of the temple administration, locals are excellent. You can feel that everyone there are ready to extend cooperation and they talk to you politely. Perhaps it is the manners of Sri Rama embedded into atmosphere.

Getting Around

For the Accommodation you have lot of Devastanam Cottages and Private Cottages. Devastanam cottages are available from Rs 80/- to Rs1200/-. Its some thing difficult to get accommodation on weekends. You can also utilize locker facilities. SitaNilayam is one of the better cottage i have seen. In this you will get rooms from Rs 200/- to 600/- and it is also near to temple and Godavari.

Three wheeler taxis (called ‘auto rickshaws’) can be found everywhere, clogging the streets of Bhadrachalam. They don’t carry meters hence fares are to be bargained based on distance (or your perception of it). At the time of writing (December, 2008) fares to and from most places in the bus stand and temple areas were between 10 and 15 rupees.

Sights

  • Bhadrachala Rama Temple www.bhadrachalarama.org is the main temple complex and the abode of Lord Sri Ram – it also has smaller temples of other gods and goddesses. Temples of Lord Shiva and Narasimha are quite close by.
  • Tiny museum within the temple complex has jewellery Ramadas and others got made for deities of this temple. (The dates of Ramdas’ and Abul Hassan Tanasha birth and death given on their painted portraits indicate that Ramadas lived for 32 years and Tanasha for 17 years which is rubbish).
  • Edicts made by Ramadas on stone guiding administration of the temple, poojas and other rituals are inside the temple complex written in Telugu.
  • Parnasala is a popular (nearby) place frequently visited by tourists and is 35 km from Bhadrachalam. This is said to be the place where Ravan abducted Sita. A small hut with gaudily painted sculptures of Sri Ram, Sita, Laxman and Ravan depicting key events from Ramayan is what Parnasala is about. This place has great historical importance but weathered sculptures, attempt to replicate the sculptures with fiber glass, lack of maintenance make it a little less satisfied experience. However, passing through tiny tribal hamlets and expansive fields of paddy by a spooky tree lined road plus the serene GodavariRiver are the saving grace. Its would be a worth while to visit this place if you plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Badrachalam. Avoid recommendations from local guides about this place and make your own call.
  • Papikondalu Hills – a steam boat ride on River Godavari enjoying views of the River and setting sun. Available as a package of one day including 5 to 7 hours of boat ride. Diesel-powered boats start from Sriramagiri, about 60 km from Bhadrachalam. They offer breakfast, tea, lunch and evening snacks on the boat itself, except lunch where they make special arrangements on the way to papikondalu on the shores of Godavari. The taste & hygiene of the food is good. On the way you can also see the perantallapally, a temple of lord shiva ,where you can find a small water fall coming from the thick forests. A sage used to meditate in this forest. You should maintain utmost silence in the temple. You should not offer any thing (like donations etc). The environment is peaceful. If you have the time, you can do meditation here. On the way you can also visit Sriramagiri temple. It is always better to take water, fruit and food with you on the steam boat ride.
  • The packages available are 1) From Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam via Papikondalu. (2) Bhadrachalam to papikondalu and again return to Bhadrachalam on the same day (3)Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry via pappikondalu and last one is(4) Rajahmundry to papikondalu and again return back to Rajahmundry
  • Activities
    • Visit the main temple.
    • Sit and absorb the atmosphere in the peaceful (on working days) temple premises.
    • Perform different types of pooja – fees for which can be paid right outside the main temple.
    • Attend sessions of Kirtanas written by Ramadas and others in honor of Sri Ram (after 8 pm)
    • Walk along river Godavari through tiny hamlets if the weather is pleasant.

    Eating

    Prasadam (food offered to the main deity of the temple) sold outside the main entrance can be a good breakfast as well – especially Laddu, Chakrapongali, Pulihora and Patikabellam (misri) are sold at nominal price right in the temple complex.

    Most restaurants are near bus station and offer the same food fare. Cuisine is South Indian ‘thali’ and normal south indian snacks like: Idli, Vada, Poori and Dosa.

    Tea and Coffee (always with milk) are served in small stainless steel tumblers – tend to be cloyingly sweet unless otherwise specified.

    Branded bottled water (also referred to as Mineral Water, which it isn’t) of well known brands are available all over the town.

    Hotels & Accommodation

    Budget

    • Devastanam (temple administration) accommodation offers good value: Sita Nilayam (also called ‘vanda gadulu’)is one such located near the main temple, – several new and big rooms costing between 200rs to 350rs with A/C. No room service. If all the rooms are booked enquire about other so called ‘cottages’
    • Hotel Kalki, Godavari, Gitanjali are other smaller hotels.
    • State run Punnami Bhadrachalam has dormitories for 150rs.

    Mid range

    • State run Punnami Bhadrachalam has A/C Suites at 1500rs, A/C at 1000rs and without A/C at 700rs
    • Hotel Ratan, located near the Bus Stand – has ambient and clean rooms – twin rooms. It is noisy with constantly ringing phones resounding through the hotel building (especially in the nights). Room service is non-existent.

    Bus station is on the main road where most hotels and restaurants are. Do check the room you are offered before you pay up.

    Bhadrachalam By Bus

    State owned transport bus facilities are available from the city to other major cities in the state. District head quarters Khammam, 120 km away, and State capital Hyderabad, 325 km away, are connected to Bhadrachalam by public transport buses.

    From Type of Bus Fare (Rs) Bus Provider
    Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) 2+1 Hi Tech 280 Private
    A/C BENZ 367 Private
    More buses to Bhadrachalam

    Bhadrachalam By Train

    Nearest Railway station is at Bhadrachalam Road station, also known as Kothagudem. It is 40 km from the Bhadrachalam city and taxi will cost about Rs 500 from railhead to the city.

    Starting Station &
    Code
    Train Name &
    Number
    Arrival Time in Bhadrachalam Service Days
    M Tu W Th F Sa Su
    Manuguru (MUGR) Link Secbad Exp
    (0340)
    09:55 PM
    (duration: 1h 25m)
    Place State Distance
    (in km)
    Time  
    Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh 201 3h, 57m
    Warangal Andhra Pradesh 211 3h, 35m
    Simhachalam Andhra Pradesh 383 6h, 28m
    Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 390 6h, 35m
    Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh 312 5h, 52m
    Srisailam Andhra Pradesh 456 8h, 31m
    Chennai Tamil Nadu 682 10h, 33m ,
    Bangalore Karnataka 902 14h, 31m