Bhadrachalam Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple




The Sri Sita Ramachandraswamy temple is a South Indian Hindu temple dedicated to Rama, the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu.

In the 17th century CE, Pokala Dhammakka, a tribal woman living in Bhadrareddypalem, found the central icon of Rama in an anthill. She dissolved the anthill using the water from the Godavari River. With the help of the villagers, Dhammakka constructed a mandapam (hall) and offered prayers to the deities. During the reign of Abul Hasan Qutb Shah (1672-1686), Kancherla Gopanna served as the tehsildar (revenue officer) of Bhadrachalam. Gopanna was given the title of Ramadas (Rama’s servant) by Kabirdas, a Muslim saint who was impressed with his charity. Following the Shah’s orders, Gopanna enforced the Jaziya tax, a penalty designed to force Hindus to adopt Islam. Observing the dilapidated state of the temple, Gopanna decided to build a temple for the deity by raising donations. In the initial attempt, Gopanna received harsh criticism from the local Hindus for enforcing the tax. Dejected by numerous rebuffs, Gopanna decided to use a portion of the tax collected to build the temple and face the consequences.

The temple was completed at a cost of nearly six lakh varahas. After learning the truth, the Shah was enraged, and Gopanna was summoned to the court. Gopanna explained that he never intended to misuse the treasury funds and planned to reimburse using donations he expected to receive in the future. The Shah ordered his soldiers to hang Gopanna if the sum was not repaid within twelve years, and imprisoned him. On the last day of the twelfth year, Rama and Lakshmana appeared in Shah’s dream and repaid the entire sum in Rama madas (gold coins with Rama’s inscriptions on them). When the Shah woke up, he saw real gold coins and released Gopanna. He gave Gopanna a pension for life and donated the area around Bhadrachalam as an endowment to the temple. Some scholars dismissed the idea of Rama paying the money, saying that the Shah had held a fair and impartial inquiry, found Gopanna innocent, and exonerated him with due Honour.

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