When one speaks of the Telugu states, the Krishna and Godavari are more to us than just mere rivers. In my previous post on the Godavari Pushkaralu, I had explained the significance of the river, to the Telugu people. Last year we had celebrated the Godavari Pushkaralu, and closely following is the Krishna Pushkaralu.
Pushkaralu or Pushkaram is a festival dedicated to the worship of major Indian rivers. It is celebrated every 12 years on the banks of 12 sacred rivers of India. Apparently as the story goes, a Brahmin by name of Pushkar, got a boon from Shiva, that he would have the power to purify the holy river, whenever he enters it. Pushkar would enter each river, when Brihaspati( Jupiter) would traverse from one zodiac sign to another. And this is the reason each of the Pushkaram is associated with a particular zodiac sign. The Pushkaram for that river is celebrated depending on when Brihaspati is in that particular zodiac constellation. Broadly speaking it is as follows
Ganga- Mesha( Aries)
Narmada- Vrishabha( Taurus)
Saraswati- Mithuna( Gemini)
Yamuna- Karkataka( Cancer)
Krishna- Kanya( Virgo)
Cauvery- Tula( Libra)
Bhima- Vrishcika( Scorpio)
Tapti- Dhanus( Saggitarius)
Along with the above, you have Pushkaram for Indus and Pranhita too.
What we call as the Krishna originates in Mahabaleshwar, and is one of the longest rivers in India around 1290 Km in length. A small village called Jor near Mahabaleshwar is where the river starts, and it traverses through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, before it finally reaches the Bay of Bengal at a place called Hamsaladeevi in Krishna district.
The Krishna has a whole lot of tributaries joining at on it’s course towards the Bay of Bengal. At the Preeti Sangam covering Satara districts, the Krishna is joined by 4 rivers, the Venna,Urmodi, Tarli and Koyna. As it travels further, three more rivers meet it in Sangli district- Yerla, Warna and Panchganga. Near to Almatti in Karnataka is where the Krishna meets with the Ghataprabha.
Passing via the historic city of Raichur in Karnataka, it enters Mahboobnagar district in Telangana, where you have the Jurala dam.
And that in a way marks it’s entry into the Telugu states, where it is also referred to as Krishnaveni or Krishnamma in more colloquial terms. One of the most important places it touches is Alampur in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana, where it joins the Tunghabhadra.
Alampur is also called as Dakshina Kasi and is noted for it’s Navabrahma Temples. Surrounded by the Nallamala hills, Alampur is a noted Shaivite center down South, and it’s temples constructed in the Chalukyan style of architecture, are worth a visit.
The Navabrahma temples are primarily 9 temples dedicated to Shiva, dating back to the 7th century AD, built during the rule of the Badami Chalukyas. The Swarga Brahma temple is the most prominent of the lot, noted for it’s very ornate sculptures.
Alampur is also home to one of the 18 Shakti Peethas. These shrines are dedicated to Shakti. Apparently when a grief stricken Shiva, was walking around with the corpse of Sati on his back, the Gods appealed to Vishnu to save them from his wrath. Vishnu cut the corpse into pieces with his Sudarshana Chakra, and the places where different parts of the body fell are revered as Shakti Peethas. Alampur is where the teeth are believed to have fallen and Shakti is worshipped here as Jogulamba. Incidentally another Shaktipeetha is also located on Krishna river at Srisailam, where the neck is believed to have fallen, and she is worshipped as Brahmaramba there.
And from Alampur, the Krishna traverses through some of the thickest forests and valleys, touching the sacred place of Srisailam, one of the Dwadasa Jyotirlingas. Shiva is worshiped here as Mallikarjuna, while Shakti is worshiped as Brahmaramba. Incidentally Alampur is also believed to be one of the 4 gateways to Srisailam, the others being Tripurantakam( Prakasam dt, AP), Siddhavatam( near Kadapa), Umamaheswaram( Mahboobnagar dt, Telangana). Adi Shankar’s famous Sivananda Lahiri was composed here at Srisailam.
Srisailam is also famous for it’s huge dam and hydro electric project, that is one of the main sources of power for the Telugu states.
Flowing through some of the most beautiful stretches of wilderness, with thick forests and valleys, the Krishna river, enters Nalgonda district at the Nagarjunsagar Dam, one of the major irrigation projects in India. One of the “temples of Modern India” as Nehru called them.
The historic Buddhist spot of Nagarjuna Konda is located near by, also called as Sri Parvata.
One more worth seeing place on the route is Ethipothala water falls, which present a breathtaking sight in monsoon.
And the river now takes a turn towards the east, as it traverses across the plains of Andhra Pradesh, and giving life to many farmers, who are dependent on it. The holy town of Amaravati, another prominent Shaivite center, famous for it’s Amareswara Temple. This ancient city on the banks of the Krishna is a holy spot for Hindus and Buddhists alike.
Today this historic city of Amaravati, will also be the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, post the bifurcation. I had written in detail about Amaravati in an earlier post.
And then it touches the city of Vijayawada, the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh, it’s political, economic and cultural hub. A major railway junction, a business center, Vijayawada gets it’s name from the fact that Durga rested here after slaying Mahishasur. The surrounding Krishna district is one of the most fertile and prosperous areas, which I will be covering in detail in my later posts.
And sitting on the hill Indrakeeladri, is the Goddess Durga also called as Kanakadurga , the patron deity of Vijayawada, who protects the city, and showers her blessings on it’s citizens.
The Krishna is not just a river to the Telugu people, it is a part of our identity. It resonates in our culture, our traditions. To us the Godavari and Krishna, are what the Ganga and Yamuna have been up north. In view of the Krishna Pushkaralu, I would be covering more about the river and it’s surrounding areas.