Following the trail to Kaleshwaram

Why the journey to this spiritual place is nothing short of an adventure for amateur bikers

By Author  |  Saurabh Chatterjee  |  Published: 6th May 2017  11:55 pmUpdated: 6th May 2017  6:55 pm
Supreme Power: The facade of the Mukteshwara Swamy temple which is located at the confulence of Godavari and its tributary Pranahita. Photos: Saurabh Chatterjee

Our quest for exploring offbeat locations on a two-day bike trip through north Telangana landed us at Kaleshwaram. The journey to this place was by far the most interesting among all trips.

An early morning start coupled with cool weather ensured our ride out of the city was a peaceful one unencumbered by little or no traffic. After a quick stop at Medak and a visit to the church, we continued to Pocharam. Taking the highway NH 44 and riding straight to Dichpally Ramalayam, we proceeded to Nirmal. Wanting to cover as much as we could do in the short time we had, we browsed through the beautiful paintings and toys there, before heading eastwards towards Mancherial. By this time, it was getting dark, but we decided to push our limits. We finally stopped at a small place called Chinnur. After looking for accommodation at a basic dormitory, we thankfully found a room in a small hotel to spend the night.

Supreme Power: The facade of the Mukteshwara Swamy temple which is located at the confulence of Godavari and its tributary Pranahita. Photos: Saurabh Chatterjee

Our next destination was Kaleshwaram. We asked the locals on how to get there and were told that generally small boats take bikes and cars across the Godavari river. But since the water levels were low, the boats were not operating. The other way was to take a longer way and take a detour to reach the place.

We decided to take our chance and went to the river bed the next day. There were no boats running. So after dragging the bike for an hour, we approached the river bank. Fortunately, we saw another bike ahead of us. At first, we thought maybe the motorist had some work at the bank, but to our surprise, he didn’t stop. He crossed the river by driving through it! So we folded our pants, took off our shoes and followed. It was quite an adventure as this was the first time I was crossing a river on a bike. After maneuvering through a narrow trail between fields, we were relieved to see a road. Soon, we reached the temple.

For many reasons, Kaleshwaram is one of the most unique places of Telangana. It is situated very close to the border of Maharashtra and also happens to be located at the confluence of Godavari and its tributary Pranahita.

Kaleshwaram is famous for its Shiva temple, which is part of the Trilinga Desham (land of three lingas). The other two temples are located in Srisailam and Draksharamam. A unique aspect of the Mukuteeshwara Swamy temple is that it has two lingas on the same pedestal. The Mukteeshwara linga has two holes akin to nostrils that can’t be filled with water, since any water poured into them flows straight into the passage below connecting to the Godavari river.

Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee

According to local folklore, a vaishya had performed an abhisheka on Lord Kaleshwara Mukteswara with hundreds of milk pots, where the milk evolved at the sangam of Godavari and Pranahita, leading to the name Dakshina Gangotri. Though it attracts pilgrims all over the year, it has lots of visitors during the Karthik maas (November / December) and during Shivaratri.

How to reach

Kaleshwaram is situated at a distance of 277 km from Hyderabad, 125 km from Karimnagar and 115 km from Warangal. Bus service is available from all three places.

Eateries are by the dozen at the place. The temple also serves prasadam. Besides hotels and lodges, one can stay at the hotel operated by Telangana Tourism Department.