THE RIVER GODAVARI THAT MAKES RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM A SACRED CITY
The Godavari is the river that makes Rajamahendravaram a sacred city.
The Godavari is the river that makes Rajamahendravaram a sacred city. This is India’s second longest river and the largest river in South India. The source of this river is Triambakswar in Maharashtra and it covers 1465 kilometers through different states like Maharashtra, Telengana, and Andhra Pradesh etc…
The story of the Godavari river is told in the Kotirudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana. In this account, the sage Gautama, who is a mind-born son of Brahma, is engaged in Tapasya on the Brahmagiri mountain when there is a hundred-year drought in the area and thus crops can’t grow. So for the welfare of others, he starts engaging in Tapasya to Varuna the rain god, who appears before him after six months. Varuna denies Gautama’s request for rain, because it would go against the wishes of the gods, so Gautama instead asks for “divine everlasting water yielding permanent results.” Varuna tells Gautama to dig a ditch, and then Varuna fills it with divine water.
So Gautama and other sages in the area come to the new body of water and start planting crops.But on one occasion, Gautama sends his disciples to get water, but they’re stopped by the wives of the other sages, who want to get water first. The disciples complain to Gautama’s wife Ahalya, who goes to the body of water and collects water before everyone else. The other sages are furious at this petty incident, so to get revenge they pray to Ganesha, who appears before them. The sages ask him to force Gautama to leave his hermitage; Ganesha first advises them not to try to harm someone who has only done them good, but they insist.
Then Ganesha approaches the sage Gautama, taking the form of a feeble cow, and starts eating Gautama’s crops. To shoo the cow away, Gautama throws some blades of grass at it, but as soon as the grass touches the cow he sees it fall dead. Gautama is shocked that he has committed Gohatya (cow-killing), a supreme sin in the Hindu religion, so he takes his wife and leaves the hermitage in order to undertake an arduous course of repentance that involves circumambulating the Brahmagiri mountain, going around confessing his sin to everyone he encounters, and making Lingams to worship Shiva.
Finally, Shiva appears before him, and Gautama asks to be made sinless. Shiva laughs and says that Gautama hasn’t committed any sins, and that Gautama is such a great sage that even looking at him makes other people sinless. In any case, Gautama asks Shiva for Ganga to be brought there, so that he and others could be purified of their sins. So Shiva gives Gautama “the essence of the earth and heaven” which was apparently Gautama’s inheritance from his father Brahma, and to summon the goddess Ganga.
So Ganga agrees to stay there as a new river, initially called the Gautami river, but now known as the Godavari river. Gautama and his disciples, but there to purify themselves of sin. And even the sages who tried to take revenge on Gautama are eager to get rid of the sins. Ganga is initially reluctant to purify these men who had been so cruel to Gautama, but then Gautama convinces her to relent and he digs a ditch for her to emerge from and purify the sages of their sins. That ditch is the famous Kushavartha Thirtha at the Tryambakeshwara temple.
Rajamahendravaram city is on the banks of river Godavari and gives plenty of water to the people in the city. Like Gautama and other sages, this river purifies the people who are living in and around this city from their sins and makes this city a sacred place…