Come Karthika maasam, every devotee makes it a point to visit Sri Bhramaramba Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam, popularly known as ‘Paatha Sivalayam’ in One Town. The temple withstood vagaries of nature and became part and parcel of people’s lives in the city.
Hundreds of devotees throng the temple every day and the rush crosses half a lakh on Mondays and Pournami. Notwithstanding, barring old timers, not many know the historical significance of this temple.
Spread in a huge area, the temple enchants the devotees with its huge four ‘prakaarams’ or walls similar to that of Pancharama temples. The temple walls still have 1008 notches (‘deepam goodulu’) for lighting of earthen lamps around the temple, which was adored by a thousand pillars as per inscriptions available on the temple premises.
The temple campus extended up to Tarapet railway goods shed in East and up to Chitti Nagar Kothammavari temple in North. A Kala Bhairava idol was unearthed when the priests were performing a pooja to replace ‘Dhwaja sthambam’ a few decades ago.
The temple has been renovated time and again by many rulers and also during the British period, says Rachakonda Kameswara Sarma in his book ‘Vijayawada Paatha Sivalayam sthala puranam’.
The temple got its name Paata Sivalayam, which literally means Old Sivalayam, not merely because it is the oldest temple in the city.
In olden days the temple was known as ‘Paada Sivalayam’ (temple at the foot of Goddess) as it was located at the foothill of Indrakeeladri. Over a period of time, the temple’s name became ‘Paatha Sivalayam’, explain temple priests.
Executive Officer Nela Sandhya says that the temple is intertwined with many cultures and traditions in the city particularly with that of One Town. The Marwaris constructed Kheteswar and Ramdev Baba temples inside the main temple campus, while Ayyappa, Venkateswara Swamy and Vinayaka were few other ‘upalayas’.
Goddess Bhramaramba is decked up in thirty-one ‘alankarams’ during Karthika maasam. A ‘jwala thoranam’ ritual is performed on Karthika Pournami. The temple introduced ‘annadanam’ on Mondays, she says.
The ‘alankarams’ include Sri Bhramaramba Devi, Sri Lalitha Devi, Sri Parvathi Devi, Sri Sarva Mangala Devi, Sri Bala Tripura Sundari Devi, Sri Skanda Maata Devi, Sri Katyayani Devi, Sri Girija Devi, Sri Bhuvaneswari Devi, Sri Kalyani, Sri Annapoorna Devi, Sri Chamundeswari Devi, Sri Sarswathi Devi, Sri Chandeeswari Devi, Sri Rajarajeswari Devi, Sri Gaja Lakshmi Devi, Sri Gowri Devi, Sri Mahalakshmi Devi, Sri Ambika Devi, Sri Gayatri Devi, Sri Jaganmatha Devi, Sri Mantra Matrika Devi, Sri Satwika Devi, Sri Durga Devi, Sri Mahishasura Devi, Sri Sivamohini Devi, and Sri Jaganmohini Devi.