At a distance 17 km from Mahadevpur, 134 km from Karimnagar and 263 km from Hyderabad, Kaleshwaram in Karimnagar district is famous for Sri Kaleshwara Muktheshwara Swamy Temple. Kaleswaram is on the boundary between Telangana and Maharashtra. At the junction of two majors rivers in Telangana, the Pranahita and the Godavari.
Kaleswaram is one of the three Shiva Lingas that define the Telugu land, the “Tri Linga Desa“. Kaleswaram, Daksharamam and SriSailam are the three Shaiva Kshetras that have defined the identity of the Telugus from time immemorial.
Kaleswaram gets a huge number of piligrms during the Karthika masam and Shiva Ratri. Devotees from neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka State also visit the temple during the Mahasivaratri festival.
Devotees take a dip in the Godavari before offering prayers to the presiding deity.
Kaleswaram is also the location of one of the largest water works in the country. perhaps in the world. This barrage is the source of the largest lift irrigation scheme in India with a total capacity of 180 TMC feet.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is unique because of two Shiva Lingas engraved on a single pedestal. This temple was established by the Lord Yama and named Muktheshwara and at the same place lord Shiva appeared in the form of lingam on the same stone and named it as Kaleshwara. The devotees first pray to Yama at this shrine before proceeding to Lord Siva. Kaleshwaram is one of the most famous Shaiva kshetras in Telangana.
On a certain day, the devis, Godavari and Ganga went up to Kailasa to ask who was the holier river. Narada pronounced that she who is able to grant mukti to her devotees would be the greater one. Now this wa a simple matter for Ganga. Ganga who flows at Kashi and touches the feet of the Viswanatha everyday and therefore has the ability to offer mukti to those that bathe in her holy waters. Ganga claimed the higher position and went back satisfied.
But then Godavari was not be disappointed. She set herself to the most intense tapasya that lasted many thousands of years. And so Shiva was pleased with her and granted her the same privilege as was that of Kasi. He took permanent residence at Kaleswaram on the banks of the Godavari. And Kaleswaram came to be known as Mukteswaram and also as Dakshina Kasi.
Now thousands and millions of souls seeking solace would now come to Kaleswaram and directly achieve mukti. This reduced the numbers of those going to Yama’s abode. So Yama did tapasya to Shiva and sought redress for this situation. Shiva was pleased to grant to Yama a boon. Said he to Yama, “make at the kshetra, a linga that shall be named after you. Those coming to the kshetra who do not first offer respects to the linga made by you, will surely be handed over to your justice.” And so the practie continues to this day. Every devotee who comes to Kaleswaram must first make his offering to the linga installed by Yama and only then present himself to the principal deity who resides upon the same seat.
A long time back one Vaishya had performed an abhisheka to Kaleshwara Mukteswara with hundreds of milk pots and the milk evolved at the sangamam of Godavari and Pranahita. Hence the name Dakshina Gangotri (the other sangam being Prayaga)
This place is also called Dakshina Triveni Sangamam, as rivers Godavari and Pranahita meet here. The purana asserts that a third river Antarvanihi or alternately the Saraswati flow under the Godavari. And so this junction is called as Triveni Sangamam. The Kaleshwaram is a centre for Godavari pushkarams conducted once in 12 years.
Kaleswaram Irrigation project
Kaleswaram is also the site of one of the largest irrigation project in modern India. Expected to revolutionize the entire agricultural landscape of Telangana.