Bhairavakona, in the dense Nallamala forests, is a true natural wonder with beautiful caves, ponds and waterfalls. It is also a big attraction for devotees and tourists who come in large numbers to the Kalabhairava temple.
Prakasam district in which the temple is situated, was recently declared drought- ridden. Yet, in a wondrous manner, precious water is available 24/7, 365 days a year at Bhairavakona. The Nallamala forest once was garrison to Maoists but the temple stood undamaged despite these activities for the past several decades.
The main attraction here is the Durga temple and devotees, after bathing in the holy pond, tie threads around a nearby tree in the hope of having their prayers answered.
According to a legend, Lord Siva and goddess Parvati once visited the place and were captivated by its beauty. They left behind a Siva lingam that resembles the one at Amarnath. According to archaeologists, this temple belongs to the 7th or 8th century AD.
Kalabhairava is said to have once reigned over this region and from there stems the name, Bhairavakona.
Kalabhariva temple is sometimes called the temple of the Holy Trinity. This is perhaps the only temple in India where Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are worshipped at one place. An interesting feature of this place is that eight temples were carved out of one rock.
Lord Siva appears in eight different forms of Shashinaga, Rudra, Visweswara, Nagarikeswara, Bhargeswara, Rameswara, Mallikarjuna and Pakshamalika Linga. Devotees also come to Bhairavakona to see the moonlight fall on the idol of goddess Durgadevi on the days of Kartika Pournami and Maha Sivaratri.
Sadly, there are no facilities for people to stay at this natural wonder, which is situated on the borders of Prakasam, Nellore and Kadapa districts about 120 km from Ongole. There is also no train service to Bhairavakona and people have to travel in APSRTC buses, operational on festive occasions. It is also a world away from civilisation as mobile phones also fail to work in the forest.
The fort on the hill, built by the Pallava dynasty, is in ruins due to the negligence of the archaeological and tourism departments. Recently, on November 21, three teenagers went missing in Bhairavakona and it took the police 20 hours to trace them around 10 km into the jungle.
Public demand is for appointed guides to help devotees and tourists who visit the area.
Another temple tourists can visit is Mittapalli Lakshminarsihma Swamy temple which is located 24 km from Bhairavakona. Local people believe that Lakshminarsimha Swamy in the loin avatar protects them from wild forest animals. A jatara (village festival) will be conducted every year during Dasara when people from all over the state come to the temple and worship the Lord.