Pithapuram or Peetha Puram is a town and a municipality in East Godavari district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Pithapuram railway station is on the Chennai–Howrah Railway line. Pithapuram is famous for its Ancient Hindu temples. Pithapuram was previously known as Puruhoothika puram and later known as Pithikapuram. Pithapuram is also known as Dakshina Kasi (or the Kasi of the south). During Satavahana era it was known as Pistapura.
Kukkuteshwara Swamy temple – The most famous temple at Pithapuram is that of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is known as Kukkuteshwara Swamy here. The consort of Kukkuteshwara Swamy is known as Raja Rajeswari. There is the temple of Puruhutika Devi inside the campus of this temple. It is one of the Asta Dasa Shakti Pithas. Maha Shivaratri, Sarannavarathri and Kaartika Masam are the main festivals celebrated at this temple.
It is the brief history of Paadagaya Kshetram which is one of the important Astadasa Peetha's, situated at Pithapuram in East Godavari District in andhra Pradesh. It is described in the third chapter of Bheema Khanda and of Shandapurana.
Bhima Mandalam consists of Andhra, Orissa border at the foot of the Vindhya Mountains. It is the best piece of land out of nine divisions of land with all kinds of crops and gardens. Pithapuram has become famous as a sacred and holy piligrimage, in this land. Pithapuram is Equally holy and sacred place with 'Kedaram' in North-India and 'Kumbhakonam' in South-India. This place was visited by the Sage Vyasa with his disciples and it was written in Bhimakhanda of Skandapurana, one of the eighteen epics.
The great poet, 'Srinadha' wrote in the third chapter of 'Bheemeswara purana' inthe following way. "The following four places give salvation or 'Moksha, they are(banaras), Varanasi, Kedaram, Kumbhakonam and Pithapuram(kukkuteswara stanamu) Pithapuram has become Paadagaya Keshetram. In olden days, KRUTAYUGA there was a demon king, Gayasura, By his austere penance and sacrifice he got kingship on heaven and ruled the three lokas (Swarga, Marthya, Patalam). He was ruling three lokas by the result of sacrifices made by sages. Defeated by Gayasura Lord Indra and others deities approached Trimurthies (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara) for Restoration of their position. Trimuthies in the guise of brahmins visited Gayasura.
Gayasura used to fulfill the desires of the people who asked him by virtue of his kind and charitable qualities. By his mere visit, even sinners used to get rid of their sins and reached heaven.Gayasura received them warmly and worshipped with utter respect, (Arghya and Padya) and received their blessing. He asked them to tell the cause of their arrival. Then they told to offer a sacred place to perform the sacrifice. He promised to provide the place. They asked to give his body as it was a holy place to perform the sacrifice. He agreed for it.
They gathered material, sages and deities and requested Gayasura to commence yaaga (Sacrifice). The Gayasura extended his body from Gaya in Bihar State to pithapuram in Andhra State and asked them to start sacrifice (yaaga)They started yaaga on his chest. Yaaga was intended to finish in seven days, counting everyday, from early in the morning (i.e. cock crowing time). After six days, the deities prayed to lord Eswara to spoil the Yaaga. Then lord Eswara in the Form of a Cock at midnight (lingodhbhava kala), (Before early in the morning) sounded "Kokkuroko," Gayasura thought that the Yaaga was over and moved his body. Then they were ready to kill Gayasura as he spoiled their sacrifice. Gayasura accepted for this. By pleasing with the words of Gayasura, they asked him to request them a boon. Then Gayasura told them that he had no personal desires. But for the benefit of the world, he requested Vishnu to be at his head, at naval cavity Brahma, and at feet Eswara in the form of Cock, permanently. These three places should be treated as holy places and of anybody performed shraddha karmas in these places, their fore Fathers would reach salvations without rebirth.
With that reason lord Vishnu is being Worshipped in the form of Gadadhara in 'Gaya' in Bihar even today. Brahma who's in the form of Girijadevi is receiving prayers by devotees in Nabhigaya which is in Orissa State near Jajipur railway station.
Pithapuram in Andhrapradesh become famous as padagaya. The primal deity of this is lord Shiva in the form of Cock. This Shakti Peetham is famous with the name of Puruhutika.