During the 14 years of Vanvas Prabhu Shri Ramachandra, Sita and Lakshman stayed in this premises ‘Panchavati’ on the northern banks of river Godavari. Shri Kalaram Temple stands on the place which has become sacred with the footsteps and the presence of Lord Ram. The reference of Lord Ram’s stay in Panchavati mentioned in Ramayan is as follows: Lord Ram first came on the banks of River Tamasa. He crossed River Tamasa and came on banks of River Bhagirathi. There he crossed River Bhagirathi in the boat of Nishadraj Gruhak. Later they went to Trivarga Triveni Sangam in Prayag. After Prayag they went to Trivarg Bharadwaj Rishi’s Ashram. After greeting everyone at Bharadwaj Rishi’s ashram they reached Siddheshwar. From there they went to Mountain Chitrakut. There they built their Parnakuti and started dwelling. At Chitrakut Bharat met Lord Ram and took his footwear back with him. After that several Brahmins and Tapasvi’s staying around started talking about their anticipation that demons would come at night and kill the Brahmins and tapasvis dwelling in the area and out of the fear that they would be killed they along with wives and children greeted Lord Ram and Sita started leaving the place.
Lord Ram didn’t feel it appropriate that the Brahmins and tapsvis were leaving Chitrakut in this manner. Then Lord Ram along with Sita and Lakshman entered Triveni Dandakaranya. First they went to the ashram of Rishi Atri and took the blessings of rishi Atri and Anusuya. On their way in Dandakaranya they came across a huge demon named Viradh who was vanquished by lord Ram. Later they came to Rishi Sharabhanga’s ashram. After greeting Rishi Sharabhanga they came to the ashram of Rishi Sutisna. With an intention to meet the tapasvi munis of Dandakaranya they came to Pachchamar Tirtha and Mandakarni muni’s ashram. Later they started dwelling in the ashrams of various munis in the area. They would dwell at each ashram for about four months or six months or eight or ten months. In this manner ten years of vanvas got over. Then again they came to the ashram of Mahamuni Sutikshna. After staying at Mahamuni Sutikshna’s ashram for some days they went ot the ashram of Rishi Mahamati who was younger brother of Rishi Agasti.
According to the directions given by Rishi Mahamati they came to the ashram of Rishi Agasti. Lord Ram prayed to Rishi Agasti – “To fulfill the promise of my father we have come to the forest. Kindly guide us where should we dwell.” Agasti Rishi told them about sacred place Panchavati on the banks of River Godavari. Lord Ram came to the place built his parnakuti and made the place more sacred. This place saw a lot of Leelas of Lord Ram mentioned in Ramayan like cutting of Shurpanaka’s nose, vanquishing of demons Khar, Dushan, Trishira and other 14000 demons, Vanquishing of Marich, abduction of Sita. In the later part of Ramayan Lord Ram and Lakshman go towards South to search for Sita, their meeting with Hanuman at Pampa Sarovar, meeting with Sugriv, locating Sita and later vanquishing of Ravan.
The place so sacred with the dwelling of Lord Ram is today Shri Kalaram Temple. There are idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman in the temple. These idols are self-existing and are black in colour and hence named as Kalaram Temple.
According to the above mentioned verses from Ramaraksha the idol of Lord Ram is in the centre, Lakshman is at right and Sita in the left. In thesanctum sanctorum in front of the main temple there is Lord Hanuman’s idol with hands joined and chanting Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram. The eyes of the idol of Hanuman are looking at the feet of Lord Ram.
If one decides to trace the origin of the idols then one will have to search before 10th century
The temple formed a pivotal role in Dalit movement in India. The famous Dr. Ambedkar once held a protest outside the temple for allowance of Dalits into the temple
In the Temple pooja is performed thrice a day.