Mallikarjuna Temple.Srisailam, Andhra

Mallikarjuna Temple.Srisailam.
Mallikarjuna Temple.Srisailam.

Mallikarjuna  Temple on  the flat top of Nallamala Hills called Srigiri by the banks of the Patal Ganga, Krishna River in Srisailam, Karnool district of  Andhra Pradesh is a popular place of pilgrimage.  It is  one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva and is one of the prominent one in India. The Srisailam mountain is looked upon reverentially as the Kailash of South- abode of Shiva.  The epigraphical evidence suggests that the history of Srisailam begins with the Sathavahanas who were the first empire builders in South India. The earliest known historical mention of the Hill – Srisailam, can be traced in Pulumavis Nasik inscription of 1st Century A.D. A few Vijayanagara rulers made valuable contributions toward the   construction of the temple. 

The presiding deities  are Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi).  Here, each year, Mahashivratri is celebrated on a grand scale with devotion, and  bhajans through out the night. The temple sculptures carved on the stone depict various episodes from the great  Hindu epics of the Ramayana and  the Mahabharata. An unusual feature here is  the devotees  are allowed to touch the idol  in the sanctum, which is uncommon  in any other temple.

According to Shiva Purana, Lord Karthikaya (Murugan /Subramanya) was upset over his brother Lord Ganesh  who got married before him. His parents Shiva and Parvati's attempt to console him having been failed, they decided to live in 
 Kraunch Mountain where Karthikaya was living in isolation. Soon Karthkaya left the place in anger.  

At last,  Lord Shiva assumed the form of Jyotirlinga and resided on that mountain by the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati came to reside here.  It is believed, a mere visit to this holy shrine will remove our  sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death.

The architecture of the ancient Mallikarjuna Temple is in Dravidian style. The majestic towers and the temple are surrounded by fort like walls and the temple has beautiful sculptures of exquisite beauty.
The sprawling courtyards or prakarams  are typical of  Vijayanagar architecture. It is believed that  the temples at Tripurantakam (dedicated to Tripurantakeshwara Swamy and Goddess Tripurasundari Devi), Siddavatam ( dedicated to Jyothisideswara Swamy and Goddess Kamakshi Devi), Alampura  (seat of Goddess Jogulamba, one of the eighteen Mahasakthis) and Umamaheswaram (dedicated to Umamaheswara Swamy and Goddess Umamaheswari Devi) are  the four gateways to Sri Sailam.
Mallikarjuna Temple.Srisailam.   

This shrine is a sanctified one as it is revealed by the visit of holy people such as  Sri Adishankaracharya,  Sri. Renukacharya,  Akka Mahadevi, Hemareddy Mallamma  to this temple.  It was here Adi Shankara composed Shivanandalahari, a devotional hymn in praise of Shiva.