Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple:A Sacred Abode of Shiva and Parvati

Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple:A Sacred Abode of Shiva and Parvati

The Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple, also known as Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple or Srisailam Temple, is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site located in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. This temple holds great significance for both Shaivism and Shaktism, as it is recognized as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas. Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna (an incarnation of Shiva) and Goddess Bhramaramba (an incarnation of Goddess Parvati), this temple boasts a rich history, intricate architecture, and profound religious importance.

Legend and History

According to Hindu legend, when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati sought brides for their sons, various marriages were arranged. However, Lord Kartikeya, out of anger, secluded himself on Mount Krauncha. To pacify him, Lord Shiva and Parvati settled in Srisailam, giving the place its name. The temple derives its name, Mallikarjuna, from the worship of Lord Shiva with jasmine flowers (known as Mallika in Telugu).

The temple’s history dates back to the 2nd century, with inscriptions from the Satavahana dynasty. Significant renovations were undertaken during the reign of King Harihara I of the Vijayanagara Empire. Notable additions, such as the veerasheromandapam and paathalaganga steps, were made during the time of the Reddi Kingdom.

Architecture and Sacred Complex

Encompassing a vast area of 2 hectares, the Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple features four grand gateway towers called gopurams. It comprises multiple shrines, with the presiding deities, Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba, being the most prominent. Among the temple’s halls, the Mukha Mandapa, constructed during the Vijayanagara period, stands out. The temple faces east and is enclosed by towering walls. Inside, intricately sculpted pillars adorn the central mandapam, with a magnificent idol of Nadikeshwara.

Religious Significance and Sacred Artifacts

The Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple holds immense religious significance. It is revered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, representing the radiant form of Lord Shiva. The shrine dedicated to Goddess Bramarambha is recognized as one of the fifty-two Shakti peethas. Additionally, the temple is classified as one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam, sacred abodes of Lord Shiva glorified in Tamil literature.

Within the temple complex, visitors can find the Shikhareshwaram temple, which is believed to grant liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Another notable feature is the Krishna River, known as Patal Ganga, which can be reached by descending 852 steps. The water from this river is used to bathe the sacred Shiva Linga.

Festivals and Rituals

The Mallikarjuna Jyotirling Temple celebrates several festivals, with Maha Shivaratri being the most significant. This auspicious occasion attracts devotees from far and wide who engage in prayers, rituals, and night-long vigils to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva. Another important festival observed here is Dasara Sarannavartrulu, which commemorates the victory of good over evil.

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