Srisailam Mallikarjuna Temple
Location: Srisailam Mallikarjuna Temple located in the forests of the Nallamalai hills, on the Rishabhagiri hill of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh , India .The Lord Shiva as Srisailam known as Mallikarjuna, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Mallikarjuna Swami Temple, popularly known as Srisailam Temple, it is one of the momentous and historical shrines in Andhra Pradesh .
The temple lies close to the southern banks of river Krishna that is called as Patalaganga (underground springs). This temple was built in 14th century and mounts on the Nallamala Hills or Rishabhagiri Hills also known as Sri Giri, Sriparvata, Rudra Parvata or Seshachalam. The main significance of this temple is that it has one of the twelve Jyotirlingams (manifestation of Lord Siva) in India and people from every walk of life can touch the deity.
The main temple of Mallikarjuna is a stone-built structure. Just in front of this the Vijayanagar king Harihara build the exquisitely carved Mukha mantapa in 1404-1405 A.D. This mukhamantapa contains beautifully sculptured stone pillars and ornamental stone sculptures.
In the following centuries, this temple was developed by the many kings who came to worship Lord Mallikarjuna. The stepped path-way from temple to Patalaganga was constructed by Prolaya Vema Reddi of Reddy Dynasty,while the Gopuram (temple tower) on southern side of the temple and Mukhamantapam of the Lord were constructed by Harihararaya of Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadeva Raya, visited the temple, built a row of houses on either side of the temple street, and presented tax-free villages to the temple for its maintenance. ChandraSekhara Raya presented golden idols of Nandi and Bhringi to the shrine.
This temple is famous for its bas-relief work on the outer courtyard walls particularly the south and east walls. The scenes and figures are numerous and different. They act as a museum and a library of the past. All the forms of Siva can be seen here and the legends connected with them in great detail. Srisailam is also a principal seat of Veerasaiva sect. These people wore Sivalingas openly and would defend it with their lives. This was in open defiance of the Jains who persecuted them, and hence these lingas came to be called Pranalingas. The temple dates back to Mahabharata. Even the puranas declare this the place where Vrishabha or the sacred bull of Siva performed penance to please him.
Festivals in Srisailam Temple :
Maha Shivaratri festival, celebrated at Srisailam, It is Important festival here as it all over India. This festival usually falls in the month of February-March and is a time to solemnly invoke Lord Shiva through fasts and chants. Lakhs of pilgrims comes to worship the deity and have a holy dip in the river Krishna known as the Pathala Ganga.
Goddess Bhramaramba whose festivals come a month or two after Shivarathri.in this bhramaramba festival comes here larger crowds consisting of ‘Lingayats’. Goddess Bhramarambika is said to be one of the eighteen leading ‘Shaktis’ of India.