Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple or Srisailam Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deities Shiva and Parvati, located at Srisailam in Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Temple entrance :
It is significant to the Hindu sects of both Shaivam and Shaktam as this temple is referred to as one of the twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva and as one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas of goddess Parvati. Shiva is worshiped here as Mallikarjuna, and is represented by the Lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Bhramaramba. It is the one of the only three temples in India in which both Jyotirlinga and Shaktipeeth is revered.
The legend is that Kumar Kartikeya, the younger son of Lord Shiva once got angry and came to the Kronch Hills from Kailash. Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati came here and stayed on with the name Arjuna and Mallika. Thus the place and the temple got the name Mallikarjuna.
The place where Shiva and Parvati stayed came to be known as Shrishailam.
As per Hindu legend, the presiding deity in the form of Linga (an iconic form of Shiva) was worshipped with jasmine (locally called Mallika), leading to the name of presiding deity known as Mallikarjuna.
Mahashivratri is the main festival celebrated at Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swamy temple.
There are inscriptional evidence from the Satavahana dynasty which place the temple to be existent from the 2nd century. Most modern additions were done during the time of king Harihara I of Vijayanagara Empire. The Veerasheromandapam and Paathalaganga steps were constructed during the time of Reddi Kingdom.
The temple complex covers 2 hectares and houses four gateway towers known as Gopurams. The temple has numerous shrines, with those of Mallikarjuna and His consort Bhramaramba being the most prominent.
The temple complex houses many halls; the most notable is the Mukha Mandapa built during the Vijayanagar period. The temple is situated facing East. The center mandapam has several pillars, with a huge idol of Nandikeshwara. The temple is enclosed by tall walls. There are a number of sculptures too in the temple. The hall leading to the sanctum, has intricately sculpted pillars. The shrine where Mallikarjuna is housed is considered the oldest in the temple, dating back to the 7th century.
There is a Sahasra Linga (1000 Lingams), believed to have been commissioned by Rama of Ramayana, and five other Lingams believed to have been commissioned by Pandavas of Mahabharata. A mirror hall in the first entrance has images of Nataraja (Hindu God Shiva).
Religious Significance :
Lord Shiva in this temple is referred to as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Goddess Bramarambha’s shrine is referred to as one of the fifty two Shakti peethas of India. This temple is classified as one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams
On the way to the main temple is located Shikreshwar temple. It is said that by having Darshan in this temple one does not get rebirth.
Krishna River here is called Patal Ganga. One has to go down 852 stairs to reach the river. The Shiva Linga is bathed with the water of this river.
As per Siva Mahapuranam, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of preservation) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the Jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.
The Jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The Jyotirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there was this belief that there are 64 Jyotirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be extremely auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve Jyotirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity – each considered a different manifestation of Hindu god Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is Lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha (pillar), symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
The twelve Jyotirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar district in Jharkhand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.