Shaila Mallikarjuna’s holy place is located on the banks of River Krishna. Here River Krishna is in the form of Patalaganga (underground spring). Lakhs of devotees take a holy dip here and then go for the Darshan of the JyotirLinga.
About The Main TempleThe shrine of Lord Mallikarjuna picturesquely situated on a flat top of Nallamalai Hills, Srisailam is reputed to be one of the most ancient kshetras in India. It is on the right side of the River Krishna in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. This celebrated mountain is also named as Siridhan, Srigiri, Sirigiri, Sriparvatha and Srinagam. It has been a popular centre of Saivite pilgrimage for centuries.
The prominence of this Divya Kshetram is highlighted by the fact that while performing our daily household rituals we specify place of location of our existence with reference to Srisailam.
The presiding Deities of this kshetram Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy is one of the twelve Jyothirlingas and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is one of the eighteen Mahasakthis and both are self-manifested. The unique feature of this kshetram is the combination of Jyothirlingam and Mahasakthi in one campus, which is very rare and only one of its kind.
There is a common belief in vogue that this Holy Kshetram exists from times immemorial. The antiquity and origin of God Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is not known.
The Mallikarjuna Linga is accessible to each and every devotee and anybody can go into the sanctum sanctorum of Mallikarjuna, touch him and perform Abhishekam and Archana himself to recitation of Mantras by Archakas without caste or creed or religion. This clearly reveals that socialistic pattern of society started from this place and it is still in existence.
HISTORY OF SRISAILAMSrisailam was famous in the 4th century A.D, according to Nasik inscription in this inscription mountain was divided into 3 parts. One of them was sirithan. Later it was called as Nallamala. Nasik inscription was carved by pulomavi belongs to satavahana dynasty. He ruled Deccan from 102 to 130 A.D. thus; about Srisailam primarily we can see in this inscription only.
Satavahanas: Thomis was the oldest dynasty, which ruled Andhra. Their rule was ended in 3rd century. Ikshavakas came to powers that were Samanthas to satavahanas. Ikshavakus were also known as Sriparvatiyas. They built Vijayapuri near Nagarjunakonda and ruled part of East Deccan.
Later this East Deccan was ruled by Vasishta putrakanthamala defeated by Pugeeya, Hiranyaka and Dhanaka. This was spread in between Srisaila hill to Gunjdlakamma up to Bay of Bengal. Hiranyaka Brahmin ruler fought to brought up Brahminism. Srisailam flourished during his period because he was devotee of Lord Shiva.
Srimukhavarma of Pallavas, Subedar of Satavahana princess of Kotanaga family and occupied the kingdom. Later he defeated purushadatta king of Ikshavaka and occupied. Thus Srisailam also came under control of Pallavas in 3rd century.
Pallavas: Trilochana Pallava deforests the Srisailam area and makes it for shelter to Brahmins. Later he was defeated by Karikala Chols and became king of this kingdom.
Vishnukundinas: 2nd Rudrasena of Vakata dynasity belongs to latter period of 4th century. He was married Prabhavathi, daughter of 2nd Chandra Gupta of Magadha. Prjbhavathi ruled this dynasty with her 3 sons after demise of second Rudrasena. During this period Srisailam was under them. Srisailam was developed by both dynasties that is Vakatakas and Magadhas.
Kakatiyas: This is one 1370 A.D of the dynasty which. ruled Deccan. They were the followers of Chalukyas. After death of VI Vikramaditya, Kakatikyas dethrone the Chalukyas and occupied the throne. They combine all the Telugu people areas and make a big kingdom. 2nd Prolaya ruled between 1110-1150A.D., defeated Chalukya and brought Telangana under his kingdom. Rudramadevi ruled between 1262-1296 A.D. Prataparudra became king. He defeated the opponents and established peace in this region. He made some habitation by destroying the forest area. It was handed over to his chieftain Patytasahni. Prataparudra and his wife worshipped Srisaila Mallikarjuna and offered Tulabhara. It means with their physical weight they given offerings to God.
Peketi Kommaiah given as dana some of his kingdom to lord Mallikarjuna for performing noontime Pujas
Reddy rajus of Kondaveedu: after decline of Kakatiya dynasty, two dynasties of Reddyrajus founded by Prolaya Vemareddy and Vijayanagara kingdom. Prolaya Vemareddy occupied Srisailam and he paved the steps path to Patalaganga. He also constructed steps to Ahobilam. Anavema redddy occupied Srisailam and Tripurantakam from Vijayanagara kings and constructed Veerasiromandapam in 1370A.D. Vijayanagaras occupied Srisailam in 1422A.D. by defeating Reddy rajus.
Vijayanagara kings: 2nd Harihararaya devotee of Srisaila Mallikarjuna constructed entry face (Mukhamandapa) shrine to Lord Mallikarjuna temple. Vithalamba wife of 2nd Harihara also constructed steps to Patalaganga and there she founded Vithaleswara statue. Saluva Tirumalaiah given many danas (offerings) to Srisailam temple. Saluva dynasty people given many offering god. They offered lands gardens and constructions to the temple.
Srikrishna devaraya divided Srisailam and makes it as a separate state. During this period Srisailam got fame and due importance was given to the temple. Parvathanayaka, follower of Srikrishnadevaraya coated copper layer to Garbhalaya and golden layer to Mukhamandapa in 1513 A.D. In1529 Chandrasekharamatya, minister was constructed kalyanamandapa and chinnagudi. Sagalamarri village was also built near by. Salakaraju constructed yagnasala.
Rulers of Andhra viz Satavahanas, Ikshawakas, Vishnukundinas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Reddyrajus, Vijayanagaras, Maharashtras worshipped Srisailam Mallikarjuna as their Chief God. Of the above dynasities, Kakatiyas paid greater attention towards the construction of temple. Ganapathi deva spent every year 12 thousand golden coins for the development of Srisailam. Mailamahadevi sister of Ganapathi deva constructed temple for Mallikarjuna swamy.
It is said that ruling period of Reddy rajus was the golden age of Srisailam. During this age they make Srisailam become popular visiting place to devotees with the effort of construction of steps to reach Srisailam. They also constructed Mandapam in the temple premises. It was said that devotees offered their body parts viz tongue, hands, legs, and head to god in this Virasiro Mandapam.
Another important dynasty that struggle for the development of Srisailam was Vijayanagara rulers. 2nd Harihararaya was constructed south facing shrine. Srikrishna Devaraya declared Srisailam as a separate state. He was took up constructions for temple Rajagopuram, rest shelters for pilgrims on both sides to chariot street. Srikrishna Devaraya carved a wall around the temple with rich sculpture.
Ruler of Maharashtra, Chatrapathi Sivaji was also served for the development of Srisailam. He took up the works like construction of North shrine to the temple and allotted some money for the maintenance of temple and allotted separate army force for the protection of the temple.
Place Of Srisailam In Literature:These oldest centuries Srisailam mentioned in all Puranas. It is mentioned in 20th chapter of Padmapuranam uttarakhanda 11th chapter of Markandeya puranam, 6th chapter of Shivapurana Rudrasamhita, Adityapuranam, and Mahabharatha Vanaparvam, 80th chapter of Bhaghvatha Dasamaskandam, 40th chapter of sheshadarmam of Harivamsam. Skandapuranm, one of the 18 Puranas, 64th chapter of Srisailakandam describe the complete features of Srisailam.
Adisankar’s ‘Shivanandhalahari’, Someswara’s ‘Kathasarithsagarm’, Siddhanadhuni’s Rasaratnakaram, Bhavabhuthi Malathimadhvam Bhanabhathu’s Kadhambari, Sriharsha’s ‘Ratnavali’, Nannaya Bharatam, Jakkannas Vikramarka charitra, Palkuriki Samantha’s Baswapuranam
Beside these there are many book in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada.Marathi described about Srisailam. The foreign travelers like Hueyanthsang, Ithsinghansinikicthen etc had written about the Srisailam in there books.
The Legend of Mallikarjuna TempleWhen Kumar Kartikeya returned to Kailash after completing his trip around the earth, he heard about Ganesha’s marriage from Narada. This angered him. In spite of being restrained by his parents, he touched their feet in obeisance and left for Krounch Mountain. Parvati was very distraught at having to be away from her son, implored Lord Shiva to look for their son. Together, they went to Kumara. But, Kumara went away a further three Yojanas, after learning about his parents coming after him to Krouncha Mountain. Before embarking on a further search for their son on each mountain, they decided to leave a light on every mountain they visited.
From that day, that place came to be known as JyotirLinga Mallikarjuna. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Pournami, respectively. Visiting this JyotirLinag not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.
Once, a princess named Chandravati decided to go to the Jungles to do penance and meditation. She chose Kadali Vana for this purpose. One day, she witnessed a miracle. A Kapila cow was standing under a Bilwa tree and milk was flowing from all of its four udders, sinking into the ground. The cow kept doing this as a routine chore everyday. Chandravati dug up that area and was dumb founded at what she saw.
There was a self-raising Swyambhu SivaLinga. It was bright and shining like the sun rays, and looked like it was burning, throwing flames in all directions. Chandravati prayed to Siva in this JyotirLinga. She built a huge Shiva Temple there. Lord Shankara was very pleased with her. Chandravati went to Kailash wind borne. She received salvation and Mukti. On one of the stone-inscriptions of the temple, Chandravati’s story can be seen carved out.
A number of legends have grown round Srisailam and its principal deities. Among them the most significant one is that Parvatha, son of Silada Maharshi is said to have performed penance, pleased Siva and made him agree to live on his body. This Parvatha assumed the shape of big Hill "Sriparvatha" and Siva lived on it's top as Mallikarjuna Swamy.
According to one story Chandravathi the ruler of Chandraguptha Patana situated near Srisailam on the opposite bank of the river Krishna ran away from her father who made amorous advances to her went up the hill and settled down there with few servants. One day she found that one of her cows standing above a natural rock formation resembling the Sivalinga and shedding its milk over it. The princess in dream was informed that the piece of the stone was a self-manifested Linga of God Mallikarjuna and took to worshipping it. This story is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. Two sculptures of the Prakara Wall of the temple also represent this story.
According to another story "Sri" the daughter of a Rishi did penance, pleased Siva and got her name associated with the name of the Hill( Sailam ) which thereafter came to be known as Srisailam.
PLACES OF INTERESTSrisailam is the spiritual station which contains 8 gateways in side & corners of Srisailam. Every inch of Srisailam surroundings is having its unique and sacredness. It clearly revealed in Puranas, inscriptions and other sources available in this area. It is very vast circumference, which contains thousands of temples, streams(Teerthas), portraits of Gods/ goddesses were stationed here. of all these some are dilapidated condition, some are demised and some are existed in these centuries course of time. Srisailam is in thick and dence forest of Nallamalla. Even today , most of the places are not able to reach due to not knowing of their where abouts and no formations of roads. Because of that devotees of lord Shiva are not able to visit these places.
In this vast Kshetra , besides the main temple of Sri Mallikarjuna swamy temple and Sri Bramaramba temple, every step land on here gives sanctity feeling to the devotees. Even though thousands of places are here to see, a few places are being brought before you. It is our intention to explain about Srisailam accessories as one of devotee of lord Shiva.
Mallikarjuna Swamy temple:
1.Vrudhamallikarjuna Swamy: This lingam is said to be oldest than the present Mallikarjuna swamy Lingam. There is no Nandi(Bull , vechicle of Lord) infront of it. Ihe Lingam is uneven on its outer face which indicates the old age of Lord Shiva which was prayed by Chandravathi. Hence it is called Vrudhamallikarjuna swamy
2. Ardhanareeswar: This idol is in northern side of the main temple.this is the oldest idol. Detail and period of the idol is unknown.
3.Lingas incarnated by Pandavas: Five temple are situated besides Arthanareseswara temple. These were incarnated by Pandavas according to sources.
4. Mallika Gundam: (Mallika water point): According to mythology , yhis Gundam was part and parces of Saraswathi river, which flows in inner of the Krishna river. This Saraswathi river is called ‘Antaarvahine’ which means it is flowing along with other river i.e. Krishna. Many devotees used this Mallika Gundam water to heal their diseases. Another important thing in shrine of Mallikarjunas temple shade is being reflected in this ‘Gundam’.
5.Veerabhadra Swamy Temple: This idol is intemple and having North face. He is guarding the Lord Mallikarjuna swamy always.
6. Sanagalabasavanna: It is situated infront of the Verasiro mandapam. it is known as “nandi mandapam”. This Nandi is called Nandeeswara(Baswanna).Kannadigulu calls this as ‘Chennu kallu Baswanna”.
7.Addala(Mirror) Mandapam: Place for Swamy where he takes rest in the nights called as pavalinpu seva.
8.Tri fruit tree(Triphala uruksham): Juvvi( ),Ravi( ),and Medi( ) plants together become grown as one tree. It was said that Acharya Nagarjuna and others were done deeksha under this tree. One superstition was there, that couples who haveno children, simply they do pradakshins(walking round the tree) will get children(santanam) in coming years.
9. Nityakalyana mandapam(marriage hall): This in the south west side of temple where daily Kalyanam(Marriage) of the Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bramaramkika ammawaru is done here in the evening times.
10.Sri Rama and Sita Devi’s sahasralingams: Shahasra meang thousand. Sahasra linga means 1000 lingas carved in one linga. Srirama’ linga is situated in swamy temple where Sitadevis is in Ammavari temple. These are incarnated by Srirama and Sitadevi.
Bramaramba devi temple:
The main temple of Bramarambha devi , first of Asthadasa maha sakthi peethas is with well sculptures. You can hear butterfly’s sound(Bhrama means butterfly) in the back side of the main temple. Devotes are not allowed inside the temple where as in the Mallikarjuna swamy temple.
1.Lopa mudra: Lopa mura shapes of Agasya Maharshi wife are only seen in Srisailam. We can see them in sala mandapam of devi temple.
Places of interest in Srisailam and surroundings
1.SakshiGanapathi: it is just 1.5 miles away from Srisailam. Details of the devotees who visited Srisailam will be recorded by him and withness them to Lord Shiva. Thatway he is called Sakshi(withness)Ganapathi.
2.Vitalesvara temple: in 14 cenyury AD ,Vitalamba wife of Harihararaya II lied steps to Patalaganga. In that way this temple was built. This temple is rich in sculpture. The deity residing here is called Vitalesvara Swamy.
3.Shivaji spurthi kendram: once Chatrapathi Shivaji has visited the Srisailam and reside here for some time. He had built uttaram side gopuram . infront of it he builted a small mandapa and used to live there. Now it has been collapsed . besides that well degined modern building has constructd with the name of Shivajispurthi kendram.there is life size idiol of shivaji in the building which inspires us.
4.Hatakeswaram: it is about 5 km from Srisailam.Hataka means gold. Lord Shiva killed Tripurasura by making Meruparvatham as bow and arrow. Here Shiva has been worshipped in golden Lingam shape. Hence it is being called as Hatakkeswaram. Infront of the temple 150 ft area water pond exits there. It is called Hatekeswara teertham. It is believed that devotees who dip here (bath) and drink water in paladhara-Panchadhara, fulfill their desires.
5.Paladhara-Panchadhara: It is about 200 meters from Hatakeswaram. Paladhara-Water steams floes continuosly. It originates and flows 6 metres and demise there itself. It exits througt out the year irrespective of seasons. It is called Paladhara because this was believed that this was originated from the forehead of Lord Shiva. Panchadhara- it is originated from 5 faces of Lord Shiva viz Satyojatha, vamadeva,Aghora,Tatpursha and Esana. Water is medical . devotees take water for curing their diseases. Sanctity of there dharas: by doing bath in Hatakeswaram and drinking water in Paladhara and Panchadhara, devotees of desire will be fulfull. The book Shivanandalahari is written here only.
6.Sikhareswaram: it is the hightest peak of Srisailam moutain range above to 2830 feet to MSL. It is about 8 km from main temple. Lord Veerasankara being called as Sikhareswara. In the cenyuries back, devotees were going to Srisailam on foot in the dense forest. They were tired. They were not able to move further even a step also. In such conditions, devotees felt that alleast, going to up to that hightest peak to see. From there they might have come back. According to Puranas “Srisaila Sikharam drustya punarjanma navidyate….” By seeing this Sikharam It is said that by merely seeing the tip of mountain one emancipated from all sins. The persons becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death.
7.Ishakameswari Devi: It is about 21 km from main temple, situated in dence forest of Srisailam hill. This temple belongs to 8th –10th centuries. Ishtakameswari is another name of Parvathi devi. There is no word like Ishtakameswari in the puranas and earlies literature except Kameswari. In the present day also it is difficult to reach there . pravite vechicle or not allowed and can reach by hire vechiles. There is a speciality in the idiol that if you touch the forehead u can feel like a human skin. If you visit the place once ,you will think of visiting the same place again.
8. Pathaganga: it is 1 km from main temple has to take a 500 steps to down to river Krishna which flows and called as Pathalganga. Now rope way to this was contructed to reach there before where people used to go by steps.
9.Akkamahadevi caves: It is about 10 km from Pathalaanga.Akkamahadevi was strong believer of Lord Mallikarjunaswamy. She was belongs to 12th centuary. She was born in ‘Udutadi’ village in Shimoga dt of Karnataka. Her parentsSumathi and Nirmala Setty, who were veerashiva devotees. due to not intrest in marriage with the king Koushikudu she came to Srisailam to immerse in Lord Mallikarjuna and reached caves, now being called Akkamahadevi caves. She performed siddi(Tapasu) for some time in these caves later gone to Kandhalivanalu. She has been worshipped as prime Sivasaran in ‘Veerashiva’ tradition. Thase caves are Naturally formed, very attractive and station of nature beauty.
The timings of the temple : 04:30 AM to 10:00PM
HOW TO GET THEREBy Road: Road distances from Srisailam are Atmakur (113 km), Anantapur (325 km), Bangalore (538 km), Mumbai (971 km), Calcutta (1491 km), Delhi (1685 km), Dornal (49 km), Hyderabad (232 km), kurnool (180 km), chennai (568 km), Nagarjuna sagar (180 km), Nandyal (158 km), Tirupathi (436 km), Vijayawada (248 km), Visakhapatnam (614 km)
By Rail: Nearest railhead is Markapur on Guntur-Hubli line. Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Kurnool, Nandyal are also convenient railheads.
By Air: The nearest airport is at Hyderabad(232 km) which is air linked with Bangalore, Bhuvaneswar, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Nagpur, culcutta and other major cities. Continental Aviation also connects with Hyderabad.
Srisailam is well connected with APSRTC and AP tourism buses from kurnool, Hyderabab, Mahaboobnagar, Nalgonda, Devarakonda, Guntur, Vijayawada, Ongole, Mahanandi, Mantralayam, Anantapur etc. some Karnataka state buses have daily trips from Hubli, Mysore, Raichur, Dharwad, Sholapur Etc.
Local Attractions: Alampur (207 km), Dindi Reservoir (64 km), Nagarjunasagar (180 km), Sangameswar (18 km), Mahanandi, Belum Caves.
ACCOMODATION AND CONTACT NUMBERSThe Devasthanam is having 25 individual cottages, Pathaleswra Sadan with 23 Deluxe Suites, Sivasadanam guest house with 100 rooms, T.T.D Guest House with 10 rooms,Chandeswara Sadanam with 22 rooms and a dormitory Choultry consisting of 7 Halls.
Devasthanam has also constructed a modern complex with 112 suites named as Gangasadan and Gowrisadan. At present this complex is leased out to Tourism Department.
Besides this there are 40 private choultries consisting of about 1200 rooms and they are also providing accommodation to the pilgrim.
The Department of Tourism is maintaining Punnami Guest Houses consisting above 50 suites.
Information center/donation counter