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.
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 Maa Parvati came here and stayed on with the name Arjun and Mallika. Thus the place and the temple were called Mallikarjun.
When Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable brides for their sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya argued as to who is to get married first. Shiva bade that the one who goes around the world in Pradakshinam could get married first. By the time Kartikeya could go round the world on his vahana, Ganesha went round his parents 7 times (for according to Shastras, going in pradakshinam round one’s parents is equivalent to going once around the world (Bhupradakshinam)). Siva got Buddhi(intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity) married to Ganesha. Kartikeya on his return was enraged and went away to stay alone on Mount Kraunja in the name of Kumarabrahmachari. On seeing his father coming over to pacify him, he tried to move to another place, but on the request of the Devas, stayed close by. The place where Siva 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 as Mallikarjuna.
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 was 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 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 Nadikeshwara. The temple is enclosed by tall walls measuring 183 m (600 ft) by 152 m (499 ft) and 8.5 m (28 ft) tall. There are a number of sculptures in the precinct each rising above another. The Mukamandapa, 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 linga), believed to have been commissioned by Rama and five other lingams believed to have been commissioned by Pandavas. A mirror hall in the first precinct has images of Nataraja.
The temple is maintained and administered by government of Andhra Pradesh.
Lord Shiva in this temple is referred to as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Goddess Bramarambha’s shrine is referred to as one of the fifty two Shakti peethas. This temple is classified as one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam.
On the way to the main temple is located Shikreshwar temple.It is said that by having darshan in the 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 were believed to be 64 jyotirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyotirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity – each considered different manifestation of 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 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.
As Shakti Peeth
Srisailam Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peetha. The legend of Daksha Yaga and Sati’s self-immolation resulted in the emergence of Sri Parvati in the place of Sati Devi and making Shiva a householder. This mythology is the story behind the origin of Shakti Peethas. They are holy abodes of Adiparashakti formed due to the falling of Sati Devi’s corpse when Shiva carried it and wandered. It is believed that Sati Devi’s Upper lip has fallen here.
Festivals and rituals
Maha Shiva Ratri is the most important festival here. Along with Dasara Sarannavartrulu.