Invoke Blessings of the Divine at Mallikarjuna Temple
Located on the Srisalam hill, the Mallikarjuna Temple has a Swayambulinga (self-manifested Shivlinga) which is revered as one of the 12 jyotirlingas. The sanctity of this hill has been mentioned in different religious scriptures such as Mahabharata and Skanda Purana.
The name of Srisailam kshetra is chanted with deep reverence in the sankalpa mantra during the ritual bath in different holy places. The hills are sacred for the Buddhists also. Nagarjuna, the saint stayed here during the 1st century AD. Both Fa Hien and Hieun Tsang have referred to the place as Shri Parvatam and a major centre for Buddhist culture. Some of the major aspects related to this temple are mentioned below-
Legends surround the temple
The temple shines like a jewel on the Nallmalai range in the Eastern Ghats and is also called Rishabgiri after Rishaba or Nandi Deva who performed a penance over here to get a darshan of Shiva and Parvati. Once, Chandravathi, a princess of the Gupta dynasty was faced with a domestic calamity. She decided to abandon royal comforts and went to the forests of Sri Sailam where she lived on fruits and cow milk. One day, she came to know that one of the cows was not giving milk. Later she came to know from the herdsman that the cow was going to a secluded sport daily and pouring milk on a linga amid malliage(jasmine) creepers. The following day she went to the spot and saw the miracle. That same night, Shiva appeared in her dreams and asked her to build a temple at the site.
Since the linga was tangled in mallige creepers, the deity came to be known as Mallikarjuna.
There is also another legend according to which Shiva came to the forest of Sri Sailam for hunting. Here he met a girl from the Chenchu tribe and both fell in love. Shiva decided to stay with the girl in the forest. The girl was Parvati herself. Within the temple, there is a bass relief which depicts the temple. It is interesting to note that people from the Chenchu tribe who live in this region are allowed into the sanctum even today. During the night of Maha Shivratri, they perform abhisheka and puja to the diety. One notable feature of the temple is that devotees irrespective of their caste, religion, and sex are allowed to enter the sanctum and perform abhisheka and puja.
The architecture of the temple is a fine example of the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is equipped with fort like walls, towers and has eye-catching cultural work. This huge temple also has lofty towers and extensive courtyards which are reminiscent of the Vijayanagara style of architecture. The temples of Tripurakantam, Siddavatam, Umamaheshwaram, and Alampura are located in the neighbourhood of the temple and are regarded as the four gateways to Sri Sailam.
Best Time To Visit The Temple
The best time for visiting the temple is during Maha Shivratri, which happens in the month of Magha, according to the Hindu calendar.