The Srisailam Mallikarjuna temple is situated on a plateau of Nallamalai Hills, around 200 kms from Hyderabad,Andhra Pradesh. Srisailam is one of the most ancient Shiva kshetras in India. As the temple is revered in Devaram, it is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams . Srisailam is also named as Siridhan, Srigiri, Sirigiri, Sriparvatham and Srinagam.
The molavar (presiding Deity) here is Mallikarjuna Swami and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi. The unique feature of this place is,this is one of the Dwadasa Jyothirlingams(twelve Jyothirlingas) and also one of the 18 Maha Sakthi Peedams as Sati Devi's upper lip is said to have fallen here.
As per legends Silada Maharshi's son Parvatha, is said to have performed a great tapas (penance). When Shiva appeared before him and asked for his wishes,Parvatha wanted Shiva to live on his body. He also asked Siva that all the Devathas,Devas and sacred waters has to reside on his top and all the devotees visiting this scared place should be given Moksha. Siva granted these wishes of Parvatha. Parvatha then assumed the shape a big hill Srisailam and Siva lives on its top as Sriparvatha Swami.
According to a literary source, there lived Chandravathi in Chandraguptha Pattana situated near Srisailam. She ran away from her tormenting father and went up the hill and settled there with a few of her servants.One day she saw one of her cows standing above a rock resembling a Sivalinga and shedding its milk over it. In her dream she came to know that the piece of the stone is none other than a self manifested Linga of God Sriparvatha Swami and statrted worshipping it. Chandravathi offered Jasmine (Mallika)garlands regularly. One day God Siva appeared before her and Chandravathi prayed to him asking him to wear the Jasmine garland (Mallika Pushpamala) in his head permanently. There after Sri Parvatha Swami came to be known as Mallikarjuna Swamy (The one wearing Jasmine flower)
The Temple : Before you enter the main temple, the Ganesha temple - Sakshi Ganapathy temple is on the side of the road. This small temple located about 3 km before you reach Srisailam. It is beleived that this Ganapathi in this temple keeps regular account of all the pilgrims to tender ‘Sakshi’ (evidence) of their visit to this temple and hence named as Sakshi Ganapathi. The idol of Ganapathy is is seen holding a book in the left hand and a writing instrument in the right hand to note down the names of the devotees.
The main temple complex is huge with four Gopurams. The temple complex has many halls or mandapams.The beautiful Mukha Mandapa was built during the Vijayanagar period. The center mandapam ,Nandimandapa, has several pillars, with a huge idol of Nadikeshwara. There are seperate sannidhis for the moolavar (principal deity) Mallikarjuna and Goddess Bhramaramba and several small sannidhis for Vriddha Mallikarjuna, Sahasra Lingeswara, Arthanariswarar, Veerabhadran, Uma Maheswaran etc.
The Garbagriham (sanctum sanctorum) has a beautiful ornamental entrance. At the centre is the swayambu Jothirlingam. After paying certain fees, devotees can enter and perform abhishekam to this Lingam, which is considered a very divine experience.
On the back side of this Mallikarjunaswami temple is the sannadhi for Goddess Bhramaramba.At the entrance of the sannidhi is the Meru or the stone Srichakra installed by Sri Adi Shankara to calm Bhramaramba when she had a rudra kolam(violent form).
The garbhagraha is square and its outer walls has paintings of Ramayana . The jambs of the door has carvings of lotus leaves and on the top of jamb is the figure of Lalitabimbika. The idol of Brahmaramba is in the form of Mahishasura Mardini with ashta bhujam(eight hands) in a standing posture. She is seen standing on Mahishasuran with her left leg and holding his head with her left hand and piercing it with her Trisulam on her right hand. In her other hands she is seen holding a dagger, mace, sword, a bow, a shield and book.
Both the Shiva linga and Goddess Bhramaramba are believed to be swayambu (self manifested)
There are other small sannidhis in the temple for Kasi Viswanatha, Annapoorni, Suryanarayana, Ganapathi and Subramanya ,Sahasra Lingeswara, Arthanariswarar, Veerabhadran, Uma Maheswaran. The Sahasra linga (1000 lingam),is believed to have been installed by Sri Rama and there are five other lingams that is said to to have been installed by Pandavas.
Adi Sankara is said to have visited this temple and installed the meru in front of the ambal sannidhi.
Rituals On paying certain amount(INR 5000), a couple shall be allowed into the Garbagriham to perform abhishekams to the Jyotir Lingam.(certain conditions may apply). It should be a divine experience.
Pujas and Festivals Starting from Suprabatha seva, pujas are performed four times a day- morning,noon,evening and night. Pradosham is important here. Apart from Pradoshams,Sivarathiri,Maha Siva rathiri, Navarathiri, Aipasi Annabishekam in Oct-November,Thiruvadhirai in Dec-January, are celeberated here.Maha Shivaratri is the most important festival when lakhs of devotees assemble here. Mahasivaratri Brahmotsavams are celebrated for 13 days, and the Utsava murtis of Siva and Parvati are taken in a procession around the temple streets. Krishna river, called Patal Ganga,is down the cliff with 852 stairs to the river. The Shiva Linga is bathed with the water of this river.
Temple location Surrounded by the Nallamalai Hills and dense forests, the Plateau of Srisailam is 476 m. above the Sea level and is at about 220 kms from Hyderabad.
Temple Timings The temple is open from days from 4:30 AM - 10:00 PM with occassional breaks lasting 30 minutes for abhishekam and alankarams.
Dress code No stringent dress code exists for entering the temple , but devotees are requested visit in a decent dress.
How to reach?
The nearest airport is international airport in Hyderabad and there are several APSRTC buses from Hyderabad. You can drive a car or take cab from Hyderabad. The route is very scenic through the Nallamala hills of the eastern ghats. The roads have several curves and trough dense forests as you approach SriSailam. Important As road passes through the Nagarjunasagar tiger reserve,private vehicles are not allowed after 7 pm and before 6 am. There are checkposts and forest guards to monitor the vehicle movements.