Srisailam—Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple
In the early morning hours, when a blanket of mist silently envelops the tall, magnificent Gopurams of the Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple at Srisailam, certainly creates the heart stealing environs for the devotees who want to flow in the capsized notions of devotion and holiness. Perched on the right bank of Krishna River in Kurnool District in Central Andhra Pradesh, Southern India, the picturesque valley surrounded by Kronchgiri & Nallamalai Hills, shines with an aura of holy lantern of gods and goddesses. The pilgrims would definitely find this place more spell bounding to their senses when they will feel that they are lucky enough to find god amidst the serene Zion’s of Earth. Famous for its rapturous ambiance and known amongst the 12 Lord Shiva`s Jyotirlingas, the aspiring devotees may feel a sporadic trance which will relinquish them from all the sins.
About Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India
Traversing back into the time, Lord Rama and demon Hiranyakasipu-father of Vishnu’s boy devotee --Prahalad also made a visit to this temple, to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. Strolling to the real mythology, this temple fortifies an interesting history, when Lord Shiva’s younger son Lord Ganesh Ji got married earlier and plying to this event, the elder son of Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikey Ji got outraged. He with his rude tones took refuge at Kronchgiri Hill. In a stance to convince him, Lord Shiva when ventured to the hill, Lord Kartikey Ji vigorously stepped back and after, noticing this kind of attitude, the almighty didn’t made any further advancement to console him. Reminiscently, till the date, the Lord Kartikey’s idol has been ensconced in the form of Shiva Linga and hence, it was named Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga. According to Shiv Puraan, the Lord Shiva still resides in that Linga and it is known amongst the 12 Jyotirlinga’s in India. There are five Shiva Lingas in the temple that are said to have been installed by the Pandvas themselves. The Puranas state that those offer worship with devotion, standing in any corner of the temple of Mallikarjuna, will certainly attain ‘salvation’. This temple has been refurbished many times in the 12th century during the reign of Kalyana Chalukyas. Anna Reddy the king of the Reddy dynasty, further added more innovation to the temple. Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara ‘Kingdom, and Chhatrapati Shivaji, visited the temple and made gopurams, know by their respective names. The outer wall, 700m long and 6m high encompasses the entire temple complex. There are carved panels, depicting various images and icons, superimposed on the wall. The swathe of peacock ferns, emblazoned on the lower part of the fortification turns out to be the real piece of charm for the leisure travelers as well devotees. Intricately ingrained with the four gopurams, set in each cardinal direction of Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, the enthusiasts would feel highly gratified after watching the tallest and grandest domes, which will further add something unique to their experience.
Peeping deeper into the premises of the Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, this spiritual sanctum, exhibits the spectacular sight of the gopurams. The height of the tall brass dwajasthamba, set upon a granite lotus pedestal, greets the visitor with bewilderment. The apex tip of this tall pillar is adorned with the pyramid construction of brass Kalasa. The visitors who are really anxious to watch the oblations known as ‘UtsavMurti, carried by Sevakartas, can surely gather around the temple by 6:00 PM in the evening. These processions led by an elephant and two horses are genuinely an eye feasting experience for the spiritually inclined person. Such is the magic of cosmic energy disseminated by the idols that every individual would feel blessed and fortunate to unwind its burden of pains and miseries eventually, steering their deeds towards right directions.
A large idol of Nandi, facing the sanctum, presides over a pillared hall. A space has been sanctioned for breaking coconuts near here. Ravishing carving on different patterns embellish the pillars with the symbols of mythological over tones, which generously extend to the silver plated sanctum. To its left is the idol of Ratnagarbha Ganpati. To the right are Veerbhadra Swamy(Gaurdian Deity) and Bhadrakali, in niches. The small black Shiv linga has a hooded golden cover. The Garbha Friha is small and only priests are allowed inside. Walking to the North of the sanctum, in the prakara, are the five lingas installed by the Pandvas, a temple for Veerbhadra Swamy, and a well is in the same cardinal direction, from where water is drawn for Puja or other religious ceremonies. There is exorbitant devotional warmth as chants of ‘Om Namah Shivayah’ fill the air. Nearly 30 meters away from the sanctum of the main temple, the Western Gopuram is infested with the statues that depict the tableau of Chandravati, a legendry maiden whose devotion to Shiva was an example in totality. Venturing 20 meters to the North of the sanctum is another marble statue, depicting the Bhramaramba handling over a sword to Chattrapati Shivaji.
Keeping the all needs in mind, the aspiring devotees looking for a delightful stay can plan their accommodation at Hotels in Srisailam. With the balanced profusion of spirituality, tranquility and world class hospitable standards, the Srisailam Hotels are genuinely blessed with the facilities as expected by the discerning devotees exclusively. There are immense numbers of budget as well as luxurious Srisailam Hotels which are stupendously built and cater to the every mindset seeking for complete peace and solace. The visitors can most probably plan their stay at accommodation at Haritha Hotel, Telega kapu balija satram and Velema choultry, generously, suiting their tastes and preferences. The travelers can also avail Srisailam Tour Packages which include a stay at one of the finest hotels in Srisailam, platter of meals and a cab service to commute with in the precincts of the region.
But as the matter of fact, like other temples, the Mallikarjun Temple in Andhra Pradesh is not adhered to any harsh rules. The devotees are not befitted to any dress code. During the darshan, all the visitors are advised to keep their cell phones switched off and its better they should avoid taking any pictures inside the temple premises. The Darshan lines are free for the common man but foreigners have to pay 30 Rupees respectively. Those who want to offer hair in fulfillment of their vow can do so at the Kalyana Katte, 10 m South of the sanctum, for a fee of Rs 20. Sharing the series of similar price tags, Vibhuti(Rs 20), Laddoo(Rs 20), Vada(Rs 15) and Pulihotra(Tamrind Rice, Rs 15). Prasad Counters are in the front as well as in the back of the temple. This temple receives large number of pilgrims during the festive season of Maha Shivaratri(mid-Mar), Makar Sakranti(mid-Jan), Ugadi(March/April) and Kartika(Nov-Dec) exclusively. The Suprabhata Darshan and Viswarupa Darshan, may be witnessed daily at 3:00AM or 5:00AM generally depending upon the month. Mahamangal aarti is performed at 4:00AM, and 5:20-5:45 PM. There are several Saswatha Sewas(permanent) that are carried out when specified amounts are deposited. There are also special services offered by the state owned buses. Located 2KMs, North of the RTC bus stand, and with in the radius of 100m of the bazaar, the visitors can board the local bus or taxi between 3:30 AM to 8.30 PM. Besides the daily schedule, the visitors while leaving this place would feel a great transition in their lives forever. Nevertheless, the change will not be seen in material facets but it will affect every dimension of their life, making the visitors feel highly blessed.