Known as Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple, Srisailam Bramarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy Devasthanamu is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati and is located at Srisailam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is one of the 18 Shakti Peethas of goddess Parvati or Sati.
In this temple, Lord Shiva is in the form of a lingam, and his consort Parvati is in the form of Bhramaramba. Mallikarjuna Temple is is known to be both Jyotirlinga and Shaktipeeth.
There was an argument over who is to get married first between Ganesha and Kartikeya when Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable brides for their sons. Shiva found a resolution to this problem: he told his sons to take the Pradakshinam, a round trip over the world, and whoever was first could get married first. Kartikeya went around the world on his vahana, but by that time, Ganesha took around around his parents seven times. In Sashtras, it is said that going around one’s parents is equivalent to going around the world. As such, Lord Shiva decided to arrange the marriage of Ganesha with Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power) and Riddhi (prosperity).
Kartikeya, on the other hand, got angry and went to live in the mountain of Kravunja in the name of Kumarabrahmachari. Lord Shiva came to pacify him, but he then moved to other places. Only upon request of other Devas, Kartikeya stayed by. The place where Shiva and Parvati stayed then became to be known as Shrishailam.
The history has it that the temple was in existence since the 2nd century during the Satvahana Dynasty. The other additions were made during the time of Harihara of Vijayanagara Empire.
The temple is huge as it covers 2 hectares of area and houses four gateway towers, known as gopurams. There are tons of shrines, especially of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba. One notable hall amongst the many is that of Mukha Mandapa, which was built during the Vijayanagar period. Mallikarjuna Temple faces East, and there is a huge idol of Nadikeshwara at the center mandapam which has several pillars. There are tall walls which measure 183m by 152m, and 8.5m tall. There are also the number of sculptures in the precinct, each rising above other. There are 100 lingas, Sahasra linga, which is said to be commissioned by Rama, and five other lingas by Pandavas.
According to Shiva Mahapuranam, there was an argument between Brahma, the Hindu God of creation and Vishnu, the Hindu God of saving, in terms of supremacy of creation. To find a resolution, Lord Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. What Vishnu and Brahma had to do was the find the end of the light in either direction. Both Vishnu and Brahma split their ways downwards and upwards respectively, but they were unsuccessful. However, Brahma lied that he found the end, but Vishnu conceded the defeat. As soon as that happened, Lord Shiva appeared as the third pillar and cursed Brahma that he would have no part in ceremonies till eternity and that Vishnu would be worshiped till the end of eternity.
These jyotirlingas today are the places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. In the ancient times, there were 64 jyotirlingas in consideration. Today, 12 jyotirlingas are considered to be the holiest and auspicious. And among them, Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is one.
Among the 18 Shakti Peetha, Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is one. After Daksha Yaga and Sati’s self-immolation, Sri Parvati emerged in the place of Sati Devi and made Lord Shiva a householder. This is where Shakti Peethas developed, and they are the holy abodes of Adiparashakti, which is formed during the falling of Sati Devi’s corpse when Shiva carried and wandered around. The upper lip of Sati Devi is said to have fallen here at Srisailam Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple.
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