Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Tourism      Pilgrim Centers      Hindu Pilgrimages      Andhra Pradesh     Kurnool    


Place : Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh
Best Season : February - March
Significance : Famous for its Shaivite Temples
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Srisailam is a pilgrim town stand on a plateau on the top of a hill named Srisailam, Sriparvata or Srigiri, in the Nallamalai ranges in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh. Overlooking the deep gorge of the Krishna River, some 200 m below from the south, it boasts the Saivaite temples celebrated in devotion, tradition and history from the second century AD.

Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy (a form of Shiva) and his consort, Bhramarabha (a form of Parvathi), are held in great veneration by countless devotees. Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy, the Bhramaramba Mallikarjunaswamy Temple and Devi Bhramaramba is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

The important feature of this temples is that they are surrounded by high walls. The temple area looks like a fort and its walls are about 9 m high. The walls are made of huge blocks of stones and are of particular interest because of its remarkable reliefs carved on the blocks. There are five regular rows of sculpture on the walls from above the base. The first rows is ornamented with figures of the elephant in many postures. The second row has reliefs of the hors, the warrior, the hunter and the dancer. The panels on the third, fourth and fifth courses has full of sculpture representing various dieities and scenes from Saivaite traditions. Four gopuaras stands the walls in the four directions. But only the base of the western tower has survived, the other parts have fallen down. All the three other gopuras are of Vijayanagar times. The most striking is the northern, later named after Shivaji. It contains some superb panel reliefs.

The structures within the compound were built from time to time and also repaired as occasion offered. The main temple stands near a mandapa named the Virasiromani. The mukhamandapa of the temple was built in 1405. The vimana, in a peculiar style belongs to the tenth century. The temple is attracted more pilgrims especially during the festival of Shivaratri in February - March.

There are innumerable shrines around this temple and also a few pillared veranadhas. Some of these contains fine sculptures.

The shrine of the Goddess stands at a distance from all these. It seems to have been reconstructed in the 16th century. On the way there are many srhines. One of these belongs to the 18th century. Access is by a flight of steps.

A part of the Srisailam pilgrimae is a visit to the Patalganga in order to bathe there. Many pilgrims carry the water uphill in order to bathe the icon of the Lord Mallikarjuna. The pathway is 4km long and on either sides there are many shrines. One of theem is the temple of Umamaheshwara, considered artistically the finest in Srisailam. It is in the late Vijayanagar style and contains some splendid sculpure. It should be dated to the 16th century on the basis of the similarity of style with Venkataramana temple of Tadpatri.

The oldest structure on Srisailam is the Vriddha Mallikarjuna or the Old Mallikarjuna temple. Constructed in 7 the century, it stands near the Mallikarjuna Temple.