Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Rameshwaram - Ramanatha swamy Rameswaram


Rameshwaram Temple is situated in the island of Rameswaram, off the Sethu coast of Tamil Nadu and is reached via the Pamban Bridge across the sea. The huge temple is known for its long ornate corridors, towers and 36 theerthams.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga represents the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingams of India and has been a time honored pilgrimage center held on par with Banaras. Rameshwaram Temple Jyotirlinga is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama's victorious return from Sri Lanka.

The devout considers a pilgrimage to Kashi incomplete unless he or she visits Rameswaram also and performs abhisheka for Sri Ramanatha with Ganga water.

Rameswaram Temple:-
The temple, situated on an island in the Gulf of Mannar, reflects divinity in serenity.  It is a massive structure having a majestic gopuram and a 1200- metre-long corridor, the longest of such temple corridors in India.

Rameswaram temple is considered to be one of the holiest temples in India and it was built in the 17th century although construction had begun in the 12th century AD.  One of the finest specimens of Dravidian architecture, the temple has gigantic dimensions.Covering an area of 15 acres, it is 264 meters to the west and 200 metres north to south consisting of three prakaras. It has the largest temple
On the tall stone pillars of temple, beautiful carvings can be seen. Elephants with their trunks raised are seen. The four sides of the temple are enclosed by strong stone walls. They are 650 ft. and 12ft. wide and tall respectively. This wonderful temple built on the sand island, is a work of great art and very impressive.

Rameswaram Temple towers from top view:-
corridor in India running 1219 m in length and with over 4000 pillars. Each of these pillars stand at 3.6m of height and is constructed of granite with rich carvings worked on it. The gate tower or the ‘gopuram’ has an altitude of 54 m. There are innumerable shrines of other deities like Vishnu,
Hanuman, Krishna, Ganesha and Subramanya as well as 22 sacred wells/bathing ghats or ‘tirthas’ within the temple and each well apparently gives a different taste of water. Devotees offer prayers after first bathing at one of these tanks.On the right side of the main shrine, Shiva’s consort Parvati has her own temple.

According to legends this is the place where Lord Rama offered prayers to Lord Shiva to atone for killing Ravana. Rameswaram temple has great religious significance and draws ardent devotees in large numbers throughout the year.

There are 2 Sivalingams in the temple. One Sivalingam, made out of sand by Seetha of Ramayana fame is the Moolavar and is known as Ramalingaswamy. According to the legend, Lord Rama returned to India after killing Ravana in Srilanka. Lord Rama wanted to worship Lord Shiva at Rameswaram to free himself from the sin of killing Ravana. Hence he directed Hanuman to bring a sivalingam from Kailash/Banares. Hanuman was delayed on his return with the lingam. In the meantime, the stipulated auspicious time has arrived for performing the worship to Lord Shiva. Hence Lord Rama performed the worship to the lingam made out of sand by Seetha so as to finish the worship within the stipulated auspicious time. Hanuman got depressed with this and tried his best to remove the lingam
made out of sand by Seetha but failed in his attempts. Lord Rama pacified Hanuman and assured him that the lingam brought by Hanuman will also be installed at the place and that worship will first be offered to the lingam (known as Kasi Viswanathar) brought by Hauman. Even today the first worship is offered to the lingam brought by Hanuman and then only the worship is offered to the principal sanctum Lord Ramalinganaswamy.

History behind Rameshwara lingam:-
According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India. 

According to a popular legend, it was Lord Rama who installed this Linga here. Story goes that when Lord Ram was on his way to attack Ravana, he reached this place where he made a linga of sand and worshipped it. It is said that when Lord Rama was drinking water on the seashore there was a celestial proclamation - "You are drinking water without worshipping me". Listening to this Lord Rama made a linga of sand and worshipped it and asked to be
blessed so that he could vanquish Ravana. Lord Shiva blessed him accordingly. He also requested Lord Shiva to reside eternally here so that entire mankind should benefit from it. Shiva then manifested himself as the Linga and got installed there for eternity.

According to yet another legend, while returning to Ayodhya, Ram worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita. It is said that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Banaras. Anticipating delay in Hanuman's return from Benares, Rama offered worship to a Shivalingam at a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here - Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy. 

 The main sannidhi was so crowded that we could just glimpse the Siva Lingam. – Ramanatha Swamy and Ambal Parvathavardhini sannidhi was very calm and less crowded and we could have a leisurely darshan there. We also prayed at the Kalyana Sundareswarar  sannidhi and came out to see the Anjaneyar. This Anjaneyar always fascinates me by the fact that the lower half of his body is always immersed in sea and only the upper half is visible for our darshan.

The temple, which has over the centuries grown into its present gigantic dimensions, stands on the eastern shore of an island, which is shaped like a conch, which Lord Vishnu bears in one of His bands. No field is ploughed or oil pressed anywhere in the island. A magnificent railway bridge, over a kilometre long and constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century, connected it with the mainland. 

In Rameswaram Temple, a spiritual “Mani Darisanam” (Mani Darshan) happens in early morning everyday. This “Mani” is made of “spatikam”[a precious stone] and in form of “Holy shivling”. According to some accounts, this is “Mani” of “sheshnag” (Bhagwaan Vishnu’s bed). 

The devote considers a pilgrimage to Kashi incomplete unless he or she visits Rameswaram also and performs abhisheka for Sri Ramanatha with Ganga water.

The shrine of Parvathavardhini, consort of Sri Ramanatha, is to the right of Rama Lingam. A Sri Chakra can be seen here.  There is a separate Vishnu shrine dedicated to Sethu Madhava.  There are shrines for Pallikonda Perumal, Santhana Ganapathi, AshtaLakshmi, Nataraja and Hanuman.

Rama Sethu:-
Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Bhagwaan Ram is said to have built a Floating Stone Bridge Rama sethu from Rameswaram that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka as mentioned in the great epic Ramayana.

Pamban Bridge :-
 The Pamban Bridge is a cantilever bridge on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. It refers to both the road bridge and the cantilever railway bridge, though primarily it means the latter. It was India’s first sea bridge. It is the second longest sea bridge in India (after Bandra-Worli Sea Link) at a length of about 2.3 km. The railway bridge is 6,776 ft (2,065 m)[1] and
was opened for traffic in 1914. The railroad bridge is a still-functioning double-leaf bascule bridge section that can be raised to let ships pass under the bridge. Next post I will take you to Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple and some places in Madurai ……………………… 

Rameswaram Pamban island has beautiful beaches. Olaikuda beach is famous for coral reefs and is ata distance of one km from the temple.Scuba diving is permitted here.

Holy Teerth:-

There are sixty-four Tīrthas or Theerthams (holy water bodies) in and around Rameswaram. According to the Skanda Purana, twenty-four of them are important. Of the 24, 14 are in the form of tanks and wells within the precincts of the temple. Bathing in these tanks is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the tanks are within the Ramanathaswamy Temple. The foremost one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal). Jatayu, King of the Birds, who fought in vain with the demon-king Ravana to save Sita, is said to have fallen down at Jadayu Theertham as his wings were severed. Villoondi Theertham literally translates to ‘buried bow’, is located around 7 kilometres from the main temple on the way to Pamban. It is believed to be the place where Rama quenched the thirst of Sita by dipping the bow into the sea water.Other major holy bodies are Hanuman Theertham, Sugreeva Theertham and Lakshmana Theertham.
This island shrine consists of 24 odd holy water sources like Rama teerth, Sita Kund, Jata Teerth, Lakshman Teerth, Kapi Teerthas, Brahmakund, Galawa teerth, Mangala teerth, Kodandaram teerth, Pandav teerth etc., The waters at all these places is sweet and has a taste of its own. Every teerth has a typical story attached to it. Devotees take Darshan and feel purged by doing so.

1. Mahalakshmi Theertham: Yudhistra took bath here and became rich and famous. 
2. Savithri Theertham: Kashyapa got rid of his curse after holy dip in this theertham. Whoever takes holy dip in this theertham would get rid of all the curses. King Kasibar got rid of his curse.
3. Gayathri Theertham: King Kasibar got rid of his curse.
4. Saraswathi Theertham:

5. Sethu Madhava Theertham: Whoever takes holy dip in this water would be blessed by Mahalakshmi, their purified of impure thoughts. 
6. Gandhamadana Theertham: One will get rid of their penury
7. Kavatcha Theertham: One protected from torture at hell.
8. Gavaya Theertham: One will be blessed to be under Kalpa Vriksha tree.
9. Nala Theertham: One will be able to take blessing of Lord Surya and reach heaven.
10. Neela Theertham: Equivalent to having performed various yagnas.

11. Sanku Theertham: The Glory of Sankhatirtha: Vatsanabha Freed from the Sin of 
12. Chakkara Theertham :
13. Brahmahathi Vimochana Theertham: Will be absolved of may sins like killing a Brahmin, consumption of intoxicated drinks etc
14. Sooriya Theertham: Attain the ability to receive knowledge of the past present and the future.
15. Chandra Theertham:
16. Ganga Theertham: Gananasuruthi Rajah attained wisdom.
17. Yamuna Theertham:
18. Gaya Theertham:
19. Siva Theertham: absolving of Brahmahathi sins
20. Sadyamirtha Theertham: Anointment to many curses incurred unknowingly.
21. Sarva Theertham: Sutharishna got rid of his blindness(from birth), illness and old age and then he prospered.
22. Kodi Theertham: Lord Krishna got rid of his sin of killing his uncle, Kamsa.

Agnitheertham is a pilgrim place where in people believes that taking bath in the place washes away their sins. The temple is constructed facing the eastern direction and there is a large lake in the temple whose water is considered to be holy enough. There are about 22 wells in this place and it is one amongst the 12 jyotirlings of India. The water of all the 22
wells has different taste and one can taste the waters of all of them so as to have all flavors of life in it. 

It is believed that the water has several medicinal properties too and several different life threatening diseases can be cured by taking water from the different wells from this place.

Rama Teertham(Gandamadana):-
Rama Teertham is constructed on the Gandamadhana Parvata hence forth it is also called Gandamadana. It is constructed on the island and is considered to be the most sacred pilgim place in southern India. In this temple there is a charka on which the imprints of Lord Rama

have been encarved. It is little away from Dhanushkodi, which is a place where Rama met Vibhishana and that place too has its own historical importance. 

There is hilly region all around which is a good tourist place. So while one is on the pilgrimage, one can enjoy the beauty of life as well in the nearby places.

Lakshmana Teertham:-
Lakshmana Teertham has been constructed in memory of Lord Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama. In order to offer sacred prayers to lord Lakshmana, temple has been constructed in Rameshwaram itself which indicates that Lord Lakshman had been given a valuable place in the dynasty of Lord Rama. Several wonderful sculptures of Lord Lakshmana have been carved out from marble and the temple has the statues of lord Rama and Goddess Sita too, as they are never supposed to be separated as they stayed united all their lives. This shows the trustworthiness of Lakshman towards his family and especially his elder brother Rama and Goddess Sita.

Villoondi Theertham:-
This Theertham is situated 7 kms from the main temple on the way to Pamban.

Sugreevar Temple/Theertham:-
 It is situated on the way to Gandamadana Parvatham near the Doordarshan Kendra.

Jada Teertam:-
Kaveri tirtham is the holy tirtham in southern India where god Kapardishvara is worshipped. Jada tirtham is another small temple within Kaveri Tirtham and it too has its own mythological

importance. The temple is constructed in near the trunk of a large peepal tree and all the deities are supposed to have rested there while they had been in banvas. 

The temple is small in construction but is a great master piece of lattice work and the artmanship is wonderful. It is famous for its beauty and uniqueness. Though small, its beauty lies in it being small enough and it too is among the famous pilgrim places in southern India.

Jatayu Teertham :-
Jatayu Teertham is the holy temple created in the memory of Jatayu, which was the most loyal eagle of Rama and who helped lord Rama at several instances in getting herbs from the mountains. It lost its life in order to save the life of lord Rama and hence its sacrifice is always appreciated and it is worshiped as a deity even today. It was buried in the soil when it died and Jatayu temple has been created at the place of its burial. The whole of its pit was filled with vibhuti, which is the holy ash that is obtained after the yagnas.

To reach Sethu Threetham at Dhanushkodi, one has to walk three km along the shores. A dip in Sethu is considered very holy.  New Moon days in Adi (Aug-Sept) and Thai (Jan-Feb) are auspicious and many pilgrims perform shraadha for their ancestors.

Nambu Nayagiamman Temple:-
 this temple is greatly venerated by the people of Ramnad District. It is situated 8 kms from the main temple in Rameswaram on the way to Dhanushkodi. 

Other Temples in Rameswaram:-
The idol of Parvathavardhini, who is the consort of Lord Ramanatha, is enshrined separately to His right. A Sri Chakra is installed inside. The significance of the shrine is that the idol of the Goddess is situated to the right of the Lord’s shrine. The idol is beautifully decorated on Fridays and taken around the temple corridor in a golden palanquin.

Vishwanatha and Visalakshi:-
Lord Vishwanatha or Vishwalinga shrine is located to the north of Ramalinga shrine. This is said to be one of the two Lingas brought by Hanuman from Mount Kailash. Custom is that Pujas are first performed to Vishwalinga and then to Ramalinga. Visalakshi, the consort of Vishwanatha, is enshrined in the first inner corridor.

Sayanagruha (Palliyarai):-
Close to the Visalakshi shrine, in the north-eastern corner of the corridor, is the Sayanagruha. From the main shrine, the golden image of the Lord is brought here every night and placed in the Oonjal (swing) next to the Devi’s golden idol. Sayana puja and the early morning puja are performed here.

Other Shrines:-
There are also shrines dedicated to SethuMadhava and Goddess Lakshmi. Sethu Madhava is also called as Sweta Madhava. The term Sweta means white stone with which the image is made.

Badrakali Amman Temple:-
A kilometer away from the main sanctum sanctorum is the   Badrakali Amman Temple   with Devi Durga as its chief deity.  It is very popular among Devi Durga’s worshippers hailing mainly from West Bengal & Kolkatta.  This temple is en-route the Gandhamathana Parvatham.  

Gandhamathana Parvatham:-
A hillock situated 3 KMs to the north of the temple is the highest point in the island.  There is a two storeyed Mandapam, where Rama's feet (Padam) is found as an imprint on a chakra.  Pilgrims throng in thousands to worship Gandhamathana Parvatham.    Sukreevar Temple  and Theertham are situated on the way to Gandhamadana Parvatham.

Devi patnam:-
 A coastal village is also known as Navashabashanam.It is believed that Lord  Rama worshipped Navagraha here. The temple near by here, is dedicated to Devi, who is said to have killed the demon Mahishasura at this spot. Hindus perform religious rites for their forefathers here.

 Also called Dharbasayanam, the Vishnu Temple here, is dedicated to Lord Adi Jaganathaperumal.  It is 64 KMs from Rameswaram. 

Satchi Hanuma Temple:-
 This is where Hanuman said to have delivered the good news of sita's well being to Rama
with an evidance choodamanai(Jewel) of Sita. 

Five faced Hanuman Temple:-
 Hanuman is adorned with senthooram here. The stone said to have used to construct the floating bridge Sethu Bandanam could be seen here.floating stones which was used to construct Rama seetu by rama could be seen here.

The Patham Priya Koil is situated in Thiruvetriyur in R.S. Mangalam Block of the district. The temple is spread over a vast area and has a large Tank and pilgrims flock here in hundreds every day for blessings and to pay obeisance.   

Around 85 kilometers from Rameswaram is the Veyulugantha Vinayagar Alayam (  Temple   ). It is believed that Lord Ram worshipped Lord Vinayagar (Elephant God) in this very temple on his journey to   Sri Lanka  .    

Sethu Karai:-
A place of Puranic importance, Sethu karai (meaning the   Sethu Coast   ) is an important pilgrim centre having religious significance owing to the belief that Lord Ram is said to have constructed a bridge from here over the sea waters to reach   Sri Lanka  .  It is a hallowed place for Hindus as they conduct their religious rites in this place and is situated around 68 kilometers from Rameswaram and is near Erwadi Dharga.

Kothandaramaswamy Temple:-
Kothandaramaswamy Temple is situated on the southern most tip of India and is situated on the island near Bay of Bengal. Indian Ocean covers it from all its sides. There had been several instances of cyclone in the area but the temple stayed to be intact even in most critical times. 

It too has the history and story of Ramayan in its footings. Here, Vibhishana, Ravan's brother joined hands with Rama and hence Vibhishana too is worshiped at this place. The temple has several wonderful paintings all around the walls of it which flows with the flow of Ramayana and one can enjoy being in the temple with the guide who keeps narrating the story at every instance of time.

Festivals & Timings of Rameswaram Temple:-

Major festivals include Sivaratri, Vasantotsav, Ramalinga Pratishta Utsav, the divine Wedding, Navaratri, Skanda shashti and Arudra Darshan.
Puja Timings:-
The temple is opened from 5.00 AM to 1.00 PM and from 3.00 PM to 9.00 PM.

5.00 amPalliyarai (Sayanagruha) Deeparadhana
5.10 amSaptika linga Deeparadhana
5.45 amThiruvananthal Deeparadhana
7.00 amVila Puja
10.00 amKaalasanthi Puja
12.00 noonUchikala Puja
6.00 pmSaayaraksha Puja
8.30 pmArdhajaama Puja
8.45 pmPalliyarai Puja

Transportation :-
» Air link : Nearest airport Madurai (167 kms) is connected by Indian Airlines flights with Bombay, Calicut and Madras. 

» Rail link : Rameshwaram is connected by rail directly to Madras, Madurai, Trichy and Coimbatore where Madras is connected with all the main places in India. 

» Road link : Rameshwaram is connected by regular bus services with Kanyakumari 320 kms, Karaikudi 149 kms, Madras 666 kms, Madurai 167 kms, Ramanathapuram 55 kms, Sivaganga 136 kms, Pudukottai 188 kms, Tanjore 248 kms, Tuticorin 180 kms, Tiruchendur 209 kms etc. 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Jyothilingam-Srisailam Mallikarjunaswamy

Sree Sailam near Kurnool enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple rich in architectural and sculptural wealth. Adi Sankaracharya composed his Sivanandalahiri here.
It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is said that Vrishabha, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva performed penance here. Lord Shiva appeared before him, with his consort Goddess Parvati in the form of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba. A massive fort, with 6 metre high walls encloses the temple. Maha shivaratri festival is famous in Srisailam. According to the legend Throat of the sati fell here and top of the hill is aboded by Brahmarambha.

The shrine of Lord Mallikarjuna picturesquely situated on a flat top of Nallamalai Hills, Srisailam is reputed to be one of the most ancient kshetras in India. It is on the right side of the River Krishna in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. This celebrated mountain is also named as Siridhan, Srigiri, Sirigiri, Sriparvatha and Srinagam. It has been a popular centre of Saivite pilgrimage for centuries.The main Linga is divided into 25 facets, each of them again representing 40 Lingas, making a total of 1,000 Lingas. A three-hooded cobra is carved as entwined round the Linga. Another Linga of Mallikarjuna under a Vata vriksha (tree) is considered the original Linga.
This whole area is full of forests of Kadali, Bilva trees, mountain ranges and Patalaganga (Krishnaveni river). All of them echo from these joyous voices of devotees.

The prominence of this Divya Kshetram is highlighted by the fact that while performing our daily household rituals we specify place of location of our existence with reference to Srisailam.
Nallama forest range with dense vegetation and rich flora and fauna lies close to Srisailam hills. Such luscious greenforests are considered ideal for trekking, hill climbing and nature walk.

Srisaila Mallikarjuna Jyotirlingam:-
The devout believe that one can attain mukti by taking birth at Srisailam. The sanctity of the hill is extolled in Mahabharatha, Skanda Purana and many other religious scriptures. The name of Srisailam kshetra is chanted with reverence in the sankalpa mantra during ritual bath in holy places. The hills are also sacred to the Buddhists. Saint Nagarjuna lived here in the first century AD. Chinese

travellers Fahian and Hieun Tsang have described this pilgrim centre as Sri Parvatam and a Bhuddhist centre.
The Mallikarjuna Linga is accessible to each and every devotee and anybody can go into the sanctum sanctorum of Mallikarjuna, touch him and perform Abhishekam and Archana himself to recitation of Mantras by Archakas without caste or creed or religion.

History of Srisailam:-
It is one of the 274 Shiva temples[Paadal petra sthalam](Tamil), sung in Thevaram by Thirugnangasampandar, Thriunavukkarasar and Sundarar. It is addressed as 'Tiruparupatam' in Tevaram hymns in Tamil.
When Kumar Kartikeya returned to Kailash after completing his trip around the earth, he heard about Ganesha’s marriage from Narada. This angered him. In spite of being restrained by his parents, he touched their feet in obeisance and left for Krounch Mountain. Parvati was very distraught at having to be away from her son, implored Lord Shiva to look for their son. Together, they went to Kumara.

But, Kumara went away a further three Yojanas, after learning about his parents coming after him to Krouncha Mountain. Before embarking on a further search for their son on each mountain, they decided to leave a light on every mountain they visited. From that day, that place came to be known as JyotirLinga Mallikarjuna. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Pournami, respectively. Visiting this JyotirLinag not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.

According to Legend:-
Once, a princess named Chandravati decided to go to the Jungles to do penance and meditation. She chose Kadali Vana for this purpose. One day, she witnessed a miracle. A Kapila cow was standing under a Bilwa tree and milk was flowing from all of its four udders, sinking into the ground. The cow kept doing this as a routine chore everyday. Chandravati dug up that area and was dumb founded at what she saw. There was a self-raising Swyambhu SivaLinga. It was bright and shining like the sun
rays, and looked like it was burning, throwing flames in all directions. Chandravati prayed to Siva in this JyotirLinga. She built a huge Shiva Temple there. Lord Shankara was very pleased with her. Chandravati went to Kailash wind borne. She received salvation and Mukti. On one of the stone-inscriptions of the temple, Chandravati’s story can be seen carved out.
According to anther legend, Lord Shiva once came to the Srisailam forest for hunting. There He met a beautiful girl of the Chenchu tribe, fell in love with her and decided to stay with her in the forest. The girl was none other than Parvati Herself. In the temple, there is a bass relief depicting this story. It is significant to note that even today, people of the local Chenchu tribe are allowed into the sanctum. On the night of Maha Shivaratri, they are permitted to perform abhisheka and puja to the deity. Another interesting feature is that devotees irrespective of caste, creed or sex can go into the sanctum and perform abhisheka and puja.
Earlier, this part of the Shaila mountains was an unreachable tough terrain and fraught with danger. Even then, devotees, with their sheer will power, used to reach there in large numbers. Hiranyakashipa, Narada, Pandavas, Sri Ram are some of the great mythological personalities who have visited this holy shrine. shankara bhagavatpAda, renukhaachrya(2), akka mahAdevi, hemareddy mallamma are some of the great devotees who worshipped Lord mallikArjuna here.

The hill temple looks like a large fort and is known for its wealth of sculptures. There are rows of sculptures on the walls, giving one the impression of a gallery. Then there are a large number of bass reliefs, which are a symbolic representation of the various legends. A sculpture of sage Bringi standing on three legs is noteworthy. The sage was cursed by Goddess Parvathi to become a skeleton because he was worshipping only Shiva. The Lord pacified Parvathi and gave the sage one more leg to stand.

About Temple:-
It was constructed about six centuries ago, during the reign of King Harihara Raya from the Vijayanagar Dynasty. The temple is built in the typical Vijayanagar architecture and what makes it special is that it is home to one of the twelve Jyothirlingas found in India. The sanctum sanctorum is shaped like a shell and enshrines Lord Mallikarjuna.

Prataparudra of Kakatiya Dynasty strived a lot for the improvements of this Kshetram and granted Paraganas for its maintenance. Ganapathideva has spent 12000 Golden Nanyas for the maintenance of the temple.
The period of Reddi Kings is the Golden Age of Srisailam that almost all rulers of the dynasty did celebrated service for this temple. In 14th Century Prolaya Vema Reddi of Reddy Dynasty constructed stepped path-way to Srisailam and Pathalaganga (Here the river Krishna is called as Pathalaganga) and Anavema Reddi constructed Veera Siromandapam in which the Veerasaiva devotees cut off their hands, tongue, limbs with devotion to attain the realisation of the God. This practice is known as Veeracharam.
RajagopuramThe Second Harihararaya of Vijayanagara Empire constructed the Mukhamantapam of Swamy shrine and also a Gopuram on Southern Side of the temple.
In the 15th Century Sri Krishnadevaraya Constructed the Rajagopuram on Eastern side and Salumantapas on both sides of the temple.
chatrapathi-sivajiThe last Hindu King who strove hard for the improvement of the temple is Chatrapathi Shivaji who constructed a Gopuram on northern side in the year 1667 A.D.

 Temple of Tripurantakam, Siddavatam, Alampura and Umamaheswaram located in the vicinity of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlina are considered to be the four gateways to Sri Sailam.
There is a common belief in vogue that this Holy Kshetram exists from times immemorial. The antiquity and origin of God Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is not known.

Main Four Gateways:-
Tradition, literature as well as epigraphical sources state that the sacred hill of Srisailam has four gateways in the four cardinal directions namely,

Tripurantakam is in Prakasam District in the east where God Tripurantakeshwara Swamy and Goddess Tripurasundari Devi are presiding deities.

Siddhavatam is located on the bank of the river Penna in Kadapa District in the south where Jyothisideswara Swamy and Goddess Kamakshi Devi are the presiding deities.

Alampur :-
Alampur is on the bank of the river Tungabhadra in Mahaboobnagar District in the west where Navabrahma Alayas, a group of nine temples of the Chalukya period, are. This Kshetram is also the seat of Goddess Jogulamba, one of the eighteen Mahasakthis.

Umamaheshwaram :-
Umamaheshwaram is located in Rangapur, Achampeta Mandal, Mahaboobnagar District in the North where God Umamaheswara Swamy and Goddess Umamaheswari Devi are the presiding deities.

Secondary  Four Gateways:-
Besides the main gateways, there are four Secondary Gateways in the four corner directions:
 Located in Mahaboobnagar District now submerged in the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in the northeast with Eleswara Swamy and Katyani as presiding deities.
 Located on the bank of the river Penna in the southeast with Skanda Someswara as the presiding deity.
 Located in Kadapa District in the southwest with Santhana Malleswara as presiding deity.
 Located at the confluence of the River Krishna and Tungabhadra in Kurnool District in the northwest and submerged at Srisailam Dam with Sangameswara as presiding deity. This temple has been re-built at Alampur.

Natures Beaty:-
Surrounded by the Nallamalai Hills and dense forests, the Plateau of Srisailam is 476 m. above the Sea level. The word Nalla means beautiful and malai means hill. The river Krishna flow in the

narrow gorge of 100m. Wide and at a depth of nearly 1000 m. from the top of the hill. The river continues to flow through the narrow gorge till it reaches Nagarjuna Sagar carrying on both the banks intractable forests dotted here and there by small tribal settlements, forming into natural sanctuaries of wild animals

Sevas & Pujas:-
SpecialAbhishekam (Sri Swamyvari Garbhalayam)
Abhishekam (Sri Vrudhamallikarjuna swami)
Ganapathi Abhishekam
Ganapathi Homam
Kumkumarchana to Sri Bhramaramba Devi before Goddess
Kumkumarchana to Sri Bhramaramba Devi in the Mandapam
Gowri Vratham
Navavarana Pooja
Sarvaseva Pathakam (All sevas will be performed in this Seva)
Laksha Bilwarchana (at Swamivari Temple Garbhalayam)
Bilwarchana ( Sri Vrudhamallikarjuna swami)
Laksha kunkumarchana (at Sri Chakram)
Mahanyasa Purvaka Rudrabhishekam
Maha Mrutyanjaya Homam (At Vrudhamallikarjuna Swamy)
Navagraha Homam (At Vrudhamallikarjuna Swamy)
Chandralingabhishekam (At Chandralingam)
Balarista Pooja (At Kumara Swamy)
Sarpa Dosa Nivarana Pooja (At Kumara Swamy)
Maha Mruthyanjayabhishekam (At Vrudhamallikarjuna Swamy)
Shasralingabhishekam (At Shasralingeswara Swamy)
Suryalingabhishekam (At Suryalingam)
Go Pooja
Radhotsavam (Only Monday)
Pallaki Seva
Ekantha Seva.

Temple Timings:-
4.30 AM5.00 AM Mangalavadyams.
5.00 AM5.15 AM Suprabhatam.
5.15 AM 6.30 AMPratahkalapuja, Gopuja and Maha Mangala Harathi.
6.30 AM1.00 PMDarshanam, Abhishekam and Archanas by the devotees.
1.00 PM3.30 PMAlankara Darshanam.
4.30 PM4.50 PMMangalavadyams.
4.50 PM5.20 PM Pradoshakalapuja.
5.20 PM6.00 PMSusandhyam and Maha Mangala Harathi.
5.50 PM6.20 PMRajopachara puja (Parakulu) to Bhramaramba Devi.
6.20 PM 9.00 PMDarshanam, Abhishekam and Archanas.
9.00 PM10.00 PMDharma Darshanam.
9.30 PM10.00 PM Ekantha Seva.
10.00 PM Closure of the temple.

Festivals in Srisailam:-
The important annual festivals celebrated in the temple are

Mahasivaratri Brahmothsavams:-
The Mahasivarathri Utsavams are being celebrated as Brahmothsavams in the month of Magham (the 11th month of Indian Lunar Calendar) which falls usually in the month of February/March. This is a festival of seven days with Panchahnika Deeksha. The Mahasivarathri day (29th day of Magham) is

the most important day of the festival. The important events of the celebrations are Ankurarpana, Dhwajarohana, Vahana Sevas to God and Goddess, Lingodhbhavakala Maharudrabhishekam to God, Pagalankarana, Kalyanothsavam, Radhothsavam and Dhwajavarohana.

Here Pagalankarna is very importance . The cloth is weaved by Padma Salis in Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh by same family from so many years with certain Rules and Regulations. At that time the wieved man has to climb top to the temple with no clothes atleast a pinch  and he must keep the cloth with one Nandi to another Nandi all over four Nandis in four sides.

Ugadi Celebrations:-
UgadiThe Ugadi celebrations performed for a period of five days. The festival begins three days before the Ugadi day i.e., Telugu New Years day (Chaitra Suddha Padyami) which generally falls in
March � April. More than Three Lakhs of pilgrims particularly from Karnataka and Maharastra States are visiting the temple during these utsavams.

Dasara Celebrations:-
Devi Sarannavaratrulu is a festival of nine days beginning from the first day of Asweejam month (the 7th month of Indian Lunar Calendar) which generally falls in September or October. The important events of this utsavam are performing of Chandiyagam, Rudrayagam, Navadurga alankaras to Goddess and Vahana Sevas to God and Goddess besides several special poojas. Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is mainly worshiped in these utsavams.

Kumbhothsavam is the most significant festival of the temple of Srisailam in which various offerings are made to Goddess Bhramaramba Devi. This festival celebrates on the first Tuesday or Friday (which ever first comes) after full moon day of Chaitram, the beginning month of Indian Calendar.

Sankranthi Uthsavams:-
sravanamUtsavams are also performed on the occasion of Makara Sankramanam. These utsavams are celebrated for a period of seven days with Panchahnika Deeksha in the month of Pushyam (the 10th month of Indian Calendar) which falls in the month of January.

sravanamArudra is the birth Star of God Siva. In Dhanurmasam on the day of Arudra Nakshatram Special Poojas like Lingodhbhavakala Rudrabhishekam, Annabhishekam and Vahana Seve are offered to God Mallikarjuna Swamy

Kartheeka Masothsavams:-
sravanamKarthikam, the 8th month of Indian Calendar is said to be the most auspicious month. On the important days of this month like Mondays, full moon day etc., Deepothsavam in which a large number of lamps are lighted in the temple premises. On the full moon day of the month Jvalathoranam (bonfire) performed in the temple. It is said that by mere seeing the said Jvalathoranam one can get clear of from sins.

sravanamThese Utsavams are performed in Sravanam (August � September) the 5th month of Indian Calendar. In this month several special poojas are offered to God and Goddess. The special
feature of this utsavam is of that Akhanda Sivanama Sankeerthana (Bhajana) performed round the clock continuously throughout the month.

Monthly Festivals:-
monthlly festivalsThese Utsavams are performed in Sravanam (August � September) the 5th month of Indian Calendar. In this month several special poojas are offered to God and Goddess. The special
feature of this utsavam is of that Akhanda Sivanama Sankeerthana (Bhajana) performed round the clock continuously throughout the month.

Some of Temples in Srisailam:-
A cluster of minor shrines within the temple enclosure include the Sahasra Linga, Panchapandava temples and Vata Vriksha. The most appealing feature of this temple is that anyone of any caste and creed can touch the deity and worship here. At Sikharam, the highest of the Srisailam hills, is Sikhareswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and also a beautiful Sri Ganapathi temple.

Tower, Portico and a pond. Ahelyadevi Holkar, a great devotee of Siva built a strong bathing . consisting of 852 steps on the banks of the Patalganga.

Bhramaramba Devi Temple:-
Bhramaramba Devi is one of the eighteen Mahasakthis and both are self-manifested.  The unique feature of this kshetram is the combination of Jyothirlingam and Mahasakthi in one campus, which is very rare and only one of its kind.
Bhramarambha Devi Temple is an extremely famous temple of this town and is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Mallikarjunawhich is supposed to be one of the Jyotirlinga forms of Lord Shiva. As per the legends, Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a bee as Bhramara literally means bee.

Hathakeswara Temple is a small aesthetic temple located on the downhill of Srisailam in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The temple embodies a Shiva Lingam and is considered very powerful in the cure of ailments.

Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple:-
Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is a popular temple located at a height of 452 m on the southern bank of River Krishna and is touted asa major pilgrim spot owing to it being one of the Jyotirlingas in the country. The sanctum resembles a shell shaped structure and it embodies Lord Mallikarjuna in an exquisite form. It is renowned for beautiful sculptural carvings. The temple depictsVijaynagar style of architecture and was built by Harihar Raje. Another prime attraction is Sage Bhringi standing on three legs. He was believed to have been cursed by Goddess Parvati for worshipping only Lord Shiva

Veera Bhadra Swamy Temple:-
It is Located  1/4 km to the Main  temple exact Right side . It is infront of Vadiayar Satram. The statue is 6 feet . And it is very Beautiful and Brave. the temple consists of Nalugukala Mandam(4 legs) There will be no top for this temple it is like a statue .There will be huge trees that was worship by devoters.
Mainly the statue is made with eka sila(only one stone).It is on the Madapam.And the Deepam is lighted every time.

Akkamma Thali Temple:-
It is on the main road of the temple main gate. It is also Right to the temple. Here the goddess Ankamma thali is a Gramma Devatha i.e; Village goddess. Here there will a Mari tree which is from so many years. Here any body can do their pujas with out any restrictions.

Sakshi Ganapati Temple:-
Sakshi Ganpati Temple is located in an exotic setting and enshrines a black idol of Lord Ganesha. The temple is located among dense vegetationand atmosphere is highly calm and serene.
Sikhareswara temple is located at the highest point in Srisailam and is situated among picturesque locales. The temple is dedicated toSikhareswara Swamy, one of the forms of Lord Shiva.

Akka Mahadevi caves:-
During the 12th century A.D. this cave appeared to have attained its present name after the famous ascetic, lyricist and philosopher, Akka Mahadevi who hailed from Karnataka. It is believed that Akka Mahadevi did penance in this cave and worshiped the Sivalinga that naturally existed in the deep and dark end of the cave.

Hemareddy Mallamma Temple at Srisailam:-
Hemareddy Mallamma Temple at Srisailam was inaugurated on 26 May 2010. It was built at Srisailam by Karnataka Veerashaiva Reddy Samaj. In the adjoining ashram, one can see the place where she lived with cattle. The place is visited by lakhs of pilgrims who offer prayers at this temple. The temple is situated about a half kilometer on the western side of the Mallikarjuna Temple.

These are popular as the Panchamathas namely Ghantha Matham, Bheemasankara Matham, Vibhoothi Matham, Rudraksha Matham and Sarangadhara Matham.
The Mathas played an important role in the History and Cult of Srisailam. They are well associated with the religious and social activities of the temple in the medieval times. These Mathas acted as educational institutions dedicated to higher learing in various branches and catered to the intellectual and spiritual needs of the society. Srisailam became a powerful saivate centre because of the existence and activities both spiritual and profane of these Mathas
These Mathas also looked after the administration of the temple and its rituals along with the revenue accured from more than 70 Villages in various parts of Andhra which were donated to the temples by various rulers in the medieval period. The existing Mathas are located with in a distance of 1 Km to the west of the main temple.

 Phaladhara Panchadhara :-
This most beautiful scene spot in surroundings of Srisailam is located about 4 Km from the main temple. Tradition records that Bhagavan Adisankara performed penance at this place and composed the famous Sivanandalahari here. His Holiness Kanchi Paramacharya confirmed this and marble statues of Sarada Devi and Sankaracharya installed there and daily regular Poojas are being offered also.
This spot is located in a narrow valley approachable by a flight of steps where subterranean streams of pure water with musical sound reverberating the surroundings. According to local folk these streams are known as Phaladhara Panchadhara and these two signify their origin from the fore head of God Siva the Phaladhara (Phala = fore head, dhara = Stream) and denote the five aspects of Siva,
the Panchadhara (Pancha = five, dhara = Stream). The water from this stream flows in interrupted at all seasons. The Skanda Purana describes the flow as �Bhogavathi� and it joins in the river Krishna.

Kailasadwaram is about 5 K.M from Srisailam to the South-West of Hatakeswaram which is the dwaram (entrance) of path-way leading to Srisailam. In present days also people of Karnataka and Maharastra and Sivadeeksha Devotees are reached Srisailam on foot through this Kailasadwaram.
At the top of the hill ascending nearly 850 steps from Bheemunikolanu, there is another place called Kailasadwaram where remains of once magnificent gate way can be seen even today. The pilgrims after excruciating sojourn through step hills and valley, when finally reaches the planty surface, they get the feeling of Kailasa i.e., Srisailam and hence named as Kailasadwaram. It is 5 Kms road and there on steps.

Istakameswari Temple:-
The ancient temple of Istakameswari is located in a dense and picturesque forest environment about 21 Km to the east of Srisailam. Datable to the 8th � 9th Centuries A.D, this small shrine appears to have wide popular significance during medieval times. The sculpture of the deity is very unique and have no parallel anywhere in India. The Goddess has a serene and beautiful smiling face which at once captures the attention of one and all.The Fore head of goddess is like human being. While keeping KumKum in Ista Kameswari face there will be smooth. It is very Pleasure to touch .

Not only from the religious angle but also from the spiritual point of view the place has got its own importance from the ancient times. The perennial stream encircling the temple adds additional attraction to the shrine.
It is said that by having the Darshanam of Istakameswari, one can fulfill all his desires.

The place derived its name dell to wild plantain grooves. This excellent spot is considered to be extremely sacred by devotees. The people of Karnataka and Maharastra make it a point of visit in their pilgrimage of Srisailam.
It is said that Bhagavan Dattatreya and his other incarnations is believed to have dwelling at this place. Akkamahadevi is said to have breathend her last at this place. After reaching to Akkamaha Devi caves through A.P. Tourism Motor Boat and there on there is a foot path to reach the said place.


Nagalooty, where a complex of temples are located is of about 28 Km from Srisailam. In historical inscriptions of medieval period, this place is referred as Longalooty. It is the place from which the ancient foot path to Srisailam begins and is the most popular route to Srisailam as it connects the region of Karnataka.
Located in a dense forest setting Nagalooty stands as a testimony to the ravages of time and man. Many dilapidated temples, Gopuras, Pushkarinis, and broken idols speaks about it�s once glorious past. On architectural grounds and iconographical features the temple and sculpture of this place can be dated to a period between 13thand 15th Centuries.
The sculpture of this place include Veerabhadra, Bhadrakali and Utchista Ganapathi.

Brahmaramba Cheruvu:-
This place is of about 70 Km from Srisailam and located in the ancient northern pathway to Srisailam from Umamaheswaram. It is at attitude of 16091 north and longitude of 78041 east. This place houses one of the most beautiful man made huge water storage tank amidst wild and beautiful forest environment. The tank appears to have been enlarged and renovated in 16th Century A.D. the historical remains at this place consist of a temple dedicated to Siva, Devi Shrine, and a hero stone.

The temples of this place have a huge compound wall probably constructed in 16th and 17th Centuries A.D. Those who are interested in observing the ethnographic present can not miss the place where a small group of Chenchus, the local tribal still leading a primitive way of life.

Guptha Mallikarjunam:-
It is of about 36 Km from Srisailam.The sacred complex of Srisailam during medieval times provided shelter to many secret saivaite sects who performed their ritual acts in such inaccessible spots such as this. Hence such places derived the name such as Guptha meaning secret.

This place contain a small shrine of Siva in a shallow-cave . This place contain a small shrine of Siva in a shallow cave along with a broken idol of Ganapathi.
The Srisaila Khanda of Skanda Purana speaks about this place and named it as Guptha Mallikarjunam. It is said that by mere seeing this place one can get free off from his sins.

Traditionally this place is said to have acquired its name through an epic episode. During the exile of Pandavas, Bheema while passing through this place was said to have broken the sheet rock with his mace and brought this spring water, and hence its name Bheemunikolanu (Kolanu = Pond). Pleased by this flow of water Bheema is said to have consecrated a Sivalinga at this place which was later

referred to the Srisaila Khanda of Skanda Purana as Bheema Linga and the Spring as Bheema Kunda.
The pathway of Srisailam with excellently laid steps of solid stone, slabs can be seen even today which are beginning from Nagalooty, a temple spot in Nallamala Hills. These steps were constructed by the Reddy Kings in 14th Century.
At the top of the hill ascending nearly 850 steps from Bheemunikolanu, there is another place called Kailasadwaram where remains of once magnificent gate way can be seen even today. The pilgrims after excruciating sojourn through step hills and valley, when finally reaches the planty surface, they get the feeling of Kailasa i.e., Srisailam and hence named as Kailasadwaram. It is 5 Kms road and there on steps.

Shivaji Memorial:-
Chatrapathi Shivaji statue is very is as a fort with beautiful garden and having artificial water just right to the main temple.In that fort the history of sivajis life will explained with the pictures.

Srisailam Dam:-
Srisailam Dam is one of the prime attractions in the hilly region of Srisailam and is believed to be one
of the twelve hydro electric projects in India. The backdrop includes Nallama Forests and the majestic flow of Krishna River.

Mallella Theertham:-
 Mallella Theertham is another important place from point of view of religion. It is actually a waterfall and it is believed that bathing in the waters of this theertham can wash away the sins of a person.

Transport to Srisailam:-
Srisailam can be reached by road from Hyderabad. There is frequent bus service from Hyderabad to Srisailam every half an hour and also from Guntur.

By Road:-
Srisailam is very well connected by state-run bus service APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation). KSRTC from major cities/towns include Hyderabad, kakinada, Guntur, Tenali, Narsaraopet, Gulbarga, Davangare, Shivamogga, Addanki, Hospet, Machilipatnam, Vijayawada, Avanigadda, Cuddapah, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Devarakonda, Vinukonda, Kurnool, Ongole, Nellore, Mahanandi, Mantralayam, Anantapur, Tirupati, Chirala, Chitradurga, Bangalore, Markapur, Vishakapatnam Warangal, Podili,Bijapur and Hubli. The nearest major towns are Narsaraopet and Kurnool.

By Rail:-
The nearest railway stations are Markapur (62 km), Vinukonda (120 km) and Kurnool (190 km) on the Guntur–Hubli section. The nearest major railway stations are Narsaraopet, Kurnool and Nandyal.

By Air:-
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport serving Hyderabad and located 195 km from Srisailam is the nearest international airport.