Mallikarjuna Swami Temple, popularly known as Srisailam Temple, it is one of the momentous and historical shrines in Andhra Pradesh in Kurnool district. The temple lies close to the southern banks of river Krishna that is called as Patalaganga (underground springs). This temple was built in 14th century and mounts on the Nallamala Hills or Rishabhagiri Hills also known as Sri Giri, Sriparvata, Rudra Parvata or Seshachalam. The main significance of this temple is that it has one of the twelve Jyotirlingams (manifestation of Lord Siva) in India and people from every walk of life can touch the deity. The temple is dedicated to Sri Mallikarjuna (incarnation of Lord Siva) and Bhramaramba in the form of Mahakali (incarnation of Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Siva) who are also the presiding deities of the temple and hence it is also called as Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swami Temple. The temple has nearly 116 inscriptions in and around the shrine.
The main temple of Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swamy stands in the centre of a courtyard, which is in the shape of a square surrounded by a number of minor, shrines. The temple of Bhramarambika is in a separate enclosure west of the inner courtyard.
The main temple of Mallikarjuna is a stone-built structure. Just in front of this the Vijayanagar king Harihara build the exquisitely carved Mukha mantapa in 1404-1405 A.D. This mukhamantapa contains beautifully sculptured stone pillars and ornamental stone sculptures.
Between the main temple and the eastern gate of the temple complex are two beautifully sculpted pillared halls, one of which contains the Nandi. Moreover, on the northern side under the shade of a huge tree there is a temple of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be the original Linga over which the black cow of the princess Chandravati gave its milk.
In the following centuries, this temple was developed by the many kings who came to worship Lord Mallikarjuna. The stepped path-way to the temple and to Patalaganga was constructed by Prolaya Vema Reddi of Reddy Dynasty while the Gopuram (temple tower) on southern side of the temple and Mukhamantapam of the Lord were constructed by Harihararaya of Vijayanagar Empire. Krishnadeva Raya, visited the temple, built a row of houses on either side of the temple street, and presented tax-free villages to the temple for its maintenance. ChandraSekhara Raya presented golden idols of Nandi and Bhringi to the shrine.
A chief by name Santhalinga constructed a water channel for the benefit of the pilgrims and bestowed many villages to the Jangam Brahmins who are the present custodians of the temple except during the Shivarathri Celebrations when the management is handed over to the Pushpagi Mutt of Kadapa district. He also repaired with gold the caves of the Mukha mantapa and also repaired the doors at the gateways of the temple.Chatrapati Shivaji constructed a Gopuram (temple tower) on the northern side of the temple in 1667 AD.
There are many prominent places within the temple compound which are worth seeing.
Vrudha Mallikarjuna Swami: It is a lingam that is considered to be the oldest than the lingam in the main temple. This manifestation of Lord Shiva is uneven on the outer face and does not have Nandi (Bull) in front of it. If you go inside the temple and feel the Linga you can see a huge shallow like feeling on the top of the Linga and even the feel of the linga is like that of the old one.
Ardhanareeshwara Temple: Ardhanareeshwara idol is one of the oldest idols, which is in the northern side of the temple where the image of the lingam has the god and the Shakti in the same one.
Pandava Pratistitha Lingas: Pandava Pratistitha Lingas are said to be the lingas installed and worshipped by the Pandavas and these five temples are situated besides Ardhanareeshwara temple.
Thriphaleswara Vruksham: Thriphaleswara Vruksham (Tri fruit tree) is the combination of three plants Juvvi, Ravi and Medi grow together into a tree called Thriphala. The word also means three boons (Tri- Three and Phalam- Boon). Legends have it that under this tree, Acharya Nagarjuna and other sages took deeksha. It is also believed that childless couple who worship this tree will be blessed with children.
Bayalu Veerabhadra Swami Temple: Bayalu Veerabhadra Swami Temple idol is in the temple facing north direction and said to be guarding Lord Mallikarjuna Swami.
Addala Mandapam: Addala Mandapam or Mirror House is the place where the Lord is believed to take rest in the night. This is called as Pavalimpu seva.
Nityakalyana mandapam: Nityakalyana mandapam or the marriage hall is the place to the southwest of the temple where the marriage of Lord Mallikarjuna and Goddesses Bhramarambika is performed in the evening hours.
Sahasralingams: Sri Rama and Sita Devi s Sahasralingam means thousand lingas carved in one lingam. In this lingam the stone is divided into twenty-five facets each of which is having about forty linga s thus making a total of one thousand Lingas.Sri Rama s Linga is in the main temple.
Nava Brahmalayams: A temple that depicts nine forms of Lord Siva.
Sita Pratistitha Linga: An attractive linga believed to have been installed by Goddess Sita in Bhramarambha temple.
Shivaji Gopuram: Chatrapati Shivaji constructed a Gopuram (temple tower) on the northern side of the temple in 1667 AD.
Kurma Peetham: It is present behind Addala mandapam, under a sacred Amla tree.
Rajarajeswara Swami temple: It is present beside Kurma peetham. A temple of Rajarajeswari Devi is also present here.
Sanagala Basavanna: Sanagala Basavanna is a big Nandi present in-front of Mallikarjuna Swami. He is worshiped by offering Sanagalu (Bengal gram), by which his name came.
Veera Siro Pandapam: It is present between Mallikarjuna Swami and Sanagala Basavanna. This is the place where Veera Shaiva devotees sacrificed their hands, legs, tongues, and even heads to attain Shiva rupa.
Sapta matrukalu: You will find a stone carved with the images of Sapta-matrukalu. It comes after Manohara kundam.
Panditaradhya peetham: It is present towards the left in the way to Bhramaramba temple. The successors of Sri Guru Panditaradhya (Incarnation of Lord Mallikarjuna) are maintaining this. It is very important to Veera Shaiva devotees, coming from Karnataka.
Lopamudra: Jaganmatru rupini, wife of Agastya maharshi, Lopamudra is present in the temple campus of Bhramaramba. She is beside the carvings of Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha kali.
Chandi Yaga Shala: It is present beside Karaveera vriksha that comes towards left, while returning from Bhramaramba temple to Mallikarjuna swamy temple. Daily Chandi yaga is conducted here.
Kumara Swami: Son of Lord Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba devi, by the grace of whom we are lucky to get a Jyotirlinga and a Shaktipeetha at Srisailam.
Veerabhadra Swami: The temple of Lord Veera bhadra is present beside Mallikarjuna swamy temple towards North. A Pashupata yantra, collected from Vibhuti matham, is present here. Vibhuti made up of Rudra yaga and Chandi yaga placed on it.
Pancha Pandava Lingas: The Linga s installed and worshiped by the Pandava s are behind the Veerabhadra Swamy.
Akka Maha Devi and Hema Reddy Mallamma: Two great devotees of Lord Mallikarjuna, present in the North-West corner of the Srisailam