In Hindu Mythology, there are 12 Jyotirlingas and 18 Maha Shakti Peetha which represent the manifestation of Gods. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is one of the most sacred places of Lord Shiva and it is also one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. It is located at Srisailam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The Government of Andhra Pradesh maintains and administers this sacred Temple.
Origin Of Mallikarjuna jyotirlinga
There is an Interesting legend associated with the origin of this temple.
Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati could not make up their minds as to which of their sons, Ganesha or Kartikeya should get married first. To determine who would be first, they set a contest for the two: whoever would go around the world first would be the winner.
Lord Kartikeya immediately set off on his mount, the peacock. Lord Ganesha, on the other hand, went around his parents claiming that they were the world to him. It is said that going around one’s parents is equivalent to going around the world. So, he outwitted his brother and won the race. The pleased parents married their son off to Siddhi and Riddhi. In some legends, Buddhi is also believed to be his wife.
When Lord Kartikeya heard about this on his return, he was upset and decided that he would remain unmarried. He left for Mount Krounch and started living there. His parents visited him there and hence there is a shrine for both there – a linga for Shiva and a Shakti Peetha for Parvati.
Architecture of Temple
The temple complex covers 2 hectares and houses four gateway towers known as gopurams. It has numerous shrines, with those of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba being the most prominent. Its complex houses many halls and the most notable is the Mukha Mandapa built during the Vijayanagar period. The temple is situated facing East. The center mandapam has several pillars, with a huge idol of Nadikeshwara.
The temple is enclosed by tall walls measuring 183 m by 152 m and 8.5 m tall. There are a number of sculptures in the precinct each rising above another. The Mukamandapa, the hall leading to the sanctum, has intricately sculpted pillars. The shrine where Mallikarjuna is housed is considered the oldest in the temple, dating back to the 7th century.
There is a Sahasra linga, which Lord Rama commissioned by himself. The five other lingams believed to have been commissioned by Pandavas. A mirror hall in the first precinct has images of Nataraja.
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