Mallikarjun Temple
Mallikarjun Temple

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.

Early inscriptions speak of how rulers of different dynasties like the Satavahanas, Vakatakas, Kakatiyas and Vijayanagar rulers were ardent devotees of Lord Mallikarjuna and enriched the shrine in terms of construction and other gifts. In later years, Maratha ruler Chatrapati Shivaji is known to have constructed a gopuram of the shrine.


Significance: The sanctum enshrining Lord Mallikarjuna is a shell-like structure. The Mukhamandapa is a well-sculptured pillared hall in Vijayanagar style. Nandi, Shiva's mount, is enshrined in a separate mandapa. There are smaller shrines for Nataraja and Sahasra Linga. The Sahasra Linga is an interesting aspect . 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.


Slightly away from these shrines is the sanctum of Goddess Bhramarambika, the consort of Mallikarjuna. The Goddess is believed to have assumed the form of a bee and worshipped Shiva here. Adi Shankara had visited the temple and sung in praise of Lord Mallikarjuna in his famous hymn Shivananda Lahari and of the Goddess in Bhramarambika Ashtakam.


Location: Kurnool


State: Andhra Pradesh