Srisailam

Located on Rishabhagiri Hill on the bank of the sacred river Krishna, xe “Srisailam” Srisailam is a 6-hour bus ride south from Hyderabad (200km). It is an ancient place, and is mentioned both in the Mahabharata and in the Puranas. On top of Srisailam Hill is the famous Mallikarjuna Temple, dedicated to Lord Siva. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites in Andhra Pradesh

It is a necessary part of the Srisailam pilgrimage to bathe in the Pathalaganga River (the local name for Krishna River), located about 3km east of the Mallikarjuna Temple. Steps lead down to the river from the temple. Siva-linga stones are collected from the banks of this holy Krishna River.

The Uma-maheswara Temple, about 3km northwest of the Mallikarjuna Temple on the way to Pathalaganga, is an ornate temple. In Basar, there is a temple dedicated to Saraswati. This is one of two main Saraswati temples in India (the other is in Kashmir).

Mallikarjuna Temple
The Mallikarjuna Swami Temple is one of the 12 Siva Jyotir­linga temples, or main Siva temples in the country. The main temple has four lofty towers and was built by King Harihara Raya in 1404. Anyone who comes here is allowed to touch the Lord or bow and touch their heads to the linga.
To the right of the main temple is the old, or Vriddha Mallikarjuna Siva-linga (7th century), which is the original Siva-linga installed in the temple. The interesting Mirror Hall directly to your right as you enter the main gate is where the Lord rests at night.

Sri Chaitanya visited this temple, and Sankaracharya also stayed at Srisailam for some time. The Maratha General Shivaji came here in 1674. It is said that Prahlada Maharaja visited this temple, and also Lord Rama upon his return from Lanka. Lord Rama is said to have personally installed the Sahasra-linga here.

There are five lingas in the inner courtyard. Because they are said to have been installed by the Pandavas, they are known as the Pancha­pandavas.

Behind the main temple and up a flight of stairs is the temple of the goddess Bhramarambika (Parvati), who is said to have assumed the form of a bee to kill the demon Mahisasura. If you press your ear to a tiny hole on the exterior back wall of the sanctum, you can hear the buzzing of a bee. The Siva-ratri festival here in February–March is huge. Non-Hindus are permitted to enter this temple.

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