Hello Friends…I’m back. I had been on a holy visit to Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh for Jyotirling Darshan of Lord Shiva who is known as Mallikarjuna Swamy and Goddess Parvathi as Brahmarambika Devi. I have been to this place for more than 20-25 times till now but still this shrine is always new to me. The trip was amazing and eye-catching especially when when we were travelling in the dense Nallamala forest.
Here are few pictures of the places visited during this trip. We first visited Pampanuru Subramanya Swamy Temple and then went to Mahanandi.
Mahanandi - Mahanandi is one of the holy places of Lord Shiva. Legend is that Mahanandi was ruled by King Nanda who once wished to perform Abhisheka to Lord Shiva with milk. He then orders one of the cowherd to supply milk daily. But that cowherd notices that one of the cow was not giving milk. In order to find out why it was not giving the milk, one day the cowherd follows that cow into the forest and hides behind a bush. He gazes at the cow when it reached an ant-hill and started giving it's milk. There was one young lad in that ant-hill who was drinking the milk. The cowherd conveys the news to the King. The King gets amazed at hearing this and next day he follows the cow. Out of his over excitement at the sight, the cow gets scared looking at the King and it steps on the ant-hill and Lord Shiva who was in the form of that young lad gets disappeared. Because the cow out of scare steps on the ant-hill, it's hoops get marked on Shiva Linga in that ant-hill. King Nanda then constructs a temple in that sacred place when Lord Shiva comes in his dream and asks him to construct a temple and worship him as Maha Nandishwara Swamy. We can see the marks of the hoops on Shiva Linga till date.
This place is surrounded by nine temples of Lord Shiva within 20 kms diameter range which are well known as Nava Nandi Kshetras which have an history of thousands of years back. We visited only 5 nandi kshetras - Mahanandi, Vinayakanandi, Garudanandi, Suryanandi and Shivanandi.
Suryanandi - Luckily when we visited this Suryanandi temple, an old priest who was around 80 years old was performing puja to goddess parvathi. He asked me to sit within the temple and made me to perform kunkumarchana to goddess parvathi and told me that she is said be very powerful and if we ask something with pure mind for any boon, she would definitely fulfill the wish. I hope matha will fulfill my wish which I did not asked for my selfishness but I asked for wellness of one person who is very important in my life.
Shivanandi - This temple is 1500 years old temple and is declared as protected monument by the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh. Legend is that the Shiv Linga inside this temple is 72 feet deep inside the water but one can view only 2 feet of shiv linga because it is completely closed by granite stone by the temple authorities.
Omkaram - This is another famous temple of Lord Shiva which is located in the deep dense forest of Nallamala.
Amazingly, though this Omkaram temple which is situated in the dense nallamala forest, we got amazed to see the devotees of Kashinayana Swamiji providing annadanam to everyone. And the food was sooo delicious that I have visited so many holy places and had meals at many kshetras but never had such a wonderful and tasty food. I was so overwhelmed by their service to people who visit that place and especially providing shelter to old-age people who are not well taken care by their children come here and reside here. One can get food here at anytime irrespective of day or night.
Swamiji devotees preparing food to people at all times
The road which goes along within the deep dense Nallamala forest. Just after few miles in the forest, we surpassed the Memorial of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy who was killed in a helicopter crash. They constructed a two floored view point at this memorial where one can view the hill ranges where the crash happened which is at a distant place from this view point.
Srisailam - This is the second jyotirling of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples and sixth shakti peetha of the 18 Ashta Dasha Shakti peethas dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi and also one of the most powerful Shiva kshetrams in the World. This is located on the top hill named Srisailam, in the deep dense Nallamala forest range and on the banks of River Krishna. This temple is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Devi Brahmaramba. There are many legends behind this holy place. According to most known legend, it is said that Lord Shiva accompanied with Goddess Parvathi start on search of their son Kumaraswamy who leaves his parents from Kailash with anger after having heard about the news of his brother Ganesha's marriage. During their search, the couple visited this place and they very much liked the place and Lord Shiva decides to take the form of Swayambhu linga and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas at this place. Goddess Parvathi takes form here as one of the 18 Shakti Peethas where goddess Sati's neck part fell here after her death during Dakshayagnam. Also in India, there are only 3 such temples in which both Shakti Peethas and Jyotirlingas are co-located and they are - Srisailam, Varanasi, and Ujjain. Also, every time when we make a visit to Srisailam, it is believed that we should visit Sakshi Ganapathi Temple which is 6kms from here where the idol is assumed as the witness (Sakshi) Ganapati for the visit of the travelers to this place.
Srisailam Jyotirlinga Temple
Srisaila Brahmarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy
Goddess Parvathi who is known as Brahmarambika Devi is said to be very powerful and ferocious here who has 8 hands with 8 weapons and her leg on the Mahishasura Demon as below. But because it is believed that people do not have the intensity to endure her ferocious form, the temple priests do the alankara to her so that one cannot see the original form of goddess so she is visible as if she is in a seated form with 2 hands as seen in the above picture. It is said that the nijarupa darshan (real form of goddess) can only be seen during Kumbhothsavam which happens only for 1 day during the month of April which is the festival of local chenchu tribals. My main purpose of this visit was to perform Maha Chandi Yagam here but I did not get the ticket because of the limited tickets. I was bit disappointed for not getting the ticket, but again since I'm having Maha Ganapathi Homam next month 16th, may be because Lord Ganesha is the first among all the gods, after his homam only, I can perform Chandi homam. So I have planned for Chandi homam sometime only after Ganapathi Homam.
Ropeway in Srisailam to reach the Patala Ganga for performing puja for River Krishna
Tribal Museum in Srisailam. Below picture of lady is well known as goddess Chenchu Lakshmi who is the goddess of local tribal people who are called as Chenchus who reside in the dense Nallamala Forest.
Panoramic view of Srisailam from Dam-site
Srisailam Dam constructed on River Krishna
Mallela Theertham - This is a waterfall located in the middle of Nallamala forest which is a beautiful and picturesque view. We need to walk down around 350 steps to view the wonderful glimpse of this waterfalls. Since the waterfalls here shower like jasmine flowers, it got it's name as Mallela Theertham meaning Jasmine (Mallela) and Holy Lake (Theertham). Legend is that many sages have performed penance at this place for Lord Shiva and also it is said that till date, gods visit this holy place in the deep night around 3 am to perform bath under this sacred holy water. Also, chenchu tribals here believe that this holy water is very good for any kind of skin diseases and one will get freed from any sins if they stand beneath these waterfalls. They say, Tigers and Bears visit this place during summers to drink water. Also it is said that the lake here under this waterfalls is said to be very deep for more than half mile deep inside and people are not supposed to bath or swim in this lake. The rocks around this waterfalls are very slippery that people should be extra cautious else they will get slipped into the lake. But one thing I felt very sad was people just visit this place as a tourist place and a place only for enjoyment. But most of them do not know the legendary importance of this waterfalls.
Mallela Theertham Waterfalls
Chenchu Tribals - They are the local tribals who live in the dense nallamala forest. Below are the Chenchu tribal huts in the nallamala forest. We have seen some huts which they built in their farms who protect from any animals or birds which try to destroy their farms. Luckily, we got to see a peahen and a deer crossing the road when travelling inside the forest.
Chenchu Tribal Hut
Srisailam Tiger Reserve
Uma Maheshwara Temple - This temple is situated on the very breathe-taking top hills of dense Nallamala forests. The temple here is said to be built during Maurya reign by King Chandragupta Maurya. This place is said to be the place where goddess Parvathi has performed penance for Lord Shiva in the naturally formed cave. We can see swayambhu Shiva ling along with goddess Uma devi inside the temple. If we travel for about half-a-kilometer from this temple, there is a continuous water flow coming from the hill rocks which is said to be very sacred which is called as Papavinashanam.
Lord Umamaheshwara Shiv Ling inside the temple
Papavinashanam water flow under the hill rocks
Beautiful view from top of the hill
On our return trip, we visited Goddess Mahakali Temple who is the deity of local Banjara people