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
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
The Krishna river, which
flows four km away from the shrine, is the holy Theertham known as PaathaalaGanga.
Devotees take a dip here and carry holy water uphill to perform abhisheka
for the Lord.
A shrine dedicated to Lord
Umamaheshwara is situated on way to the Theertham
Mallikarjuna Temple More
Pictures and-Virtual Tour