SRISAILAM - ITS GEOGRAPHY & RELEVANCE

Srisailam is one of the holy Shiva kshetrams (shrine) in the world. It is situated on the top of a hill named Srisailam, Sriparvata or Srigiri, in the dense forest of Nallamalla ranges in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is on the right side of river Krishna at an altitude of 1500 feet to M.S.L. at latitude 16º 12” North and longitude 78º 5” East with four gateways and four secondary gateways occupied in 384 km in length and384 km width with an extension of 1,47,456 sq km.

The deity presiding in the holy shrine is the God Shiva called MALLIKARJUNA Mahalinga believed to be a Svayambhulinga or self-emanated Linga and regarded to be one of the 12 Jyotrilingas, known as Dwadasa Jyothirlingas. Mallikarjuna of Srisailam is second of this kind. Bhramaraambikadevi (Bhrama means honeybee), the consort of Lord is believed to be one of the 18 Sakthi-peethas formerly known as Ashtaadasa Mahashakthi Peethas, Goddess Bhramaraamba is first of the 18 Shakthi-peethas according to Bharathakanda.

The river Krishna is flowing atr a depth of nearly 1000 meters from top of the hill. The river enters this hill range at Somasila in Kurnool DT. It is very pleasant near Srisailam, where it is called Paatalaganga. A part of the Srisailam pilgrimage is a visit to the Paatalaganga in order to bathe there. Many pilgrims carry the water uphill in order to bathe the icon of Lord Mallikarjuna. The construction of hydro-electric project has brought about many changes including roads and colonies.

Srisailam is well connected by roads from all major cities like Hyderabad (220 km), Vijayawada (230 km), Kurnool, (175 km). The nearest railway station is Markapur, well connected with trains. From Markapur we have to take a road journey via Dornala.

According to the puranas, the shrine of Srisailam is matchless, incomparable and second to none. Srisailam is an ancient and holy shrine. There are many specialties in this shrine. No other shrine has as many as Tirdhas, temples, Kundalas, gardens, rivers, Gods and Goddesses, and Shaktis.

The temple has great historical importance in addition to being a place of high spirituality. The great sage Vyasa, who authored Maha Bharata, classified Vedas into four, compiled 18 puranas of which Skanda purana is one. In Srisailakhanda of Sanatkumara Samhita of Skandhapurana, Vyasa described about the greatness of this holy temple. It is mentioned in Skanda purana that lord Shiva narrated the greatness of Srisailam in detail to goddess Parvati. Lord Rama, after killing Ravana, circumambulated (made Pradakshina) Srisailam to get liberated from the Brahmahatya dosha, attributed to him owing to the killing of Ravana. Daksha performed Yagna here at Sangameshwara Teertha. Srisailakhanda says, this mountain was earlier known as Mantharaparvata. Later, a woman called Vasumathi performed penance on this mountain for Lord Brahma. The lord, who was happy with her penance, gave her a boon after which she came to be known as Sri Devata. The mountain of Srisaila is believed to named after her. 

This is the ideal place for sages, saints and rishis. There are 8 mountains such as Vaiduryam, Brahmesvaram, Manikyam, Pravalla, Roupya, Hema, Marakatha, and Vajrala called Asthabhairavas. 9 Kadalivanalu, 9 Nandis (Nava nandulu), 9 Bhilas, 9 Puranas, 9 kupas, 9 Peethadhipathis for this shrine.

According to sankalpa of Nityakarmaanusta we have to notice the holiness of Srisailam.

Jamboo dweepe, Bharathavarshe-Bharathakhande, merore dakshinadigbhage,
Srisailasya nairuthi pradeshe, Krishnagodawaryormadhyapradese, swagruhe…………………”,

The main theme of chanting this mantra being the actual geographical location to Srisailam where devotees perform their regular prayers or abhishekams to Srisailam stress the importance of Srisailam. . Thus it is said Srisailam is the navel (Nabhisthanam) of the earth.

Srisaila Sikharam drustya punarjanma navidyate…”

It is said that by merely taking a glance of the tip of Srisaila sikharam, one gets emancipated from all sins. The persons become free from the vicious loop of life and death.

Both the Gods worshipped were naturally originated; hence known as “Swayambhoowas”. Because of these reasons, Srisailam got fame and earned sacredness when compared to the other kshetras. No other kshetra retained both Jyotirlinga and Shakti peetha at the same place in the world.

Srisailam is one of the causes of calling Andhrapradesh as Trilingadesa. Other places are Drakshaaraamam of East Godawari and Kaalesvaram of Karimnagar DT.

Irrespective of caste, creed, sex, place every devotee can touch the statue with hands, bow their heads and express their sufferings to God. At the instance, they feel relieved of all their hardships and experience a kind of self-satisfaction which is ETERNAL and divine.

In Skanda purana, greatness of Srisailam was said that lakhs of rupees donating in Kurukshetra, bathing two thousand times in river Ganges, performing longtime diksha in the bank of Narmada river, living lakhs of years in Kasi gives hoe much of moksha (punyam) more than that much of moksha we get by visiting Srisailam one time in a life.

According to Skanda purana, lord Shiva said to Parvathi devi that whoever visited Srisailam would rdeserve more fruits in life and get closer to salvation when compared to those who performed ‘Godana’ (offering cow), Kanyadana, yagnas, etc. Also, the virtue (punyam) earned by performing Annadana to a single person in Srisailam ill be equivalent to performing Annadana to one lakh people in Prayaga, 2 lakh people in Kasi and 7 lakh people in the bank of Ganges river.

 

The popularity of Srisailam is as ancient as the inception of 'yugas'. It is said that in Krita yuga, Srisailam was treated as puja mandir by Hiranyakasipa, in Treta yuga, lord Sri Rama and Sita devi visited Srisailam and he installed Sahasralinga while he was in aranyavasa, during vanavasa Pandavas stayed sometime and installed 5 lingas known as Satyajata lingas. Even today the devotees worship these lingas.

Srisaila Mahima (Miracle of Srisailam)

Kedara Sthodakam peetwa waaranasyaam, Mrutastha thaa!
Srisaila sikharam drushtya punarjanma na vidyate

Meaning: Drinking of water in Kedarnath, Attaining natural death in Varanasi (Kasi) No rebirth by having a glance of (visiting) peak of Srisailam. Meaning that it is very difficult to drink water in Kedarnath, which is located in ice mountains i.e. Himalayas. It is also painful process of waiting in Kasi (Varanasi) till one's natural death. But it is very easy to relinquish rebirth (No punarjanma) by visiting Srisailam at least once in lifetime.