Legend Of Mallikarjuna Temple
Legend of Mallikarjuna Temple Mallikarjuna Temple which shines like a jewel on the Nallamalai range of the Eastern Ghats, is known by different names like Srigiri, Srimala, Srinagara and Rishabagiri. Rishaba or Nandi Deva did penance on this hill and obtained the darshan of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. Hence the name Rishabagiri.
Long ago, Princess Chandravathi of the Chandra Gupta dynasty faced a domestic calamity and decided to forsake royal comforts. She went to the Srisailam forests and was living on fruits and cow's milk. One day, she noticed that one of the cows around was not yielding milk. Later she learned through her herdsman that the cow was going to a secluded spot and showering milk on a Linga amid mallige (jasmine) creepers. The next day she herself went to that spot and witnessed the miracle. The same night Lord Shiva appeared in her dream and asked her to build a temple at this spot. Since the Linga was entangled in mallige creepers, the deity was named Mallikarjuna.
According to anther legend, Lord Shiva once came to the Srisailam forest for hunting. There He met a beautiful girl of the Chenchu tribe, fell in love with her and decided to stay with her in the forest. The girl was none other than Parvati Herself. In the temple, there is a bass relief depicting this story. It is significant to note that even today, people of the local Chenchu tribe are allowed into the sanctum. On the night of Maha Shivaratri, they are permitted to perform abhisheka and puja to the deity. Another interesting feature is that devotees irrespective of caste, creed or sex can go into the sanctum and perform abhisheka and puja.