Mallikaarjuna- a Jyotirlinga

In Hindu mythology there are twelve ‘Jyotirlinga’, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It can be said that these are the Shiva’s temple where every Shiva devotee should visit once in his life time. Even most of the Hindu’s have desire to go there for the ‘Darshan of the Jyotirlinga’. There is a Jyotirlinga, known as Mallikaarjuna Jyotirlinga at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh. It is two hundred kilometer away from Hyderabad. The convenient route to go to Srisailam is via Hyderabad as it is connected with other big cities by road, train and air.

I also got an opportunity to get Darshan of this Jyotirlinga when I was on tour on Delhi – Nagpur – Hyderabad – Delhi. I along with Mira was on this tour in the middle of October, before Diwali festival, on Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra as we were invited in it. Before going there I did some home-work on this tour and found this Jyotirlinga. I made program in such a way that I could visit this place easily. We reached Hyderabad in the afternoon. Some of our friends were also with us, who were to stay in a hotel named Taj Krishna that was the palace of Nawab Hyderabad at one time but had now been converted into a hotel. They invited us to take lunch with them in Taj Krishna. We couldn’t help refusing their invitation. We all went there for having lunch. After that we all went to see Golconda fort that had some peculiar attractions too. Reaching there I told them if I had seen the whole fort from inside that required minimum one and a half hour I couldn’t have been to Srisailam that day. I apologized to them for not accompanying them inside the fort. They also showed their approval of my plan.

I and Mira went back to our car to go to Srisailam. We got into the car and drove to the destination. After about two hours journey it was dark and there was a single as well as zigzag road though it was in a good condition. I found one very attractive thing on the road that there were reflectors at the every curve on the road so that the driver can drive his vehicle at the curves even in the dark. We enjoyed a lot on the crisscross road in the dark without getting any fear of mishap.

On the way there was a check – post on the road where every vehicle’s number that drove ahead had been noted down by the check-post officer. From this point deep forest starts where even tigers also habitat; it is also called tiger reserve. For going to Srisailam, every body has to cross this eighty kilometer stretch. This stretch has a beautiful single road without any dig or patch work so we cross it with great pleasure. Mira felt little nausea as we were continuously on move for four hours. At the end of this jungle road there was again a check-post where the officer-in-charge noted down our car number in his file. We came out of the car to relax. The ten minutes rest provided us new energy. Mira also got relief from the nauseated feeling. Mean while I talked to the officer who gave me very useful information about the temple and the hotels.

It was about 9 in the evening when we arrived at Srisailam. The driver suggested me a hotel that was good to stay there for a night. I took an AC room there and got ready to go to the temple by 9.30. Within five or ten minutes we were before Lord Shiva in the temple. There were very few devotees inside the temple as the temple was about to close. After getting the Darshan of Jyotirlinga we took the Darshan of Goddess Durga. The temple of Durga is considered a ‘Shakti-peeth’ as per Hindus’ belief. We were about to leave the temple when we saw that the Pujari and some devotees were going to somewhere along with the statues of God and Goddess in the ‘Palki’. Some people were playing musical instruments. They reached near one room inside the temple premises where they laid the statue down on the bed. The moment they laid them down the light had gone and rest of the rituals were performed in the light of oil lamp. Immediately after the act the light had come back. I couldn’t understand that the light had gone out by chance or deliberately. We returned to our hotel and had dinner. Soon we went to bed and slept as were tired.

Next day in the morning I got up as usual and got ready after cleaned my shave as well as took bath. My better half wanted to relax more but I didn’t comment on this issue. By eight she had also got ready and we went to temple again. Now there were some restrictions that one has to follow before entering the temple as you can’t go inside the temple with your camera and mobile phone etc. There were two type of lines for devotees i.e. paid and unpaid line. We chose the unpaid line. There were about one hundred people before us in the queue. It took about an hour to reach before the Jyotirlinga. We got Darshan of the Lord Shiva. When I was standing in the queue I saw a board hanging on the wall that depicted the story of the temple and stated a place where people used to sacrifice their some parts of the body like hand, finger, leg and even tongue. The place where people used to cut their parts of the body is called ‘Mandap’ and it was built by one of the kings for the ‘Punnaya memory’ of his younger father. When I read it, my mind stuck to the word ‘younger father’; I thought the word indicates that ladies at that time might believe in polygamy.

After Darshan we had had breakfast at two places as on the first place it was not in our taste. Mean while our driver came to us as I had already phoned him. We left the hotel, kept our baggage in the car and drove to Hyderabad. On the way we stopped in the middle of the jungle to go deep into the forest to see tigers but people told us that there was no guarantee of watching tigers. So we left the idea and enjoyed in the permitted are of the jungle. We saw the dam built on the ‘Patal Ganga’ river for making electricity that is supplied to Srisailam city. On the way to Hyderabad our car got punctured twice and it wasted our one and a half hour.

After arriving at Hyderabad city we first visited Char Minar, a historical monument, and on its first floor we enjoyed the scenic beauty of the city around it. Before reaching Char Minar one event happened that I forgot to mention here though it was a new experience and was read only in jokes. We stopped at a petrol pump to get the tank of our car filled. Getting the petrol we went ahead and after covering some distance the driver wanted to tell Mira something about the Minar. In this course the driver turned his face back and found that Mira was missing. We both were shocked and surprised. I phoned her on her mobile phone and asked her where she was. Mobile phone had solved our problem in some seconds; it is really a big invention. If it hadn’t been invented how this episode would have been managed.

We went to the famous museum of Hyderabad, called Sallarjung museum. Sallarjung 3rd. was the last Nawab of Hyderabad as he had no child. The museum was really worth to see. There was a cafeteria inside the museum and we filled our tummy with some snacks as we were feeling hungry. By the time it was 5 in the evening and the museum was in the process of closing. We came out of the museum and visited some shops. Now the watch told us to move to the airport as we were already running short of time. We came back home with some pleasant memories….