Sri Parasurameswara Swamy Devasthanam , The Oldest Shivalay in Bharat. The Gudimallam Temple is considered to be the oldest Shiva temple identified so far tracing to 3rd century BC

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Sri Parasurameswara Swamy Temple in Gudimallam is a 2600 year old world renowned ancient temple located on the banks of River Swarna Mukhi. The temple ornate the elegance in single-stone (Eka-Sila) statue which portrays “Trimurthis”‘ Lord Brahma’ in Yaksha Roopam, ‘Lord Vishnu’ in Parasurama Avatharam and ‘Lord Shiva’ in Purusha Linga akaaram.

Gudimallam Sri Parasurameswara Swamy Temple is the First Shivalay in India. Gudimallam is located in SriKalahasti Mandal in Chittoor district. The temple is about 7 miles away from Renigunta Railway Station Junction. Among all the temples which surround Tirupati, the least known is about Gudimallam. It is located just 30 km from the temple town, and is one of the most ancient Shiva temples in India. The lingam here is believed to be the longest continuously worshiped lingam in the world. The significance of the temple lies in the Linga that are housed in the Garbhagriha of the temple. The Linga is said to have been discovered in the 1st century or the 2nd century BC.

The Parasurameswara Swamy Temple of Gudimallam is located near a small village in the Yerpedu mandal of the Tirupati district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The temple is picturesquely located on the banks of the Swarnamukhi River, and the deity here is unique, a 1.35 M, seven-sided monolithic lingam. The front plane has the figure of Parasurama standing on the crouching figure of a Yaksha. It rests on a base of seven concentric rings, or peethams, only two of which are visible above the surface. The lingam is believed to be a manifestation of the trinity―Brahma at the bottom, Vishnu in the middle, and Shiva on top, and the story behind it is just as interesting. 

 The Lingam is unmistakably phallic in shape, with a full-length standing relief figure of Mahadev on the front. This is in the garbhagriha of the Parasurameswara Temple which is dedicated to Shiva. This is perhaps the second earliest linga associated with Shiva discovered so far, The Linga depicts the true nature of a Shiva linga, with the human form carved well within the limits of the linga. The floor of the sanctum is at a low level compared to the floor level of the Antarala and Mukhamantapa.

History

The magnificence of the temple lies in the structure of Sanctum Sanctorum and the Gopuram, built in the shapes of ‘Shiva Lingam’ and ‘Gaja Pushti’ respectively. The Main Deity of the Temple is located 6.0” below the ground level, as such the village is termed as ‘Gudipallam’ and later on, by the passage of time, it became Gudimallam. It is believed that once in 60-years the waters of River Swarnamukhi touch the Main Deity. Innumerable pilgrims witnessed the happening, in the recent past, on the 4th of December, 2005.

The Most Incredible occurrence in the temple is that the Sun takes the blessings of the Main Deity by focusing his rays on Lord’s feet during the transition from Northerly-path (Utharayanam) to Southernly-path (Dakshinayanam).

The premise of the Temple is fortified with Sri Anandavalli (Parvathi Matha), Sri Valli Devasena Subramnay Swamy, Lord Surya Bhagawan Temples. Though Gudimallam is a small village, it is well known because it has a very early linga that is unmistakably phallic in shape, with a full-length standing relief figure of Shiva on the front. This is in the garbhagriha of the Parasurameswara Temple, Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. This is perhaps the second earliest linga associated with Shiva discovered so far, and it has been dated to the 2nd/1st century BC, or the 3rd century BC, or much later, to the 2nd century AD, 3-4th century AD, or even, according to one source, as late as the 7th century AD. According to Harle, this is “the only sculpture of any importance” to survive from ancient South India before sculpture made under the Pallava dynasty from the 7th century AD onwards, and “its mysteriousness lies in the total absence so far of any object in an even remotely similar manner within many hundreds of miles, and indeed anywhere in South India”. If assigned an early date, the figure on the linga is “one of the earliest surviving and unequivocal images of the god Shiva”. The temple is later than the linga; again, estimates of its age vary considerably, but the existing building is usually dated to “the later Chola and Vijayanagara periods”, so possibly a thousand years later than the sculpture; it seems to have replaced much earlier structures. The linga was possibly originally sited in the open air, with the rectangular stone surround that still remains, or inside a wooden structure. The temple remains in worship, but has been protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) since 1954.

As the temple is believed famous for fulfilling the healthful wishes of the disciples, innumerable devotees are visiting the temple and privileged with the blessings of the Lord, Parasurameswara Swamy.

Curvings on the Marble by Archaeological Survey of India at Gudimallam Sri Parasu Rameswara Swamy Temple.

Renowned for its earliest extant Sivalinga in India datable to second/ Third centuries B.C. The main Temple consists of an apsidal shrine in low level with Ardha mandapa and maha mandapa in front, all facing east and each higher than the previous one. The main entrance to the shrine is, however, from the south side of maha mandapa when the wall enclosure is added by an ornamental pillared porch (Dwarapala). The main shrine is closed all around externally by a peristylar cloister, The vimana over the shrine is of brick, hollow inside and is apsidal on the plan in elevation resembling a linga nut hence termed as Lingakruti vimana.

The sanctum has a false ceiling over wooden joints. A dew shrine is added at the North-West corner; other minor shrines within the prakara include Kartikeya and Subramanya. A plain gopuram is provided at the western entrance of the compound wall. The stone temple complex is in late Pallava / Bana and Chola Style and a good number of inscribed records speak of the perpetual gifts made by the kings, The earliest belonging to the bana’s (A Fendatory Royal family under the later Pallavas, Circa 842-904 centuries A.D) and latest of the time of Yadava Devaraya (A.D. 1346). Inscription of the tome of Vikrama Chola refers to the complete rebuilding of the temple in 1126 A.D. along with gopuram and the well. The Linga on its frontal face is a relief figure standing Siva. He has two hands, The right one holds a ram by the hind legs, Head hanging downwards. On the left, a globular pot is held and a battle axe (Parasu) rests on the left shoulder. The linga is fixed within two stone rings during the earliest phase inside the sanctum which served as arghapitha. The standing form of the god reveals Vedic and proto puranic concepts of Rudra. He is shown standing on the shoulders of a crouching dwarf yaksha whose features are unique. He is seated on the knees, body shrunken and light teethed. 

Other Deities worshiped in Gudimallam Sri Parasurameswara Temple:

Sri Anandavalli Ammavaru (Parvathi Matha) Temple

Sri Valli Devasena Subramanya Swamy Temple

Lord Surya Bhagawan Temple

Lord Ganapathi

Sri Dakshinamurthy

Abhayahasta Venkateswara Swamy

Chaturmukha Brahma

Vyshnavi Devi

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