VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh is host to the country’s biggest Sivalinga. The 55-feet-high Sivalinga, locally called Endala Mallikarjuna Swamy, is located at Ravivalasa village in Tekkali mandal, Srikakulam district. Dr E. Sivanagi Reddy, Archaeologist and CEO, The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCVA) revealed this at a symposium held on the Saiva Cult in Andhra at CCVA, here on Monday on the eve of Mahasivaratri Festival. Dr Reddy visited Ravivalasa village recently.
He said that the earliest Sivalinga, dating to the 1st century BC, is also from Andhra Pradesh at Gudimallam village in Chittoor district and explained the origin and spread of the Siva Cult in Andhra right from the Satavahanas (1st century AD) till the Vijayanagara period in the form of Sivalinga Mukhalinga (with Siva’s faces on it) and also Siva in different aspects of iconic form as Arthanariswara, Chandrasekhara, Nataraja and Gajasamhara Murthy. Dr Reddy also informed that the earliest Nataraja sculpture also comes from Andhra Pradesh as seen at the Nataraja Cave, Mogalrajpuram in Vijayawada dates back to the 4th -5th centuries AD.
Tracing the origin of this highest Sivalinga at the Ravivalasa to the Ramayana Period (exact date not known), was brought under a shelter by Brindavana Harish Chandra Jagaddev, the then Jamindar of Tekkali in 1870. Since then thousands of devotees are visiting it from AP and Odisha. Satavadhani Dr. Palaparti Syamalananda Prasad, a famous expert in Avadhanam Vidya, enumerated various Saiva rituals associated with the Saiva cult over a period of time.
Another participant, Dr. Gumma Samba Siva Rao, Vice Principal, Andhra Loyola College, presented various references to the Saiva cult in Telugu Literature by reading poems from Telugu Prabandhas. Dr Venna Vallabha Rao, Subhakar Medasani, Secretary, Amaravati Buddha Vihara, M. Tirumal Srinivas, Director, Malaxmi Infra Ventures, Dr Valiveti Sivarama Krishna, Editor ‘Parthatejam Magazine, Dr. Movva Srinivasa Reddy, Department of History, Andhra Loyola College, Mr Golla Narayana Rao, Secretary, Andhra Arts Academy and students of History from Andhra Loyola College also participated in the deliberations of the symposium.