Ancient Shiva Linga in Andhra Pradesh

The oldest Shiva Linga in Andhra Pradesh is believed to be the Gudimallam Linga.

It is located in the Parasurameswara Swamy Temple of Gudimallam, a small village near Tirupati city.

Archaeological and epigraphical studies suggest that the Shiva Linga dates back to somewhere between the 3rd-century BCE and the 2nd-century CE. This makes it one of the oldest Linga’s in the world.

Gudimallam: A Village Steeped in Ancient History

It is a small village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, might not be on everyone’s map, but it holds immense significance for its ancient history, particularly related to Shiva worship. Here’s a deeper dive into what makes this temple special:

The Pride of Gudimallam: The Parasurameswara Temple

The village’s claim to fame lies in the Parasurameswara Swamy Temple, housing the famed Linga. This Shiva Linga is considered the:

  • Oldest Shiva Linga: Debates exist on its exact age, but estimates range from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE, making it one of the oldest discovered so far
  • Unique Depiction: Unlike most smooth lingas, this linga has a full-length standing relief figure of Shiva carved on its front, adding to its historical and artistic value

Intriguing Aspects of the Temple’s History:

  • Temple Construction: While the Linga itself is much older, the temple structure we see today is believed to be from a later period. There’s evidence suggesting construction phases:
    • A Chola inscription from 1126 CE points to a Chola-era expansion.
    • Architectural features like barrel-roofing hint at a possible 9th-century origin for the original shrine.
    • Fragments of railings found around the Linga resemble early Buddhist railings, raising questions about an even older origin, potentially pre-dating the Common Era.

Beyond the Temple:

Unfortunately, there’s limited information available about the village’s history beyond the temple. However, the sheer longevity of Shiva worship at the site suggests this temple might have been a significant pilgrimage center for centuries.

Further Exploration:

If you’re interested in learning more about this ancient shiva Linga, here are some suggestions:

  • Consult and check archaeological reports on the temple and the Linga.
  • Look for travelogues or blogs mentioning visits to the temple.
  • Consider reaching out to local historical societies or cultural organizations in Andhra Pradesh for insights.

Image credit

Travel Guide, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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