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Gudimallam is a small village located in Srikalahasti Mandal, of the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located ten kilometers [seven miles] south-easterly to Renigunta Railway Junction.
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The main importance of the temple lies in the Linga which is housed in the Garbhagriha of the temple and considered unique for its naturalistic depection. This is supposed to be the earliest Linga discovered so far and it has been assigned to the 3rd century BCE. The name of the temple is mentioned as Parasurameswara Temple in the inscriptions. These inscriptions do not refer to the original builders of the temple. But they register the gifts made to the temple like land, money and cows for the conduct of daily worship in the temple. The Black and Redware sherds of the 2nd or 3rd century AD have been brought to light during the course of excavations conducted in 1973. Potsherds of the Andhra Satavahana period (Circa 1st century AD to 2nd century AD) and large sized bricks measuring 42x21x6 cm of the same period have also been found. Hence some historians assign the temple to the Satavahana period.
Historians disagree about the political history and the name of this place. There are several inscriptions which date to the Pallava, Ganga Pallava, Bana and Chola periods on the walls of the shrine and on stone slabs in the temple courtyard. The earliest inscription belongs to the reign of Nandivarma Pallava (802 AD). All the inscriptions mention the keen interest taken by the donors and their gifts to the Temple. However, none of the inscriptions give the village name as Gudimallam.
The floor of the sanctum is below the floor level of the Antarala and Mukhamantapa. The figure of Siva carved on the linga resembles a vigorous hunter. These two names however are not mentioned in the inscriptions. The village is referred as Viprapita (Brahmana Agrahara).
The Linga is carved out of a hard dark brown indigenous stone. It is about 5 ft in height and one foot in thickness. The nut of the lingo is clearly differentiated from the shaft by a deep slanting groove cut about a foot from the top of the Linga. A beautiful two handed image of Shiva in sthanaka posture is carved in high relief. On the front portion of the Linga the God is standing on the shoulders of the apasmarapurusha or a dwarf. The Deity holds a ram in his right hand and a small vessel in his left hand. There is a battle axe (Parasu) resting on his left shoulder. His head is adorned with Jatas arranged in the Jatabhara fashion. He wears a number of rings in his ears and a unique girdle with a dangling central portion. The male image in front of the linga wears a dhoti fastened at his waist with a vastra-mekhala which covers whole linga, but is transparent. He has no Yagnopavita.
Some of the Copper coins obtained at Ujjain and belonging to the 3rd century of BC. contain figures which resemble the Linga of Gudimallam. A 1st century sculpture in the Mathura Museum also contains a figure resembling the Gudimallam Shiva Linga. J.N. Benerjee in his work " Religion in art and archaeology" observes: "The Lingam in Arghya motif was comparatively late phase. In the course of its conventionalisation and development, the Arghya was supposed to symbolise the female part and it was described, in many late texts of a tantric character. But originally in comparatively early times, the emblems of the male and the female deities were worshiped separately, as the earliest specimens of the Phallus and ring stone testify. The Gudimallam Shiva Linga or for that matter the Shivalingas of the Pre-Gupta and the early Gupta periods did not show any real base in the shape of the latter characterization of the arghya or pita. Even in latter representations of the emblem, the projecting section of the Pita really served the very useful purpose of draining off the water profusely poured on the top of the Shiva Linga to some distance from its base. This statement needs revision, for it is evident from the recent excavations conducted by the Archaeological survey of India, South eastern Circle of Hyderabad, clearly revealed that Gudimallam Linga was originally provided with a pedestal.
Karthikeya Sharma, who conducted the excavations, further states that the Gudimallam Linga combines several later aspects of Siva; for example, the God's eyes focusing on the tip of his nose indicates the Virupaksha and Yoga-Dakshinamurthy aspects of later years. The holding of a ram in his right hand indicates the Bhikshatanamurthi aspect of Siva.
- http://asi.nic.in/asi_monu_alphalist_andhra.asp ( ASI page listing all the Hindu temples of archaeological importance, Andhra pradesh, India)