One of the oldest surviving Shivling in the world is located at the
in Chittor District in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is more than 2,200 years old and is around 25 km east of Tirupati. Gudimallam Shivalingam is believed to be a manifestation of the Trimurtis, with Brahma at the bottom, Vishnu in the middle and Shiva on top. There is an interesting story which narrates the origin of the Gudimallam Shivalingam. Parashurameshvara Temple
Legend has it that Parashuram’s mother Renuka was suspected of infidelity by her husband Sage Jamadagni. The Sage ordered Parashurama to behead his mother. Parashurama obeyed his father and when Sage Jamadagni wanted to reward his son, Parashurama asked him to bring his mother back to life. And she was brought back to life.
But Parashuram could not overcome guilt of beheading his mother and he felt remorse about his act. As a penance he was advised by other Rishis to worship Shiva at Gudimallam.
After searching of several days, Parashurama found the temple in the middle of a forest. He dug a pond nearby and began his penance.
Every day morning a single flower used appear in the pond and Parashuram offered it to Shiva. To guard the single flower, he appointed Chitrasena, a Yaksha. Chitrasena was actually a manifestation of Lord Brahma.
Chitrasena had kept a condition that to guard the flower he should be given an animal to eat and a pot of toddy. Parashuram agreed to it and he used to hunt an animal for Chitrasena daily.
One day when Parashuram went out to hunt, Chitrasena felt tempted to worship Shiva himself. He used the single flower to worship Shiva. An enraged Parashurama attacked Chitrasena when he found the flower missing.
The fierce battle lasted for a long period and finally, Shiva appeared on the scene and merged Chitrasena and Parashuram into the Shivling. The Gudimallam Shivling now shows Parashuram standing on the Yaksha with the hunted beast and toddy pot.
Brahma as Chitrasena, Vishnu as Parasurama and Shiva as the lingam form the Gudimallam Shivalingam.
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