Sri Mukhalingam Temple – Dakshina Kashi

Sri Mukhalingam Temple is famously known as Dakshina Kashi (Varanasi of South India). Sri Mukhalingam Temple is pinpointed to the town of Mukhalingam village, Jalumuru Mandal, Srikakulam district northeastern corner of the state of Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of River Vamsadhara. It was the capital of Kalinga Ganga Kings for over 600 years and the Trinity of Mukhalingeswara or Madhukeswara, Aniyanka Bheemeswara, and Someswara temples are a testimony to the spectacular  Architectural skills of Kalinga Kings. It is one of the Archaeological Sites of India under the protection of ASI.

Undiscovered Hidden Gem of India: "Sri Mukhalingam temple is one of the "Less Known Treasures" Of India. Srimukhalingam temple is constructed in the form of Indo-Aryan architectural sculpture style. The feeling of a pleasant nature along with mesmerizing architecture and carving makes the temple a must-visit temple for any tourists or devotees.

History of Sri Mukhalingam Temple

Sri Mukhalingam Side EntranceThe Mukhalingeswara or Madhukeswara temple was founded by Kāmārnava–II, who was the son of Dānārnava of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 8th century AD. This Trinity of the temple is considered a testimony of the Eastern Ganga dynasty or later known as the daganga dynasty after King Anantavarman Cōdaganga (c. 1077–1147). The carvings on Korni Copper Plant Grant belonging to Cōdaganga dated back to 1113 AD show that the Sri Mukhalingam temple was built by Cōdaganga’s ancestor Kāmārnava.
According to Lionel D. Barnett, Kāmārnava–II was the grandson of Virasingha (the founder of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty) and son of Dānārnava (Virasingha’s second son). Virasingha’s five sons ruled from different places,   while Dānārnava and Kāmārnava–II retained the center at Kalinganagara which has been identified as present-day Srimukhalingam. The Capital was moved to Mukhalingam from Dantapura which was the capital for the early rulers of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.

MukhalingamSrimukhalingam as the name suggests is the Temple of Lord Shiva with the Shiva Lingam having the face (Sri Mukham) of the lord. Secondly, the Lingam is a Fossil of the trunk of the Ippa (Madhuka) tree with a naturally carved face but not a combination of stone carvings.
As per scripting, this region is famously known for a unique type of tree namely Madhuka. According to the Sthala Puranam, Lord Shiva was manifested here in a Madhuka Tree and his purpose was to relieve the Gandharvas born here as Tribals (Sabaras) from Vamadeva Maharshi’s curse. Thus, Lord Shiva here is also hailed as Sri Madhukeswara Swamy.
These temples are a great attraction for pilgrims due to their architecture and sculptures. But they are also great places for aesthetes and people who love heritage. The latter will be attracted by the marvelous Stoneworks as the sculptures, reliefs, and bas-reliefs adorning the various temple walls.

Story Behind Golem (Huge Mud Pot)

Mukhalingam Temple InsideBehind the main deity is a Golem (huge mud pot) bigger than the Sanctorum door. According to temple texts, once upon a time, there was a potter man named ‘Naganna‘. He was a devotee of Lord Shiva and would offer puja every day asking for a child as a blessing. One day, he decided to offer the Golem of milk to Shiva but because of the bigger size and weight of the golem, he could not take it to Shiva. So, left the Golem at the entrance door and returned home sadly. The next day morning, when the priest opened the temple door, to his utmost astonishment, he found the Golem just behind the deity. Everyone believed that it was the magical deed of the god and the potter man was also blessed with a child.
On the auspicious day of Shivaratri, lakhs of pilgrims visit the temple to take Chakratirtha snanam (holy bath) in the Vamsadhara River and take the blessings of Lord Shiva. Cultural events and cultural dramas were also held at the temple premises over a period of two days.

Places To Visit In & Around Sri Mukhalingam Temple

Arasavalli (Sun God Temple), Sri Kurmanatha Swamy Temple (Srikurmam), Kalingapatnam Beach, and Buddhist Stupas (Salihundam) are the major tourist attractions in and around this area.

Best Time To Visit Sri Mukhalingam Temple

If you wouldn’t want to experience the summer heat of Mukhalingam, then the best time to visit it is from October until the end of February. This is the period when you can avoid the unpleasant and uncomfortable weather of the place and explore the beauty of the temple conveniently in a pleasing environment.

Where To Stay


Most of the hotels, cottages, and homestays offer budget accommodation in Srikakulam.

How To Reach


Sri Mukhalingam temple is at a distance of 48 km from Srikakulam. Srikakulam is well-connected to major cities of India and is one of the easiest ways to reach the town by road. Many state-owned buses, taxis, and private vehicles are accessible to reach Srikakulam by road.


The nearest station is Srikakulam Road Railway Station (CHE), which is about 28 km away from Temple. Once you have reached Srikakulam, you can either hire a cab or catch a bus to reach this beautiful place.


Almost 150 km away, Vishakapatnam Airport situated in Vizag is the nearest airport to the temple. Once you have reached Vizag, you can either hire a cab or catch a bus to reach this Mukhalingam Temple.

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