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The unique Siva temple at Surutapalli

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Surutapalli is home to an unique temple enshrining the majestic reclining image of Siva, worshipped here as Pallikondeshwarar.

Surutapalli is home to an unique temple enshrining the majestic reclining image of Siva, worshipped here as Pallikondeshwarar. The head of this deity rests on the lap of Goddess Parvati (Sarvamangala). Siva has four arms, one holding the deer, another an elephant goad, the third is kept under the head and the fourth rests on the thigh. God Vishnu is commonly seen in a reclining pose but it is rare to fine Lord Siva in a recumbent posture.

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The traditional lore of this temple is connected with the story of the churning of the ocean of milk. When the dreaded poison called Halahala or Kalakuta emerged from this ocean, Siva who was requested by the gods for help, swallowed this poison.  He subsequently became tired and it is at Surutapalli that this deity lay down to rest on the lap of Parvati.

There are other sanctums, one of which enshrines a swayambhu (self-manifest) linga, known as Valmikishwarar, believed to have been worshipped by sage Valmiki. Enshrined in a niche on a wall of this shrine is a rare image of Lord Dakshinamurti as this deity is with consort Gowri. Usually Dakshinamurti is seen alone. Here, Dakshinamurti is seated on the bull and sages Patanjali and Vyaghrapada, important Siva devotees, are seen at the deity’s feet.

Goddess Parvati, consort of Valmikishwarar, is worshipped as Maragathambikai in a separate sanctum, an interesting feature of which are granite images of Kalpavriksha (divine wish-fulfilling tree) and Kamadhenu (divine cow) on either side of the entrance. Adorning the walls of Parvati’s sanctum are exquisite images of Rajarajeshwari, Lakshmi and Saraswathi. An interesting image of Goddess Durga, holding a conch and discus in the upper hands and with one of the lower hands resting on the thigh and another holding a parrot is seen in this temple.

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