Ardhanareeshwara Temple inside the Srisailam Bhramarambika Mallikarjunaswamy Temple is a sub temple in this complex. In fact, it is not a temple but an idol installed in the open place.
This idol is in the northern side of the main temple. This is the oldest idol. Details and period of the idol remains unknown yet.
Devotees believe that the married couple who perform special puja at Ardhanareeshwara idol would lead a happy and prosperous marital life. The unmarried devotees would get married if they worshipped Ardhanareeshwara Swamy.
Ardhanarishvara form of Lord Shiva was mentioned in many ancient Hindu Scriptures. In his ‘Mahimnastava’, Pushpadanta refers to this form as ‘dehardhaghatana’. ‘Ardha-Gaurishvara’ is another name given to this form as per Brihat Samhita. The Vishnudharmottara Purana described this form as ‘Gaurishvara’.
The Skanda Purana reveals an interesting story about Ardhanarishvara form. When Goddess Parvati worshipped Shiva to allow her to reside with him, Shiva accepted her request and thus Ardhanarishvara is formed. Another story is associated with Ardhanarishvara in the Skanda Purana. When a demon called Andhakasura wanted to seize and marry Parvati, she revealed her Ardhanarishvara form to him.