Srisailam is a very popular pilgrimage place situated in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, India. This place is located on the top of Nallamala hills alongside the River Krishna. God and goddess situated in this place are Sri Mallikarjunaswamy and Bramarambha devi. This is the 2nd jyotirlinga out of 12 jyotirlingas present in India.
HOW TO REACH THERE
By Air: The nearest airport to Srisailam is Rajiv Gandhi international airport, Hyderabad with a distance of around 200 kms (takes around 4 hours to reach by road). From the airport, we can book cabs to Srisailam.
By Road: APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation), TSRTC (Telangana State Road Transport Corporation) are running frequent buses to and from Srisailam. Many take their own vehicles/cabs from the nearest cities.
To Srisailam, travelling by own vehicle is recommended as one can enjoy the travel once hilly / forest area starts. As we travel from Hyderabad, I prefer to pack breakfast and start early in the morning by car. It is good to stop for breakfast once we cross the Hyderabad Airport on a nice road side where kids enjoy watching flying aeroplanes.Then the next stop is near Dindi for Tea/Coffee for 10 minutes (Dindi reservoir can be seen on the way).
Once the Amrabad forest area starts, kids enjoy watching monkeys on the roads. It is good to keep car windows open and switch off AC to feel the natural breeze.
Once forest check post is reached, can stop for shopping in small shops with eatery items and local villagers who sell fried peanuts, groundnuts and bamboo made mats.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Markapur which is around 90 kms from Srisailam. One can take buses from there on to reach Srisailam.
Along with the caste based choultries, Srisailam devasthanam is providing various kinds of accommodation from Non-AC rooms to A.C Suits.
One can either pre-book the accommodation through online or book the rooms upon reaching Srisailam. However, it is suggested to pre-book online during holidays / special days to avoid non-availability of rooms. Once online accommodation is paid and booked, the person who has booked needs to present the online booking acceptance form, generated from website while booking, along with the ID proof at the administrative office located in Ganga Sadan building. The officer there will further collect one day advance rent amount (which is refunded subject to vacation of room adhering to terms and conditions) allocate the room numbers and accommodation detail printout which you need to show to the security available in the allocated building. The security in the building will give the keys to the room.
For regular darshan, one can directly enter the Q line to enter into the temple. Darshan timings to be checked before temple visit as there may be change in timings basis Abhishekam timings/other sevas/pilgrims crowd. Abhishekam and other sevas can be pre -booked through online by visiting temple’s official website http://www.srisailamonline.com. Pilgrims, who have booked abhishekams/sevas online to submit the online receipt at the temple administrative office located on the left side of the temple before entering the temple. Once you have the darshan of Sri Mallikarjunaswamy, the queue line will lead you to the Bramarambika devi temple for Darshan.
Local food available here is Andhra meals (Rice, chutney, dal, veg fry, veg curry, sambar, rasam, and curd along with many varieties of powders which can be eaten with rice.) and breakfast (Idli, dosa, pesarattu(moongdal dosa, upma, chapathi etc). One must try mango pickle served here. There are few small hotels available in Srisailam. One best and decent one is Hotel Trishool located in the centre of the town. This is a vegetarian restaurant, which serves both south and north Indian food and open almost from 6AM to 10PM.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
1. Srisailam Dam: Srisailam dam is constructed on the river Krishna. This dam can be visited from the 2-3 dam view sites available on the way to Srisailam.
2. Pathalaganga: Pathalaganga can be visited either on the way to Srisailam or after reaching Srisailam. River Krishna itself referred as Pathalaganga here and devotees take holy bath in this area. Also, devotees light deepam and leave in the river for wellbeing of the family. There are some small shops available here. Also, local people sell deepam and flowers at the entrance. One can try boating here in theppalu (round boats as shown in figure). This is a very good experience for pilgrims who enjoy the nature.
3. Sakshi ganapathy temple: This temple of Ganesha is located on the way to Srisailam temple. It is believed that Lord Ganapathy located here, witnesses our visit to Sri Mallikarjunaswamy temple, hence the name. There are small shops by local people who sells some local forest plants, gooseberry fruits (during season) etc.
4. Akka mahadevi guhalu (Akka mahadevi caves): Akka maha devi is a saint from Karnataka who has dedicated her life to praying Lord Shiva. It is believed that she has meditated in these caves for Lord Shiva. To reach here, AP Tourism department is organizing boats. One has to buy tickets in the counter. Caves can be reached by travelling in cable car and then by boat. This journey is really awesome and one should definitely try to visit these caves. Kids enjoy cable car journey and boat ride. The caves are at a little higher altitude where we walked from the river. A small shiva lingam is situated inside the narrow cave where boat staff guide us to enter into the cave for shiva linga darshan.
5. Paladhara Panchadhara: These are the natural water springs flowing in the forest. Based on taste and color of the water these water flows are named as paladhara (Pala means milk) and panchdhara (Panchdhra means sugar). Adi sankaracharya has meditated in this place for many years and written Sivanandalahari and Bramarambhashtakam. Temples of Sarada devi and Adi sankaracharya are located here.
- Make sure to reach the forest check post as per the timings. Forest entry is from 6AM-9PM.
- There is one petrol bunk available in the Srisailam itself. Make sure the tank is full before leaving Srisailam as the other one is available only at the forest check post.
- Feeding the animals is strictly prohibited in the forest area by the forest department.
- Bamboo made mats are worth buying, if needed at the forest check post.
- One can take instant photos from the local photographer available at the Srisailam dam site/Pathalaganga/Cable car/Boating area, who charge Rs.50/- per copy.
- Abhishekam to be attended in traditional dresses only.