Srisailam is situated on a flat top of Nallamalai hills by the right side of the river Krishna in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most famous centres of pilgrimage for centuries in South India. The place is one of the twelve Jyortilingams and one of the few where shaktipeeth (mother goddess) is also present at the same campus. This famous mountain is also known as Siridhan, Sriparvatha, Srigiri, and Srinagam among people.
History of Srisailam
As per the legends, it is believed that Vrishabha, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva performed repentence here. Lord Shiva appeared in front of him, with the Goddess Parvati in the form of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba. According to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas has also visited Srisailam during their exile.
What to see in and around Srisailam
Your first encounter would be with a small Ganesha temple before entering the town called Sakshi Ganesha, where the devotees offer their prayers to lord Ganesha. It is believed among local people that Ganesha keeps a record of your visit, and if your name is not in the records you will not get credit to visit the Srisailam temple and your sins will not be washed away. After that you will be welcomed by huge statues of Nandi (bull), an Idol of Saraswati with her Veena (Indian string musical Instrument), and a few more.
The temple is the main attraction of the town. The important deities of this temple are Kshetram Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy, and Goddess Bhramaramba Devi and both are self-manifested. The most appealing feature of this place is that any devotee of any cast and creed can easily touch the Mallikarjuna Linga and perform rituals himself.
It offers many types of sevas and poojs for the devotees to perfom and all of them comes with a different cost ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 5000 and can be done on the specified timings.
During festivals there is a minimum of 2-3 hours of waiting time, while on normal days you need around an hour to have darshan of the lord. After visiting the Siva temple right next to it is the temple of mother goddess called Bhramaramba Temple and is dedicated to Parvati. Goddess Parvati is believed to have prayed in the form of a bee here to lord Shiva.
As kids prefer some adventure now a days, you can take them on the ropeway on the Krishna River which goes all the way down in the valley above the reservoir of the 512 meter long Srisailam dam. The view is breathtaking from the rope-way.
Festivals of Srisailam
Some of the festivals celebrated in Srisailam are Mahasivaratri Brahmothsavams (in the month of February or March), Ugadi (for a period of five days in the month of March or April), Dasara (for a period of 9 days in the month of September or October), Sankranthi Uthsavams ( for a period of seven days in the month of January), and Kumbhothsavam, the most significant festival of the temple of Srisailam in which various offerings are made to Goddess Bhramaramba Devi. This festival celebrates on the first Tuesday or Friday (which ever first comes) after full moon day of Chaitram, the beginning month of Indian Calendar. Other festivals celebrated here are Arudrothsavam, Kartheeka Masothsavams and Sravananamosothsvams.
How to reach Srisailam
Srisailam is well connected by state buses with all important towns in the state. The nearest airport to Srisailam is Hyderabad at a distance of 237 km. The nearest railway station is Nandyal, at a distance of 158 km. Andhra Pradesh Tourism (APDTC) conducts a package tour from Hyderabad.
Accommodation and Eating around Srisailam
My advice to travelers would be to pack their own food as you won’t find any restaurant on the winding hill road of Nallamalla forest. The place is very sparsely populated and you won’t get many choices to get a decent mea around. So it will be a good idea to pack accordingly especially if you have kids in your company.
You can stay at Haritha Hotel Srisailam which offers air-conditioned, non-air-conditioned and dormitories for devotees. Other options are at Devasthanam, which has twenty-five individual cottages, Pathaleswara Sadan with twenty-three deluxe suites, Sivasadanam guest house with 100 rooms, T.T.D Guest House with ten rooms, Chandeswara Sadanam with twenty-two rooms and a dormitory and Choultry consisting of seven halls.
Srisailam temple provides facility of online booking through the website. After booking online, you have to go to the CRO, record your entry for the accommodation booked by you. One disadvantage associated with the internet booking is that the room is available from 8 AM to 8 AM the next day, for normal room allotment, the check out time is usually 24 hours.