Srisailam is a holy town and mandal, situated in Nallamala Hills of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located on the banks of River Krishna, about 232 km south of Hyderabad. Bhramaramba Mallikarjunaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy (a form of Shiva) and Devi Bhramaramba (a form of Parvathi) is located here and it is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Srisailam Dam, located about 245 km from Hyderabad and 132 km from Nandyal, is a multipurpose dam has been built across River Krishna and caters to the irrigation and power needs of the state.
The Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple located in Srisailam is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.Entrance to Srisaila Devasthanam
The origins of this temple have been lost in antiquity. The Skanda Purana has a chapter called Srisaila Kandam dedicated to it, which points to the ancient origin. This is confirmed also by the fact that saints of the past millennia have sung praises of this temple. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and at that time he composed his Sivananda Lahiri.
Srisailam is referenced in the ancient Hindu Puranas, and the epic Mahabharata. Shiva's sacred bull Nandi is said to have performed penance at the Mahakali temple till Shiva and Parvati appeared before him as Mallikarjuna and Brahmaramba. The temple is one of the 12 hallowed jyotirlingas; Lord Rama himself installed the Sahasralinga, while the Pandavas lodged the Panchapandava lingas in the temple courtyard.
Heroic legends from the Mahabharata and Ramayana are sculpted in stone on the temple walls and the Mahabharata epic refers to Srisailam as Sri Parvata - the blessed hill. You can hear the buzzing of a bee through a tiny hole in the Brahmaramba temple, where Parvati, in the form of a bee, slew the demon Mahisasura.
It also gained prominence in the twelfth century due to Sharana Movement and Vachana Sahitya headed by Basavanna. According to legends one of the srisailam caves is said to be the place where the most famous poet and social reformer Akka Mahadevi is said to have achieved salvation.
Tradition, literature as well as epigraphical sources state that the sacred hill of Srisailam has four gateways in the four cardinal directions namely,
1.Tripuranthakam:Located in Prakasam District in the East where God Tripuranthakeswara Swamy and Goddess Tripurasundari Devi are Presiding Deities.
2.Siddhavatam :Located on the bank of the river Penna in Kadapa District in the south where Jyothisideswara Swamy and Goddess Kamakshi Devi are the presiding Deities.
Besides the main gateways, there are four Secondary Gateways in the four corner directions. These are
Eleswaram:Located in Mahaboobnagar District now submerged in the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in the North – East with Eleswara Swamy and Katyani as presiding deities.
Somasila: Located on the bank of the river Penna in South – East with Skanda Someswara as the presiding deity.
Pushpagiri: Located in Kadapa District in the South-West with Santhana Malleswara as presiding deity.
Sangameswaram: Located at the confluence of the River Krishna and Tungabhadra in Kurnool District on the North-West and submerged at Srisailam Dam with Sangameswara as presiding deity. This temple has been re-built at Alampur.
Other places of interest
Akka mahadevi caves
During 12th Century A.D. this cave appeared to have attained it’s present name Akka Mahadevi caves after the famous ascetic, lyricist and philosopher, Akka Mahadevi who hailed from Karnataka. It is believed that Akka Mahadevi did penance in this cave and worshipped the Sivalinga that naturally existed in the deep and dark end of the cave.
The A.P. Tourism Department has arranged Motor Boats for visitors to see these caves.
Srisailam Dam is built on the Krishna River and is 512 m long. It is set amidst beautiful natural scenery - ghats, cliffs, craggy ridges, plateaus and dense forests. It has twelve crest gates to hold a maximum water level of 885 ft (270 m). It has a live storage of 274 thousand million cubic feet. This reservoir was originally designed for hydropower generation only but was later converted to a multi-purpose facility for water supply and irrigation.
Due to the construction of Srisailam Hydro Electric Project across river Krishna, nearly 102 villages in both Kurnool and Mahboobnagar Districts located along the banks of the rivers Krishna, Tungabhadra, Bhavanasi and their tributaries were submerged.
Panorama view of the hills at the srisailam dam.
Srisailam also boasts of one of the largest Tiger Reserves in India. This sanctuary covers an area of 3568 km². The terrain is rugged and winding gorges slice through the area. This area is covered by dry deciduous forests with scrub and bamboo thickets.
These forests provide shelter to a range of animals like the tiger, leopard, deer, sloth bear, hyena, jungle cat, palm civet, bonnet macaque and pangolin.
The down waters of Srisailam Dam is home to a variety of crocodiles. The local government supports a breeding program which has been highly successful.
Hemareddy Mallamma Temple at Srisailam
Hemareddy Mallamma Temple at Srisailam was inaugurated on 26 May, 2010. The Temple was built at Hemareddy Mallamma Kaneeru at Srisailam by Karnataka Veerashaiva Reddy Samaj. In adjoining ashram, one can also see the place where she lived with cattle. The place is visited by lakhs of pilgrims who offer prayers at this temple. The temple is situated about a half kilometer on the western side of the Mallikarjuna Temple.
Hemareddy Mallamma Temple at Srisailam
Mallela Theertham is a waterfall in the middle of the dense forest,50 km before Srisailam, take a turn to the destination and drive on a bumpy, muddy road which is unmotorable during the rainy season and around 250 steps down the valley to the waterfall.
Srisailam can be reached by road from Hyderabad, there is frequent Bus service from Hyderabad to Srisailam after every half an hour, and also from Guntur.
Srisailam is very well connected by State-run bus service APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) And KSRTC from various major cities/towns which include Hyderabad, Guntur, Tenali, Narsaraopet,Gulbarga, Davangare, Shivamogga, Addanki, Hospet, Machilipatnam, Vijayawada, Avanigadda, Cuddapah, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Devarakonda, Vinukonda, Kurnool, Ongole, Nellore, Mahanandi, Mantralayam, Anantapur, Tirupati, Chirala, Chitradurga, Bangalore, Markapur, Vishakapatnam, Podili, And Hubli. The Nearest Major Towns Like Narsaraopet And Kurnool.
The nearest railway stations are Markapur (62 km), Vinukonda (120 km) and Kurnool (190 km) on the Guntur–Hubli section. The Nearest Major Railway Stations Like Narsaraopet,Kurnool And Nandyal.
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport serving the city of Hyderabad and located 195 km from Srisailam is the nearest International airport.