Srisailam also known as the ‘Kailash of the south’ is a temple town dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. It is also one of the few temples to have a Jyotirlinga (Shiva) and a Shaktipeeth (Parvati) together.
Ever since I moved to Hyderabad one thing that has really changed is the feeling you get when you travel to places here in the south. The very nature of your travels will have a distinctive and a very amicable flavor here. Not that the trips in the northern part of the country are in anyway less enjoyable but just that the trips here seem to be calmer in nature, more soothing for the soul. You may say that this experience could be because of my traveling to Srisailam in this post and I would not deny that.
Srisailam can also be known as Shiv Nagri, for it is a temple town dedicated to Lord Shiva and as soon as you enter the town you would know what I am talking about. From graffiti on the walls to the spiritual atmosphere of the town and the majestic Swamy Mallikarjuna Temple all just reflect the spirit of God Shiva.
We were a family of 8 (4 adults and 4 kids to be precise) traveling to the town for two days and decided to put up at Haritha Resort – an APTDC property very close to the main temple. Instead of heading straight to Srisailam we decided to go to Malella Theertham en route. Malella Theertham is a waterfall that is about 175 km from Hyderabad and it is a day’s trip if you plan to visit only the waterfall.
The highway to the waterfall is quite good but when you turn on the inner roads you would come across a mud road but is quite manageable. By the looks of the road, it was evident that the process of road making had already started and I am sure by the time we plan our next visit, there would be proper roads. With fields on both sides of the road, you cross a village and the views are just amazing, you would see farmers in the fields and the houses are the traditional huts that you would have seen in your text books. As soon as you approach Malella Theertham you would see a newly built parking space which is quite big signaling that Telangana Tourism is eyeing this waterfall as a tourist spot.
As soon as we got off the car we were treated to views that can only be experienced and not described. Greenery in abundance, fresh air to breathe, cool breeze for company and not many tourists thronging the place; we had what we had desired. As soon as we started walking towards the waterfall we saw people climbing up the stairs, huffing and puffing and realized that the waterfall is at some distance from the top, upon enquiry we got to know that it is roughly about 400 steps down. The condition of the steps was quite a disaster but again we saw that the repair work was in full swing.
This waterfall is actually a good spot for a day’s picnic with family and friends. Large boulders, greenery and monkeys and birds for company you will find it a relaxing experience and if you are the adventurous types you could also enjoy yourself in the waterfall. There were no shops or eateries here so carry your own food and snacks here. We had packed pooris and aaloo and lots of chips and biscuits which tasted even better now.
After spending a couple of hours here and soaking in a good dose of nature, we headed to Srisailam. It was evening already so we decided to go for the darshanam (temple visit) the next day.
One can enjoy ropeway to Patal Ganga and a boat ride on the Krishna river in Srisailam, we, however skipped that as the kids were very tired and the person at the ticket counter told us that the ropeway and boat ride would take about 3 hours (depends on the rush) and we were actually too drained to wait for that long. So we called it a day and went to Haritha Resort which we had booked online. The rooms here were clean and decent and that’s about it.
Once settled we decided to walk towards the temple in the night around 8; the town was bustling with energy and good vibes. As we strolled towards the temple we saw shops lined up selling the paintings, Prasad, bangles and other items that you would usually find in and around temples. There were a lot of kiosks that were selling fresh food items like idli, dosa, uttapam, vada, pakoras etc. Everything here was clean and hygienic and there were even RO water outlets that were situated at different places around the temple for public use.
We saw many women lighting diyas at the cross roads in front of the temple and even late in the evening the town seemed so alive and safe. Another thing that I must bring to your notice is that in spite of so many people thronging the temple, the entire town was so clean that it seemed that ‘Swachh Bharat’ was no longer a dream but had turned into a beautiful reality.
The next day we were all set for the darshanam. We walked down to the temple and bought our tickets (there are various categories for the darshanam you could choose what meets your requirements) for INR 100 (kids below 10 years are not charged). We waited for our turn in the hall that had a comfortable seating area with fans and water and Lord Shiva bhajans playing in the background and in about one hour we were walking in barricaded lanes towards the main sanctum. The inner sanctum has Swamy Mallikarajun’s temple which a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva where you can see the Shivalingam; then there is Devi Bramharambha Temple which is one of the Shaktipeeth’s in the same complex. Then we also saw five Shiva lingams which were believed to have been set by the Pandavas and one Shiva linga was set by Sita in the same complex. After the darshanam we were all set for our journey back home, somewhat calm inside and feeling blessed we stopped at the Sakshi Ganesha temple on the highway itself. It is said that your darshanam to Srisailam is complete only if you pay a visit to this Ganesha Temple and believers say that Lord Ganesha keeps a record of your visit to Srisailam.
As soon as we crossed the Srisailam dam we were on the other side of the reservoir where we enjoyed a boat ride in one of the coracle boats (round traditional boats) in the Krishna river. This one was quick and thrilling for the car took us right to the banks of the river and the kids were excited to sit in this boat. It was a once in a lifetime experience for all of us. Couldn’t help but notice the color of the river which was actually black and then someone said that is why it is called Krishna!
How we traveled:
We booked an SUV via Savaari Cars. While the booking experience was seamless we were a little disappointed as we had booked a 7+1 seater Innova and what we got was a 6+1. However, the driver was a decent person and kept us entertained with tit bits about the temple and the highway.
Things to keep in mind:
- Always book your stay in advance
- There are no decent options of food on the highway, pack your own food for the road.
- Darshanam can take a lot of time depending upon the rush.
Activities you can do in Srisailam:
- Rope way to Patal Ganga
- Boat Ride in Krishna River
- Coracle Ride (traditional round boats) in Krishna river on the other side of the reservoir.
- Visit Malella Theertham waterfall en route Srisailam if you are traveling from Hyderabad.
- The highway to Srisailam cuts through Nalla Malla forest on both sides and you pass Amrabad Tiger Sanctuary on your way to Srisailam in case you have time a safari in the park is a good idea.
- Don’t forget to walk around town in the day time for Shiva graffiti and during the evening for the brilliantly lit temple complex.
- Do try fresh food from different kiosks; it is interesting to note that how most of them are run by families.
- Our driver told us that if you look at the reservoir from the top it looks like a map of India and believe you me it actually does.
The driver also told us about this flower which they refer to as Sheshnag for it looks like a thousand serpents and you can actually see a small Shiva lingam resting in between just below it.