Situated on the banks of Krishna River, the pilgrimage town of Srisailam, about 212 km south of Hyderabad, is most famous as the site of one of the 12 jyotirlings of Lord Shiva. A unique combination of a widlife and pilgrimage, makes Srisailam an ideal destination in Andhra Pradesh.
The popular Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is situated on the southern bank of Krishna River, at a height of 457 metres. The hill temple resembles a large fort and is famed for the wealth of sculptures of heroic legends from the Mahabharata and Ramayana on its walls which gives it a gallery like appearance.
Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna (a form of Shiva), the temple was built in typical Vijayanagara architectural style around six centuries ago. The sanctum enshrines Lord Mallikarjuna in the form of a linga protected by a three-hooded cobra. Another linga of Mallikarjuna under a banyan tree is considered the original linga.
Pilgrims bathe in the Pathalaganga – the local name for River Krishna – before visiting the sacred shrines of Brahmaramba and Mallikarjuna Swamy. A notable aspect of these temples is that anyone is allowed to pray here and touch the Lord’s feet unlike other ancient temples.
The River Krishna meanders through the woods of the Nallamalai Hills and leaves in its wake a lush forest that is home to one of India’s largest tiger reserve. The Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is huge and spreads over five districts in Andhra Pradesh.
Honey collected by tribals is packaged by the state government and is sold at the Chenchu Lakshmi Tribal Museum. It’s a must buy. State run hotels, budget hotels and lodges are available. There are no luxury accommodations. The pilgrimage town boasts of many restaurants which serve only vegetarian food. The best time to visit Srisailam is between November and March.