A complete guide to a weekend road-trip to Srisailam

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While in Hyderabad, one of the best things that can happen to you is a road-trip to Srisailam, a hilltop town that is the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. If you are weary of your busy scheduled corporate life, a weekend trip to the holy town will give you the much needed break. 

Srisailam is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is located on the banks of the Krishna River in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, 180 kilometres from Kurnool, 230 kilometres from Hyderabad, 263 kilometres from Vijayawada, and 527 kilometres from Bangalore. It is among the major Lord Shiva pilgrimage sites in India, as well as one of the top places to visit in Andhra Pradesh. Srisailam is also a popular weekend getaway from Hyderabad as well as Kurnool.

Road-trip to Srisailam
Srisailam Entry, PC: Arvind3934, Wikimedia Commons

Srisailam is also well-known for the Srisailam Dam and the Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva. The small town is a nice blend of temples and natural beauty. The Srisailam Dam, built across the Krishna River, is one of the largest in South India. Other attractions include Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Bhramaramba Devi Temple, Akka Mahadevi Caves, Pathala Ganga, Shikaresvara Temple, Sakshi Ganapathi Temple, and Mallela Theertham falls.

The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Sanctuary, India’s largest tiger sanctuary, covers 3500 square kilometres. This Sanctuary is a natural habitat for a diverse species of flora and fauna. The lush and dense Nallamala forest area is a popular trekking, hill climbing, forest exploration, and research site, with Srisailam serving as a base camp. In this post I will take you on a road-trip to the hilltown that promises to be not just exciting but also fulfilling and rewarding.

Road-trip to Srisailam
On the way to Srisailam you come across Dindi reservoir, PC: Sudeep K Guru

The road-trip to Srisailam

If there is one road trip that will provide you with stunning panoramas of wildlife and jungle, gushing rivers, caves, and the thrill of driving through the ghats, this is it.You’ll pass through Nallamalla Forests, which will immerse you in nature — flanked by greenery on either side and infamous road bends, riders can have the time of their lives.

Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy the company of roars at the 3,586-square-kilometer Srisailam Tiger Reserve, while water lovers can visit Mallela Theertham, a waterfall within the Nallamala forest.

We started from Hyderabad at 8 AM in the morning for the two days weekend Srisailam tour. The route to Srisailam is that you have to turn left at the Gachibowli flyover to take the Hyderabad-Srisailam highway. The road from Hyderabad to Srisailam passes through Telangana’s suburbs and smaller towns before you enter the Andhra Pradesh hinterlands, as you intercept intriguing natural and tourist places along the way.

Road-trip to Srisailam
You drive along the meandering Krishna river, PC: Kalpana Mishra

The last 80 kilometers drive is forest and ghat road that is sheer visual delight. There are several blind curves as you climb the hill to Srisailam that look quite fearsome. But for me who has the experience of traveling extensively in the high mountains of Himalayas, it is a routine kind of thing.  

On your road trip to Srisailam you encounter several places of tourist interest such as the Dindi Reservoir, Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Octopus Viewpoint and the Mallela Theertham Waterfall which you can visit. You can also visit the attractions during your return journey. Once the majestic Srisailam Dam over river Krishna is in sight, you know that the temple town you are heading for is just a matter of a few minutes. You cross the river and you are in Andhra Pradesh. Now that we have reached Srisailam, let me now take you on a tour of the hilltop town.

So, over to the sites of attraction in and around Srisailam.   

Road-trip to Srisailam
The main entry of Swamy Mallikarjuna Temple in Srisailam, PC: Srinivas Chidumalla, Wikimedia Commons

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Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple

Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, also known as Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Srisailam due to its illustrious history and religious significance. Within the temple’s arena, there are two shrines dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna and Deity Bhramaramba, who are said to be the incarnations of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati respectively. It is also one of India’s twelve jyotirlinga temples.

The first historical mention of Srisailam hill can be found in the Pulumavis Nasik inscription from the first century AD. Among the renowned emperors who worshiped God Mallikarjuna Swamy and contributed to the temple’s development were the Sathavahanas, Ikshavakus, Pallavas, Vishnukundis, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Reedy Kings, Vijayanagara Emperors, and Chatrapathi Shivaji.

Prataparudra of the Kakatiya Dynasty worked hard to improve this temple and funded for its upkeep. The Reddy Kings ruled during the Golden Age of Srisailam, during which all of the dynasty’s rulers celebrated service to the temple. Prolaya Vema Reddy of the Reddy Dynasty built a tiered road between Srisailam and Pathala Ganga in the 14th century, while Anavema Reddy built Veera Siromandapam.

Road-trip to Srisailam
Mallikarjuna Temple complex, PC: Wikimedia Commons

The Mukhamantapam of Swamy shrine, as well as a Gopuram on the temple’s southern side, were built by the Second Harihararaya of the Vijayanagara Empire. Sri Krishnadevaraya built the Rajagopuram on the eastern side of the temple in the 15th century, as well as Salumantapas on both sides. In the year 1667 AD, Chatrapathi Sivaji financed the construction of the Gopuram on the northern side.

Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple was built in Dravidian style and the sanctum is a shell like structure that enshrines Lord Mallikarjuna. The small black linga has a hooded golden cover. The garbha griha is small and only priests are allowed inside.

Soon after reaching Srisailam, we headed for the temple for darshan. The shrine was moderately crowded, yet we had a good darshan of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati..

Timings: 05:30 AM to 01:00 PM & 03:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Entry Fee: No entry fee

Road-trip to Srisailam
Sakhi Ganapathi Temple, PC: B.K.Viswanadh, Wikimedia Commons

Sakhi Ganapathi Temple

Sakshi Ganapati Temple, situated between Srisailam Temple and Srisailam Dam, is one of the sacred places frequented by pilgrims since time immemorial. It is 3 kilometres from Srisailam Mallikarjun Temple and 11 kilometres from Srisailam Dam. The Ganapathi in this temple is said to keep a regular record of all pilgrims in order to provide Sakshyam (proof) of their visit to this Kshetram, hence the name Sakshi Ganapathi. It is one of the most popular Srisailam tourist attractions.

The god is masterfully sculpted, holding a book in the left hand and a pen in the right, as though noting down the names of devotees. It is customary for pilgrims to visit this temple on their way to the Swamy Mallikarjuna Temple.

Timings: 6 AM to 9 PM

Road-trip to Srisailam
Tribal Museum in Srisailam, PC: Kalpana Mishra

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Chenchu Lakshmi Tribal Museum

The tribal museum is one of the most sought after attractions that you must visit which is located just 1 kilometer away from the Srisailam Temple in the Pathal Ganga trail. According to folklore, “Chenchu Lakshmi ” was one of the bravest women born in an Adivasi tribe. She was well-known for her archery skills and married a man who was a reincarnation of Lord Narasimha Swamy. The term “Chenchu” refers to the Chenchu tribal community, who believe they are direct descendants of Chechu Lakshmi and Lord Narasimha Swamy.

The tribe is indigenous to the region and may still be found throughout much of Andhra Pradesh and the Mahboobnagar districts of Telangana. Despite its name, the museum depicts the life of people from different tribes, including the Khond tribe, the Yerukala community, the Savara tribe, the Yanadi tribe, the Gond tribes, and the Kolam community. The museum pays homage to the tribal community and allows visitors to have a closer look at their lives.

Road-trip to Srisailam
Exhibition at Tribal Museum, PC: Kalpana Mishra

The collection includes God idols, handmade musical instruments, hunting weapons, life-sized statues portraying everyday activities. a model of a typical tribal hut, and a fascinating garden where children can play around abstract statues of dinosaurs, boats, and other figures. Do visit the nearby shop that sells honey collected by local tribes.

Entry Fee: Rs 20/ per adult, Rs 10/ per children

Timing: 8.30 AM to 8 PM

Pathala Ganga

Pathala Ganga is a sacred site in the backwaters of the River Krishna located 1 kilometre from Srisailam Mallikarjuna Temple. This is the place where devotees can take a holy bath in the Krishna River. From here, you can see the vast reservoir and the majestic mountains covered in the lush green Nallamala Forest. It is one of the most popular Srisailam tourist attractions for the best views of the Krishna River. It is located behind the Srisailam Dam, and the flood gates may be seen from here. Pathala Ganga is also a boating facility for pleasure rides and trip to Akka Mahadevi Cave.

To reach Pathala Ganga, steps have been built.From Hanuman Temple, there are around 500 steps to reach Pathala Ganga. There is also the option of traveling via ropeway. The ropeway which starts from the ropeway centre near Srisailam Haritha Hotel is quite popular among visitors.

Ropeway charge; Rs 65 (adults), Rs 35 (children)

Ropeway Timing: 6 AM to 5.30 PM

Boating timing: 9 AM to 5 PM

Road-trip to Srisailam
Srisailam Dam, PC: Sudeep K Guru

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Srisailam Dam

With just 14 kilometers to go for  Srisailam, you come across the majestic stricture of Srisailam dam, on the boundary of Mahabubnagar District, Telangana (Left bank) and Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh (Right bank). It is one of India’s largest dams and the third-largest hydroelectric project of the country. The Srisailam Dam, located on the Hyderabad-Srisailam highway, is one of the most popular attractions to visit in Srisailam. This is another famous place that must feature in your Hyderabad tour itinerary.

The dam’s construction began in 1960 and took more than 20 years to complete before it was inaugurated in 1981. The dam was constructed 300 metres above sea level in a deep gorge in the Nallamala hills. The dam measures 512 metres in length, 240.79 metres in height (885 feet), and has 12 radial crest gates. The dam has a live storage capacity of 274 TMC and provides irrigation water for around 200,000 acres of land in Kurnool and Cuddapah districts.

The Srisailam Dam is a man-made marvel that has become one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions. The dam, which is surrounded by beautiful landscapes on all sides, provides stunning views during the monsoon season when all of the gates are open. The lush vegetation all around, the sound of water gushing through, and the rhythmic fall of water make it a nature lover’s delight. There are a few view points on both sides of the dam where you can capture the beautiful views of the reservoir.

Road-trip to Srisailam
Srisailam greenery, PC: Kalpana Mishra

Akka Mahadevi Caves

The Akka Mahadevi Caves, located about 18 kilometres from Srisailam, are naturally formed caves with a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The caves are named after Akka Mahadevi, a 12th-century Kannada poet, saint, and philosopher who came here in seclusion to perform penance and pray to Lord Shiva. The Shivlingam seen here is naturally formed and is one of the region’s most revered idols.

One of the highlights of the trip is the journey to the cave. You can take a boat at Pathala Ganga and sail upstream along the winding Krishna river to a ferry station, from where a short trek leads to the caves. The verdant scenery of the Nallamala hills, even during the boat rides and treks, is captivating to say the least, and if you enjoy hiking and nature trails, this place is a must-see! The caves themselves have been carved for over a million years, and apart from the shrine, not much has been touched here- there are no shops or eateries nearby.

Travel tips

  • Carry bottled drinking water and snacks.
  • Wear sturdy shoes since the hike can get tricky. The caves can get pretty dark. Carry a torch
Road-trip to Srisailam
Shikharam, the highest point in Srisailam, PC: Kalpana Mishra

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Sikharam or Shikhareswaram temple

You can visit this place during your return trip  from Srisailam. Sikharam is located 8 kilometers from Srisailam Mallikarjun Temple and 12 kilometers from Srisailam Dam, is the highest point of the Srisailam Hills, standing at 2830 feet above sea level. According to the Skanda Purana, a mere glance at this Sikharam frees the human soul from the curse of rebirth.

 People used to walk to Srisailam in the past, and those who were unable to reach the shrine returned by seeing this hilltop. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Srisailam and is located about 3 kilometers from the route that connects Srisailam Temple and Srisailam Dam.

The Sikhareswaram Temple is an ancient stone edifice with Garbhagriha, Antaralaya, and a 16-pillared Mukhamanda. The god here is known as Veera Sankara Swamy and is also known as Sikhareswara Swamy. In the year 1398 AD, the Reddy Kings built a flight of steps to this temple, as well as a tank at this site. This location provides a panoramic view of Srisailam’s entire temple complex, including the meandering Krishna River.

This temple is reached after a steep climb of 150 well-laid stone stairs. There is another entry on the southern side, somewhat ahead of the main entrance, with only 30 stairs.

Timings: 6 AM to 3:30 PM & 5 PM to 8:30 PM

Paladhara Panchadara

Paladhara Panchadara is a lovely picturesque place, around 4 kilometres from Srisailam. A flight of stairs leads you to an infusion of several streams. The trickling of streams, combined with the beautiful natural environment that surrounds the area, make it the ideal place to think and unwind. It also has religious significance because the name of the main stream, Paladhara Panchadara, is taken from the Hindu God Lord Shiva. The stream is thought to have been called after the one that emerges from Lord Shiva’s forehead- ‘pala’ means ‘forehead,’ and ‘dhara’ means ‘stream.’

This particular steam flows all year and meets the holy Krishna river, and while it is merely that small stop during your visit to the city, its rich history cannot be overlooked. It is believed that this is where Bhagavan Adisankara wrote and composed the Sivanandalahari, a devotional hymn dedicated to Lord Shiva that dates back to the 8th century.

Road-trip to Srisailam
Night view of Srisailam, PC: Kalpana Mishra

Hatakeswaram Temple

You can visit this temple en route your return trip from Srisailam.  Located on the foothills of Nallamala Hills, just opposite of Paladhara Panchadara.

HathakeswaramTemple holds a significant position among devotees. Anyone who comes for a Srisailam tour pays a visit to this ancient temple as well. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. A mystical Shiva lingam has been enshrined in the temple.

Although smaller in structure, Hathakesvara Temple presents beautiful architecture. This temple is consisted of an open Mukha-mandapa with many pillars and a Garbhagriha.

It attracts devotees from everywhere with its significant history. One of the major attractions of Hathakesvara Temple is the belief that by visiting this temple and seeking blessing of the Sri Hatakeswara Swamy, a form of Lord Shiva, devotees can get rid of various diseases. The Shiva Lingam is said to hold exceptional powers to cure illness of the devotees.

Another appealing feature of Hatakeswara Swamy Temple is the stunning view of the surrounding hills and river from here.

Temple timing: 6AM to 9PM on all days.

Octupus Viewpoint

Octopus Viewpoint is one of the most recent additions to the tourist attractions in Andhra Pradesh’s Srisailam. The viewpoint is located 5 kilometres before Domalpenta and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, enthralling gorges, and the mesmerising backwaters of the Krishna River.

 Octopus View Point got its name from the Krishna River, which looks like an octopus spread between the hillocks. It offers a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the entire valley below. In addition, the reserve offers a regular safari tour, which is the main attraction of the area. A must visit en route your road trip to Srisailam.

Timing: 8.30 AM to 6 PM

Entry fee: Rs 10 per person

Srisailam Tiger Reserve

During your road trip to Srisailam, you encounter  Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam Sanctuary aka Srisailam Tiver Reserve located 60 kilometres from Nagajuna Sagar, 30 kilometres from Srisailam, and 173 kilometres from Hyderabad. This is the country’s largest tiger reserve, spread over 3568 square kilometres. It is divided into two reservoirs: Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam. It was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1973 and was later incorporated into Project Tiger a decade later.

Panthers, tigers, spotted deer, mouse deer, black buck, sambars, chousingha nilgai, tree straw, mugger crocodile, and wolves, sloth beer, and wild dogs can all be found here.

The Forest Department organises Jeep Safari through the forest (to the Farahabad Viewpoint) from the entry point on the Hyderabad-Srisalam highway. The entry point is located 57 kilometres before Srisailam, between Mannanur and Vatvarlapally. The trip lasts approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and costs Rs. 800 per trip (can accommodate 6 people). Safari does not permit the use of private vehicles.

You can catch a glimpse of the big cat if you are lucky.

Mallela teertham fall en route Srisailam, PC: Raghavendra Bashamalla, Wikimedia Commons

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Mallella Theertham Waterfal

 Mallela Theertham is a charming waterfall located in the dense Nallamala forest and is situated close to Hyderabad-Srisailam highway and is a popular place to visit while travelling to Srisailam.After travelling 50 kilometres from Srisailam to Hyderabad, take a right turn into the forest at Vatwarlapally and drive for about 8 kilometres to reach the falls. The route leading up to the falls is rough, and it gets even worse during the rainy season.

Water falls directly from a high cliff on Shiv Lingas-like rock formations at a height of roughly 150 feet. The falls’ surroundings, which are flanked by dense forest, provide a one-of-a-kind experience. The water comes from a small stream that flows through the deep jungle and meets the Krishna River. To access the falls from the road, about 380 well-laid steps must be walked down. The pool below the falls is fenced on all sides. If the flow of the stream is not too strong, there is a route to the bottom of the falls where you can play in the water.

Many sages are believed to have performed penances for LOrd Shiva here. During the summer, it is said that many tigers frequent this area to drink water. Mallela Theertham is a great place to spend a weekend with friends and family. The best time to visit the falls is between October and February. During the summer, there may not be much flow of water.

Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM.

 Entry fee: Rs. 10 per head, 

Vehicle Parking: Rs 20.

PC: Kalpana Mishra

How to reach Srisailam

Srisailam is well-connected by air, train, and road. Visitors may be easily accessed by any mode of transportation from any city, and if you want to have a hassle-free trip, you can choose your choice of transport accordingly.

By Air

The nearest airport from Srisailam is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. The distance between Hyderabad Airport and Srisailam is about 150 km. The Srisailam Airport is well connected to many major cities like New DElhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and so on. From Hyderabad you have to take a bus or book a cab to reach Srisailam.

By Train 

There is no direct train connectivity to Srisailam. The nearest railway station Srisailam is in Cumbum district. The Srisailam nearest Railway Station name is Markapur Railway Station. The Markapur railway station to Srisailam distance is approximately 60 km. You can get regular passenger trains and express trains from Markapur railway station to Srisailam..Kurnool(170 KM) and Secunderabad (215 KM) are the other important railway station from where you can easily travel to Srisailam by road. 

By Road

The most effective way to go to Srisailam is via the well-maintained roads and national highways. Buses operated by the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) as well as certain private buses connect Srisailam to important neighbouring cities such as Markapur, Vijayawada, Bangalore, and Hyderabad. Visitors can also hire cabs and taxis from the Markapur and Cumbum railway stations and explore the picturesque beauty of Srisailam by road travel.

Road-trip to Srisailam
One of the guest houses in Srisailam, PC: Pratikshya Guru

Where to stay in Srisailam

It is a good idea to book your Srisailam stay in advance if you are visiting the hill town during the festivals or weekend. There is limited accommodation option in Srisailam and most of them are sastras and guest houses which are very cheap. There are also a few hotels including the Haritha hotel of APTDC. Srisailam draws the major chunk of pilgrims and tourists between October and February when the climate is tourist friendly.


Why is Srisailam famous?

Srisailam is most famous for Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple which is located on the Nallamala Hills. It is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. As per the Hindu religion, there are 12 Jyotrilinga temples present, and Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is one of them. It is also one of the 18 Shakti Peeth as the temple complex also houses a temple of goddess Parvati who is worshiped as Bhramaramba. 

How many steps are there to reach Pathala Ganga in Srisailam?

This is one of the places you should visit in Srisailam. The two ways to reach Pathala Ganga is to either walk down the steep 500 steps or to take the rope ride down to the river, both of which are a great experience.

Which river is there in Srisailam?

The Srisailam Dam is constructed across the Krishna River on the border of Mahabubnagar District, Telangana and Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh near Srisailam temple town and is the 2nd largest capacity working hydroelectric station in the country.

How much time will it take for darshan in Srisailam?

It usually takes 30 to 45 mins during weekdays. 1 to 2 hours during weekends and 3 to 4 hours on festival days.

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