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Andhra Pradesh: Srisailam
Mallikarjun temple, on the southern banks of the River Krishna, situated at an elevation of 457 meters, atop the Hrishav hills, houses Shiva as Mallikarjun Swami. A golden snake is residing on the head of Shiva. The surrounding wall displays marvelous relief (A special form of architecture) works. Devi Mahakali is residing in the form of Brahmarambha in the temple, located at the hilltop. 6 meters tall and 300 meters long temple is surrounded by tall ramparts and depicts eye catching architectures. Watching the aesthetics of the temple is an enticing and beguiling experience. The Gopurmati of the temple is also very special for its charm. The name of this eminent place has also been found in many descriptive stories of Fha- Hein and Hew-en-sang. Maha Shiva Ratri utsav (festival) is a coveted occasion which is celebrated with lot of pride and dignity. Srisailam is one of the 51 shakri pithas of a sect of Hindu community.
Tourists who are interested to get to know the traditions and ethnic cultures of tribal can watch Tribal Art Museum on the way to the main temple.
A tiger reserve project, located at the foothills, is definitely a nice and praiseworthy initiative taken by the Government.
2 km long staircase connects the holy entrance of the major temple to the Patalganga or the Krishna River banks. Temple lovers and spiritual throng should also get the blessings of Sakshi Ganapati, about two and half km from the prime temple. An enchanting ropeway car connects Pataleshwar to Patalganga.
Two springs, located at a distance of 3 km from the city, will offer holiday makers an unforgettable and wonderful sight.
Another Shiva temple, about 8 km from the city, situated at an elevation of 2835 feet, atop the Sikharam hills, can be accessed by crossing 200 stairways. The deity, Nandi, made up of stones, is also residing on the sacred Sikharam hills.
Srisailam or Mallikarjun sagar (reservoir), about 14 km from the city, is formed due to the installation of 512 meters long dam on the Krishna River. The vista around the dam is charming. The water power plant is also installed in the locale. A wonderful planned township was formed at a distance of 10 km from the dam. If you are interested then take a walk to watch the Hydro Project in the vicinity.
Srisailam Nagarjun Sagar Tiger Reserve, about 216 km from Srisailam towards Hyderabad, is the largest tiger reserve territory which is covering an area of 3.568 square km. The sanctuary, located in the shades of soaring bamboo trees, on the captivating plateau of Arkian stones, had got the status of the Tiger Reserve forest in 1983. The place looks even more enamoring due to its varying heights. The reserve forest is situated on the slope of Nallamalai hills and its elevations vary from 500 to 900 meters. Even though 94 tigers were there in 1989 but according to the latest statistics the number has come down to only 39 in 1997. Apart from the tigers, the sanctuary has variety of deer, sambars, beer, wolfs and leopards. The dark and dense forest has lost its appeal now due to the illegal hunting. Trees are also cut down without proper strategy. Extreme militant activity in the area has also not helped the cause.
Besides the tiger reserve forest, an interpretation centre along with the crocodile project is formed in the riveting natural locale. More than 150 species of vibrant birds form their nests in the serenity of the opaque and virgin forest.
Srisailam sanctuary can be reached by bus from Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Watch the enamoring sight of the forest and strolling denizens while the bus crosses the dark woods. For security reasons buses are not going into the deep forest at night.
Srisailam Forest Bungalow, temple rest house and Banamayuri Forest Bungalow are the places where holiday makers can stay overnight at.
How to reach: You have to get down at Guntur railway station, located at a distance of 1265 km from Kolkata. Srisailam is connected to Guntur by road.
Where to stay: Haritha Hotel, Ganga Sadan, Dharamsala and a number of guest houses are situated in Srisailam for the tourists. Smoking, Drinking and Non Vegetarian foods are not allowed in Srisailam.
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