In my last blog if you remember we had taken a bus from the Kakinada bus stand, leaving behind us some amazing memories of the beautiful town of Pithapuram. (you can click on the links to read about our earlier part of this journey)
Let me warn you at the outset that if you want to get information about the temple you better scroll down and if you are one of those who would rather waste time and enjoy our travel moments, then be my guest, start reading right away my friend…
So, my dear friends, our program from here onwards is to visit Mallikarjun Temple, Srisailam for which we will be catching a bus from Kakinada to Guntur. because there is no direct bus at this particular time to go to Srisailam, so we decided to break our journey from Kakinada to Guntur, and from Guntur, we would be taking the train to Markapur and from Markapur taking a bus to Srisailam. (2 and half hour journey)
At around 9:30 pm, our bus came into the Kakinada bus station, at that time I was standing near a cold drink stall, so I picked one bottle of Thumbs up and ran to catch the bus, Mamta was already sitting in the bus hence I was able to sit on the window seat, meanwhile, Pratik too came over with additional bottles of cold drink and we were now all set for the journey. Sitting at a window seat and slowly sipping on the cold drink, remembering all the good times spent at Pithapuram was an unforgettable moment for me. Our bus was moving smoothly picking up passengers, as our bus drifted away from Kakinada, the streets were getting empty, people all around me in the bus started dozing and here, I was wide awake, sitting at the window enjoying the soft breeze which was very soothing because by midnight it was raining and the temperature has dropped and made the climate very cool. I could feel the drops of rain hitting my face from time to time and while all this was happening, I noticed that the driver of our bus was multitasking, he was not only driving but also issuing tickets to the new passengers who got on the bus along the way and not only that he was also counting the money with one hand on the steering and other hand holding the currency notes. Now, because of this activity playing out in front of me during the night journey on the bus. It kept me awake all night during my bus journey… Bhai yeh driver kahi bus ko thok na de, Mera aadha tension udhar hi tha neend kya khaak aati…
As I was looking outside the window, I could suddenly see the high-rise buildings, it reminded me of our amchi Mumbai. I craned my neck out of the window of the bus to check where have we reached. I checked the maps on my phone and realized that it was Vijayawada. Now, I have this peculiar habit of checking the route that my bus would take to reach its destination, this allows me to understand the places or the things that I may come across. Hence as soon as our bus passed Vijayawada I was ready to catch a view of the Krishna River and to my surprise, the bridge going over the Krishna River was indeed long, so long that I was able to shake my wife out of her sleep so that she can see the lovely views of the river flowing below.
Slowly our bus kept moving through different sleepy towns and at around 3:15 am we reached Guntur Bus Stand.
We took an auto rickshaw to Guntur railway station. I could feel the slight drizzle hitting on my skin, which was still going on once we got down at the station. Guntur railway station at this early hour of morning was still looking quite alive and vibrant. Our connecting train was at 6:00 a.m. so we had sufficient time to freshen up at the waiting room. Guys, Please understand we are budget travellers so we don’t have any hangups about where we will be staying and what we will be eating…Jo mil jaye saab chalta hai, life me zyada nakhra nahi hone ko mangta Pratik as usual I notice leaves no opportunity to catch a wink, in fact during the entire journey this guy was in a deep slumber, how I wish I too had this talent of catching up my sleep whenever necessary. Here again, in the waiting room, Pratik bhai quietly went to the sofa in the corner and squeezed himself because one guy was already lying on the Sofa, Pratik nudged him to move forward and smoothly adjusted himself in the little space that was available on the sofa. Sofa ko 50-50 share karliya …Mumbai local style and went to sleep! Yes yeh bhai toh 15 minutes bhi mile toh mauke per chauka maar deta hai. Meanwhile, Mamta too, relaxed for a while, as far as I was concerned, I am a restless soul, my biggest shortcoming is that I cannot relax in such a manner when I am traveling.
After a while, all of us got ready, charged our phones as much as possible, and decided to go to the ticket counter to buy our tickets to Markapur.
Moving out of the waiting room with my backpack on my shoulder Mamta and I started to move towards the ticket counter, while Pratik had almost reached the counter. It was at this point that I glanced over towards the train indicator and to my surprise I saw that the passenger train that we were supposed to board to go to Markapur. had been cancelled. For a moment instead of being disappointed, I was relieved that now I don’t have to decide between the passenger train and the Secunderabad Express. (The choice was made by the destiny not us !)
But yahan aaya kahani me ek twist, jisne hamara dimag twister ki tarah pura ka pura ghooma dala😃
I saw Pratik at the ticket counter with a helpless look and he blurted out “Bhai apni Secunderabad express cancel ho gayi” Bang! Double whammy! I could only say, I was bewildered and could only utter, kya bolta hai, phir se! (oh god ! not again)
Imagine our plight, here we are in a completely unknown town, running on a very tight schedule, struggling to think with a cool head and with the big question hanging in the air
AB KYA KARE!
I think all the homework done by me and Pratik before planning this trip came in handy, we immediately decided that we should rush to the Guntur bus stand and see if the 6:30 am bus was there. Ab har kahani me ek flashback me flashback hota hai, well something here too is worth mentioning. In our original plan, I had suggested that we reach Guntur by train and take the 6:30 am bus to Srisailam. (Unfortunately, our train got cancelled and we were forced to take a bus to Guntur.) Pratik bhai was of the opinion that we should take the train to Markapur and from there take a bus to Srisailam and enjoy the scenic view while going to Srisailam, As it was going to take nearly the same time, I was quite OK with this plan too. However, as they say, MAN PROPOSES GOD DESPOSES, our train got cancelled, and here we were with our original plan 😃, We quickly hailed an auto to take us to Guntur bus stand, sitting in the auto, with a cool rainy atmosphere around us, soft Breeze and our auto tearing away in full pace is what I remember most when I sit here to write this blog.
On reaching the Guntur Bus stand We almost jumped out of our auto and dashed towards the bus stand, Mamta almost stumbling, frantically we searched for the enquiry counter but been too early We didn’t find anyone behind the counter, one bus conductor told us the platform no, so we started to run there. After all, we didn’t want to miss this bus…Ek din …arre arre nahi ek raat ke liye itne twist , or should I say Jhatke kafi the…..
All our rush, dash, and fast and furious style came to naught when we were told that the 6.30 am bus had just left! So we decided to check out the next bus at 7.30 am ….. Ye kya, oh no not again,7:30 ki bus was fully booked, oh my God! why the Gods are making it all the more difficult for us, but then we were true Warrior, even if we go down, we will go down fighting. We logged on to our phones to check the ASRTC website and quickly booked the tickets online, the only problem was that the next bus to go to Srisailam was at 8:30 a.m. To kill time and of course, we were hungry too. We went to the nearby hotel and had one of the best breakfasts of our trip which consisted of streaming hot very spicy sambar after finishing our breakfast we started to move towards the bus stand to catch the 8:30 a.m. bus. Once we reached our platform at the bus stand, we noticed that it was very crowded. You won’t believe me, if I tell you that as soon as the bus arrived, almost everyone, yes almost everyone pounced just like a hungry dog to get in, we were the most aggressive ones 🤣After all our struggles were harder than any of theirs. As our seats were reserved, we settled in smoothly ( I am now wondering if seats were reserved why we too pushed in to get into the bus…or is it apna Mumbai style train me dakha muki marke chadne ka aadat🤣).
After a drive of about an hour or so, the bus took a halt at a local eatery, the guy was making some amazing Dosas I wish I could have eaten, but the sumptuous breakfast that we had in the morning ensured that I didn’t hog the dosas here, instead we settled for the chilled lassi. ( Akhir Punjabi jo hu, South me bhi Lassi chep le 🤣,
As soon as we entered the forest region the views looked quite beautiful. This six-hour journey was uneventful, thankfully! and it was around 2.20 pm when we reached Srisailam.
To our dismay there was a huge crowd and long queues lekin hum log kahan Darne Wale Hain Itni musibaton ka Samna Karke Aaye Hain To yeh lambi line kya chij hai . We deposited our luggage at the cloakroom and moved on to the ticket counter where we were informed that we would have to wait till 4:30 p.m. to get the Darshan tickets. I will give you the details of tickets and other things about the temple at the end of my blog. We wanted to get tickets for SparshDarshan but the tickets for this Darshan were not available, therefore we were forced to go for Rupees 300 ticket.
you must be wondering when I visit Temple so how come, this ticket system, Well in the South, most of the temples have this ticket system depending upon how fast you want to have the darshan. The wait in the queue to buy tickets lasted 20 minutes and at 4:30 the temple authorities started taking in the people but here we soon realized that we were not going to get the Darshan immediately because we were made to sit and wait in one of the halls and I think we were waiting for more than half an hour to 1 hour in that hall. We finally were able to get the darshan of Mallikaarjun Jyotilinga. However, the best part of all our struggles was, that we had one of the best Darshan.
All the Sweat, All the wait, and All the pain were quickly forgotten and we came out of the temple feeling truly happy and blessed.
Now that you have survived my story let me give you a brief about this temple.
Mallikaarjun Jyotilinga Temple
Srisailam is the second one of the twelve Jyothirlinga. Presiding deity is Lord Mallikarjun Swamy. Srisailam is the only place in India with a combination of Jyothirlinga and Shakti Peetha on one campus. After the Darshan of Mallikarjun Swamy, you have to go through the Darshan of Bhramaramba Shakthi Peetha just behind the main temple on the same campus, and then only you will be out of the temple.
You cannot go without the darshan of Shakthi Peetha. The route is made that way only.
There are various types of Darshans available to visit the temple. Devotees can have Darshan for free, but trust me, it will be a very overcrowded and time-consuming process and people can hardly see the Linga form of Mallikarjuna Swamy. But then there are other types of Darshans too depending upon the various price rates.
Seeghradarshan for 100 rupees,
Ati Seeghradarshan for 300 rupees,
Alankara Darshan- for 500 Rupees, (Only on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) (single person
Sparsh Darshan for 500 Rupees (single person)
More the money, greater the visibility and quicker the Darshan.
- Book your Accommodation online through the Devasthan website otherwise you can have a tough time. (As this temple is in a Forest Reserve area most of the hotels/lodges are of the authorities ) https://www.srisailadevasthanam.org/ https://yatradham.org/yatradham-destinations/andhra-pradesh/srisailam.html
- For Darshans you can book them online too (It’s better that for sparsh darshan you do advance booking)
- For Alankar and Sparsh darshan there is a dress code
Tourist Place near the temple in Srisailam
- Pathala Ganga– 2 Km
- Srisailam Tiger Reserve– 20 km
- Akkamahadevi Caves– 10 km
- Chenchu Lakshmi Tribal Museum– 1 km
- Octopus View Point– 27 km
How to reach:
Note : Srisailam is surrounded by Nallamala forest. Hence, for the safety of the pilgrims, the Forest department guards the gates at Dornala and Sikharam for people traveling from AP and at Mannanur and Domalapenta for people traveling from Telangana. The gates are closed every day from 09:00 pm to 06:00 am.
Therefore, Devotees are requested to plan their travel within the stipulated period.
Road : Srisailam is frequented by devotees from all over the world, but mostly from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana. The governments of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka have facilitated Road Transport facilities through government buses for the devotees. Though the government has laid perfect roads to Srisailam, people who travel in their private vehicles need caution on the Ghat roads of Srisailam. Srisailam is at a distance of 180 km from Kurnool, 220 km from Hyderabad, 530 km from Bangalore, and 272 km from Vijayawada.
Train : The nearest railway station that connects to Srisailam is Markapur. Markapur is in between the Guntur-Hubli line of the South-Central Railway. People can avail a bus from Markapur, which is 91kms away from Srisailam.
Air : Rajiv Gandhi International Airport of Hyderabad is the nearest airport to Srisailam. Hyderabad is just 230 km away from Srisailam. Telangana Government provides numerous buses operating frequently from Hyderabad to Srisailam.