These are popular as the Panchamathas namely Ghantha Matham, Bheemasankara Matham, Vibhoothi Matham, Rudraksha Matham and Sarangadhara Matham. The Mathas played an important role in the History and Cult of Srisailam. They are well associated with the religious and social activities of the temple in the medieval times.
These Mathas acted as educational institutions dedicated to higher learing in various branches and catered to the intellectual and spiritual needs of the society. Srisailam became a powerful saivate centre because of the existence and activities both spiritual and profane of these Mathas. The origin of the Mathas seems to be as early as 7th Century A.D. The historical inscriptions related to Srisailam speak about eleven Mathas in Srisailam however, only 5 Mathas are still in existence but are in dilapidated condition.
This most sacred spot is located at about 8 Km from the main temple at a height of 2830 feet above the mean sea level. It is the highest peak of Srisailam Hills. The Skanda Purana proclaims that a mere glance of this Sikharam frees the human soul from the fitters of rebirth. In ancient days people used to come to Srisailam on foot and those who unable to reach the shrine returned back by seeing this peak. The Sikhareswaram temple is an ancient stone structure consisting of Garbhagriha, Antaralaya and 16 pillered Mukhamanda. The deity here is named as Veera Sankara Swamy and locally popularized as Sikhareswara Swamy. This place give a panoramic view of the entire temple complex of Srisailam including the meandering river Krishna.
This picturesque spot is on the way to Srisailam of about 5 Km away in a serine atmosphere. Tradition hopes that at this place God Siva appeared to a potter devotee in Atika (Piece of Pot) and hence named as Atikeswaram and later it became as Hatakeswaram. Another tradition gives the name to this place from a particular yogic school known as Hatayoga, one of the form of Astangayogas (the eight yogas). Some historians located a laboratory of Akhemy (Rasayoga) at this place during medieval times.
This most beautiful scene spot in surroundings of Srisailam is located about 4 Km from the main temple. Tradition records that Bhagavan Adisankara performed penance at this place and composed the famous Sivanandalahari here. Marble statues of Sarada Devi and Sankaracharya are installed there and daily regular Poojas are offered.
This spot is located in a narrow valley approachable by a flight of steps where subterranean streams of pure water with musical sound reverberating the surroundings. According to local folk these streams are known as Phaladhara Panchadhara and these two signify their origin from the fore head of God Siva the Phaladhara.
This small shrine located about 3 Kms from Srisailam and is one of the sacred spots frequented by pilgrims since times immemorial. The traditional belief is that the Ganapathi in this temple keeps regular account of all the pilgrims to tender Sakshyam (evidence) of their visit to this Kshetram and so named as Sakshi Ganapathi. The sculpture of this deity is exquisitely made holding a book in the left hand and a pen in the right hand in such a way as noting down the names of devotees. It is in practice that devotees during their return had the darshan of this Ganapathi and informed their name and gotra to him. Srinatha the renowed poet of 14th Century A.D. in his Kasikhandam states that this Sakshi Ganapathi is visualized by sage Agasthya during his pilgrimage to Srisailam.
Temple of Istakameswari
The ancient temple of Istakameswari is located in a dense and picturesque forest environment about 21 Km to the east of Srisailam. The sculpture of the Goddess has a serene and beautiful smiling face which at once captures the attention of one and all.
The Nallamalai Hill ranges are studded with innumerable natural caves and caverns which were known to human beings since the prehistoric times. One such among them is the Akkamahadevi Caves. This naturally formed cave, just above the flow of the river Krishna at a distance of 10 Km from Srisailam. This cave is endowed with a geological marvel of natural Rock Arch measuring nearly 200 x 16 x 4 feet which stands majestically without any support.
The wind weathered rock in and around the cave keeps the visitor spellbound. The surrounding of the cave and its journey through the river Krishna from Srisailam provides a wonderful experience to one and all. Exploring the meandering cave to 150 meters deep is also very adventurous.
Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve
The largest Tiger reserve in India . The reserve spreads over five districts,Nalgonda District, Mahbubnagar district, Kurnool District, Prakasam District and Guntur District. State highway passes through this tiger reserve and gives a very good view of forest. If traveled with ample time and patience, people can see lot of wildlife wandering in the forest. If planning to visit, please verify the timings as the highway is close at night.
As the River Krishna turns down hill, it is surrounded by a certain spirituality in the air. Enjoy the sceneries around you and take a dip into these sacred waters, believed to have medicinal properties for healing skin diseases. One can also try the enjoyable ropeway car ride and look down at the majestic river and lush green beauty all around.
Find yourself fascinated as you witness instances of the livelihoods and cultures of the tribes of Andhra Pradesh at the Chenchu Lakshmi Museum. Also, honey collected by the tribes and packaged by the state government is also available at the museum for sale and is a true specialty to take back home.