HISTORY OF SRISAILAM

Srisailam is famous since the 4th century A.D, according to Nasik inscription, which was carved by Pulomavi of the Satavahana dynasty. According to this inscription, the mountain was divided into 3 parts. One of them was Sirithan. Later, it was called as Nallamala. Pulomavi ruled Deccan from 102 to 130 A.D. thus; about Srisailam, primarily, we can see in this inscription only.

Satavahanas: Thomis was the oldest dynasty, which ruled Andhra. Their rule was ended in 3rd century. Ikshavakas came to powers that were Samanthas to satavahanas. Ikshavakus were also known as Sriparvatiyas. They built Vijayapuri near Nagarjunakonda and ruled part of East Deccan.

Later this East Deccan was ruled by Vasishta Putrakanthamala defeated by Pugeeya, Hiranyaka and Dhanaka. This was spread in between Srisaila hill to Gunjdlakamma up to Bay of Bengal. Hiranyaka, the Brahmin ruler fought to brought up Brahminism. Srisailam flourished during his period because he was a born devotee of Lord Shiva.

Srimukhavarma of Pallavas, Subedar of Satavahana princess of Kotanaga family, occupied the kingdom. Later he defeated Purushadatta, king of Ikshavaka and occupied hi kingdom too. Thus Srisailam was also under the control of Pallavas during 3rd century.

Pallavas: Trilochana Pallava deforests the Srisailam area and makes it shelter for Brahmins. Later, he was defeated by Karikala Chola and became king of this kingdom.

Vishnukundinas: 2nd Rudrasena of Vakata dynasity belongs to the latter period of 4th century. He was married to Prabhavathi, daughter of 2nd Chandra Gupta of Magadha. Prabhavathi ruled this dynasty with her 3 sons after demise of second Rudrasena. During this period, Srisailam was under their control. Srisailam was developed by both the dynasties: Vakatakas and Magadhas.

Kakatiyas: During 1370 A.D, this dynasty ruled Deccan. They were the followers of Chalukyas. After death of VI Vikramaditya, Kakatikyas dethroned the Chalukyas and occupied the throne. They segregated all the Telugu people areas and formed a giant kingdom. 2nd Prolaya ruled between 1110-1150A.D., defeated Chalukya and brought Telangana under his kingdom. Rudramadevi ruled between 1262-1296 A.D. Prataparudra became king. He defeated the opponents and established peace in this region. He made some habitation by destroying the forest area. It was handed over to his chieftain Patytasahni. Prataparudra and his wife worshipped Srisaila Mallikarjuna and offered Tulabhaara.Tulabhaara means people wigh themselves in a common balance with sweets, gold, coins, rice or any such items equal to their own weight and offer them to God.

Peketi Kommaiah donated part of his kingdom to lord Mallikarjuna for performing noon-time Pujas.

Reddy rajus of Kondaveedu: After the decline of Kakatiya dynasty, two dynasties of Reddyrajus were founded by Prolaya Vemareddy and Vijayanagara kingdom. Prolaya Vemareddy occupied Srisailam. It is he who paved the steps leading to Patalaganga. He also constructed steps to Ahobilam. Anavema redddy occupied Srisailam and Tripuraantakam from Vijayanagara kings and constructed Veerasiromandapam in 1370A.D. Vijayanagaras occupied Srisailam in 1422A.D. by defeating Reddy rajus.

 

Vijayanagara kings: 2nd Harihararaya devotee of Srisaila Mallikarjuna constructed main entrance (Mukhamandapa) shrine to Lord Mallikarjuna temple. Vithalamba wife of 2nd Harihara also constructed steps to Patalaganga and there she founded Vithaleswara statue. Saluva Tirumalaiah given many danas (offerings) to Srisailam temple. Saluva dynasty people given many offerings to the God. He offered lands, gardens and took up constructions of the temple.

Srikrishnadevaraya divided Srisailam and made it a separate state. During this period, Srisailam got fame and due importance was given to the temple. Parvathanayaka, follower of Srikrishnadevaraya coated copper layer to Garbhalaya and golden layer to Mukhamandapa in 1513 A.D. In 1529 AD, Chandrasekharamatya, minister constructed kalyaanamandapa and chinnagudi. Sagalamarri village was also built nearby. Salakaraju constructed yagnasala.

Rulers of Andhra namely Satavahanas, Ikshawakas, Vishnukundinas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Reddyrajus, Vijayanagaras, Maharashtras worshipped Srisailam Mallikarjuna as their Chief God. Of the above dynasities, Kakatiyas paid greater attention towards the construction of temple. Ganapathi Deva spent 12 thousand golden coins for the development of Srisailam every year . Mailamahadevi, sister of Ganapathi Deva, constructed temple for Mallikarjuna swamy.

It is said that Srisailam experienced golden era during the rule of Reddy dynasty. During this period, they make Srisailam become popular visiting place to devotees with the effort of construction of steps to reach Srisailam. They also constructed Mandapam in the temple premises. It was said that devotees offered their body parts viz tongue, hands, legs, and head to god in this Virasiro Mandapam.

Another important dynasty that had put efforts for the development of Srisailam was the Vijayanagara rulers. 2nd Harihararaya was constructed the shrine facing South. Srikrishnadevaraya declared Srisailam as a separate state. He took up constructions for temple Rajagopuram, shelters for pilgrims (choultries) on both sides to chariot street. Srikrishnadevaraya carved a wall around the temple with rich sculpture.

Ruler of Maharashtra, Chatrapathi Sivaji was also served for the development of Srisailam. He took up the works like construction of North shrine to the temple and allotted some money for the maintenance of temple and allotted separate army force for the protection of the temple.

Place of Srisailam in Literature:

These oldest centuries of Srisailam is mentioned in all Puranas. It is mentioned in 20th chapter of Padmapuranam uttarakhanda 11th chapter of Markandeya puranam, 6th chapter of Shivapurana Rudrasamhita, Adityapuranam, and Mahabharatha Vanaparvam, 80th chapter of Bhagavatha Dasamaskandam, 40th chapter of sheshadarmam of Harivamsam. Skandapuranam, one of the 18 Puranas, 64th chapter of Srisailakandam describe the complete features of Srisailam.

Adisankarachaarya’s ‘Shivanandhalahari’, Someswara’s ‘Kathasarithsagaram’, Siddhanadhuni’s Rasaratnaakaram, Bhavabhuthi's Malathimadhvam, Bhanabhattu’s Kaadhambari, Sriharsha’s ‘Ratnaavali’, Nannaya's Bhaaratam, Jakkanna's Vikramarkacharitra, Palkuriki Samantha’s Basawapuranam, etc are the peices from eminent scholars describing the greatness of Srisailam.

Besides these there are many books in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi which speak of the greatness of Srisailam. The foreign travellers like Huen Tsang, Ithsinghansinikicthen, etc had written about Srisailam in their books.