It was while I was looking around for places to see en route to Srisailam, that I came across the Uma Maheshwaram Temple at Achampet in Nagarkurnool district. It looked really beautiful in photographs, so we decided to add it to our itinerary.
Following an early morning start from Hyderabad, the weather was perfect for a long drive. It was quite cloudy giving us relief from the scorching sun.
About 90 kms before Srisailam, we took a detour of 8 kms after Brahmanpalli. From here, forest roads began and we were soon inside the dense Nallamalla forest range. With no one around on the lovely stretch, it was an enjoyable ride.
Soon, we were able to spot the temple high up in the hills. Just as I was wondering if there would be proper roads to go there, a steep climb through the ghat roads started. Navigating the roads wasn’t difficult with the help of our Royal Enfield 500s. After several hair-pin bends, we finally reached the temple.
The Uma Maheswaram Temple dates back to 2nd century AD and is believed to have been built during the reign of Maurya Chandragupta and was later patronised by the Kakatiyas.
The presiding deities are Lord Shiva and Parvati as Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba. Among the other smaller temples are dedicated to idols of Chandi, Subramanya, Virabhadra, Kumaraswamy etc. Unlike Srisailam, which is always crowded and full of long queues to get inside, the Uma Maheshwaram temple is quiet and peaceful. After darshan, we went around exploring the place. Aptly called the gateway to Srisailam, this place has mentions in several religious texts. It is believed that a visit to Srisailam is incomplete without a visit here. Some call this place– a poor man’s Ooty, although I couldn’t see much of a resemblance.
The temple is made out of a cave and is quite spacious. There were several pilllars inside the cave, which has a remarkable resemblance to the 1000 Pillars temple at Warangal and Palampet temple. Besides few people milling about, there was one priest in the corner training the younger priests in reciting mantras. Since it’s not a big detour, I would recommend visiting the temple. Also, there is a small waterfall called Papanasanam, some 200 m away, where water gushes out from the earth all through the year.
Nearby places: The famous Jyotirlingam – Srisailam is just 90 kms from here.
How to reach: Uma Maheshwaram Temple is about 160 km from Hyderabad and 12 km from Achampet.
There is no place to stay here. Most pilgrims visit this place on the way to Srisailam and stay there. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and light jacket as there is a drop in temperature as you ascend.