A ride to Istakameswari temple

It was bit time that I haven’t gone anywhere which is very unorthodox. There were many plans which were made but were dusted in the wind at the very last moment. Then, in some conversation in the office, we (Mahesh, Harsha and Me) decided to go to Srisailam for a 3-day trip. We planned the itinerary for the trip and then from few of our friends got to know about “Istakameshwari Temple”. I never heard of this temple before neither my parents who visited Srisailam many a times told me about it (I guess, they also didn’t knew about it). Friend’s who had heard about this place and who visited the place, told us not to miss this temple. It would be one a kind off road drive which everyone SHOULD experience in their life time. After searching more about it in google, go to know that the temple of Istakameswari is located in a dense and picturesque forest environment about 21 Kms to the east of Srisailam. I was looking forward to visit temple and had kept huge expectations on it.

We started our 3-day trip early in the morning around 4.30 AM on 25-Sept and headed towards Yaganti. We reached Yaganti around 12 in the afternoon and visited couple of other holy places. As the sun was setting down, we headed towards Nandiyal, where we had already booked a room. Day-2 started with visit to Mahanandi and from there, we started our journey towards Srisalam. We reached Srisailam around 4.00 PM in the evening. We had already made arrangements for the room in srisailam. We got fresh and first thing we inquired was about travel to Istakameshwari temple. To our disappointment, we got to know that last Jeep travel ends around 2:00 PM in the afternoon. After hearing this, we went to visit Patalaganga and return back to our room. We planned to go to temple early in the morning and catch the first Jeep which goes to Istakameshwari temple.

We got up around 3:00 AM in the morning and were standing in the line around 4.30 AM. But then we got to know that, the temple opens at 5 AM. As we were standing in the line, rain started to pour heavily. We moved slowly and finally completed our darshanam around 7:00 AM. We were happy that we made it in time but bit worried as the rain didn’t stop yet. We hurriedly come near Nandi Circle to enquire about the Jeep and they said, first Jeep starts at 8:30 AM. we had approx 1 hour, so we decided to have our breakfast and come back. After having breakfast, we came back and inquired and luckily the first Jeep was available to travel, we hopped in the back of the Jeep which was not good in condition.

At exact 8:30 AM, driver started the engine and we were on the way. As the Jeep was not in condition, we swapped it with better one and resumed our journey.  The driver needs to sign and enter the vehicle number before entering into the forest area. We are so excited that, Me & Harsha were giving expressions to each other such as “Yes! Yes!”, “Yeah! Come on” etc. At first, the road bit bumpy but than came the surprise. We were continuously jumping in the Jeep. There were incidents where in the vehicle was stuck between stones and children in the jeep started sobbing. I still remember, Mahesh (Goudru) asking the driver “Shall I get down from the jeep?”. The road such a bliss and entertaining that it always kept on edge. After loads of jumping and moving, driver stopped the jeep and said us to walk for 10 minutes which will take us to the temple.

As we started walking, we saw Ganesh Idol against the rock, we took the blessings and moved forward. After walking for few more minutes, we saw the first glimpse of the temple. We took coconut and washed our legs to enter into the temple. The temple has small opening to enter inside it, one has to bend or crawl to go in it. We went inside and first saw the idol, I was mesmerized. The Goddess has a serene and beautiful smiling face which at once captures the attention of one and all. It is believed that by having the darshanam of Istakameswari Devi one can fulfil all the desires. This temple is an ancient structure datable to 8th – 9th centuries A.D. The sculpture of the deity is very unique and have no parallel any where in India. After performing Pooja, preist informed us to put vermilion on the head of the idol. When we applied the vermilion on the head, it felt like skin touch even though the idol was of stone. Couple of friends did tell me about this thing but I didn’t give much attention to those words then. We sat there for good 10-15 minutes and started our journey back.

Trip Information

Location Istakameshwari Temple, Srisailam
Distance from Srisailam 21 Kms (Approx)
Pickup Point Nandi Circle
Drive time 1 Hours (one side)
Best time to drive July – September (As the weather is cool and there is so much greenery in the forest)
Jeep charge 750 per person
Journey duration 3-4 Hours

     The trip was such a awesome fun with lots of memories and moments. The journey to Istakameshwari Temple was more than we expected and will be one of the best journey’s I have made so far. Looking forward to much more such journey’s ahead :).


Day 3: Trip to Srisailam

It was at 3.00 AM in the morning when my sleep broke and I woke Mahesh to have bath (so that I can sleep for some more time). We all got ready and stood in line for darshan at quarter past 4.00 AM. We decided earlier we wouldn’t go in general line as it would take much more time and we couldn’t make it up for Istakameshwari temple. We were among the first few people standing in the queue of Rs. 500 per person. Rain god was behind us wherever we went. It started raining when we stood in line. As the line started moving slowly, the raining was getting heavier. We were partly drenched until we reached the main temple. We finished the darshanam and visited all the temples which were in the vicinity. It was still pouring when we came out to take prasad. We hurried back to the room to get our belonging to confirm the seats for the jeep ride to Istakameshwari temple. It was 15 minutes to 8.00 AM when we reached the place where jeeps were parked. After Enquiring, we were told which jeep goes first to the temple and we informed the driver that we would finish our breakfast and come before 8.30 AM.

It was exactly at 8.300 AM when the driver started for the temple. The experience about the ride to Istakameshwari Temple is written in another blog, link here.  We returned back to hotel around 12.30 PM and quickly wrapped our clothes and belonging. We settled our bills at the hotel and were on our way back. Just before you reach or before you leave Srisailam, you have to make an important stop – Sakshi Ganapathi Temple. Lord Ganesha, here, is believed to be the record keeper at Srisailam. People give their Gothra and name and Sakshi Ganapathi records them, the belief is that your visit to Srisailam will go unrecorded, if you don’t stop and visit this temple first. The temple is a small shrine on the highway.  After a quick visit to the temple, we were back on the track. Harsh took the wheels as Mahesh was bit tired. As we were going through the dense forest of Nalla Malla forest, I asked Harsh to stop at one point where in we can take some pictures. We parked our vehicle aside and clicked few pictures and moved on from there.

We reached Kurnool in no time and that’s when we hit the NH-7. As Harsh was on the wheels, we wanted to experience the thrill of speed. We were constantly hitting 150+ which brought the heart in Mahesh’s mouth. There were couple of cars which were in race with us which frightened Mahesh even more as we were increasing the speed. After lots of persuasion by Mahesh, Harsh  gave up the race. We stopped at a Punjabi Dhaba to stop our carving for food. It was such a mouth-watering food which we haven’t had from a long time.

Mahesh took control of the wheels from there on and Harsh accompanied to sit beside him. After such a meal, what was required was a good sleep which me and Harsh couldn’t resist. I didn’t remember when I was asleep but when I got up, I saw Mahesh driving the car very carefully and it was raining heavily. Harsh was also in deep sleep and after looking around, got to know that we were nearing Hebbal. We reached Marathahalli around 9.00 PM and got down at Harsh’ home where my bike was parked. We bid bye to Mahesh and walked. I took my bike and reached home at 9.30 PM. It was such a fun filled, amazing, adventurous and cool 3-day trip.

Day 2: Trip to Srisailam

Day 2 started on a rainy note. I woke up around 4 AM in the morning to see that it was raining heavily, so I went back to bed. It was around 6.30-7.00 AM in the morning when I woke up again and found it was still raining. I woke up the other two guys and checked what shall we do on the schedule. We decided to get ready and see if rain stops till then. By the time we got ready and leave the hotel, rain subsidised. It was around 7.30 AM when we hit the road to reach Mahanandi.

Day 2: Route Map
Day 2: Route Map

It was 9.00 AM when we reached Mahanandi temple, and the first look of the temple made me say “Wow”. The temple is surrounded by hills and the fog on the hills made it look much more mesmerizing. It was still drizzling due to which Mahesh & Harsha couldn’t have bath in holy pond. We finished our darshan early enough that we were outside the temple around 10 AM. We had our breakfast at a tiffin centre which was beside the temple and started our journey to Srisailam. The weather lived up to its reputation for the season which made the drive comfortable and untiring.

We reached Sikharam at 2.00 PM to view the temple of srisailam from the eyes of Nandi. One can see the three temples present in Srisailam from this spot.  After relaxing for a while, we left to our destination. We reached Srisailam at 3.30 PM and drove to the Lodge where we had already book the room. It was very sunny and humid at that hour and was difficult to stay in that room. We enquired for an AC room but wasn’t able, that’s when my dad’s power comes into picture. I told him the situation and he quickly called and informed the people of the lodge to accommodate one AC room for us as the president of the Hotel committee was my dad’s friend. Finally, we got one AC room where-in we got freshen up and went out to enquire about “Istakameshwari Temple”.

To our disappointment, there are only limited Jeeps which travel to that place and the quota for the day was done. We were told to come early morning tomorrow at 8.30 AM so that we can ride in the first jeep. That’s when, we decided to go for rope way and boat ride to Srisailam dam. It was 5.30 PM when we sat in the rope way and headed downwards for the boat ride. It costed us around Rs. 300 per person for both rope way and ferry ride. The ferry ride was good where the driver stopped in the middle of the dam and explained us the what, when, who information about the dam, its prophecy etc. It was getting dark when we hopped on the rope way to go back up. We reached room at 7.00 PM and relaxed for a while. Then after a while, Me & Harsh went around to have tea and see how the vicinity looks at night. We sat near of the road side platforms and were looking at passers-by having their own moments and enjoying it.

We went back to the hotel and the dinner was being served. One of the good thing about the stay here was, inclusion of food (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Mahesh had already collected the coupons for the diner. We quickly went and sat on the table where hot and tasty food was being served. We had dinner to our hearts content as we didn’t had proper food the whole day. We decided to go for a walk (had more than we can :)) around to digest a bit. Got back to room after a while and decided to wake up early morning 3.00 AM.

Day 1: Trip to Srisailam

        The trip to srisailam was always a jinx to me. whenever my parents or family members planned to visit, some or the other thing would happen and I wasn’t able to make go for it. My parents visited it many times, my sisters visited it couple of time and I, none. People say “God calls you when time comes” and mine haven’t come yet. And the call came in a jiff. It was yet again in the cafeteria that the plan came into action. After checking with all our friends,  only 4 of them (including myself) agreed for it but Shivaraj opted out at last minute due to some personal work.  It was 3-day trip covering places en route to srisailam such as Yaganti, Nandyal, Mahanadi etc. Below is the route map planned for Day-1.

Day 1: RouteMap
Day 1: RouteMap

We decided move forward even though we were only 3 in number, and as planned, started our journey on early morning of September 25, 2015.  We drove for nearly 2-3 hours and stopped nearby outskrits of Anantpur for breakfast. After a quick breakfast, we were back on the highway. We missed to take one turn which made us take other route i.e. via Dhone to reach Yaganti. We reached Yaganti  well ahead of schedule, around 11.30 AM. We decided to get into holy pond and refresh ourselves from the scotching heat. After the bath, we headed towards the temple. One interesting thing about the temple is its “Nandi” which grows 1 inch every 10 years. There is another temple of Lord Venkateshwara inside the hills which has a small opening between two massive hills.

We left Yaganti around 1.30 PM and headed toward Ravalkonda. It’s the place where Veera Brahmendra Swamy wrote “KALAGNANAM”, a book of prophesies which predicted the arrival of Kalki in the form of Sri Veera Bhoga Vasantha Rayulu. Most of His predictions have exactly happened such as Collapse of W.T.C. towers, Birth of M.K.Gandhi in North India, Ruling of India by other countries, Introduction of people’s rule(Democracy) etc. Way to go inside is a steep down way where in you will find tunnels to reach Mahanandi, Srisailam etc.

By the time we came out of the temple, we were damn hungry. We stopped at nearby village to have our lunch and resumed our journey. On the way to Nandyal, we visited Chowdeshwari Temple. Weather along with the lush green paddy fields were breezing through our windows, that’s when we stopped at one point and captured few moments from there.

                 We reached Nandyal around 6 PM in the evening and stayed at Hotel Shobha where the reservations were already made by Mahesh. We got freshened up and decided to stroll around and have some snacks. We walked around for a bit and sat down at a place discussing personal matters. It was around 8.30 PM when we went to nearby restaurant and had our diner. Harsha and Mahesh were tired as they drove the car and went to many places. They both needed rest as they have to drive tomorrow again so they both stayed in one room where as I stayed in another. The plan for tomorrow was discussed again and we all went to sleep. That’s how the day-1 of the trip concluded at Nandyal.