Umamaheshwaram Temple

Umamaheswaram also known as Maheshwaram is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, located near Rangapur Village, Achampet Mandal, Nagarkurnool District, Telangana India on very tall hills of Nallamala forests showcases a unique Shivalinga with dual color white on one side and red on the other.

The presiding deities in Umamaheshwaram are Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi).

Umamaheshwaram Temple is also known as Kubera Sthanam. There are other Temples here of Lord Ganesha, Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, Lord Janardhana Swamy and also that of Lord Nagaraju.

Umamaheswaram, a temple perched in the cliffs of Nallamala, a northern gateway to Srisailam overlooking the vast Deccan plateau. It is a halt and entry to Nallamala on ancient pilgrim trail to Lord Mallikarjuna, deep in the hills.  Sri Giri or Sri Parvati known as Sri Sailam (Sri’s Mountain) which is mentioned in Markandeya Purana (LVII.15), Kumara Purana (30.45-8) and Agni Purina (109). The Padma Purana notes that on the summit of this auspicious and beautiful mountain resides god Mallikarjuna, who is identified as one of the twelve Jyotirlinga's of India, the holy center of Shaivism.

To reach the temple, one has to ride on very steep and dangerous curves of 5 mile length from the bottom of the hill.  Hill ranges shields the temple and 500 metres of stretch to Papa Nasanam. Through the day hardly any sunlight falls on this stretch, thus maintaining the temperature below normal year round. 

Umamaheswaram is popular for its mysterious papanasanam, a small stream that flows beneath the mountain rocks (from the vast maze of roots join flows in rock strata and form springs that emerge at cliffs). The speciality of Papanasanam is that, the stream flows into a small pit and at any given time, you can scoop out a mug of water and the moment you take some water out, it refills itself within seconds ! The belief is, sprinkling this water over you will wash away your sins and also some traditional folk collect it for their medicinal practice.

Traditions as well as epigraphical sources inform us that the inaccessible shrine of Srisailam is approachable through four places on the plains, generally called the gateways of Srisailam on its four-cordinal directions. They are Tripurantakam in the Prakasam district, in the East, Siddhavatam in the Cuddapah district, in the South, Alampuram in the Jogulamba Gadwal district, in the west and Umamahesvaram in the Nagarkurnool district, in the North. 

Umamaheshwaram Sacred grove 
Sacred Groves are small groves that are specific places which are protected and conserved by the local communities as being the sacred residences of local deities and sites for religious and cultural rituals.
The grove is around Shiva temple situated in the middle of the hill surrounded by forests. Near the temple water percolates through the rocks throughout the year and harbours many non flowering plants. It has the richest flora in Nagarkurnool District. About 400 plants were recorded during floristic studies of which about 150 are perennial. Bryophytes like Riccella, Notothallus, Moss, Marchantia, and Pteridophytes, viz Salaginella species, Pteridium spp, Adiantum incisum, Actiniopteris, Petris etc were observed. 

Human interference has started with tea stalls etc too close to the temple adding to pollution. It is an important grove requiring better protection.

Gateways to Srisailam
The concept of the gateways of Srisailam is traceable from 8th -9th centuries AD. All these places, particularly the four main places developed as centers of pilgrimage.

1. TRIPURANTAKAM: The presiding deity here is called Tripurantakadeva, with Goddess Tripurasundaridevi. This place is also called Kumaragiri. Before the construction of Guntur-Guntakal Railway, pilgrims from coastal Andhra used to pass through this place in their journey to Srisailam.If they go by foot they need not go to Dornala. They can directly go from Erragondapalm, Telugurayacheruvu and reach Chukkalaparvatam, climbing which they can reach Srisailam. Now the bus goes through Dornala. Tripurantakama is historically an important place. There are more than a hundred inscriptions incised on the walls and loose stone slabs in the temple compound. Most of these records belong to the medieval period from eleventh to sixteenth century that is from the period of the western Chalukyas to the Kakatiya period. Several local chiefs like the Velanati Chodas, Kota chiefs, and the Kakatiya rulers and their subordinates endowed the temple of Tripurantakadeva with numerous gifts. The Kayastha chiefs were the great worshippers of this God. Ambadeva of that family having revolted against the Kakatiya Queen Rudramadevi, proclaimed independence in A.D. 1289, to which effect he set up a lengthy record in Sanskrit at this temple. The ground plan of the main temple at Tripurantakam is in star shape with a spacious interior garbhagriha and mandapa. It is datable to the early part of the Western Chalukyas. Pasupata Saivism seems to be the main religion that prevailed here for a long period. The Aradhya Saivas came into prominence from fourteenth century.

2. SIDDHHAVATAM: It is a taluk town in the Cuddapah District. The presiding deity here is Jyoti Siddhavatesvara. Jyothi is another holy place very near to this and its god is called Jyothisvara or jyothinath. These two places are on the bank of Pinakini or Penna River. Pilgrims from South visit this place and proceed to Srisailam. We do not find many inscriptions in this temple.

Pushpagiri is also on the bank of the river Pinakini. It is about 12km. from Cuddapah, its district headquarters. The presiding deity here is Vaidyanathasvami. Indranathasvami and Chennakesava are also popularly worshipped here. The antiquity of the place seems to be early as the Ikshvaku period. An inscription at Nagarjunakonda refers to Pushpagiri, where certain Bodhisri is said to have built here a stone pavilion, i.e. silamandapa. The earliest extant epigraphical record at Pushpagiri is datable to the time of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna II (A.D. 878-914) or III (A.D. 939-967). Therein, it is clearly stated that the place is the southern gateway of Srisailam. Inscriptions of other dynasties like the Western Chalukyas, the Kakatiyas, the later Vaidumbas and the Vijayanagara are noticeable here. The main temple here is a double shrine structure for the deities Chennakesava and Umamaheshvara.

3. ALAMPURAM: On the left bank of Tungabhadra in the Jogulmba Gadwal district is the Western gateway of Srisailam. It is also called Halampura in early inscriptions. God Blalabrahmesvara is the presiding deity here. The Goddess Jogulamba, the main female deity here, is considered to be one of the eighteen Sakthis and hence the place is a Saktipitha like Srisailam. There are nine early temples dedicated to nine Brahmesvaras, namely Bala-Brahma, the main deity, Arka-Brahma, Visva-Brahma, Padma-Brahma, Garuda-Brahma, Kumara-Brahma, Vira-Brahma, Svarga-Brahma and Taraka-Brahma. All these temples are early Chalukya structures with uniform curvilinear vimanas, except the sixth one, which is in Dravidian style. The temples are very important study of early temple architecture in the middle Deccan. There are more than fifty inscriptions in these temples, the earliest being that of Chalukya Vikramaditya I (A.D. 657 - 678) and the latest being those of Krishnadevaraya. Of all the four gateways of Srisailam, Alampuram is the richest in ancient structures and epigraphical records. The main school of Saivism that flourished here is kalamukha and later Pasupata. The influence of Siddha cult at Amalapura in the early period is much said in the local tradition.

4. UMAMAHESHVARAM: The Fourth gateway is Umamaheshvaram about 6 km from Achampeta in Nagarkurnool District. It is situated on the edge of a hill forming the vast plateau, generally called Sri Parvata. God Umamaeshara is the presiding deity. Pilgrims from Telangana region in the former days had generally to pass through this temple. The present bus route does not touch this place; it goes two miles away from the temple. According to the inscriptions preserved in the temple the history of the place starts from the Kakatiya period and its references at other places are traceable to the later Chalukya period, from Trailokyamalla Somesvarai I (A.D. 1042 - 68). The Recherla king Madanayaka (1421 AD - 1430 AD) constructed for the benefit of pilgrims a paved footpath with steps from this place up to Jatararevu covering nearly 50 km up to river Krishna. After crossing river at this ferry point known as Jatararevu they have to climb up the Chukkala-parvatam and walk about 4 km to reach Srisailam.

It is in the picturesque Nallamala forest range around 150 kilometers away from Hyderabad on the Hyderabad-Srisailam highway. A festival is held here annually during February and March to celebrate Maha Shivaratri, the Great Night of Shiva.

In the nearby village of Rangapur, one can visit the famous Darga of Niranjanshalvali, where every year on January 17th night, one can stay witness to colossal processions. Lakhs of people partcipate in the procession, making it a colourful affair.

Fifty km from the temple, en route Srisailam, one can see the Mallela Thirtham which houses lord Shiva. The waterfall here is a huge attraction. In order to reach here, one needs to take a diversion from Ottvarla Palli.

Eighty km from here, one can visit Maddimadugu, one more celebrated temple of Lord Anjaneya which experiences thousands of devotees every Saturday and Sunday.

Near the Umamaheshwaram temple, one can have a tour of the world's largest Amarabad Tiger Sanctuary in Mannanur, the Nallamalla forest along the Krishna River. The river cuts through a picturesque gorge of the Nallamala Hills with deep valleys on both sides. The sanctuary, with a wide area of more than 3000 sq. km.

If one wishes to stay back and enjoy even more the surroundings and mysticism of the Umamaheshwaram temple, one has the option for luxurious accommodation in the nearby town of Achampet. If one opts for budget accommodation, the temple has a guesthouse for themselves, next to the temple. One can stay there for a nominal payment of rupees fifty.

Timings : 7:00 AM - 8:30 PM

Contact : +91-1800-425-46464 

Hinduism in Middle India: Narasimha, The Lord of the Middle - Page 92
Lavanya Vemsani 


  1. Bhagavan, God please save our human language abilities from our people aping western languages. Innumerous? Misterious? How amazing are the workings of our brains ! Vedas don't mention Srisailam or Umamaheshwaram. Show me one proof where Srisailam is mentioned in vedas. Just don't write whatever you want to.


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