Kadalivana, Akkamahadevi Caves, Srishailam, Telangana 509326.
On the ranges of Nallamalai Hills in Kurnool district, Seemandhra. Reached by cable car, boat ride and some walking. 10 km from Srisailam, Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, 518102.
NOV to JUL daily 10:30.
Adults INR 380, Children INR 265.
|Classification:||Erosional Cave Sandstone Cave|
|Guided tours:||self guided, D=4 h, Cave: D=1 h.|
|Address:||Akka Mahadevi Guhalu, APTDC Ropeway, Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh 518101, Tel: +91-, Fax: +91-,|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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అక్కమహాదేవి గుహలు (Akka Mahadevi Guhalu, Akka Mahadevi Caves) is a religious site, a Hindu cave temple, but unlike 99 % of the Indian cave temples it was not artificially dug. The caves are a series of erosional caves in reddish sandstone. The sandstone got cracks by uplift and rain water from the surface flowing through the cracks eroded the soft sandstone. Most look like widened cracks, narrow, high and only a few meters long. But there is one cave which is much longer, following the crack almost straight into the sandstone.
From the jetty where the boats land, the huge entrance arch of the main cave is already visible. Its a 10 minutes walk to the cave. The arch is 60 m wide and 5 m high. Several cave passages lead about 150 m deep into the rock, at the end they become quite narrow. The site is a popular religious shrine and dedicated to Lord Shiva. Famous is a so-called Shiva lingam, a natural pilar which is interpreted as the penis of god Shiva. It is located at the end of one passage which is quite narrow and only 1 m high in the final part. To reach the lingam visitors have to crawl.
The caves were named after Akka Mahadevi, who was a great Saint and philosopher of 12th century. She contributed to the Kannada Bhakti literature and supported the Veerashaiva Bhakti movement. According to legend, she offered prayers to the Shivalingam and performed penance in the caves. Another name of the cave is స్వయంభూ శివ మందిరం (Swayambhu Shiva Mandir).
The site is located at the river Krishna, on the northern side of the Sri Mallikarjuna Reservoir. The river Krishna was dammed for hydroelectrical power near Eegalapenta and has become a popular water sports location, there are numerous boats on the river. Akka Mahadevi Caves are reached by a 1-hour-long boat ride on the river, and is located on the northern side of the river in Telangana. The trip starts with at Srisailam with a cable car ride to the lake where the boat is entered. The cable car is called the APTDC Ropeway, which seems to be the Indian name for cable car, while Boting is the Indian name for the boat ride. The river is the border to Telangana, and while the trip starts in Andhra Pradesh, the caves are actually in Telangana. We nevertheless listed it for Andhra Pradesh, because most websites list it so and it is the major tourist attraction of Srisailam city. There is a boat daily at 10:30, so you should start the tour early, because you either have to walk down or take the cable car.
The caves are actually open all day without restriction, and there is a 5 km long mud road from Hyderabad-Srisailam Road. Its only suitable for 4WD with a high clearance and usually inaccessible during monsoon. It is obviously the way how the numerous vendors reach the cave which sell snacks and tea at the cave entrance. The caves are closed during the monsoon, typically from AUG to OCT.
Nearby, about 5 km to the southwest, is another cave known as కదలి (అరటి) వనం గుహ (Kadali (Banana) Vanam Guha, Kadali Vanam Cave) or Kadalivan. It is also a popular place of worship and the place where Akka Mahadevi attained Nirvana and Akalkot Maharaj meditated for 300 years. The huge shelter, which is big enough for 500 pilgrims, is located at the end of a side valley. It seems there are special events where hundreds of pilgrims walk to this cave. The cable car starts at 6 in the morning, special boats bring the pilgrims to the Akka Mahadevi Caves, then they have to ferry with private boats across a side branch of the Krishna river. The jetty is the start of the trail, from here it's a 7 km walk mostly on poor trails through forest. The early opening of the cable car and the boats to Akka Mahadevi Caves are organized by the AP TOURISM Department for groups. This is the only possibility to get there, there is no road to the cave. It's a rather expensive and strenuous trip, which seems to be done only by pilgrims