As any “pious” devotee, we pray to every God when in times of need and make promises to visit Him, only to keep postponing it. On those lines, we had a long pending visit to Srisailam temple. We decided to absolve our sins and finally make a visit to Srisailam, close to one year after we had actually promised the Lord !
We started from Hyderabad on Saturday in our friend’s Santro at 5 AM, we had planned for a quick one day trip. The Hyderabad-Srisailam Highway was in excellent condition and we reached Srisailam by 9 AM. The drive to Srisailam through the forest is an awesome experience, a must do, atleast once in your life.
After a very quick darshan of Lord Mallikarjuna and Goddess Brahmarambha, the main purpose of our visit was complete by 9.30 AM ! While downing our breakfast of Idly and Dosa at the restaurant near Hotel Ilapuram, we decided to check out the Mallelatheertham Waterfalls, we heard about the waterfalls recently. It would also justify our trip, 8 hours round trip for half an hour temple visit needs self-justification !
Road to Mallelatheertham
The Mallelatheertham Waterfalls are located around 60 kms from Srisailam and 170 kms from Hyderabad. If you are travelling from Hyderabad, you have to cross the Munnanur Forest checkpost and proceed upto 10-15 kms until you reach a small village junction called Vatavarlapalli, the straight road takes you to Srisailam, take your left to Mallelatheertham. If you look closely, in one corner of the road, you will find a rusty, iron board with directions to the waterfall.
From there, Mallelatheertham is around 7 kms on a dusty road. Dusty is an understatement, we realised this when we got down from the car, the pale green car had turned red !
The deep, dark woods and their chattering companion
From the entrance to the falls, one has to climb down close to 350 steps to reach the falls. At the end of steps, the sight that greets you makes you wonder if you have actually stepped into paradise !
The scene looks right out of Robert Frost’s poem – “the woods are lovely, dark and deep” ! The forest here is so thick that the whole place is very cool and dark, the sunlight has to struggle to enter. It was mid-morning but it was cool inside the forest, we could feel the moisture and the chillness in the air.
Turn to the left, and lo, the forest beauty cascades down a cliff like a shower of jasmines.
Mallelatheertham means the Jasmine stream, it probably got its name from the pure white colour of the falls.
The beauty of the waterfall lies in the elegance, it hides itself inside the dense forest. The falls are seasonal as they are fed by rain water, you wouldn’t be able to see any water in summer or if the monsoons are not heavy. The best time to visit would immediately post monsoon till around November to December.
Serenity at its best
If you are looking for a place to find some rest for your mind, Mallelatheertham is the place to be. One look at the forest is enough to calm your mind.
The chattering waterfall seems to be telling you that all is well with the world.
For the more adventurous kind, you could climb the nearby rocks and go right under the falls and take a shower but be very careful, the rocks are very slippery and even a small fall could be dangerous.
We walked to the other side of the falls and sat on the rocks, totally bewitched. We regretted not having taken our camera along, we had been to Srisailam too many times and we had no intention of sight-seeing. We had to make do with our Nokia N900 mobile phone. Even through a mobile phone’s lens, if the pictures look good, the credit goes to the heavenly looking waterfalls !
Sitting on the bank and staring at the waterfalls, made us feel closer to divinity, probably even closer than we felt inside the temple.
One of the reasons you would think about God at Mallelatheertham is the monkey menace ! There are lot of monkeys but they do not disturb you unless you have some eatables with you. There were some people picnicking and cooking nearby, that seemed to have excited the monkeys and they were making their presence felt.
The waterfalls end in a pool that flows further down and forms a mini waterfall before it becomes a stream and disappears into the forest.
After spending more than an hour, we had to tear our eyes off the mesmerizing scene before us. The noon sun was trying to break through the forest ranks as we walked back.
If you soaked in the beauty, be prepared to soak in sweat as you climb the 350 steps back !
We resumed our journey back home, on the way, we stopped for lunch at Mannanur checkpost and had lunch at a restaurant set up for the welfare of tribals, most employees belong to the tribes of Srisailam. People are very warm and the food delicious !
Mallelatheertham was the only thing in our mind for the next 3 hours till we reached Hyderabad.
Mallelatheertham can be visited as a day trip from Hyderabad, you could combine it with a trip to Srisailam.
The falls are closed after 6 PM. The woods become deserted and dark, it is not safe to stay here after sunset.
There are no stalls selling food/water, advisable to carry a bottle of water, will be of help while climbing back.
Beware of monkeys if you are carrying food packets.
Since they are seasonal falls, the best time to visit is after monsoons and before winter sets in.