Atmakur (Kurnool): Over 1.2 lakh have been trekking through the 55-km-long arduous forest route to reach the abode of Lord Mallikarjuna–Srigiri in Srisailam for the holy festival of Sivaratri, which is just two days away. Official estimates indicate over 2.5 lakh will visit the temple this year for the festival. The forests reverberated with the devotees chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
The devotees trek the forest area from Venkatapuram, located at the foot of the Nallamala forests. They wind their way to the destination via Nagaluti (Anjaneya and Veerabhadra temples), Kattulakonda, Korkelakonda, Gajjelakonda, Tamarlakunta, Bheemuni Kolanu, Kailasadwaram, Hatakeswaram and Sakshi Ganapati temple.
Charitable public provide food free of cost to the thousands of devotees at Nagaluti. According to ancient records dating back to the British period, people from Maharashtra and Karnataka travelled to the Srisailam temple via the Nallamala forest route.
The hundi collections of the Srisailam temple are directly proportional to the increase in the devotees reaching the abode on foot. The devotees prefer to walk during night time on account of sweltering heat during day time.