Srisailam played a dominant role in our religious, cultural and social history from ancient times. According to pre-historic studies the habitational history of Srisailam goes back to about 30,000-40,000 years. Stone tools of that period are abundantly found at various places of Srisailam. The epigraphical evidences reveal that the history of Srisailam begins with the Satavahanas who were the first empire builder in South India and also the earliest rulers of Andhradesa.
The earliest known historical mention of the Hill-Srisailam can be traced in Pulumavi’s Nasik inscription of 2nd Century A.D. Malla Satakarani, an early member of the Satavahanas got his name after ‘Mallanna’ the deity on this sacred hill. The Ikshavakus (AD 200-300) ruled from their capital Vijayapuri, about 50 Km from Srisailam and so this Kshetram must got their patronage.
The Vishnukundis (AD 375-612) were the devotees of God Sriparvatha Swamy who was none other than Mallikarjuna Swamy, the presiding deity of Srisaila Kshetram. Most of their inscriptions contain the prasasti “Bhagavat Sriparvatha Swamy Padanudhyatanam”.
The Telagunda inscription of Kadamba Santi Varma proves that the Srisailam region was originally included in the Pallava Kingdom (AD 248-575) and subsequently formed the first independent principality of Kadambas (AD 340-450).
The period of Reddi Kings (AD 1325-1448) is the Golden Age of Srisailam that almost all rulers of this dynasty did celebrated service for the temple. Prolaya Vema Reddy, the Reddi King constructed stepped path way to Srisailam and also Pathalaganga. Anavemareddi constructed Veerasiro Mandapam.
The Velama Chiefs constructed flight of steps at Jatararevu, en-route from Umamaheswaram to Srisailam. The major contributions and renovations at Srisailam were taken up by Vijayanagara Rules (AD 1336-1678). The Second Harihararaya of Vijayanagara empire constructed the Mukhamandapam of Mallikarjuna Temple and also raised a Gopuram on the Southern side of the temple complex. Srikrishnadevaraya visited the shrine in 1516 AD on his return journey after a war with Gajapathis and constructed Salumandaps on both sides of the car street. It also taken the credit of the construction of Rajagopuram of the temple by him.
Later the Moghal Emperors conqured this region and this place was given as Jagir to Nawabs of Kurnool.After the fall of Moghal Emperors this place came under the control of Nizam of Hyderabad. When the Nizam cede the Kurnool District to the British East India Company in 1800 AD Major Manro took procession of the District and entrusted the management to the authorities of the District Court.In 1929 a committee was constituted by the British Government for the management of the temple. In 1949 the temple came under the control of Endowments Department and attained its past glory after it was opened by the road during the year 1956.
The Story of Parvatha:
Parvatha, son of Silada Maharshi is said to have performed penance, pleased Siva and made him agree to live on his body. He also prayed Siva that all the Devathas and sacred waters of all theerthas permanently remain on his top and all the Devotees irrespective of cast or creed visiting the scared place should be blessed with the Moksha. God Siva granted these desired of Parvatha. The Parvatha assumed the shape big Hill ‘Srisailam’ and siva lived on its top as Sriparvatha Swamy.
The Story of Arunasura:
According to Hindu Mythology, Godess Adisakthi acquired the shape of Bhramaram (bee) to kill the cruel demon Arunasura and after words settled at Srisailam as Bhramaramba Devi. It is said that here the neck portion of sathi Devi was placed during Daksha Yagna and hence this place has become as Sakthi Peetam.
The Story of Chandravathi:
According to literary sources, Chandravathi the daughter of the ruler of Chandraguptha Pattana situated near Srisailam on the opposite bank of the river Krishna ran away from her father who made amorous advances to her, went up the hill and settled there few servants.
One day she found that one of her cows standing above a natural rock formation resembling the Sivalinga and shedding its milk over it. The princes in the dream were informed that the piece of the stone was a self-manifested Linga of God Sriparvatha Swamy and took to worshipping it. In her worship Chandravathi offers garlands of Jasmine (Mallika Pushpam) regularly. One-day God Siva appeared to her and Chandravathi prayed the God to wear the Jasmine garland (Mallika Pushpamala) in his head permanently. There after Sriparvatha Swamy came to be known as Mallikarjuna Swamy (Mallika – Architha – Swamy)
The Story of Vasumathi:
According to one story Vasumathi the darughter of a Rishi did penance about Brahmadeeva on this Hill. Brahma Pleased and appeared to her. Then Vasumathi asked him to grant her the name ‘Sri’ and also associated it with the name of this hill Srisailam, Brahma granted her desire and after that his Kshetram named as ‘Sri-sailam’.
The Story of Vriddha Mallikarjuna:
There is another story that princess in stanch devotion wished to marry God Siva and always spent her time in worshipping him. One night in dream Siva tells her to follow a block bee and stay where it settles till his arrival. She wakes up from dream, found a bee, follows it and reaches the mountain of Srisailam. The bee finally settles on a jasmine shrub and princes waits there. She pines Siva for several days. Meanwhile the Chenchus nourish her with honey and forest fruits every day.
At last Siva appers before her with and old and wrinkled face and said that in search of her, he become old. The princes married him. On the occasion of marriage, the Chenchus invited the couple for dinner and offiered meat and drink. Siva did not accept that meal though the princes tried to insist him. At last Siva left the spot and went away. The princes called him for several times and he did not listen to her. Then she cursed him to become a stone (Linga) and he became Vriddha Mallikarjuna Swamy.
The Story of Chenchu Mallayya:
The local tribal Chenchus, states that on one occasion Siva come to Srisailam forest as a hunter, fell on love with a Chenchu girl, married her and settled down on the hill. Basing of this story they look upon Mallikarjuna Swamy as their relation and call him as Chenchu Mallayya. This story is also depected on the Prakaram wall of the temple.