Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swamy has made his spiritual presence on the hills of Srisailam range in between the Nallamalla forests. There is a belief that people must visit the temple after taking holy bath in Paatala Ganga which is nearby the Srisailam temple. It is a lake which presents, near the temple down the Srisailam hills. The word "Paatala means Underground and the Ganga represents water. Hence, Paatala Ganga is named because of its underground level existence near the Srisailam hill. The water in Paatala Ganga is treated as the holy water and equally spiritual to the water of the Ganges in Varanasi. The water is from Krishna and Penna river. The lake is near the Srisailam Dam which also one of the biggest dams in India. One can see the back side of the Srisailam dam from the Paatala Ganga Lake.
Reaching this Paatala Ganga is little difficult, because of its existence below the mountain. Hence, the government and temple department has made the easiest way to reach the lake which is the "Rope way". In Srisailam, people reach the Paatala Ganga lake through climbing down in boxes of Ropeway which works on electricity. There is no need of taking hard roadways and difficult stairs to reach Paatala Ganga to perform holy baths before the visit to the temple. Hence, rope way made the task easier for the devotees.
The ropeway is situated near the Paataleshwara Sadanam accommodation in Srisailam. In fact, one must reach the end of the Srisailam hill to reach the lake. Fortunately, we got to stay in Paataleshwara Sadan and hence it was sort of easy to reach the rope way counters. To increase the entertainment and enlightenment factors, the temple department has also introduced boating on Paatala Ganga Lake in collaboration with APTDC (Tourist Department). The tickets of both rope way and boating can be taken at the same counter. It costs 120 rupees per head for both rope way and boating.
The route of this rope way is comparatively less distance, but the beauty and the scenic views from the top of the hill to the underground lake are kind of difficult to express. The view is like a wonder and astounding. Firstly, that's a hill which indeed means the Greenery. Secondly, the lake is bordered by the thick forest range of Srisailam hills and most importantly, the existence of Srisailam Dam, elevates the beauty of the Paatala Ganga.
The rope way process is simple, but the time it consumes is really hectic. We experience a lot of time consuming factors when we visited. Our whole family around 13 members has visited the Paatala Ganga Lake and we chose rope way as the mode of transportation from hill top to the underground level. Likewise, 97% people choose rope way to visit the lake. Hence the rope way is always busy and crowded. After taking the tickets, people have to form a queue to get into the boxes of the ropeway. During the queue time, a person can sit on chairs that are provided by the department. Hence, people need not to worry about standing in queues for long time. While going down, the time consumption is little less when compared to returning to the hill.
This rope way provides 8 boxes for the visitors to court in. Four boxes go down and remaining four climbs up consequently in regular time intervals. There exists a huge electronic wheel and an electronic iron rope which carries people in those cute boxes. The functioning of the wheel is so appealing. The rope way hosts only four people per box, which means 16 people can go at a shot both up and down. Try to choose the first box among the four because that gives you the awesome panoramic view of the whole scene.
As a family, we all courted the boxes of the rope way altogether at one shot and there started the real fun. While climbing down one can view the beautiful landscape of Srisailam hills, the dam and the Paatala Ganga lake. Covered by the huge trees and the mountain rocks, the green water of the Paatala Ganga lake looks amazing and breath taking. If you are a nature lover or a photographer, you will get best aerial shots from the boxes on rope way. Because taking shots from the air is always different and rare when compared to still portraits.
After climbing down, people can go for boating or they can just go to take holy baths in the Paatala Ganga lake and worship the Goddess Ganga and enlighten ourselves with the history of the place. We all visited the Paatala Ganga lake and some of us went for boating too. We started in the late afternoon around 4 pm and we started back at 5.50pm and we reached the top of the hill around 7pm. Imagine, we had to be in queue for around 1 whole hour. Because it was evening and also 6pm is the last time slot of Ropeway for the people who climb down, which means people can visit the Paatala Ganga lake till 6 pm in the evening.
We stood in long queues to get into the boxes on rope way. Most of the people reach the ropeways in the evening times to get back to the temple premises after enjoying the boating and all. Hence, the rush will be more in the last slot of ropeway timings. But one need not to worry about the facilities because one can find stores which sell food and water. People can sit on chairs if they feel uncomfortable standing in long queues.
Altogether it was a great experience for us. Though we felt little uneasy with the limited amount of boxes of rope way and the time consumption, the view was one of a kind. A person hardly can see such a view in a lifetime and hence it would be fine for a person to wait in such long queues to witness such a beautiful location and hear about stories which gives you goosebumps. And most importantly, if you go with a huge family, it would be even more fun to hang out with all of them and exploring such a huge lake like Paatala Ganga...!!