Srisailam is one of the greatest Saivite shrines in India and it constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva. The presiding deities here are Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi).
Srisailam was famous in the 4th century A.D, according to Nasik inscription in this inscription mountain was divided into 3 parts. One of them was sirithan. Later it was called as Nallamala. Nasik inscription was carved by pulomavi belongs to satavahana dynasty. He ruled Deccan from 102 to 130 A.D. thus; about Srisailam primarily we can see in this inscription only.
Satavahanas: Thomis was the oldest dynasty, which ruled Andhra. Their rule was ended in 3rd century. Ikshavakas came to powers that were Samanthas to satavahanas. Ikshavakus were also known as Sriparvatiyas. They built Vijayapuri near Nagarjunakonda and ruled part of East Deccan.
Later this East Deccan was ruled by Vasishta putrakanthamala defeated by Pugeeya, Hiranyaka and Dhanaka. This was spread in between Srisaila hill to Gunjdlakamma up to Bay of Bengal. Hiranyaka Brahmin ruler fought to brought up Brahminism. Srisailam flourished during his period because he was devotee of Lord Shiva.
Srimukhavarma of Pallavas, Subedar of Satavahana princess of Kotanaga family and occupied the kingdom. Later he defeated purushadatta king of Ikshavaka and occupied. Thus Srisailam also came under control of Pallavas in 3rd century.
Pallavas: Trilochana Pallava deforests the Srisailam area and makes it for shelter to Brahmins. Later he was defeated by Karikala Chols and became king of this kingdom.
Vishnukundinas: 2nd Rudrasena of Vakata dynasity belongs to latter period of 4th century. He was married Prabhavathi, daughter of 2nd Chandra Gupta of Magadha. Prjbhavathi ruled this dynasty with her 3 sons after demise of second Rudrasena. During this period Srisailam was under them. Srisailam was developed by both dynasties that is Vakatakas and Magadhas.
Kakatiyas: This is one 1370 A.D of the dynasty which. ruled Deccan. They were the followers of Chalukyas. After death of VI Vikramaditya, Kakatikyas dethrone the Chalukyas and occupied the throne. They combine all the Telugu people areas and make a big kingdom. 2nd Prolaya ruled between 1110-1150A.D., defeated Chalukya and brought Telangana under his kingdom. Rudramadevi ruled between 1262-1296 A.D. Prataparudra became king. He defeated the opponents and established peace in this region. He made some habitation by destroying the forest area. It was handed over to his chieftain Patytasahni. Prataparudra and his wife worshipped Srisaila Mallikarjuna and offered Tulabhara. It means with their physical weight they given offerings to God. Peketi Kommaiah given as dana some of his kingdom to lord Mallikarjuna for performing noontime Pujas
Reddy rajus of Kondaveedu: After decline of Kakatiya dynasty, two dynasties of Reddyrajus founded by Prolaya Vemareddy and Vijayanagara kingdom. Prolaya Vemareddy occupied Srisailam and he paved the steps path to Patalaganga. He also constructed steps to Ahobilam. Anavema redddy occupied Srisailam and Tripurantakam from Vijayanagara kings and constructed Veerasiromandapam in 1370A.D. Vijayanagaras occupied Srisailam in 1422A.D. by defeating Reddy rajus.
Vijayanagara Kings: 2nd Harihararaya devotee of Srisaila Mallikarjuna constructed entry face (Mukhamandapa) shrine to Lord Mallikarjuna temple. Vithalamba wife of 2nd Harihara also constructed steps to Patalaganga and there she founded Vithaleswara statue. Saluva Tirumalaiah given many danas (offerings) to Srisailam temple. Saluva dynasty people given many offering god. They offered lands gardens and constructions to the temple.
Srikrishna devaraya divided Srisailam and makes it as a separate state. During this period Srisailam got fame and due importance was given to the temple. Parvathanayaka, follower of Srikrishnadevaraya coated copper layer to Garbhalaya and golden layer to Mukhamandapa in 1513 A.D. In1529 Chandrasekharamatya, minister was constructed kalyanamandapa and chinnagudi. Sagalamarri village was also built near by. Salakaraju constructed yagnasala.
Rulers of Andhra viz Satavahanas, Ikshawakas, Vishnukundinas, Kadambas, Pallavas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Reddyrajus, Vijayanagaras, Maharashtras worshipped Srisailam Mallikarjuna as their Chief God. Of the above dynasities, Kakatiyas paid greater attention towards the construction of temple. Ganapathi deva spent every year 12 thousand golden coins for the development of Srisailam. Mailamahadevi sister of Ganapathi deva constructed temple for Mallikarjuna swamy.
it is said that ruling period of Reddy rajus was the golden age of Srisailam. During this age they make Srisailam become popular visiting place to devotees with the effort of construction of steps to reach Srisailam. They also constructed Mandapam in the temple premises. It was said that devotees offered their body parts viz tongue, hands, legs, and head to god in this Virasiro Mandapam.
Another important dynasty that struggle for the development of Srisailam was Vijayanagara rulers. 2nd Harihararaya was constructed south facing shrine. Srikrishna Devaraya declared Srisailam as a separate state. He was took up constructions for temple Rajagopuram, rest shelters for pilgrims on both sides to chariot street. Srikrishna Devaraya carved a wall around the temple with rich sculpture.
Ruler of Maharashtra, Chatrapathi Sivaji was also served for the development of Srisailam. He took up the works like construction of North shrine to the temple and allotted some money for the maintenance of temple and allotted separate army force for the protection of the temple.
Place of Sri Sailam In Literature:
These oldest centuries Srisailam mentioned in all Puranas. It is mentioned in 20th chapter of Padmapuranam uttarakhanda 11th chapter of Markandeya puranam, 6th chapter of Shivapurana Rudrasamhita, Adityapuranam, and Mahabharatha Vanaparvam, 80th chapter of Bhaghvatha Dasamaskandam, 40th chapter of sheshadarmam of Harivamsam. Skandapuranm, one of the 18 Puranas, 64th chapter of Srisailakandam describe the complete features of Srisailam.
Adisankar's 'Shivanandhalahari', Someswara's 'Kathasarithsagarm', Siddhanadhuni's Rasaratnakaram, Bhavabhuthi Malathimadhvam Bhanabhathu's Kadhambari, Sriharsha's 'Ratnavali', Nannaya Bharatam, Jakkannas Vikramarka charitra, Palkuriki Samantha's Baswapuranam
Beside these there are many book in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada.Marathi described about Srisailam. The foreign travelers like Hueyanthsang, Ithsinghansinikicthen etc had written about the Srisailam in there books.