Nagarjunsagar

Fast Facts

Area 356,000 ha
Altitude 400-917 m
Maximum Temperature 42°C
Minimum Temperature 12°C
Languages Spoken Telugu, Hindi, and English
Best Time to Visit November to March

With an area of 356,000 hectares and sprawling over five districts of central Andhra Pradesh, the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) is the largest tiger reserve in the country. It has also been one of the largest wildlife habitations in the country. Off the regular tourist circuit, a visit to the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve helps in gaining a closer look into a forest that was almost given up as lost until a few years ago. It is not possible to see the entire reserve at one go but one trip can always lead to another.

Location

The sanctuary lies in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in the catchment area of the Krishna River. The region comprises five districts of the state namely Kurnool, Prakasam, Guntur, Nalgonda and Mahboobnagar. The sanctuary extends between latitude 16°15¢-16°45¢ in the North and longitude 78°45¢-80°00¢ in the East. It is surrounded by the Nallamalai Hills on the southern and eastern side while the Krishna River forms the boundary on the other side. The sanctuary is 13 km from Macherial.

Best Time To Visit

The climate of this region is hot and arid. Summer months are especially unbearable with the maximum temperature going above 40°C in the moths of March-June. Winters are pleasant with the minimum temperature hovering around 10°C. Rains are brought about by the southwest monsoon that prevails from June to October.

Tourists Attractions

Evolved out of different needs, the town of Srisailam is divided into three zones. Srisailam or the original pilgrim town centers round the age-old temples dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna and Goddess Bhramaramba, incarnations of Shiva and Parvati. A fairly stocked marketplace and several lodges for pilgrims lie alongside the temple quadrangle. About eight kilometers from the temple town is Sunnipenta, another ridge top where most offices and a few eating houses are located. Also located here is the office of the Project Tiger and the Field Director. The dam site on the river Krishna-the Srisailam Hydel Projects-makes up the third zone.

Nestling in the Nallamalai Hill ranges, an offshoot of the Eastern Ghats, with cliffs, gorges, ridges and plateaus, endowed with a variety of flora and fauna, the NSTR protects a large portion of the once flourishing ecological system that existed here. Without having the benefit of being an erstwhile royal game preserve, the forest in this area was always open to human visitation. Pilgrims from all over southern India carved out routes through the forest to reach Srisailam. It was in 1973 that the area was declared a sanctuary and incorporated under Project Tiger a decade later.

A little over 6 sq km in area, the Rollapadu grasslands near Srisailam are dotted with dry, thorny bushes and is home of about a hundred blackbucks. From a distance, one can observe families of blackbucks out on their breakfast trail, a couple of bustards gazing at the horizon while taking a tentive foot forward. At present, day visits to Rollapadu Sanctuary is permitted.

Places Around Nagarjunsagar

Mannanur is a pre-existing tribal hamlet with a comfortably furnished camp bungalow. Next to the bungalow are a crocodile pond and an environment education center. From Mannanur, one can explore the western corner of the tiger reserve. The forest area here is thickly set with miscellaneous timber species with local names like Nallamadi (Terminalia tomentosa), Chirumanu (Anogeissus latifolia), etc., as well as stretches of teak forest. One can also spot spotted deers, sambars, and nilgais here.

Nagarjunsagar is the place where excavations have unearthed many historical monuments belonging to 1st and 2nd century AD. The place is also home to a large dam built on the river Krishna.

How To Reach

By Air - The nearest airport is at Hyderabad, 316 km away from Srisailam. Hyderabad is connected to many important cities in India including Delhi and Mumbai, the major international gateways.

By Rail - Srisailam is connected through Hyderabad as well as via Markapur (85 km away) on the South Central Railway.

By Road - Srisailam is 190 km from Kurnool, 220 km from Guntur, 470 km from Chennai, and 85 km from Mannanur.

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