Tiger, the national animal of our country with its majestic look can make anybody awestruck for some moments. With their ultimate flexible and camouflaging bodies, they are considered the best predator on the world.
Unfortunately there has been a fall in the numbers of the living tigers in the country evidenced by the recent survey. The count has fallen a lot over years from 40,000 in the last century. But it is still nice to know that the tiger conservation projects carried out in the recent past have taken India as a land that constitutes over 50% of the world’s tiger population. Telangana also plays its part in the conservation of tigers. The Tiger Reserve at Telangana, the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest in the world as of today.
Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve of Telangana is located in the high elevated hills of the nallamalla range. The dense forest and the rushing river water make it the perfect location for the Tiger Reserve. One gets to see the wild in the best way in the Reserve. One can see many wild species here. Parts of the Reserve are also taken as camping grounds. This along with the Munnanur Forest serves as the place for Wild Life Photographers as well.
Historians have in many books mentioned this place as the habitat for the Buddhist Monk and scholar, Nagarjuna who spent his days here with his disciples and established the Nagarjuna University. The University was later shifted to the banks of Nagarjunsagar reservoir.
Location and Topography of the place:
Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the World’s largest Tiger reserve and spreads over a vast area in the Nallamalla Forest Range. It covers an area of 5937 Sq.Km. Visitors cannot cover the entire Reserve in a day’s visit. This area is further divided as core area, buffer area and a sanctuary area. The spread of the core area itself covers 3568 Sq.Km, the buffer area of the Reserve is about 1175 Sq.Km. The Reserve also consists of Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary running to 1194 Sq.Km. The wildlife sanctuary is also part of the Nandyal and the Giddalur Divisions and is considered a prolonged core.
The nallamala forest region is an offshoot in Telangana’s South Eastern Ghats.It is rich in flora and fauna. The Krishna River from its source at Sahayadri Hills flows through Maharashtra and Karnataka and finally flows through the Nallamala Hills covering more than 130 kms of area. The dense forest is houses many rare species like Spotted Deer, Mouse Deer, Black Bucks, Sambhars, Chousingha Nilgai, Wild Boar, Indian Giant Squirrel, Tree Shrew, Rayel, Mugger Crocodiles, Wild dogs, Jackals, Wolves, Foxes, Sloth Bear, Panthers, Bengal Tigers, Indian Leopard, sloth bear, Indian Python and many more species of reptiles.
The Nallamalla Forest is known for the rare plants which are grown is large number. Many medicinal plants are also found here. Ayurvedic scholars and practitioners often come to the forest range for their research. Many animals and species are also sent from the Reserve to other reserves and parks and vice versa. Recently, in Feb 2014, large of deer from Nehru Zoological Park has been sent to Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger reserve.
The Forest Range is also rice in sceneries. The many waterfalls in this Nallamala Forest area are a true delight to the eyes of the tourists. The forest also serves as the route for the Srisailam Lord Shiva temple which is around 75 Kms drive.
Munnunur vaillage is considered the entry point for the Nallamala Forest. It is a rich village and also has the check post. The number of vehicles crossing the check post is approximately 1200. However, the number doubles on weekends. The number of tourists increases accordingly. The tourists take more than a day to move around the forest. It is the habitation to a large number of rare species.
Photography, trekking and traditional boating are the other ways to enjoy while in the forest. The State Government has taken measures to ensure that the wildlife is not disturbed. No vehicle is allowed in the Tiger Reservoi9r between 9pm to 6 am in the morning. The use of motor boats is banned in theNagarjunsagar Dam reservoir. Measures are also taken to check on the tiger poaching or that of any other rare animal in the Reservoir.
The 2010 Tiger Census reveals the number of tigers in the forest between 53 and 66. The Nallamala Forest is under Project Tiger under the Government of India. A nominal fee of Rs.10 is collected at the check post towards Forest Environment Conservation Fund and for the welfare of Chenchu tribals living in this forest area.
Highest View Point of the Forest:
Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve also has a few more tourist places to visit. The Farahabad of Amrabad Mandal is located at an altitude of 145 metres above sea level is a perfect view point of the dense forest area of the tiger reserve. The Hill station presents a pleasant climate. The name of the hill station is hence named ‘Mount Pleasant’. The State Government in association with the Forest Department arranges daily trips to Farahabad View Point from Mannanur Check post.
Trip to Farahabad:
The Department charges Rs. 500 per trip of duration from Munnanur Check post. The trips are from 7 AM to 4 PM daily.
The Department also organizes Safari rides for the tourists in the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger reserve with the Jeep vehicle. The tourists thus get to see the tiger in their natural wild habitat. The tickets for the Safari rides can be purchased at the forest office located in this area.
Trekking and hiking routes are also available in this forest. However, one should take the help of the forest officials for this.
Best Time to visit: October to April
Where to Stay:
Tourists and adventurists can find good and comfortable accommodation at Forest Rest House at Mannanur. They can also avail multiple stay options near Nagarjunsagar Dam and Srisailam dam.
The distance from Hyderabad to Farahabad View point is 156 Kms. This would be a 4 hours drive from Hyderabad.
The distance from Hyderabad to Munnanur in Mahabubnagar District is 138 Kms . The drive here would be a 3 hour drive from Hyderabad.
How to Reach the Place:
By Road: Munnanur is located to the south of Hyderabad. It is about 138 Kms by road. The visitors may board the public buses from Mannanur from Mahabubnagar. One may also avail Public and Private Transport from Achampet to Farahabad and Mannanur.
By Train: Nearest Railway Stations are at Wanaparthy which is 129 kms and Arepalli near Gadwal which is 153 kms away from Munnanur.
By Air: Nearest Airport is at Shamshabad, Hyderabad which is 150 Kms from Munnanur Forest Check post.