The unexplored Tiger Reserve in India that should be on your bucketlist!

Photo of The unexplored Tiger Reserve in India that should be on your bucketlist! by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Rocky cliffs, woody slopes of the hills and the vibrance of wildlife and flora and fauna make the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve a breathtaking and picturesque experience for all. It is the largest tiger reserve in India. However, amongst the many tiger reserves found in the country and the more popularly known and visited ones such as Jim Corbett and Ranthambore etc., the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve still remains a secret to many.

Renamed in 1992 as the Sanjay Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, it is still known by its original name with the locals. Spread across 3568 sq. kms over five districts, Nalgonda, Mahaboobnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur, Nagarjunsagar is much more than just a tiger reserve though. One part of the reserve was historically maintained as a hunting reserve for the royalty of Hyderabad and its guests, however a depleting tiger count of just 80 has since then made the authorities take a lot of efforts to save the tiger population. It has also been the ward of Project Tiger since 1983.

Things to see:

Wildlife at the reserve

Photo of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Boasting of having over 150 species of Avians, the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is extremely rich in biodiversity and is sure to be an adventurous journey for you. The animals at the reserve to name a few are the Indian Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian Python, Sloth Bear, Chinkara, Blackbuck, Giant Squirrel, King Cobra, Mugger Crocodile and the Indian Peafowl etc.

Note: A Visit to the reserve requires you to obtain a permission from the field director and night driving is absolutely not permitted in the park.

Ancient Ruins

Photo of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Long before the reserve was a safe haven for the animals, it stood as the ancient Buddhist town of Nagarjuna Viswa Vidyalayam guided by the Buddhist scholar Nagarjuna in 150 A.D. This town which has been long dead still stays alive amongst the ruins of the place with a section of the ruins mixed in with the 3rd century forts of the Kaktiya dynasty along the banks of Krishna.

Stunning waterfalls

Photo of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Krishna River, the oldest river in the country which flows through 130 kms of the reserve is an important source of irrigation and energy for most of its residents. However, it is a visual treat for visitors in the monsoon season with its stunning waterfalls and views that flow during the season.

Cave Temples

Photo of Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Neha Bhise Sadalge

Holding immense religious significance, these caves hold a significant religious importance in various ancient texts. The popular ones in this area are Dattatreya Bhilam, Kadalivanam, Palankasari, Akka Mahadevi Bhilam and Umaa Maheshwaram. Since most of these cave temples are reachable via a trek, it attracts not just devotes but adventure enthusiasts as well.

When to go

Although it is accessible throughout the year, the best time to visit the reserve is from October-March when the weather is more conducive to provide favourable conditions for travel.

Getting there

By Air: Nearest airport is Hyderabad (216 kms) from the reserve.

By Train: Marchelna is the nearest station to the reserve (85 kms). It can also be reached via Hyderabad Station which is connected to all the major metros in the country.

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


Accommodation facilities are available in guesthouses and cottages in the reserve itself, near the temples within the sanctuary.

However, there are better options available a little further away at Cottages at Mannanur, Mayuri Guest House at Domalapenta and at APTDC in Srisailam and Dornal starting as low as Rs. 1000 per room per night.

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