Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the only Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh. In India this is the largest Tiger Reserve. Area covered by this reserve is more than 359 Sq.KM. This Reserve was renamed in 1992 as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. In 1978 this reserve was declared as sanctuary. During the regime of Britishers south reserve was under the control of Britishers and North reserve was under the control of Hyderabad royal princess. This reserve was used by them for the hunting purpose. Nearest city for this reserve is Srisailam.
This reserve covers 5 districts namely Guntur, Prakasham, Kurnool, Mahboobnagar and Nalgonda. In 1983 Tiger Protection Act was introduced with the intension to protect the Tigers and to stop hunting. Due to this Protection Act, number of tigers in the reserves increased by 130 %. As per the survey in 1989 number of big cats are 94.
What to see in Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve: Major attraction in this reserve are Tigers. In this reserve Nagarjunasagar dam and Srisailam dam are situated. This reserve is home to more than 150 bird species. Apart from these bird species tourists can also see Chinkara, Sambar Deer, Chital, Indian Pangolin, Sloth bear, Indian Leopard. Annual rainfall in this reserve is 1000 MM. Three types of forests can be found here. They are Deccan thorn scrub forests, Hardwickia Forest, Sothern tropical dry mixed deciduous Forests.
Thousands of plant species is another attraction in this reserve. Major plant species are Silk Plants (Albizia Spp), Teak, Salai, Anjan Trees, Odcha, Axle wood trees. Reserve is having threat from smugglers. They are moving timber from the reserves to the plains.
What to see around Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve:
Nagarjunakonda Museum: An island is situated in the middle of Lake Nagarjun Sagar. Nagarjunakonda Museum is located on the island. The collections of Buddhist artifacts can be seen in this museum.
Bhramaramba Temple: This temple belongs to Goddess Bhramaramba Devi. She is the incarnation of Goddess Parvati Devi. On the banks of Krishna River this temple is situated.
Lord Mallikarjuna Temple: One of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is present in this place. This place is located at the banks of River Krishna in Kurnool district. Most famous temple in Srisailam is Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple. This temple was built in the architectural style of Vijayanagaram.
Best time to visit:
Best time for the tourists to see this reserve is between October to March. During this period tourists can enjoy the natural environment.
Getting to Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve:
Andhra State Government provided best bus services to reach Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve. Nearest railway station is Kurnool. After reaching to Kurnool visitors have to hire cars, taxis to reach to the reserve. Nearest Airport is at Hyderabad which is 316 KMs away from this reserve.
Getting around Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve:
From this tiger reserve several private buses are available to visit the surrounding places. Forest department and Andhra Pradesh State Government are maintaining this bus services.
Where to stay in Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve: Rest houses, cottages and guest houses are available to stay in this reserve. Few guest houses are maintaining by Srisailam Mallikarjuna Devasthanam Committee and few cottages are under the control of forest department. Bairluty, Srisailum, Mannanur are the rest houses offered by Forest department. At Nagarjunasagar several rest houses and lodgings are available.
Where to eat in Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve:
Very few restaurants are available. In all the restaurants only vegetarian food is available. Most famous restaurants in srisailam are Punnami Srisailam, Haritha Srisailam, Pathleswara Sadanam, Grand Akka Mahadevi Hotel, Gowri Sadan, and Akhila Bharata Redia Satram. In all the place only Vegetarian food is available.