We recently went to Nallamalai Jungle Camp during Sankranti holidays. It is 302 kms from Hyderabad and a good weekend getaway. It a nearly six hours drive from Hyderabad (including halt). You can stop over at the Food Pyramid which is a good option and nearly halfway through the journey. If you start early from Hyderabad, you can reach the property around lunch time.
Nallamalai Jungle Camp at Bairluty is a community-based eco-tourism initiative which was started in 2017. The main aim of the camp is to elicit local support for wildlife, to impart conservation education to the visitors and to empower the local communities improving their livelihoods. Bairluty is a tribal village in Atmakur mandal of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh. This is one of the eco-tourism projects initiated by AP Tourism and a nice weekend getaway from Hyderabad. It is among the three locations of eco-tourism programmes initiated by Andhra Pradesh Government in Nagarjunasagar – Srisailam Tiger Reserve, the other two being Thummalabailu and Pacherla. Most of the area is hilly terrain with plateaus, Ridges, Gorges and Deep valleys which support tropical mixed dry deciduous and moist deciduous forests with an under growth of bamboo and grass.
There are two accommodation options at Bairulty- Cottage and Tents. While the tented cottages are made of cloth, the dressing and washrooms are made of bricks. Rest of the amenities are same for both the options. It is a clean and nicely maintained property with some nice photo points inside and a gazebo to sit and relax in the evening. Though the food spread is not much to talk about, they do prepare it fresh and serve with love and care 😊. The only thing you need to be careful of is to keep the rooms locked all the time as there are lot of monkeys. Though they do not harm anyone, they are always on the lookout for food items.
We wanted to keep the evening relaxed, so we went to a water body nearby to enjoy the walk by the bund, see sunset and relax on the shore watching the water waves move across the large water body.
The Morning Safari
The next day morning we went for safari. It started around 7:15 a.m. It is a two-hour safari.
Sitting in an enclosed vehicle to see the animals in the open makes an interesting role reversal. The anticipation of being able to site a tiger is what keeps you (especially the kids 😊) going patiently during the safari. Though we were not lucky to see the apex predator, we could see its pug marks as he would have surely crossed that area some time back. We did spot the eagle, samba deer, spotted deer, peacock, black wild boar and a snake.
Towards the end of the safari they do take you to a viewpoint where you can witness the changing landscape-grasslands, dense forest, water hole and check dams. The view is surely breath-taking.
We decided to visit the Sangameswara temple after breakfast. It is 46 Kms from the property and takes nearly 1.5 hours one side. We crossed few villages and it felt nice to see development reaching smaller places. Sangameshwara temple is a Hindu temple in the Kurnool district. It is located near Muchumarri at the confluence of the Krishna and Bhavanasi rivers, in the foreshore of the Srisailam reservoir, where it is submerged for part of the time, surfacing when the water level recedes to a sufficient degree. It was first submerged after the Srisailam Dam was constructed in 1981, and first surfaced in 2003.
The submerged temple’s wooden Lingam, Sangameswaram, is believed to have been installed by Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Pandavas, after their visit to Srisailam Mallikarjuna temple. We were not able to see it as water level falls only towards end of summer and before rains kick in The temple is considered a place of religious sanctity due to being built at the confluence of seven rivers and remain visible for two months. (Bhavanasi, Krishna River and five rivers that merge into it beforehand, namely, Veni, Tunga, Bhadra, Bheemarathi and Malapaharini).
Dr. YSR Smruti Vanam
It is a majestic memorial park built in the memory of late Chief Minster YSR on the site where the helicopter had crashed. It is roughly 15 kms from the Jungle Camp and roughly half an hour drive. It has a 20 ft statue of YSR made by sculptor Shivaprasad with his trademark raised hand waiving to the people. It has various theme gardens like neem – a personal favourite of YSR, fragrance garden, ‘Pavitra Vanam’ of 108 sacred plants, butterfly shaped garden with 150 species of carefully chosen plants to attract butterflies, etc.
We checked out next day morning. It was a refreshing change for everyone away from the hustle and bustle of city life.