Introduction to Places You Must Visit in Nagarjuna Sagar
Nagarjuna Sagar is one of the famous city in Andhra Pradesh. It is situated on the bank of river Krishna river in between Guntur and Hyderabad. From ancient history, the river Krishna used to be a dangerous river during and post-Monsoon. It was then called the “sorrow of the south” due to the huge floods every year that used to destroy mankind and crop.
With the engineering marvel, engineers constructed a dam on top of the Krishna river to save human civilization on both sides from massive floods. Since then it became a blessing to the twin Telugu speaking states. The water of The Krishna river is used as a source of drinking water supply, cultivation and irrigation projects for nearby cities like- Nalgonda, Prakasham, Khammam, Guntur etc.
In this post, I will narrate how to plan a weekend visit to Nagarjuna Sagar and Surrounds. I will also try to show you 10 attractive places around Nagarjuna Sagar.
Earlier it was known as Vijayapuri( the meaning of the name as the city of victory- the name was given by Acharya Nagarjuna). It was flushed during the Madras presidency and Nizam’s rule. It is the most prominent Buddhist centre near Hyderabad.
Direction to go to Nagarjuna Sagar (from Hyderabad)
Nagarjuna Sagar is well connected from Hyderabad and other major cities of both the states Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is 160 KM away from Hyderabad. The road condition is superb except for 5-6 bad patches. the journey via car or bike will be awesome.
Distances from other cities:
- Medak- 250KM
- Warangal- 220KM
- Adilabad- 470KM
- Khammam- 145KM
- KarimNagar- 270KM
There is no direct flight available to Nagarjuna Sagar. Depending on your comfort, you can choose Rajib Gandhi International Airport or Vijayawada International Airport. Then book a cab to reach this place. I will prefer to choose Rajib Gandhi International Airport for its proximity.
This place is not connected via Rail. The nearest railway station is Nalgonda(70 KM away from Nagarjuna Sagar). From Nalgonda, there are several options available like- Bus, private or commercial taxi etc to venture this place.
The routes available for the car are as follows:
- Hyderabad->ORR->Deverakonda->Nagarjuna Sagar dam( the safest and fastest.)
- Hyderabad->ORR->Nalgonda->Nagarjuna Sagar dam
The road of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is via SH1. It is a single road with no existence of a road divider. Take exit No12 in ORR towards Ibraimpatnam towards Saidabad to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam.
Food options near Nagarjuna Sagar
Nagarjuna Sagar is not a mainstream tourist spot in Andhra Pradesh or Telangana. As a result, it did not flourish much. It is also a little remote place. There are no proper food stalls available except Haritha Hotels. There are seasoned tea stalls here and there.
But both Haritha and street food stalls serve very limited food options. Mostly they serve till their stock lasts. I suggest that you must carry snacks and bottled water with you.
Note during our journey from Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar, we noticed that once we crossed 2-3 big villages, the food stall vanished.
The Haritha hotel, the restaurant was great. They have a toilet facility.
Where to stay in Nagarjuna sagar?
Vijay Vihar and Haritha can be two options if you prefer to stay here. Otherwise, you can drive a few KMs to go to Srisailam. While Nagarjuna Sagar provides very basic hotels, Srisailam can be a better option in terms of facilities.
Due to basic and limited staying options, many prefer to go for a one day trip to Nagarjuna Sagar.
When to go Nagarjuna Sagar?
Nagarjuna Sagar and surroundings can be covered in a single day trip if you start early from Hyderabad and stretch a little bit in the evening. If you want to cover Srisailam then, you can roam here for a day and in the evening, you can go to Srisailam.
In the general case, weekends are fully crowded here. On weekdays, you get hardly any tourists here. On special days like dam gates are opened, irrespective of days you can get crowd here.
Being hot and humid, the afternoon seasons are very tiring. I will suggest avoiding summer days at any cost. Also during summer the river and the downstream dries up. The surroundings become greyish yellow.
The best time to venture into this spot is August to February. The area becomes green with lots of chirping birds.
Attravtions of Nagarjuna Sagar
While you take the first route, you need to stop at Deverakonda. It is 105 KM away from Hyderabad. This place is surrounded by lush green hills. It is an excellent place for photography. You can visit the Deverakonda fort too. The fort is not in good shape but definitely okay for a visit.
The main attraction here is the Deverakonda dam.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the largest masonry dam(3rd largest manmade lake in the world) with 26 gates. Each gate is 14 meters high and 13 meters in breadth. the dam can contain 11472 million cubic meters of water. The dam is having a stretch of 16 km and built on 10 acres of land. It was completed in 1966.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the first project under the “green revolution” project. Now it provides solid irrigation project along with hydroelectricity. The name was given after a massive hillock and island known as Nagarjuna Konda.
To enter into the dam or to go nearby you need permission. But you can check out the dam from 4 different directions. it is an offence to click a snap of the dam’s main operating section or take a snap from very close proximity.
While the dam provides an excellent view from either side and from upstream(from the motor-operated boat), you must not miss the view from the bridge. The view from the downstream is breathtaking(from the middle of the river in a country made boat). The beauty becomes a hundred times more during or post-monsoon when the gates are opened. (You need to be lucky though).
Do not miss the sunset at the dam. I promise that it will be a memory for a lifetime.
Nagarjuna Boat Ride and Nagarjuna Konda
This is one of the major attraction in Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. The magical journey inside Nagarjuna Sagar via boat is a must. The boats are diesel operated and mainly carries passengers from Nagarjuna Sagar to Nagarjuna Konda Island.
Telangana tourism has a boat service that takes you deep inside the dam. You can explore the Nagarjuna Konda(an ancient Buddhist excavation) and an island.
The ferries can be of two types- single-decker and double-decker. The total time of a one-way journey is 45 minutes. There is no rule that you must return on the same ferry. So you can enjoy some quality time here.
Nagarjuna Sagar boating trip offers so much to the tourists, starting from a fun-filled, thrilling and adventurous journey to perfect nature, bird and nature photography accompanied by an ancient civilization.
The boat journey reminds us of the same feeling of Papikondalu. People were not seating at all, all were standing, screaming at the other ferries.
Nagarjuna Konda is situated 14 KM away from the mainland. It can only be accessed via boats only. It was discovered in 1926. You can click a photo with the Buddha statue and do not miss the museum to see the rare articles about Buddhist culture. The Buddist civilization was 1600 years old.
The Buddhist museum was constructed in the same shape as the Buddhist vihar. The remains of the excavation of the Buddhist civilization once again reconstructed and preserved.
The Nagarjuna Konda is divided into several segments:
- Bodhisattva Park (Jataka Park)
- Dhyanavanam (Meditation Park)
- Stupa Park
The collection of Nagarjuna Konda is said to belong to the 3rd century AD. It includes types of equipment of stone age, Jakata tales, weapons made of stone and iron, sone idols of Buddha etc. The good point is that all information provided in the museum are written in English, Hindi and Telegu.
Overall this is an affordable, cost-effective fun event far away from your hustle bustle life.
- The last ferry is at 5:30 PM. In general boat timing -9:30AM, 11:30AM, 1:30 PM, 3:30PM
- The museum timing -9AM to 4 PM
- Boat and museum cost Rs 100 INR(During 2020 before the Covid-19 Pandemic) for adult or Rs 70 INR for kids.
- There were no good food stalls around so you need to carry enough snacks and few water bottles with you.
- Bathing or going inside the river or any part of the Krishna river is very dangerous due to its current.
Coracle Boat Journey in Down Stream
Possibly, this area is famous for coracle boats. From Srisailam to Nagarjuna Sagar, you can find them. They are mainly used by fishermen and fisherwomen. They are very skilful knows the river better and can tackle the stream current.
These boats are truly pollution-free, natural and silent. Once you go deep into the river, you can only hear the sound of mother nature (the stream sound). The view of the massive dam, the depth of the river and current will surely make you thrill. You can surely mix with the river and nature in a peaceful way.
One trip will cost you Rs 250 INR If you want to book the entire boat (travelling time 25 mins) or Rs 50 INR if you want to share with other 4 people(travelling time- 15 mins). Once you reach the bank of the river, your heart will look for more.
This boat ride needs some amount of courage and willingness to understand the turns or rolling of the boat.
Anupu is famous for Buddhist excavations and situated around 20KM from Nagarjuna Sagar Bus Stand. If you are interested in history, culture, construction and architecture, this is a must-visit place for you. This place is reconstructed to give you a glimpse of the past glory. Do not miss ancient university, Amphitheatre, Harati temple. The ancient structure with modern technology reconstruction will surely blow your mind.
Macherla is another small town of Guntur situated on the bank of Chandra Venka. The total elevation is 136 meters from sea level.
Srisailam is another tourist attraction all together but can be covered during Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. Srisailam is famous for the Srisailam dam and Sri Mallikajurna temple. Here are few links to find more about Srisailam- My day trip to Srisailam, 10 best places in Srisailam, Srisailam by Car, Srisailam by Bike.
Laxmi ChennakesavaSwamy temple
It is situated 55 KM away from Nagarjuna Sagar dam on SH1. If you are travelling to Macherla, this is the must-visit place. This temple was built by king Brahmanayaudu of Palnadu. The main temple is 60 feet high with several carving. The temple also depicts the weapons used during Palnadu governance. It was constructed in 13th century AD.
Ethipothala waterfall is 16 KM away from Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. This is another must visiting place near Nagarjuna Sagar. The adjacent Haritha hotel allows visitors to enter and view the waterfall.
Ethipathala waterfall is a mountain stream that is having a height of 21.3 meters. It is a merging of three different streams.
- Nakka Vagu
- Chandrananka Vagu
- Tummala Vagu
In this part the Eithpothala river is divided into 3 parts then it meets the Krishna river after 3 KM.
There are two ways to explore this beauty.
- If you are fit and fine- you can climb down 80feet from the car parking. You can see the waterfall in full glory.
- If you are not fit- you can watch it from the Haritha Hotel – the view is from the top. Still beautiful.
click here to know more.
There are steps to go down to view two ancient temples(Ranganatha and Dattatreya temple).
There are several fees here:
- Forest fee- Rs 10 INR/car or bike
- Car/bike parking fee- Rs 20 INR(per car) and Rs 10 INR (per bike)
- Entry fee- 20 Rs(per person)
- This place is also popular as a crocodile breeding centre. So please do not venture into the water if you decide to down.
- Beware there are monkeys everywhere. They come for food. If they see that your car is opened and you have lots of food items with you, they just jump.
- Ethipothala waterfall approach road is very narrow. In some places, you do not have space to cross oncoming cars. Drive carefully.
- The fall approach road is via Telangana. Do not cross the border. The approach road is small. There is a small signboard too!. But it is too small to ignore at the first attempt. We missed it and ignored google maps and it cost us extra Rs 50 INR as checkpost toll.
Nagarjuna Wildlife Sanctuary
Nagarjuna Wildlife sanctuary was opened in 1983 for the public and it covers 3568 square KMs. As the major portion lies towards Srisailam, it is often known as Nagarjuna Srisailam wildlife Sanctuary. This place is truly a paradise for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. It offers wildlife buffs, natural flora, fauna. Bird watching and bird snapping are very popular in this place.
The sanctuary is the house of
- Several migratory birds. (grey hornbill, peafowls etc)
- Reptiles- Pythons, turtles,crocodile.monitor lizards
- Tiger( it is a part of tiger reserve forest), leopard, chinkara, sloth bear etc.
- Total Distance covered-550KMs
- Fuel-35 litres
- Total toll- Rs 300 INR
- Overall- Great and excellent location with so so service, okay food, memory- priceless and unlimited, photo- plenty.
Are you planning to go away from a daily heavy pressure lifestyle? Looking for a quick break to speed quality time with family? You do not want to drive too much? Nagarjuna Sagar trip can be your choice. This is a perfect weekend trip to connect to your soul with mother nature and spend some quality time with your beloved. The pristine water, the picturesque nature and the green forest will surely take your breath away when you enter here.