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History and Overview of the Nallamala Hills
Nalla means “good” and Malai means “Hills” in Tamil. Nallamala Hills therefore can be literally translated as “Good Hills”. These hills are great for trekking and they belong to the Eastern Ghats. They cover the districts of Prakasam, Guntur, Kurnool, Kadapa and Mahabubnagar in the state of Andhra Pradesh. These hills are considered to be quite sacred as they join with the sacred Tirupati Hills in the south. Nallamala is a remarkable range of hills that run between the highly revered rivers of Krishna and Pennar. One of the most striking features about Nallamala Hills is that, till date, even with the advent of technology and modern equipments, Nallamala lies virtually unconquered. It is indeed a huge challenge to trek across these areas and it is not considered to be a good option for tourists to go into the interiors of these forests. The tribal population, who are the local inhabitants of Nallamala, are known to be rude to foreigners.
Geographical location of Nallamala Hills
Situated in Andhra Pradesh, the Nallamala Hills are a part of the mighty Eastern Ghats. The tallest peak of these hills, Bhairani Konda, is located at 1100m or 3608 feet above sea level. These hills are inclined 15.40 degrees towards the North and 78.47 degrees towards the East. The climate is pretty hot and dry here throughout the year.
How to reach and local modes of transport
Air – Hyderabad is the closest airport to Nallamala hills and it is located at a distance of around 232km from the main place of Srisailam, which is quite close to Nallamala Hills.
Rail – Markapur Road and Hyderabad Railway stations are the nearest metre gauge and broad gauge railway stations respectively from Srisailam.
Road – Srisailam, the nearest town to Nallamala Hills, is a very famous pilgrimage destination in Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, it is connected well with all the cities of the state through buses run by government and private sector. There are lots of taxis available from Hyderabad to Srisailam.
Travelling within Nallamala Hills – Travelling on foot is the best option for exploring Nallamala Hills.
Tourist Attractions near Nallamala Hills
Srisailam Shiva Temple, Bhramarambha Mallikarjunaswamy temple
This is a very famous Shiva temple because it is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples in the country. The architecture of this temple is beyond description and it attracts lots of visitors, both foreign and Indian, all through the year. Lord Shiva known as Mallikarjun is the main deity here and His consort is Bhramarambha or Goddess Kali.
Srisailam Saivaite Temples – These temples have a very rich history as they belong to a period as early as 2nd century AD. These groups of temples are known for their intricate sculptures that depict the various styles that were prevalent in the country back then.
Sanctuary at Srisailam – Flora and fauna are in their best forms in this sanctuary which attracts lots of nature lovers every day. There are some rare types of trees and animals like sloth bear, wild dogs, panthers, tigers, wolves, deer, sambar and many more within this sanctuary.
Nagarjunasagar National Park – A newly constructed park in 1982, this park is in close proximity to Nallamala hills and is visited by many international tourists and is very-well maintained.
Srisailam Dam – This is built on the Krishna River and has an abundance of natural greenery all around. Tourists need to possess special and valid permission for entering into the dam. It is considered to be a punishable offence if tourists enter into the dam without proper legal formalities.
Things to do
Trekking, nature-walks and visiting the ancient temples in and around Nallamala Hills are the major activities that tourists can indulge in when they come to Nallamala Hills.
Where to eat / stay and local cuisine
There are lots of budget hotels in Srisailam town that have in-house restaurants as well which serve authentic Andhra cuisine. Mallikarjun Sadan, Pathaleeswara Sadanam, Grand Akka Mahadevi Hotel, Gowri Sadan and Punnami Srisailam are some of the popular accommodation options for tourists who want to visit Nallamala Hills. They also serve excellent food. Different kinds of pickles, especially Avakaya, pesaratu (pancake made with green gram) and gutti vanakaya kura (which is a dish made from eggplant) are few of the specialities of this place.
STD, PIN code and emergency numbers in Nallamala Hills
The STD and PIN codes of Nallamala Hills (Srisailam town) are 08524 and 518101 respectively. The Police station at Srisailam can be reached at 08524 247033. The other regular helpline numbers of Police (100), Fire (101) and Ambulance (102) apply here as well.
Banks, Hospitals and Tourist Office in Nallamala
Banks – There are no banks in Nallamala. One has to come to Srisailam town for the same.
Sri Bhramarambha Mallikarjunaswamy Hospital
At the back of AP Tourism Office, Near Bhramarambha Mallikarjunaswamy temple, Srisailam Head Office, Srisailam – 518101, Ph: 08524 288884
Tourism Information Centre of AP State Government,
Haritha Hotel, Srisailam – 51810, Ph: 08524 288311