One of the largest tiger reserves in India, Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is located in Andhra Pradesh. It is spread over 3598 sq km and parts of the reserve fall in Nalgonda, Mahboobnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Before independence, the reserve was under the control of British and princely state of Hyderabad. The royals of Hyderabad used the area as a hunting reserve for royalty and guests. It was declared as a sanctuary in 1978 and made a part of Protect Tiger in 1983. In 1992, the reserve was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.
From 1983 onwards, the population of tigers registered a 130 per cent increase and as many as 94 big cats were recorded in 1989. Due to threat of Maoist extremists, no census was conducted till 1993. Census conducted in 1997 registered a drop in population of tigers to 37.
Apart from tigers, the reserve is home to Indian leopard, sloth bear, Indian pangolin, chital, sambar deer and chinkara. Over 150 bird species are also found in the sanctuary.
Srisailam dam and Nagarjunasagar dam are also located in the reserve.
WHERE TO STAY
Visitors can stay at the guest houses maintained by the Devasthanam Committee. The forest department also operates rest houses and cottages.
WHERE TO EAT
There are few restaurants in Srisailam which pre-dominantly serve vegetarian cuisine.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit the reserve is between October and March.