Nagarjunasagar Wildlife Sanctuary is the largest tiger reserve in India. The sanctuary is in the state of Andhra Pradesh and is a part of an important Hindu pilgrimage town Srisailam. It lies nestled in the Annamali Hill in the catchment area of the Krishna River sprawling over an area of 356,000 hectares covering five districts of Kurnool, Prakasam, Guntur, Nalgonda and Mahboobnagar. It is popularly known as Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) and it happens to be the largest wildlife habitation in the country.
The vegetation found at Nagarjunasagar Wildlife Sanctuary is of mixed type such as Southern Tropical dry mixed deciduous forest, Hardwickia forest, Southern thorn forest and Southern Euphoria scrub. The terrain is rugged and cut through by deep gorges. The interior and western part of the sanctuary stands on a plateau dating back some 2,000 million years, one of the oldest geological formations of the world. The sanctuary is named after a reservoir Nagarjunasagar which stands at the northeastern part.
Animals Found: A large collection of wild animals take shelter here such as langur, bonnet macaque, tiger, leopard, jungle cat, wild dog, wolf, jackal, Bengal fox, sloth bear, smooth-coated otter, palm civet, striped hyena, wild boar, Indian spotted chevrotain, Indian muntjac, sambar, spotted deer, nilgai, four-horned antelope, blackbuck, chinkara, Indian pangolin, giant flying squirrel, Indian porcupine and Indian tree shrew. Near Srisailam are grasslands with dry, thorny bushes where about hundred blackbucks make their home. Nearby is the pre-existing tribal hamlet Mannanur that has a furnished camp bungalow. From here one can explore the western corner of the tiger reserve. There is a crocodile pond and an environment education centre near the bungalow.
Avifauna: There are nearly 150 species of resident and migratory birds here. Some of the commonly spotted birds are grey hornbill and peafowl. Reptiles such as Indian soft-shelled turtle, monitor lizard, Indian python, and marsh crocodile are also found here.
Flora: Niebuhria apetala, Ziziphus xylopyrus, Cissus vitiginea and Pterolobium indicum are some of the rare plants of the region.
Best Time To Visit: Though you can visit the sanctuary throughout the year, winter months from November to March will be the most pleasant. Summers from March-June can get quite hot with temperature rising even above 40°C. Monsoon from June to October brings plenty of rainfall.
By Air: The nearest airport at Hyderabad is 316 km away from Srisailam.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is at Markapur which is 85 kms away.
By Road: Srisailam is 190 km from Kurnool, and 85 km from Mannanur. Bus services are available from these towns.
Accommodation: There are three guesthouses at the reserve and temple cottages with 248 beds at Srisailam.