Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A one-day trip: Hyderabad to Srisailam (Farahabad) Tiger Reserve, Mallela Thirtham Waterfalls

[Click on the photos to view them enlarged as a slide show]

My one year old (second hand - actually eight year old) Maruti Esteem had its first trip out of town since I became its owner. On an overcast morning, we ventured to Srisailam Tiger Reserve with the intention of a good drive and capturing birds or animals (if we would be lucky enough to find some) with my new super zoom camera. Both objectives were achieved successfully.

Srisailam Tiger Reserve is actually in Farahabad on the way to Srisailam and around 140 kms from Hyderabad Airport. After crossing the Hyderabad Airport, the road is all without a divider (State highway) but still in excellent condition with very few potholes or bumps. We started at pre-dawn at 5am and made good time. There were plenty of birds to be seen on the way sitting on wires, trees etc. We stopped occasionally but still reached the reserve entrance by 8.30am crossing a troop of monkeys near the forest area.

On the way

A monkey with her offspring

So much for the alluring caption

The reserve could be much better maintained i.e. the state government could make a fair amount of money out of it if they put in a little effort. This reserve seems to have got used to being a side-attraction as most people including the reserve folks recommended us to visit the reserve on the way back from Srisailam unable to comprehend when we told them this was the solitary purpose of our visit and we had no intention of going further.

The timings seem to indicate a safari every two hours (cost Rs. 800) from 7am to 3pm (don’t expect the 7am one) but it bore a desolate look when we arrived and the person for the safari came at around 9.30am. There is only one Bolero which goes for the safari as compared to multiple jeeps that exist in other reserves; also there are multiple offshoots paths leading into the forest sadly which aren’t permitted.

We spent nearly a couple of hours in the safari including the Farahabad view point and a watch tower whence we spotted a few deer and neelgai; occasionally sambhars. There were also multiple birds in the vicinity of which we captured a few. The expectations of sighting a tiger or the like were not fulfilled.

Note: The names of birds in this post may not be correct as I am still learning to identify them. If anyone can confirm or correct each of the below species, I would be grateful.

I couldn't identify this fellow! Is it a sparrow?

The Purple Rumped Sunbird?

A flock of birds following a flying pattern

Deers, the most common animals in a forest
 The Farahabad view point is the half-way point and also supposedly the highlight of the safari where due to a foggy back ground, we could scarcely see the lake and dense forest cover in the distance.

Hazy looking lake from the Farahabad view point
Therein we made our way to Mallela Theertham Waterfalls which is around 20kms from the reserve where one has to take a diversion on a safari-type road (for around 8 kms) and pass through a couple of villages before reaching the waterfall area. Thereafter one needs to walk down around 350 steps to catch a glimpse of this waterfall.

The fall is a nice place with water falling from a height of approximately 20metres but the area was enclosed by a fence disallowing people from getting right next to the falls (probably a wise thing). We spent some time at the falls, also having some of our snacks as lunch at the same place. We also spotted a couple of gigantic spiders as big as the size of one’s palm.

Mallela Thirtham Waterfalls
Gigantic spider at the falls, eerie looking faces these fellows have

Another gigantic spider at the falls

The way back was swift with us stopping at Dindi reservoir for some time and occasionally to capture more birds and some butterflies. We reached Hyderabad back by 5pm.

A beatiful Indian Roller

Dindi reservoir under cloud cover

The Danaid butterfly (Blue Tiger specie?)

The Common Crow Butterfly (Euploea Core)

An elegant eagle

A Red Wattled Lapwing

For more pictures, click here.


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  1. Nice Pics Arun!
    Btw, the last pic is a "Red-wattled Lapwing".

    1. Thanks a lot, Urvang. That helps :).
      Is there an easy way to identify birds or did you learn from experience?

  2. Hey Arun,

    Is the Farahabad Forest is Open now for Visitors ?? As Srisailam Sanctuary is Closed for Visitors nowadays as per Their update in website. Please let me know as we are planning for a family Visit there.


    1. Which is the website you looked at? They are often old, and might even be last year when all sanctuaries were closed for few months. Not sure though, but as far as I know it should be open. Best you try and call them - but even then the information might not be too clear. This might be a useful link for you (I just googled)

    2. Thanks for the info Arun, I have checked at this URL: http://www.indiawildliferesorts.com/wildlife-sanctuaries/srisailam-sanctuary.html .

      I will contact your given site and find the detail.

      Thanks again for your prompt reply.

    3. This is a private website and nothing to do with the govt. Most likely, it shouldn't be closed.

  3. Call the Telengana Wildlife Dept. at the Secretariat and get the private cell number of the Conservator of Forests. Put it on this website. I'm sure he'll be delighted to receive thousands of citizen phone calls every day asking for timings.

  4. The Farahabad Jungle safari price increased to Rs.2000/- for each trip From February 01,2023 onwards