Nagarjuna Sagar - A peaceful & serene sojourn
Around 160 kilometres from Hyderabad and around 200 kilometres from Vijayawada in India, is a perfect weekend destination for the city dwellers - Nagarjuna Sagar. Nagarjuna Sagar is mainly known for the tallest masonry dam in the world. It also forms India's second biggest water reservoir and thus offers good boating opportunities. Along with couple of other attractions it is a fairly good option for those looking for weekend outings from Hyderabad or Vijayawada. People also tend to travel to Srisailam along with Nagarjuna Sagar which is located on the same river Krishna around 170 kilometres towards west. Though most people go for day trips as everything can be covered in a day, as always we planned a little longer stay i.e. 2 day trip to explore the place. Also a 2 day trip ensured we could go around at the best times of the day - sunrise and sunset which those coming for day trip miss out on. So here is our experience of a peaceful and serene sojourn at Nagarjuna Sagar.
Other places to visit as a weekend outing from Hyderabad
Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar:
Nagarjuna Sagar is often visited as a weekend destination from Hyderabad due to its close proximity to the city. As the New Year 2016 came around, we planned our customary New Year road trip. This time we had planned on visiting Nagarjuna Sagar, the tallest masonry dam in the world built over river Krishna. We began our journey around 7 AM on 2nd Jan, little later than what we had planned. Couple of friends joined us on the way and before we knew we were out of Hyderabad on highway. Taking couple of breaks on the way mainly to remove the fatigue that comes along when you travel on motorbikes by driving and sitting continuously, we reached our destination, Nagarjuna Sagar around 11 AM.
We had booked rooms in the only decent option available in Nagarjuna Sagar, government’s chain of Haritha resort. The one at Nagarjuna Sagar is known as Vijay Vihar resort. As we knew already, all Haritha resorts across the state have mediocre services and maintenance but are located in beautiful locations, we were prepared for what we saw. Behind the reception was a breathtaking view of the huge lake formed due to the Nagarjuna Sagar dam. Serene, peaceful, extremely quiet, it was definitely a must visit place and a perfect start to the year.
We had lunch in Haritha Vijay Vihar and rested for a while before starting off exploring the place. Nagarjuna Sagar is a small town mainly developed post construction of the dam. The dam itself built around 50 years back is lifeline of various districts in #AndhraPradesh and #Telangana including Hyderabad providing most of the required water supplies and generating electricity. We went around on our bikes looking for interesting locations and views on the other side of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam where a small river flowed since the gates of the dam were not opened. This side of the dam had its own beauty with stones and rocks all around, number of birds flocking the area and kids having fun in the water. We found a road bordered by red rocky hills on both sides giving us a perfect spot for our usual photography session.
We went on to a bridge directly in front of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam which gave us a perfect view of the river below us and various types of birds playing their own games in the water. We could see the circular coracle boats used by fisherman from a distance as the evening approached fast. We wanted to have the best view of the sunset and felt the place to watch it would be from Haritha Vijay Vihar resort. Hence we started back reaching just on time to witness an amazing sunset by the Nagarjuna Sagar lake. As expected the afterglow post the sunset showed us wonderful hues of colour leaving us spellbound.
After spending some time watching the sky left behind by the sun, we embarked on our next destination. We had heard about a waterfall nearby, about 20 kilometres from Nagarjuna Sagar dam and unlike most other waterfalls this place was well lit in night. It's named Ethipothala Falls. Since we had never seen a waterfall in night, we decided to go there post sunset. The road leading to Ethipothala falls was completely dark without any street lights and barely few vehicles. After driving on the road for a long time, it was actually scary seeing no sign boards or even existence of human life. Much to our relief the place did exist and had couple of groups visiting as well. One cannot go right till the Ethipothala waterfall but can see it from a distance. Unfortunately we didn’t have a tripod but yet managed to click some amazing pics of the waterfall. The drive back to Nagarjuna Sagar was surprisingly shorter and quicker and we slept like a baby post a tiring day.
We were up early to capture the sunrise but there weren’t any good spots that could have given us a good view of the rising sun. Hence we chose to go back to our bridge from yesterday which held some promise of a decent view. The sunrise behind the hill was better than our expectation and we got some decent photographs along with some bird activity down on the river.
We went back to the resort, had breakfast, clicked some final pics of sprinklers and water drops and checked out to see our next spot. We went to Nagarjuna Konda, an island on the lake formed due to Nagarjuna Sagar dam which houses Buddhist statues and ruins. To our surprise Buddhism was extremely popular in south India long ago, especially amongst females of the kings family. It turns out Nagarjuna was a Buddhist master and ran universities in this area in 2nd Century AD. Nagarjuna konda was supposedly the capital of Ikshvaku dynasty which is also around whom Amish’s latest book – ‘Scion of Ikshakavu’ is based upon. What remains of this capital city now is an isolated island as the surrounding areas are covered due to lake formed by the dam. Archaeological survey of India runs boats to take tourists to the island which houses a museum. The place is average and much to our disappointment was further spoiled by January heat and local crowd who were flocking the area as it was Sunday. Also the boating experience was not that great as the journey was too long and after initial excitement, you have the same views and nothing else to do.
We reached back to the mainland around 2 PM post which we hurried back to Hyderabad as we wanted to reach before dark. The return journey from Nagarjuna Sagar was a bit daunting due to a tiring and uneventful morning and hot afternoon but we had no choice. However we have experienced nature has its ways of helping you out often when you travel or probably life in general. During the return we were awestruck by the sunset happening right in front of the road hiding beyond the horizon till we reach further towards it only to see it hide again. It was like witnessing the sunset 3 times in a single evening. But we were in such a hurry that we didn’t even stop to click pics. We reached back little late but were pretty satisfied with our first road trip of the year. All in all, a great road trip, a good visit for 1-2 day holiday from Hyderabad and some good clicks, what else do you need? The year of travel was off to a good start and hopefully the year will show us more such trips.
Have you visited Nagarjuna Sagar? How was your experience. Are you looking for more weekend travel choices from Hyderabad? Checkout our detailed accounts of various weekend destinations from Hyderabad such as Vijayawada, Srisailam, Warangal, Hampi, Gandikota etc..