Nallamala Hills

The Nallamala Hills stretches over the regions of Nellore, Chittoor, Kurnool, Kadapa, and Prakasam. These hills are known for their lush green surroundings, mesmerising backdrops, and scenic trails. As a result, the Nallamala Hills are popular among hikers, mountain climbers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

One of the best hill stations in Andhra Pradesh, the Nallamala Hills, is a preferred tourist destination among nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

This article will discuss Nallamala Hills and the recent issue associated with it in the context of the IAS Exam.

Latest Context:

  • In recent times, the Nallamalla Hills has been in the news for uranium mining. In 2019, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change granted permission to explore uranium mining in the Nallamalla Forest. However, the Telangana State Legislative Assembly passed a unanimous resolution to ban mining in the Nallamalla Forest.
  • If the uranium exploration and mining goes ahead, it would threaten the livelihoods of the Chenchus as well as destroy the Tiger Reserve. Over 63 organisations and political parties have come together to form the ‘Struggle Committee Against Uranium Mining’. This movement also aims to protect the habitat of the Chenchu community as well as protect the Tiger Reserve.

Geography of Nallamala Hills

  • The Nallamala Hills are located in the Eastern Ghats, which form the eastern boundary of the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh and the Nagarkurnool district in Telangana.
  • The two major rivers that flow across these hills are the Krishna and Pennar rivers. These rivers run in a north-south alignment and are parallel to the Coromandel Coast for approximately 430 kilometres.
  • The northern boundaries of the Nallamala Hills are marked by the flat Palnadu basin, while at the southern boundaries, the Krishna and Pennar rivers merge with the Tirupati Hills.
  • Two of the biggest peaks in the Nallamala Hills range are the Bhairani at 1100 meters above sea level and the Gundla Brahmeswara at 1048 meters above sea level. The average elevation of this hill range is 520 meters above sea level.
  • The rocks of the Nallamala Hills have undergone extensive weathering and erosion over the years. They date back to the Kadapa system.
  • Overall, the climate of Nallamala Hills ranges from warm to hot. The region receives an average rainfall of 90 centimetres, which is largely concentrated during the months of the southwest monsoon season.
  • One of the most interesting facts about the Nallamala Hills is the existence of an indigenous tribe called Chenchus. The Chenchus is a forest-dwelling tribe that has chosen to remain isolated from the modern world till today. Their primary occupation is hunter-gatherers, although the remaining Nallamala Hills region continues to practice agriculture and subsistence farming.

Popular Tourist Attractions in Nallamala Hills

Some of the tourist destinations that are situated in the Nallamala Hills include the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Saleshvaram Temple of Shiva, Maddi Madagu Hanuman Temple, and the Ugra Stambham.

Various tourist attractions spread over the Nallamala Hills region are as follows:

  • Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve – The Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is spread over the areas of Nagarkurnool and Nalgonda. It is the largest tiger reserve in India and covers a total area of 3568 square kilometres. This sanctuary was given official recognition in the year 1978 and was incorporated under the Project Tiger program in 1983. In 1992, the reserve was renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is known not only to house the majestic tigers but also for its scenic beauty. Srisailam’s temples and reservoirs dominate the landscape, while the Krishna river rising in the Sahyadri Hills flows across the tiger reserve. You can also find winding roads, perennial rivers, and echoing valleys at the wildlife sanctuary. Some of the other animals that you can spot here include antelopes, monkeys, langurs, spotted deer, nilgai, water dogs, reptiles, bears, porcupines, chinkara, and chousinga.
  • Saleshwaram Temple of Shiva – Lord Shiva Temple, known as the Saleshwaram Temple of Shiva, is situated within the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve. The temple is located inside a deep valley and remains closed throughout the year, with the exception of five days during March-April. It is known for its wedge-shaped waterfall that appears to have been chiselled across a large stone. The Shiva Linga is placed in a cave right next to the waterfall.
  • Maddi Madugu Hanuman Temple – The Maddi Madugu Hanuman Temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman, is located in Maddimadugu village in the state of Telangana. The statue of Lord Hanuman in the temple was found facing in the southwest direction and refused to be placed in a more auspicious direction.
  • Ugra Stambham – The Ugra Stambham is a temple situated in Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most famous temples in India that are dedicated to Lord Narasimha. The temple is also known as Nava Narasimha Kshetram, since it is dedicated to the nine different shrines of Lord Narasimha. The region of Ahobilam is divided into two parts, Upper Ahobilam or Eguvu Ahobilam and Lower Ahobilam or Digu Ahobilam.
  • Telangana Bull – Another attraction of the Nallamala Hills is the famous Telangana bull. It is a type of cattle that is specific to the state of Telangana, particularly the Nallamala Hills. Despite the prevailing drought conditions, the cattle have managed to survive for ages in the Nallamala Hills.

The best time to visit the Nallamala Hills is between October to June.

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