My parents visited us in Oct 2016 and we decided to go on a short 2 day trip to Nagarjuna Sagar. Located on the banks of Krishna river, it forms a boundary between Telangana (Nalagonda district) and Andhra Pradesh (Guntur). It is around 130 km drive on the Sagar ring road -> Ibrahimpatnam -> Chintapally road. The road is fairly good and it took us around 2.5 hrs to reach the resort.
Accommodation in Nagarjuna Sagar
Haritha Vijay Vihar by TTDC (Telangana Tourism) is the best accommodation in Nagarjuna Sagar. The rooms are big and view of the reservoir is awesome. This was our 2nd trip to this place. First time we had stayed in an A/C Deluxe room facing the reservoir. This time we booked 2 suite rooms. A/C Deluxe rooms have a big king size bed (2 queen beds joined together) while the suite rooms have 2 queen sized beds. Suite room had a kettle, fridge and mini-bar too, and a small seating area outside with 2 sofas. While our Deluxe room last time had a view of the reservoir, one of the suite rooms this time did not have the view. If you have a choice, look at the view from the balcony before taking the keys. Also check if the TV is working, toilets are clean and toiletries are there. Rooms are decent with average cleanliness; as expected in any government property. Every room has a balcony too. There are many mosquitoes so don’t forget to take a mosquito repellent; especially if you are with kids. There are quite a few stray dogs also on the property.
There is another hotel called Hotel Siddhartha in Nagarjuna Sagar. We visited that too once. The rooms are small, stuffy and offer no view compared to TTDC resort. It has a good play area for kids though.
TTDC resort needs to be booked online through their website at http://tstdc.in/tgtdc/login/OnlineLogin.jsp. Rates are as follows (as on January 2017):
A/C Suite: Rs.2500 on weekdays and Rs.3700 on weekends (Fri, Sat and Sun)
A/C Deluxe: Rs.1700 on weekdays and Rs.2700 on weekends
A/C Standard: Rs.1400 on weekdays and Rs.2400 on weekends
Tax is extra.
There is a lawn behind the restaurant where one can get a better view of the reservoir. The reservoir can be reached by climbing down some 150 stairs.
Amenities at the Resort
TTDC Vijay Vihar has a kids play area, a lovely swimming pool, a decent gym and indoor games like TT. Even residents need to pay for the pool (Rs.50 per adult and Rs.25 per kid per hour). Rest of the amenities are complimentary. Pool is well maintained, but the kids play area definitely needs some maintenance.
Food/ Restaurants at Nagarjuna Sagar
Haritha Resort has an in-house restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and dinner. Breakfast is included in the stay and is a buffet consisting of Idly, Dosa and Upma. There is no change in the menu which can get boring if you plan to stay for more than a day or two. They have buffet lunch in the weekends (priced at Rs.130 per person as on Oct 2016) when the occupancy is good. It is simple South Indian food, though spicy. We always carried ghee with us for kiddo. Dinner is a-la-carte, but the choice is very limited.
The food at Hotel Siddhartha is much better, but costs twice as much. There are more options available and the food is less spicier. The quality of the food has deteriorated in the last 3 years though! Other than these 2, there are not many options available.
Attractions in and around Nagarjuna Sagar
You can take a ferry ride in the reservoir that takes you to Nagarjunakonda, an island located near Nagarjunasagar. It used to be a buddhist town, and now lies almost entirely under the Nagarjunasagar dam. It has an interesting history with many buddhist universities and monasteries attracting students from China, Bengal and Srilanka. Since the town was submerged, it had to be dug up and the archaeological findings had to be transferred to this hillock, which became an island. There is a museum on the island along with some ancient ruins and beautiful gardens.
Ferries run only at specified times (every hour starting from 10:30am-1:30pm). Museum is closed on Fridays so ferries might not run if there are less tourists. We went on a Fri and luckily a ferry plied at 11:30 am.
The island on which the museum is located is nice, has lovely gardens for kids to play. The place requires decent amount of walk though. We didn’t go all the way to the end. They also sell water/ snacks on the ferry and there is a small cafe on the island where you get some ready-to-eat meals.
The ferry goes very close to the dam and you can get full view from the boat itself.
Ethipothla falls is located around 11 kms from Nagarjunasagar dam; if you continue on the road from Hyderabad to the dam. There is a small direction board on the left you need to look for, around 8 kms from the dam. The fall is another couple of kms from that point. While Nagarjuna Sagar falls in Telangana, Ethipothla falls is in Andhra Pradesh. There is a APTDC resort here also, though its a very small one. We were told that the place has major power crisis and there is no power for atleast 12-13 hrs of the day. In case you plan to book your stay there, you can do it online on APTDC website at aptdc.in/aptdc/login/OnlineLogin.jsp.
Best time to visit the falls is around monsoon when it is in full flow. There is a hardly any water rest of the year.
Tips when visiting Ethipothla falls:
- Do not carry eatables in plastic bags. There are many monkeys at the falls and you can be certain they will be attracted to the plastic bags. Keep eatables in bagpacks/ purses.
- The cafeteria at Ethipothla falls is very basic. Their snacks get over very fast and you can only get cold drinks/ tea if you are little late in the evening. Carry your own snacks and eat it either in the car or inside the cafeteria to avoid monkeys.
- The waterfalls are supposed to be illuminated after 6:30 pm, but we did not see that happen in both our visits. They had some excuse for not illuminating them every time we visited.
- The locals at Ethipothla falls ask for money, first at the place you take left (saying thats parking fee, but thats not) and then at the parking to protect the cars from monkeys. You cannot avoid the first one, but there is no need to pay 2nd time because monkeys won’t get inside locked cars anyways.