Located in the Nallamala Forests , the Mallela Theertham waterfalls is an enchanting area on the River Krishna.
The Nallamalai Forest, name derived from the Tamil equivalent of ‘Good Hills’ stretches through Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Guntur, Prakasham and Cuddapah districts of the state of Andhra Pradesh and runs parallel to the Coromandel Coast for about 430 kms. The forest stretch is between the Rivers Krishna and Pennar. The hills are between the range of 520 metres and 1100 metres above sea level. The height of the waterfall is 150 feet and is really an awesome sight to behold as it falls on a Shiv ling like formation down below..
The rocks found here are ages old and attributed to volcanic activities many hundreds of millions of years ago. During monsoons, rainwater does not percolate because of these volcanic rocks and generally run off the mountains in to the Gundlakamma River which is the largest river to originate from these mountains.
To reach the waterfall, visitors have to climb down 350 steps. The water is said to have healing properties for skin ailments. There is a botanical garden near the falls and a canteen that is operational during seasons only.
There is a small temple nearby which has a Shivling, an idol of Lord Ganesh, Lord Dattatreya and Goddess Durga.
Because of the lay of the land and the non porous volcanic rock layers, the land is alien to large trees on these ranges .Water does not stagnate and there are only dry shrubs and bushes and dwarf trees in the forest land. However, the area near the waterfall is filled with dense bushes and trees.
Tigers are quite often seen near the waterfall during the dry seasons and there have been reports of sighting leopards in the area. The other common animals are the monkeys. There are a lot of birds that come to roost during winter and because of low human interference.
The Nallamala forest region is believed to be a treasure trove as per the legends and the inhabitants of the region refuse to take up civil living and are a hostile group. They do not mingle with other tribes and do not welcome others to these forest regions. The folk lore states that this was a place where sages used to come and meditate and is believed that Lord Shiva had appeared before the devotees.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT
Summers are hot and dry and temperature hovers around 330C to 400C between March to June. A lot of rivulets form during the rainy season and visitors will find it tough to drive down to the falls. Monsoons are sometimes very heavy and lasts from June to September because of the South West monsoons. Winters are generally mild and dry with temperature in the region of 250C.The best time, though, will be from October to March when the waterfalls come alive and vibrant and when the forest is thick with dense bushes and greenery.
Mallela Theertham is an active place during the weekends when the people from around the area come down here for picnics. Visitors who are trekking enthusiasts can also have the opportunity to enter the forest area.
The Mallela Theertham Waterfalls is 58 kms. from Sreesailam and 185 kms. from the state capital, Hyderabad. The Waterfall can be reached through a 8 kms. diversion on the Hyderabad – Srisailam Interstate Highway. There are many buses plying between Hyderabad and Srisailam. Visitors will have to alight at Vatvarpally. There is a bus to the falls which is not very frequent. There are transport vehicles available at Vatvarpally. The drive from Hyderabad takes only 4 hours to the falls. The nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad. The nearest railway station is in Markapur, which is 105 kms. away. Alternatively there are two other railway stations, one at Mahbubnagar, which is 134 kms and the other at Hyderabad.
There is a toll before the Waterfall where Rs.50/- is collected as vehicle fee in case of LCVs and Rs.10/- per head.
PLACES TO VISIT IN SRISAILAM
The Mallikarjuna Temple: This is a famous temple as one of the 12 Jyothirlingas is found here.
Sakshi Ganapathi Temple: A temple where Lord Ganesha is believed to be the witness to the visit to Mallikarjuna Temple
Paladhara and Panchadhara: Adi Shanakara is believed to have meditated at the top of the hill where he is said to have written the Soundarya Lahiri and Sivananda Lahiri stotras. The stream is said to flow copiously from the top of the hills
Patalaganga Dam: On the River Krishna, it is a beautiful site. There are boating facilities in the catchment area.