Talakona: A cool retreat, film shooting hotspot
If anyone wants a location, which has beautiful water falls along with rich flora and fauna, trekking, boating, jungle safari drive, canopy walk, then Talakona in Sri Venkateswara National Park of Chittoor district is a perfect destination.
Tirupati: If anyone wants a location, which has beautiful water falls along with rich flora and fauna, trekking, boating, jungle safari drive, canopy walk, then Talakona in Sri Venkateswara National Park of Chittoor district is a perfect destination. At a height of 270 feet, the never-ending waterfalls is the highest in Andhra Pradesh and provides a visual feast. It is located at Nerabailu village of Yerravaripalem Mandal. From Tirupati, this lovely place is a mere 49-km drive towards Piler or Madanapalle route.
The resort with waterfalls, dense forests and wildlife, was declared a biosphere reserve in 1989 due to the presence of rich variety of flora and fauna. The etymology of the place reveals that Talakona is the head of the Seshachalam hills as these mountains are believed to be the starting point of the Tirumala mountain ranges. The waters of Talakona are enriched with herbs and people believe that it has healing properties.
It is also famous for ancient Siddheswara Swami Temple very near to waterfalls. It will be flooded with devotees on occasions like New Year’s Day, Maha Sivarathri festival, Karthika Poornima etc. The waterfall looks so lovely falling deep into the valley from a cliff on the upper reaches.
The origin of water is said to be difficult to find out. Another major attraction there is the canopy rope walk of 240-meter long. At a height of about 35 to 40 feet it gives a thrilling experience. A stream flows near the canopy walk area. For children, there is a good playing area.
Trekkers find this as a pleasant place which has natural beauty from every angle. Animal lovers are very fond of this place as they can find panther, porcupine, chital, sambar, slender loris, Indian giant squirrel among others here. At a distance of one km from the parking area, another beautiful Nelakona waterfalls can be seen. That place is also cool and so too the water in the waterfalls.
There is another spot called ‘Sirodhari Teertham’ which has to be reached through trekking from the top of water falls. Almost 2700 ft has to be travelled there to reach that place but it needs special permission from Forest department. A trekker said it is an awesome scenic beauty from there.
About 200 movies were picturised at Talakona area. The Forest department is providing accommodation there. They have two dormitories, four log huts and one suite which can be booked online. A regular tourist and animal lover K Karthik Sai said that, Talakona has almost 150 species and there are many migratory birds. If anybody visiting Tirupati and Tirumala, wants a place for enjoyment at a distance about 50 km, then Talakona is an excellent spot.
Speaking to The Hans India, the Forest Range Officer, K Raghunath said that the department has built a restaurant cum function hall there for a gathering of around 100 people. Arrangements are being made for Bridge walk will be operated shortly at Talakona. The boat park was renovated but the boat got damaged. They ordered for two new boats. In the nearby Chamala range jungle safari is there.
To go around the jungle safari, they charge Rs 500 per head for three hours and total journey of 24 km. These initiatives will provide them revenue. Raghunath added that, they have made the area as plastic free. Presently, they were getting about Rs.3-4 lakhs revenue per month from Talakona.
TTD is also having some cottages there but they are in dilapidated condition. During weekends, about 30,000 visitors reach Talakona. While, Raghunath said the food is good at Talakona, a tourist Suresh, who recently visited the place said, it was horrible and not at all hygienic. It is better to take the food from Tirupati itself, he added.
By V Pradeep Kumar