Srisailam, a unique combination of forest sanctuary and pilgrimage town, makes a refreshing weekend break from Hyderabad. The River Krishna carves a deep gorge through the woods of the Nallamalai Hills, and leaves in its wake a lush forest that is home to India's largest tiger reserve. The reserve is huge - 3568 sq km - spread over five districts in Andhra Pradesh. It shelters blackbuck, panthers, chinkara, spotted deer, nilgai, pangolins, leopards, soft-shelled turtles, porcupines, crocodiles and a variety of other animals, birds and snakes, in addition to the tiger. There is a successful crocodile reintroduction programme in Ethipothala, a cataract close to Srisailam.
Srisailam attracts visitors not only because of the ecological systems that it supports, but also as a pilgrimage centre. Pilgrims bathe in the Pathalaganga - the local name for the River Krishna – before visiting the sacred shrines of Brahmaramba, Mallikarjunaswamy, Uma-Maheshwara and Saraswati.
One of the nicest aspects of these temples is that everyone is allowed to pray here and touch the Lord's feet, unlike some other ancient temples. So come to Srisailam for that interesting holiday you've always wanted - it's a different world altogether.