The Magical Waters of Talakona Waterfall

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If there is one thing I never miss during the monsoon, it is taking a road trip to a scenic nature spot close to my city, especially to forested areas with waterfalls. I remember this trip from last August when my entire travel gang got together for a trip to the Talakona Falls. After all, a road trip is always more fun when you have a big group. We had to avail a spacious and comfortable tempo traveler for rent in Chennai which would be available for us the entire day. 

How to Reach Talakona Waterfalls

For the uninformed, Talakona Waterfall is one of the most famous ones of Andhra Pradesh. It is roughly 200 KM from Chennai and doesn’t take more than four or five hours to reach there. But then it also depends on the route. We took the Tirupati Road. There is also an alternative route via NH 48, but it is prone to high traffic and congestions at certain junctions. A major part of our drive went through small towns and sleepy villages on the way. The otherwise dusty roads were now settled down by the rains and the driedup earth had turned green. It was an interesting ride through fields, forests, and lakes. We made one stop at Vellore for refueling the car and ourselves.

The waterfall sits inside the deeper parts of the Sri Venkateshwara National Park, near the famous temple of Tirumala. To access the falls, we had to reach the village of Nerabailu in the Chittoor district. From the main village, we had to then drive further to the Sheshachalam Hills. This is an Eco project by the state government, targeted at preserving the greenery and the sanctity of the region from commercial influences, something we need more of. We reached Talakona around noon, accompanied by a light drizzle.

Trek route talakona
Trek path of Talakona – Pic courtesy Prashanth Susarla

Trek to the Talakona waterfalls

There are two ways to reach the Talakona waterfalls. One was a longer route which led to the top of the hills and another one through the woods to reach the foot of the falls. We parked our car at the entrance and decided to hike through the woods. It had probably rained through the night as the forest grounds were still wet. The smell of moist wet ground and rusty smell of trees filled the air. The rain had made the path slippery for us to walk, though I enjoyed the misty droplets still hanging around the green foliage along the hike. The forest had a decent population of monkeys which hopped around the walkways and ponds searching for food and often flicked it from the tourists. 

There was a small temple at the foothills of the falls with a pond nearby. Families were picnicking out there and kids were having a good time splashing water in the pond. Adjacent to the temple was a narrow, but concrete walkway that led us to the falls. It was another 15 to 20 minute walk uphill where we finally saw the waterfall. Tucked inside the dense forests of the national park, lied the crown jewel of the Tirumala Mountains. In fact, as we learned later, the name Talakona literally translates to ‘Head of the Hills’ and the silvery cascade fit right into its definition. 

Monkey Talakona
Monkeys at Talakona – Pic Courtesy Saivin Muthu

 Experiencing Talakona 

The gushing streams dropped from a height of at least 300 feet and cascaded through stepped rocks. Halfway through its height was another walkway with guardrails for people to view and stand up close to the water streams. By the time we reached the viewing area, we were half soaked in the drizzle. The mist from the waterfall combined with the rains felt incredible. We walked down to the foothills of the fall to enjoy a splash. Thankfully our phones and electronic devices were locked in the car, so we drenched ourselves under the cascades. 

The water was clear, cold, and refreshing. The locals say that this water originates in some natural underground spring within the forest and is rich in minerals. We rested for a while and then headed on to explore the surrounding areas of the forest. Everything around was so green, it was a little difficult to identify the trees and plants. But I remember reading about the biosphere of the Tirumala Mountains, and that the forests here are rich in medicinal plants. There were strange-looking mushrooms and wildflowers in full bloom in some patches. We walked around for an hour and started heading back. 

talakona
Talakona Waterfalls – pic courtesy Vinoth Chander

The clouds started gathering again around early evening and it was time to wrap up our day trip. But whatever little time I spent in that emerald retreat, it was exciting and rejuvenating. The greenery, the gushing sound of the fall, and the silence of the forests revived me inside out. 

My recommendations for travelers

  • Always rent a reliable and licensed car in Chennai for a comfortable journey. 
  • For a proper forest trek, camp at one of the log huts or tents offered by the forest authorities. 
  • If you want to spot animals or birds, visit between November and January.

This is a guest post contributed by Archana Permi


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