The Kurnool district lies in between the northern latitudes of l4°-54' and 16°-11' and eastern longitudes of 76°-58' and 78°-25'. The district is bounded on the north by Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers as well as Mahaboob Nagar district, on the south by Cuddapah and Anantapur districts, on the west by Karnataka state and on the east by Prakasam district.
Physiographyically the district consists of two important mountain ranges namely Nallamalas and Erramalas running parallel from north to south. The Nallamalas are located on the eastern part of the district and Erramalas are found in central part of the district. The eastern Nallamala hills range in altitude from 300 to 800 meters. The central Erramalas range in altitude from 300 to 600 meters. In between Nallamala and Erramala hills river Kunderu passes through in north-south direction and it is predominately covered with black cotton soils.
The terrain here slopes from south-west to north-east and it is drained by river Hundri which joins the river Tungabhadra at Kurnool. The soils in the north western part are black cotton and in south eastern part of the western tract are shallow red sandy soils.
Climatologically the district enjoys dry sub-humid types of climate. January, February and March months are usually pleasant with moderate winds from south to east. April and May are the hottest months of the year. The average rainfall of the district is 762.34 mm. The average rainfall in the plain regions is 661.75 mm. The average rainfall over eastern Nallamalas is 1116.66 mm.
Tungabhadra is a major river in the south Indian peninsula which is a tributary of the Krishna River. The river flows through the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. This river has a catchment area of 27,574 square miles. The tributaries of the Tungabhadra are Varada River and Hagari (Vedathy) River.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The eastern part of the district covered with Nallamala hills is composed of good natural vegetation. There are about 3, 18,385 hectares of land under forests and accounts for 18% of the total geographical area. The major parts of the forests are confined to Nallamala hills followed by its extensions the Erramalas and a part of the Velikondas. Bamboo with timber type of species occurs spirally over extensive forest areas in the district. Tamarind and beedi leaves are the important minor forest produce of the district.
Wild animals are well distributed in Nallamala and Erramala hills which afford an ideal abide for wild life. The wild animals present are tigers, panthers, bears, jackals, hyaenas’ wild bears, foxes, spotted dears, sambars, black bucks, nelgais, wild sheep etc. About 46.815 hectares covering northeastern part of Nallamalas has been brought under the Nagarjuna sagar-Sresailam wildlife sanctuary.
Partridges, peacocks, red jungle foul, green pigeons and quails, are the chief birds found in the Nallamala hills. The great Indian bustard (Battameka) an endangered bird species are found around Rollapadu village.
The District of Kurnool is located in the western central part of Andhra Pradesh and its capital is the town of Kurnool. The town, laidback, is a home to many ancient monuments, palaces and temples.
Belum Caves, running a length of 3,229 metres, are the second longest caves in India and are popular for their stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves have long passages, fresh water galleries, siphons and spacious chambers. These caves have been formed naturally due to constant flow of underground water. At their deepest point, the caves descend to 150 feet from the entrance level and this point is referred to as Pataalaganga. The caves are about 110 kilometres from Kurnool. There is a giant Buddha statue located just outside the caves, which is an indication that the Buddhist monks worshipped here thousands of years ago. However, it is the shivalingam that is present inside the cave attracts devotees and visitors.
The picturesque village of Mahanandi is located east of Nallamala Hills, near Nandyal, in Kurnool District. The village is enveloped by dense verdant forest. About 15 kilometres from the village are nine shrines to Nandi. Mahanandi is one of the nine shrines. The other eight are Shivanandi, Vinayakanandi, Somanandi, Prathamanandi, Garudanandi, Suryanandi, Krishnanandi (also known as Vishnunandi) and Naganandi. The Mahanandiswara Swamy Temple is about 1,500 years old and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The shivalinga in the temple is considered to be unique because it is formed by a rough, uncut rock containing two cavities. Devotees are allowed to touch the shivalinga. There is a huge Nandi located in front of the main shrine. The tower above the shivalinga is what makes this temple unique. It is constructed in the North Indian style of architecture.
The town of Mantralayam is located on the bans of Tungabhadra River in Kurnool District, along the border of the neighbouring state of Karnataka. The town is popular for the Samadhi of Saint Raghavendra Teertha and is a highly sought-after religious destination by devotees of Lord Vishnu. The followers of the saint believe that he was the incarnation of Bhakta Prahlad, who was character from the Hindu epic Mahabharatha and an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Raghavendra Teertha Swamy was a great scholar, humanitarian and a dedicated devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that he performance many miracles during his lifetime.
Srisailam Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna, is located on top of the Nallamalai Hills. The hills are towards the right side of the Krishna River in Kurnool District. The hill is a popular pilgrimage site. The temple is one of the most ancient kshetras in the country. The unique feature of this temple is that it houses both the Jyothirlingam and Mahashakthi which is rarely found in Shiva temples. The other attraction of Nallamala Hills is the presence of the Srisailam dam. This dam spans the Krishna River and is located in a deep canyon in the forest of the hills. The dam is about 512 metres in length and lies at an elevation of 300 metres.
Ahobilam is located in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh and is considered to be one of the 108 Vaishnava Divyadesams in the country. The region is famous for its two beautiful temples located in lower Ahobilam and upper Ahobilam. According to local legend, this was the spot where Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, blessed Prahlada and slayed Hiranyakshipu. The region gets its name from the local language and is based on a famous shloka.
Orvakallu is a natural landscape of regal rock formations around a long, meandering body of water. It is located about 25 kilometres from Kurnool, on National Highway 18. It is relatively easy to find. These natural rock formations are perfect for trekking, as visitors can climb up the rocks, which are of multitude shapes and sizes. On reaching the highest point, visitors are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the water body that has wide open spaces and clear blue skies as its backdrop.
Located in Kurnool District, Yaganti is about 100 kilometres from the city of Kurnool. It is home to a famous temple, Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Nandi Bull, Lord Shiva’s trustworthy steed. The distinctive feature of the temple is the presence of Pushkarini, which is a small pond in the premises of a temple. The water flows into the pond from the mouth of Nandi Bull and comes from the surrounding hills. While it is not known how the water makes its way into the pond, it is full throughout the year. Besides the marvellous pond, the temple architecture is also worth checking it. It showcases the skills of Viswakarma Sthapathis.
Spread over an area of 614 square kilometres, the Rollapadu Sanctuary is located in Kurnool District, about 60 kilometres from the city of Kurnool. It is teeming with wildlife and deciduous forests. The Sanctuary is situated along the Eastern Ghats and is home to many different species of birds and animals. Visitors can spy black bucks, bonnet macaques, Indian bustards, Indian rollers, sparrows, myna, Russell’s vipers, Indian cobra, wolves, foxes, jackals and many other creatures that call this sanctuary their home. This sanctuary is well-known for its Great Indian Bustard population and is considered an endangered species. The thorny bushes and open grasslands provide the perfect habitat for birds and animals.