The Talakona waterfalls, which is the highest forest waterfalls in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the main tourist attractions and trekking spot in AP tourism.
The water falls from height of 280 feet from top of the mountain, thus making it the highest waterfalls in Andhra state.
Me and my hubby Rajesh travelled to Talakona waterfalls on 4th march 2018 by bike, reached the forest before 9am. We have spent about two and half hrs including our trekking time and recreation.
Unexpectedly, there was good water flow from hilltop even in the beginning of summer. It is a beautiful location for trekking, in all seasons.
Here are the things to know before you plan a trip to Talakona –
Entry fee and timing to Talakona forest waterfalls
(a) Checkpoint 1 – Forest Check-post
We enjoyed our ride to the forest watching mango farm and flowers plantation.
Westopped at forest check-post 8.5 km before forest waterfalls. We were asked to enter name, vehicle name and details in the check-post.
The entry fee for two-wheeler is 15/- INR, four-wheeler is 100/- INR. Also we noticed that the security guard was screening vehicles for alcohols as it was strictly not allowed. If you are carrying any camera then 100/- INR to be paid, otherwise no fee for carrying any mobile phones.
After 5 km drive, we reached Siddeshwara Swamy temple, a forest temple for Lord Shiva and also a guardian of Talakona.
At this point, you could find lots of local food stalls (very dirty) offering to prepare veg and non-veg food fresh for tourists. I would not suggest to take any kind of service from these locals.
It is better to carry own snacks and food as there are no decent eat-outs from our experience.
And be polite with these locals when you are rejecting their service to make the whole experience pleasant.
(b) Checkpoint 2 – Sri Siddeshwara Swamy Temple
An ancient temple for Lord Shiva in the middle of the forest, is one of the main reasons Talakona is crowded all the time.
Since it was weekend, there was already big group of people found to be actively preparing food to offer God. Soon they would take a dip in waterfalls before they start the rituals.
So it is better to avoid visiting Talakona on full moon day (pournami) and no moon day (amavasya), which are auspicious days for Lord Shiva.
Near to the temple, there is dress change room facility available for public. From this point, one can choose to go by walk or by own vehicle. There is no second entry fee for vehicles but for individual persons. They charge 10/- per head for adults and 5/- per head for kids.
We chose to go by bike and the road here to waterfalls parking was quite an adventurous one.
One can expect these roads to be very slippery and muddy in monsoon. So it is better to go by walk in the rainy season.
Entry for vehicles at this checkpoint opens only at 9.15 am, and closes by 4 pm. In-fact, whole forest entry closes by 4 pm.
(c) Forest waterfalls parking – Pond area
After a rough ride for about 2 km among the gigantic trees and teasing monkeys, we halted at forest waterfalls parking area. There is a beautiful man made pond at this point for those who are not able to trek to the mountains.
Me and Rajesh clicked some pics before we set to go for a trek for about 2 km to reach the top of the mountain. Trekking is not new to us, we have done 2 hrs trekking to various mountain tops in south India.
Since we were early on Sunday, there were only few people trekking along with us.
Monkeys atrocities in the hilltop of Talakona waterfalls
Even Though there were monkeys all along the trekking path, they seem to be minding their businesses.
Except for a group of rowdies near the hilltop, taking advantage of the visitors to waterfalls and their luggage bags.
We were attacked too.
We didn’t have any pole or stick in hand, we used our water bottle to shush them away but in vain.
On the way back from waterfalls, we brought wooden sticks for our safety. So keep your backpacks tightly closed and hold it close to your body.
And for safety, at least one member in your team should be carrying a stick to keep them at bay.
On the way back from hilltop, same monkey rowdies attacked a female, sat on the top of the backpack and started pulling out some items.
There was lot of screaming before we rushed to help them with stick. Until we reached the parking area, we kept warning the visitors to be careful of these monkeys. Ah what a trip!!
Slippery rocks on the highest point of the waterfalls
Except for the monkeys’ atrocities, it was very pleasant trek in the forest to the mountain top.
As you climb up, the view gets much better with fresh breeze. We stopped now and then to click some pics. Unlike other mountain waterfalls, here you have proper trails to support. But, in some places trails were broken and fallen off, could be due to rain and wind.
Everyone should experience this forest trekking to take the cold shower of untouched pure water with medicinal properties.
Yes, we did climb up to the mountain top.
Water falls with the enormous force and the rocks at this point are very slippery and dangerous.
View is always better from the top.
Poor mobile network and worst food service in the Forest
There was no network available in the forest area and near the falls.
If you are planning to stay in the forest resort, it would not be a wise decision.
Also we heard that there is also no electricity in the guest houses.
Though we didn’t stay in resort, we met a fellow companion staying in the guest house. He complained about the poor guest house service, no electricity, no power back up and no food service also.
There is just one maintenance person who brings food from the local stalls near the temple.
And looking at the stalls, definitely it is not good idea to order food from them. So it is better to plan as a short one day trip either from Tirupati or Chennai or Madanapalle.
Moreover there is nothing much to see around here except for the temple and dense forest waterfalls. Until we reached the checkpoint -1, we had trouble with the poor network connectivity.
Trek to Talakona is not suitable for older adults
Since it was summer, we had no issue climbing up the unpaved stone stairs. But in monsoon it would get slippery and hard to climb with the poor rails for support.
In some places, the rails were broken and fallen off from the track. And no wonder we have not seen any older adults at the top.
Otherwise, Talakona is the perfect romantic and adventurous getaway for youngsters.
Talakona is a must visit tourist place if you are planning a trip to Tirupati.
To my fellow travellers –
- Be early, enjoy the beauty of forest waterfalls in silence. And cherish the moment.
- Be brave, take a cold shower in the hilltop, and be proud because not everyone can make to the top.
- Be sensitive, don’t pollute the forest and the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions about Talakona Forest Waterfalls:
#1. Where is Talakona waterfalls located?
The Talakona waterfall is the highest waterfall in the Andhra Pradesh state with a 270 feet (82 m)-fall. It is located in Nerabailu village of Chittoor district in Andhra. It is situated 250 km from Bangalore, 220 km from Chennai, 58 km from Tirupati, 105 km from Chittoor and 102 km from Madanapalle.
#2. How to reach Talakona waterfalls?
After reaching the forest entry (from Forest check-post security gate) it is about approx. 5 km distance to reach shiva temple and 7 km ride to reach the waterfalls parking area.
Public transport buses from Tirupati, Madanapalle, Chennai would stop at this check-post. Otherwise all types of private vehicles are permitted up-to waterfalls parking area, which is the closest parking area to waterfalls.
But some would prefer to halt at Shiva temple, whichever is convenient for you. So, if you have taken public transport, it is exactly 8.5 km walk to the waterfalls.
#3. Details about nearest railway station, Bus station and cab facility to Talakona Forest?
There is no direct railway connectivity to Talakona falls, one has to stop and change buses from Chittoor or Tirupati railway station.
Bus facilities are available from both the bus stations, but are very infrequent.
Early morning direct bus available from Tirupati, but it is quit a long journey. Also, local taxi services in Tirupati would cost 2500/ -INR to 4000/- INR , varies for the season. So it is better arrange own transport.
#4. Are there any options for Room bookings, Hotels and Resorts near Talakona Forest?
Like public transport, hotel room availability is also not very supporting for the tourists. From what I gathered, the forest guest house facility is very poor and maintenance is not up-to the expectation.
Needless to say the struggle for good food, as the area is dominated by local food stalls which are dirty and untidy.
So it is better to look for accommodation in Tirupati or Madanapalle.
Also keeping the unavailability of restaurants in mind, it is advised to pack food and snacks from home or the nearest city.
#5. What are the Activities to do / things to do in and around Talakona?
Usually people visit Talakona after Temple dharsan at Tirumala Tirupathi. Or people would directly come to talakona for Trekking like us. In our next visit to Madanapalle we are planning to visit the Horsley Hills. So the activities you could do when you are in Talakona –
- Visit Lord Siddeshwara temple and seek his blessings
- Trekking to hilltop – wear comfortable clothes and shoes, keep your luggage zip locked, keep a stick to ward off monkeys
- Cook food, recreation with family and friends (alcohol prohibited)
- Connect to mother nature, experience the forest away from city life
- Poor network connectivity, disconnect with social media, connect with family and friends
- Play in pond -There is a beautiful pond at the waterfalls parking area for those who are not able to trek to hilltop
#6. Locker room facilities, Dress change rooms and washroom facilities
There are no locker room facilities, it is better to pack very light luggage. And there are dress change and wash room available but not clean, as there is no maintenance person.
#7. Entry Fee, Timing, alcohol consumption and Photography
As I mentioned above, there are two checkpoints for vehicles.
One is forest checkpost where they check vehicles, note down registration number,entry time and number of visitors. There they collect 15/- for two wheelers, 100/- INR for four wheelers and 100/- for cameras. Here entry time is open from early morning, but it is not preferable to reach the forest before 8am as there won’t be any visitors until 9am.
In second entry point, which is near Shiva temple, the entry fee to waterfalls are collected. Here they collect 10/- per person for adults, 5/- per person for kids. The gate opens only by 9.15 am, until then you can spend time around the temple.
#8. When is the best season to visit Talakona falls?
Usually the best time to visit Talakona forest is between November to January. As you see in pics, there was good amount of water flow even in march. It is suggested to avoid trekking during rainy season as it gets more dangerous in slippery rocks.
No alcohols or any impolite behaviour are entertained in the forest and waterfalls area.
By 4 pm, forest entry closes for visitors.
How was your experience to Talakona forest and waterfalls? Please comment below.