Kuntala Waterfall- A Mesmerizing Experience for Nature Lovers
Kuntala waterfalls in Adilabad district, Telangana is the tallest waterfall in Telangana state. Located on Kadem river in Neredigonda mandal and surrounded by dense forests; the waterfall cascades down about 200 feet or 45 meters. The waterfall got its name from Kunta, which in Gondi and Telugu languages means pond and Kuntalu means several ponds. Confluence of several ponds leads to creation of the waterfall. The surrounding areas are inhabited by Gond tribals. Kuntala waterfall actually cascades down through two different steps and during the monsoon season, when the waterfall is in full flow due to heavy inflow of water; it sometimes seems these are two separate adjacent falls.
Legend goes Kuntala waterfall got its name from Shakuntala, wife of King Dushyant. It is said they fell in love with each other while mesmerized with surrounding beauty. It is said that Shakuntala used to bathe in the waterfall. Located about 270 kms from Hyderabad, capital of Telangana, enroute National Highway 44; the waterfall is suitable for one-day weekend trip during and after monsoons. Despite being surrounded by forests; access to the waterfall is easy. 500 steps takes tourists directly to the lower end of waterfall, from where full view of waterfall gives a mesmerizing experience.
Kuntala waterfall, is about 10 minutes away from main road. State transport buses available till Neredikonda village, from where private vehicles can be hired for a detour of 11kms to reach the waterfall. Both Nirmal and Adilabad towns can be used as base to reach Kuntala waterfalls. Both these towns are well-connected by road and rail with Hyderabad. A popular tourist destination for tourists living in Hyderabad; tourist visiting the Kuntala waterfalls can also visit other waterfalls; including Gayatri Waterfalls and Pochera Falls on left and right of Kuntala falls. Both these waterfalls are in Adilabad district, at a distance of couple hours drive.
Follow of water at Kuntala is regulated by water release from Kadam dam and reservoir. The undulating terrain and slippery/sharp rocks have resulted in a few tragic accidents, in past few years; leading to loss of lives at the waterfall. As a result, government of Telangana has imposed some restrictions as to which areas are suitable for bathing in the waterfall. There are many whirlpools that must be avoided especially during monsoon. As such its best only for adults to bath in water and kids should avoid entering the water.
To boost tourism, the government has opened few eateries and stalls; and to regulate traffic, designated parking areas have been created for vehicle parking at a charge. There are two access points for entering the waterfalls. The one near rest house, is a staircase but its’ on the far side of the waterfall. Getting down the steps isn’t a problem. but coming back to the top is an arduous task. The other one is via a path through thick vegetation of forest; it leads directly to the front of the waterfall, and there are no steps here. However, forest department has now closed this access route.
There are a few eateries or dhabas, while leading up to the waterfall that sell variety of South India dishes. As a picnic spot, there are several areas near the waterfall where tourist can light a bonfire to prepare their own food. There are shops that provide water cans for family use in lieu of deposits. Best time to visit Kuntala waterfall, located in the middle of the Sahyadri mountain range, besides monsoon is from September to December, and best time to avoid from January to July.
Tourists are advised to carry first-aid kit, snacks and extra set of cloths if planning dip in the water. Tourist can also visit, the Someswara Swami temple dedicated to Shiva near the waterfall. During Maha Sivaratri, the temple is decked up and is visited by lot of devotees. Tourist visiting via Nirmal town can buy wooden toys and paintings for which the town is famous. Besides Kuntala, Gayatri and Pochera; there are several other waterfalls that tourists can visit in Adilabad district. These are Kanakai waterfall, Bandrev waterfall, Sahastrakund waterfall, and Kortikal Waterfalls; all near to Nirmal or Adilabad towns.