Feb 252013

A Joy Ride in a Coracle  in Nagarjuna Sagar

Coracles ( singular- Coracle) or the round boats have been around for millenniums, Julius Caesar found the English using them during his invasion.  And while the indigenous shipbuilding industry in India was slowly decimated by the British, ( probably as an act of revenge to supply ships to American Navy for the British American war in 1812.  A little-known fact: American national anthem was written on a ship made by the Wadia Family of India) still the art of making Coracles survived. Although one wonders what happened to shipbuilding in India when just a century ago we were supplying naval ships to US Navy to fight the British of all the people!

a boatman poses for picture in his coracle or round boat

Coracle is a round boat made of Bamboo

So I was very happy to discover Coracles or round boats made from bamboo in a circular shape and steered by a single Oar by the boatman.  To keep the boat dry the bottom of the boat is covered with a thick black plastic sheet,  to keep the boat top and your bottom dry. Though don’t count on it as a lot of water comes to the boat when your kids decide to play with it and some more comes when the kid in you decide to give competition to the kids you brought in this world. Soon everybody is a kid in the round boat all adults are lost somewhere. Duh!

Indians taking holy dip in river waters

People Taking Bath in River Krishna Waters-Nagarjuna Sagar

Normally Coracles are used in streams and rivers like you will find in Kaveri and Tungabhadra near Hampi.. The Coracles used in Nagarjuna Sagar are similar but hold the record for being used in one of the deepest reservoirs in the world. But don’t worry these boatmen we met were more skilled than the captain of the motorboat we took to the Nagarjunakonda Island.

man standing on the bank of river in India

To Bath or not Bath is the question

There is a lot of life happening on the banks of Nagarjuna Sagar, families were enjoying the water body, people taking bath, people thinking about taking bath, boats drying, people enjoying the sun, some people hiding from the sun, holy men telling future and unholy men worried about their future. Some people were carrying goods in both the coracles and some in motor boats. Spoiling the perfect scenery was the motorboat going to Nagarjunakonda island spewing black smoke polluting the pristine air around us. I wonder is any pollution control certificate is required by these boats?

smoke coming out from motorboat polluting the air

Motorboat polluting the clean air of Nagarjuna Sagar

We saw them first from our hotel balcony, and later when boarding the motorboat to the Buddhist Museum on Nagarjunakonda Island. They look tiny when compared to the motorboats and but can hold 7-8 people easily with only one boatman using a single Oar to direct the boat.  The highlight is when the boat guy takes the boat to the deeper water and swiftly rotates it in a circle that is when the kid in you enjoys the most. The more swiftly the boat rotates the more your head spins and the wider is the grin on your face. Oh, Boy was I glad I had brushed my teeth in morning and could display my teeth to fully enjoy my spinning head.

man standing and waving in a coracle made of bamboo

Come again Desi Traveler goodbye for now

Traveler Tips: You can do this after coming back from the island. Charges INR 50 per person for about 15 minutes of the ride, though I am sure in the end you will also say like we did “ Yeh Dil mange more”  ( My heart is asking for more). A few things you need to remember is there are no life jackets on these small round coracles so go on your own risk ( what a spoil sport I am), second don’t stand on the boat no matter what as it will change the center of gravity of the boat  which is not a good thing.  Otherwise, they were found and we enjoyed all the shrieks and oohs and aahs that we were making. Much better than going to those theme water parks!

So whenever you are visiting Nagarjuna Sagar don’t  miss the boat ride in Coracles even if you want to miss the motorboat to the island.

Other posts in Nagarjuna Sagar series are here

  1. A Road Trip from Hyderabad to Nagarjuna Sagar
  2. Boat to Nagarjunakonda Island Museum in Nagarjuna Sagar
  3. Buddhist Museum On Nagarjunakonda Island
  4. Ethipothala Waterfalls

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  8 Responses to “Family Fun in Coracle or Round Boats of Nagarjuna Sagar”

Comments (8)
  1. Hi,

    I liked the way you narrated; generally I am not a blog reader. but came across your blog accidentally 🙂 and read most of yours..

    btwn i liked your pictures, they are quite and of course story tellers.. you must have a nice good expensive SLR camera han … ;).. I know its mostly not the camera that makes the pictures but its the eye followed by composition…. my dad used to take outstanding pictures with his kodak “easy click” role camera;

    I was actually planning for warangal for ramappa temple followed by laknavaram cheruvu.. but swiftly changed plan and now heading to nagarjuna sagar and booked a two day stay at vijay vihar … i double .. view and bathrooms are more imp than anything else for a traveler..

    you forgot to mention, one another serious, dangerous, point .. mosquitoes .. you can live with no bed and even on floor is a heaven .. but a night with mosquitoes one can see life after death..i faced once in Nasik, the nasty creatures were bigger than dragon flies.. by morning i was looking like just out of human vs honeybees championship.. they could bite me even through a thick jeans and a jacket.

    anyway.. Thank you again for your nice blogs. keep up the pace.. I would surely read all your blogs soon.

    • Dear Sastry: Thanks for visiting desi Traveler and your insightful comment. You are correct Mosquitoes are a big menace near any kind of water body and one needs to be very careful. Looking forward to you visiting desi Traveler again and your comments….. 🙂

  2. Hi,

    can you let me know if we can see any wild life or any chances of Safari. I heard they opened at farhabad. Do you have any idea about it.


    • I would not go to Nagarjuna Sagar area with expectations of seeing wildlife, though Tigers are spotted there regularly in the Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam belt, to the best of my knowledge facilities for safari etc. are very basic. But things may have changed. Please do update if you visit there..

  3. Hi Prasad,
    Can you let us know the exact place at Nagarjuna Sagar, from where you went on a coracle journey. Was it near the falls or near the island? And can we do a coracle ride, if going to the island is not on our plan-list?

  4. Coracles are real fun. I was so excited when I went on it the first time.
    It’s great idea for family day out.

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