Feb 162013

 Taking A Boat  to Nagarjunakonda Island Museum in Nagarjuna Sagar


Boats have a special significance in Indian mythology, my earliest memory of a boat is watching Ramleela (Ramayana played as a stage play,  with a boatman taking Lord Ram across the river. For some reason, boats were not available to launch an attack on Lanka, so the Vanar Sena ( army of apes)  had to build a bridge over the sea. Or may be just may be Lord Ram did not want to take chances with all those Vanars on the boat. Please read my account of taking a boat to Nagarjunakonda Island you will understand why Lord Ram chose a bridge over a boat ride to Lanka.

boat launch station to take boat to Nagarjunakonda

Path from Boat Launch Station to board the Ferry

Let us talk about our boat ride in Nagarjuna Sagar to reach Nagarjunakonda or hill of Nagarjuna. As per a combo of mythology and history, Nagarjuna was a Buddhist monk whose monastery was situated where the current Nagarjunakonda island in the Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir is situated. When the water in the reservoir rose most of the historical items were submerged except for the ones that were rescued and kept in the museum specifically built for the purpose on the top of the island.

There are motorboats running on diesel fuel that operates between Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir and the island of Nagarjunakonda. Each one-way journey is around 45 minutes and  you can spend as much time exploring the island and the museum as you want to as long as you take the last ferry back, unless you want to spend the night alone on the island ( which by the way is not allowed due to security reasons so you better not miss the last boat around 5:30 pm).

the ferry to Nagarjunakonda in nagarjuna sagar

Boat To Nagarjunakonda in Nagarjuna Sagar

From the Haritha Vijay Vihar hotel, where we stayed it is about 7 KM  to reach the Boat launch station from where you will get the boat to the Nagarjunakonda. There is parking next to the complex from where you can take the boat.( INR 20 for car parking)

The Boat station at Nagarjunakonda in Nagarjuna Sagar

Boat station at Nagarjunakonda Island

While going to the Nagarjunakonda in ferry you have a nice complex where you can wait for the ferry that will take you to the island, with facility for a restroom and a small snack bar also. It is when the boat arrives all hell breaks loose; there is no system of Q or ladies and kids first. If you have muscle and besharmee you can get in the motorboat. If you have civic sense and are traveling with kids be ready to miss your boat.

For some reason, the staff is totally negligent about how many seats to fill in the boat and they were calling people to board even when it was full completely. Now, remember we are talking about taking a boat ride in a reservoir which is around 100 meters in depth even with less water. To disregard safety norms in such situation is a disaster in waiting. As most of the boats do not have adequate tubes and ropes for rescue.  The situation is even worse when you are returning. There is no proper waiting area or even bench etc and you need to wait on the concrete ramp which can be used to make an omelet in the heat.

children waiting for boat in sun at Nagarjunakonda Island

No Shade or bench to wait for the boat at Nagarjunakonda

There were lots of kids from a school the day we visited Nagarjunakonda island in Nagarjuna Sagar. As the boats rarely adhere to the schedule all of them along with us were waiting on the concrete. When the boat came all hell broke loose once again, nobody waited for the coming passengers to get down and on the small path between the boat and ramp, there were more than 200 people pushing and shoving each other.  Some young brave men from a local college decided to prove Darwin correct and entered the boat from windows almost trampling an old couple.

stampede when the boat arrives at Nagarjunakonda

Muscle power rules to enter the boat- Where is the staff?

guys jumping and pushing to get in boat in Nagarjuna sagar

Pushing and shoving and jumping from one boat to another

While everybody was settling in the boat somebody screamed another boat is coming and that will go first. Needless to stay even before this second boat has settled again everybody was jumping from the first boat to second and one of them slipped and was lucky to not fall in the water. As you see in the picture above the guy in red Tshirt and his friend are jumping from one boat to another We decided to not change boat and wait for the one we were settled to start even if it meant waiting for another 40 minute in the boat. If the authorities do not create some kind of Q system and announcing the arrival of boats coupled with some place to rest, I am worried a Kumbh kind of disaster can happen in these boats. ( I hope I am wrong in this case)

Cost: Boat ride + museum visit ticket will cost you around 90 Rs. The Same ticket is used for the return journey. The counter clerk will give you two tickets one for boat and one for the museum. If you do not want to go to the museum you can just take a ticket for the boat ride to go and come back from Nagarjunakonda Island.Boat Timings to Nagarjunakonda: The first boat leaves at 9:30 am but is reserved for staff that works on island, then every hour or so a boat leaves from the boat launch point at Nagarjuna Sagar, the last boat is at 3:30 pm and return the last trip is at 5:30 pm  from the island.  But trust me nobody was following any kind of schedule so take some margin for timings.

Next episode:  The Island and Buddhist museum of Nagarjunakonda in the middle of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam reservoir. An earlier post on Nagarjuna Sagar road trip and Hotel stay is here.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and is one of the favorite picnic and a favorite day trip of people from Hyderabad. Read the earlier posts about ” How to visit Nagarjuna Sagar from Hyderabad

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  10 Responses to “Boat to Nagarjunakonda Island Museum in Nagarjuna Sagar”

Comments (10)
  1. A good one to alert the tourists, Prasad!. Hope someone in authority will take note. Thanks.

  2. Amazing pics! Another grand post, Prasad! Thank you man 🙂

  3. Quite true. The journey is cool but system is messy and needs to be looked into.

    Now, about the museum where the Buddhist artifacts are kept, it is said that the artifacts are collected and kept in the museum at Nagarjunakonda from the nearby excavations. Some of them were originally collected from Anupu (7-8 kms from the Dam) which is a uncommon spot for tourist but of utmost importance for Buddhist tourists and even Dalai Lama visited this place sometimes back. Remains of a Buddhist university and a amphitheater is still in existence.

  4. Phew that is dangerous! Authorities waiting for the accident to happen before taking any preventive measures I suppose!

  5. Well, some really crisp and lovely photos. Loved the boat one and black and white one.

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