The 1,000sqkm Nallamala area is probably the largest stretch of undisturbed forests in south India other than the Western Ghats.
It is considered one of toughest and the most treacherous terrains. Even those well-aware of the tracks can get lost.
Little wonder, the Maoists have made Nallamala — spread across five districts of Kurnool, Mahbubnagar, Prakasam, Guntur and Nalgonda — their haven. The Maoists ruled this region for over a decade by camping in the deep forests and troubled successive governments by unleashing a wave of terror. They ran a parallel government in these five districts taking full advantage of the terrain.
The fissured rocks prevent any water from percolating, resulting in most of the discharge running off as mountain streams to join the Gundlakamma river in the hills.
The Krishna river, which flows majestically through the forests, separates Kurnool and Mahbubnagar districts, while the Srisailam reservoir backwaters are spread across a length of 70 km making it easy for the Maoists to escape.