Photography - Destination

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary - A Photographers Delight into the Wild!

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Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh is the perfect retreat for wildlife enthusiasts. A combination of wildlife sanctuary and an elephant reserve, it is situated near the Horsley Hills and spread over a vast terrain of 357, Koundinya Wildlife sanctuary acts as the perfect muse for wildlife photographers.

With a population of Asian elephants, it is the only sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh where elephants have been migrating more than ever before.

So, if you are on the lookout for some colorful plumage spotting, then head over to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary in the winter months with your high-end camera to capture the most splendid sights.  

Here is why Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is a perfect picturesque spot for your camera. Read on -

About the Sanctuary

The Koundinya wildlife sanctuary is geographically situated in the region where plains of Tamil Nadu marking the Deccan plateau area slopes down through valleys. The sanctuary was basically created to protect elephants which had suddenly increased in number in the 1980’s. The sanctuary is a frequently visited place from the nearby mountains – Horsley Hills.

Deriving its name from the two rivers that flow through this region - Kaigal and Kaundinya – the sanctuary boasts of a diverse mix of varied flora and fauna.

koundinya wildlife sanctuary
Koundinya wildlife sanctuary - the hidden gem

The pictorial beauty of the deep valleys and the clear water in these two rivers give this place a peaceful vibe and helps it serve as a getaway from a hectic city life.

 The terrains typically characterized by rugged high hills and deep valleys make it suitable for different forms of species to co-exist.

History of Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

The Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is heralded as the only region in Andhra Pradesh to which elephants have returned after 200 years. During 1983 – 1986, a vast number of elephants started their journey from the forests of Tamil Nadu and Bannerghatta in Karnataka in search of a new home.

They found the perfect shelter in Koundinya Region, which propelled the then government to set up a sanctuary in 1990.

Over the years, the sanctuary has become a popular destination as an elephant reserve and a wildlife sanctuary. Today, there are about 78 elephants that are part of the sanctuary.

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary elephants
Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary - The Elephant Reserve (source)

Migratory birds make a beautiful sight during the winter months and the wide range of flora and fauna make it the go-to destination for the wildlife enthusiasts.

Entry Fee and Timings

The Koundinya Wildlife sanctuary most certainly offers more than one reason for you to head over there while working on your next wildlife photography project.

The sanctuary is open through all seven days of the week between 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

There is no particular entry fee for getting into the sanctuary but one needs to follow certain forest rules while entering the sanctuary. There are certain checkpoints in the sanctuary that help you in case you get lost.

If you’d like to get more details with regards to the entry rules for the sanctuary, you can get in touch with the Sanctuary authorities.

Contact Details:

  • Divisional Forest Officer, Chittoor, Phone number: 08572-232458
  • Forest Range Officer, Palamaner, Phone: 0879 – 251027

Wildlife and Birds at Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

The Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary has a rich ecological heritage and landscape, which inhibits plenty of flora and fauna to co-exist and thrive.

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary animals
Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary - Spot the animals

Apart from the migrated elephants, you could also spot tigers, pumas, panthers, fowls, spotted deer, bison, wild boars, sloth bears, cheetahs, sambars, tortoises, porcupines, jungle fowls, jackals and jungle cats.

If you are more of a bird person, then Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary also hosts some of the most endearing Grey Pelicans, Rosy Pelicans, Pied Horn Bills, Painted Storks, Peacocks, Ducks, Love Birds, Budgerigars, and Cockatiels.

If you are lucky you might end up spotting the vulnerable yellow-throated Bulbul as well.

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary birds
Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary - A Photographer's delight (source)

The flora at Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is off the southern tropical dry deciduous kind. You might find rare species of Indian sandalwood and bamboo here along with a range of wildflowers like reetha, shikakai, amla, etc.

Climatic Conditions

Usually, the climate at Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is pleasant throughout the year. The temperature in this region usually ranges anywhere between 15 – 40 degree Celsius.

If you were planning to capture those colorful plumages and peaceful four-legged creatures, the best time to visit the sanctuary would be between the months of October and April.

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary best time to visit
Visit between Oct and April to enjoy Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary (source)

How to get there: Logistics and Accommodation

The sanctuary starts near a small town in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, right where the Deccan Plateau ends and slopes down into the plains of Tamil Nadu.

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 87 kms away from the gorgeous Horsley Hills.

By Air:

To get to the sanctuary by air, fly down to either of the below-mentioned airports:

  • Bangalore Airport
  • Tirupathi Airport

You can also fly down to Chennai/Hyderabad and travel by rail or road from there on.

By Rail: 

To get to the sanctuary by rail, take a train from Chittoor to Palamaneru.

By Road:

The nearest bus stop to get to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is Palamaneru bus station.

Palamaneru is very well connected in terms of roads from Chittoor; so hit the road and enjoy the breathtaking sights that you would encounter on your way.

If you are driving down from Bangalore to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, you’ll be covering a distance of 120 km by road and 50 km from Chittoor respectively. Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary from Chennai is approximately 193km by road.


If you are planning to stay overnight at Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, you could make a reservation at the forest guesthouses of Madanpalli, Palamaneru and Horsley Hills.

You could also explore some Koundinya Wildlife Packages and Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary Tours online or resorts near Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary for a mind-blowing experience.

Activities in and around Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary provides the most enthralling and exciting activities to ensure that the visitors have a great time. 

Within the sanctuary, one can sign up for activities that will you get your adrenaline rushing ranging from elephant safaris, bird watching to jeep safaris.

Things to do around Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary

There are plenty of attractions around Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary, which makes the place all the more interesting to visit.

One such attraction is the Sripuram Golden Temple in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. The most alluring part of the temple is that it is adorned with gold and boasts of some of the most complicated and intricate statues created by expert gold decorators. Another temple you could visit is the Jalakandehwarar temple.

Sripuram Golden Temple in Vellore, Tamil Nadu.
Sripuram Golden Temple in Vellore (source)

For those who are bit by the adventure bug, don’t think twice. Head to Antharagange region, near Kolar, for a cave exploration! At the end of the trek, you’ll reach a hilltop and with the help of locales, you can begin cave exploration.

Nestled amidst the clouds, Horsley Hills is a famous hill station in Andhra Pradesh situated at an altitude of 1265 km famous for plantations and Tada Falls. If you are in for some soul searching, this is the place to head to. The distance between Horsley hills to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary is 87 km.

So don’t ignore the Call of the Wild and get onto your exploring shoes!

Plan your next outing to Koundinya Wildlife Sanctuary right away during the winter months to catch the migratory birds flocking to the stream tucked between the rugged high hills.

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