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  1. Best Route from Hyderabad to Munnar : 1050 kms Hyderabad --> Kurnool --> Ananthapur --> Bangalore --> Salem -> Avinashi --> Udumalaipettai -> Munnar Route Condition from Hyderabad to Ooty : Hyderabad to Bangalore - 4 lane toll road, excellent Bangalore to Mysuru - 4 lane, high traffic highway Mysuru to Ooty - 2 lane scenic ghat road Best Time to Visit Munnar: January to December (throughout the year) April to June (Heavy tourist crowd) Best Restaurants in Munnar: Alibaba and 41 dishes Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/RjSmoM3yvS4nmHto6 Roachas Restaurent Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/owiXcQtq5uwAnmvN8 Hotel Guru bhavan Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/9NgHfJ1RDC2Yq71p7 Best resorts in Munnar (Luxury): Blanket Hotel and Spa Tall Trees Chandy's Wind Frangrant Nature Munnar NeelaKurunji Luxury Plantation Resort Best resorts in Ooty (Nature view) : Elixir Hills Suites Resort and Spa Amber Dale Hotel and Spa The Leaf The Fog Munnar Panoramic Gateway Budget resorts in Munnar : Regalia Munnar Lake forest Munnar The Siena Village Munnar Tea Hills Resort Trivers resort Day - 1 Start time : 5 : 00 AM Breakfast stop : 7 :00 AM to 7 :30 AM Location : Food Pyramid, Kothakota (Spacious parking, Good Food, Decent Washrooms, Kids Play area) Google pin : https://g.page/Food-Pyramid-Highway-Restaurant?share Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Anantapur Google pin :https://goo.gl/maps/rtL9J69vGRFPKkJy6 Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Apoorva Multi Cuisine Restaurant Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/hZuW5ubr1XKwW4sy6 Coffee break : 5 : 30 PM Location : Shree Thulasi Delicious Google pin : https://g.page/sree-thulasi-delicious-veg-treat?share Final stop in Salem : 7 : 00 PM Best hotels in Mysuru: Radisson Salem Cenney's Gateway Grant Estancia Day - 2 Start from the hotel after breakfast Start time : 8 : 00 AM Coffee break : 10 : 00 AM Location : Hotel Shri Sai Krishna, Avinashi Google pin : https://g.page/hotel-shri-sai-krishnaa?share Lunch stop : 12 :00 PM Location : Kick Grass restaurant, Udumulapettai Google pin : https://g.page/kickgrass?share Reach Munnar and Check into Hotel by 3 : 00 PM Places to visit : Tea Museum and Estate Attukal Waterfalls Day - 3 Places to visit : Top Station View Point Echo Point Mattupetty Dam Kundala Lake Day - 4 Places to visit : Idukki dam boating Cheeyapara Water falls Eravaikulam National Park Anaimudi Peak Thuoovanam Falls Day - 5 Places to visit in Munnar: Thoovanam Waterfalls Start back to Bangalore After Breakfast Start time : 8 : 00 AM Lunch stop : 12 : 30 PM Location : Junior Kuppanna, Perundurai Highway Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/vHr44wCmnLmfWQ5X7 Coffee break : 4 : 00 PM Location : Shree Thulasi Delicious Google pin : https://g.page/sree-thulasi-delicious-veg-treat?share Reach Hosur by : 6 : 00 PM Best places to stay in Hosur: TGI Grand Fortuna, Hosur ASR Parklane Claresta Hotels Day - 6 Start back to Hyderabad After Breakfast Start time : 6: 00 AM To avoid Bangalore traffic. Breakfast stop : 7 : 30 AM Location : Swathi Gardenia Restaurant Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/8je3wcshTbUNBUULA Coffee break : 11 : 30 AM Location : Chowrastaa Cafe & Restaurant Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/JigQyStf3SQfnLiC6 Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Matsya Amazon Kitchens Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/F8E1JCcX5s5kVZ626 Coffee break : 5 : 00 PM Location : Hotel 97, Jadcherla Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/sbWhso9t5mfgcftGA Reach Hyderabad before 7 :00 PM
  2. We usually reserve last week of year for travel exploration. To Visit Hampi in Karnataka was in my travel bucket list for a long time. So decided to explore Hampi during last week of Dec 2022. This blog will mainly focus on does, don’ts, road conditions and effective planning. Hampi is one of the most scenic ancient UNESCO Heritage Sites in India. Situated in Karnataka by the banks of Tungabhadra River, Hampi houses numerous ruins dating back to the Vijayanagar empire dating back to 1500 CE. In this post I will sketch a rough trail for you to explore Hampi. This guide is designed keeping in mind the standard 2 to 3-day Hampi itinerary. However, if you have only 2 days in Hampi, just skip crossing the other side of the river or visiting Daroji bear sanctuary where sloth bears live. Below are few details to note Car used: Baleno Zeta CVT Total KM travelled: 1000, so petrol cost was around Rs. 6000 Toll tax: around Rs. 800 Food cost: around 2000 as we explored road side famous eateries. Photos & Videos taken with: Smartphone One Plus 9, Canon DSLR 1300d (18-55 mm & 55-250 mm lens), Insta360 One RS. Accommodation cost: Nil as we stayed with our relative. There are 2 routes to reach Hampi from Hyderabad. One via Raichur and other via Kurnool. There were different thoughts provided by my travel friends on these routes. But I selected Raichur route (this is also suggested by my nephew Sagar). Road conditions Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar – Raichur: good 2 lane roads. Be careful about traffic. Raichur – Sindhanur – Gangavathi – Hospet: 2 lane roads with few bad patches. We started from my home around 6 am. I was given advice that after Mahbubnagar there will not be any good hotels. Hence, we took breakfast at Mahbubnagar to a roadside stall. Taste was good. Then we took lunch break to an Udupi hotel in Sindhanur. We reached to our relative’s house in hospet by around 4 PM. Usually this journey can be possible in 8 hours. 2 extra hours consumed by my kid and photography. We decided to take rest as we were exhausted. ORR Somewhere on the way to Raichur Partner enjoying drive I would like to give special thanks to my nephew Sagar. He belongs to hospet and knows area very well. He accompanies us for 2 days and helped us exploring Hampi in planned manner. As he was with us, we explored Hampi with him and in my car. We have not hired any guide and local transport. With Sagar Hampi ruins divided into Clusters! Before you begin to explore Hampi, get your hands on an illustrated map of Hampi. There are 3 clusters of ruins in Hampi. 1. Urban ruins cluster (King’s palace, queen’s palaces, Queen bath etc) 2. Sacred clusters (Multiple temple complexes) 3. Riverside ruins (more temples now steeped deep inside the riverbed of Tungabhadra) Apart from this, Hampi is divided by Tungabhadra River. the other bank of Tungabhadra is also known as Anegundi or Hampi island. Please note, to explore all the ruins of Hampi and “See it all”, you need to allow at least 2 to 3 hours at each ruin cluster. The more the merrier. You should ideally be looking at the temple, wall inscriptions, the remnants of ruins. Sometimes, there are temples underground! Apart from the Hampi ruins some of the best things to do in Hampi are: - Watch ethereal sunsets of Hampi. The Sunset scenes in Hampi are often held as the best sunsets in Asia. We witnessed sunset at Tungabhadra Dam. - Explore nature in the nearby villages of Hampi. Paddy fields, sunflower fields, lakes, all essential constituents of an idyllic peaceful life. - Visit the Daroji bear sanctuary to see the sloth bears who once used to thrive in the caves and ruins of Hampi. Kids will enjoy it. - Indulge in rock climbing session (only applicable for the dry months). There are many monolith boulders in Hampi, remnant of a very old hill range. Rock climbing gears are available in Hampi for renting as well. - Photography: If you love taking pictures, Hampi will win your heart. people are eager to pose. Nature is beautiful. And the ancient temples are mind-boggling! Keep your camera handy and climb up a hill by the end of the day for those great sunset shots. Sunset usually happens in Hampi at around 6:30 pm. - Birding in Hampi (more than 150 species of birds are recorded here) - Drive to Tungabhadra dam, especially if you are traveling to Hampi during monsoon You need to plan your sightseeing in Hampi well if you want to have your fill of everything or I would rather say almost everything as a single visit will fail to leave you satiated. As such you need to set aside a minimum of three days if you want to cover almost all the travel spots. There are several options to carry on your sightseeing. If you are a practiced walker then you can cover the area on foot. Go equipped with water, a hat, apply some sunscreen and explore to your heart’s content. You can also hire a bicycle or a moped for the day. You will need to offer something as a security to the owner. The third option is to hire an auto-rickshaw for the entire day or on a personal basis. Tours are also organized by bus operators as a feature of their larger package. However, in all cases do not forget to hire a guide as he alone will be able to recreate the magic of the past. Authorized guides are available who will take you around and explain the importance and history of the places. They will add some spice to the story sometimes, but it is still nice to listen to their explanation which brings the grandeur and royalty of the place alive. They will charge around INR 1500-2000 and remember you can negotiate with them and find a mutually beneficial plan. Day one in Hampi Explore the old ruins of Urban cluster and Vittala temple. Sunrise from Anjeyanadri hill. Start early. Based on Sagar’s advice we decided to drive towards Anjeyanadri hills (birthplace of lord Hanuman) we reached this location by 6:30 am. Anjeyanadri Hill is an interesting destination to explore in Hampi. The hill is famous as the birthplace of Lord Hanuman, the monkey god of Hindus. It is located at about 5 km from the historical site of Hampi. The hill has a unique charm, and the natural beauty of the surroundings attracts a lot of visitors to the site. The place is also a well-known pilgrimage center of the Hindus. Hampi group of monuments are open from sunrise until sunset, from 6 in the morning till 6 at night. Add to that, photographing the temple ruins is a very sweet deal when performed in the mellow light of early morning! Cross the king’s gate and visit the riverbank. You will be greeted with various nameless ruins and tall standing rocks. the famed boulders of Hampi. The decaying old hillocks are now shaped like these profound rocks. Hampi rocks found a way in mythology as well. They are supposed to be the rocks used in the kill-fight between Bali and Sugreev in the epic Ramayana! On the road, rural Indian life unfolds in serendipitous ways. Cows and oxen enjoy a leisurely walk. Locals occupy the courtyard of a huge temple complex. The temples may look ruined, but they are very much in use by the locals on certain occasions, especially the ones off tourist trails. Though it is good to note that Hampi was never inhabited by humans after the fall of Vijayanagara empire. We took breakfast at Anjeyanadri hills parking. This place has no entry fees. Parking charges were Rs. 10. This is being hill; you need to climb it. It will take average 30 min to reach at top. Climb is easy. We then Proceed towards the Shree Vijaya Vittala temple. This place has entry fees of Rs 40 for adults and kids below 15 years are free. Parking charges were Rs. 30. With this entry ticket you need not to purchase tickets at other monuments area entry point. Vitthala temple is the epicenter of the ruined town with a huge temple complex. It is dedicated to the lord Vitthala (Lord Vishnu’s another form) and is known for its unmatched marvelous architecture, famous stone chariot and mysterious musical pillars. Which now features in the Rs 50 Indian currency note, The best way to reach Vitthala temple will be through Tungbhadra riverside trek Path. The path has many shrines, carved artefacts, boulders, and ruins of ancient structures and goes along-side the river. It will be a serene walk of around 2 km. We have not opted this route due to sunny day and kid is not cooperating The temple complex of Vijaya Vittala is huge! There are many buildings, and it is a 2 km walk from the gate. Hop on to the electric tuk tuk run by the women of the local community and pay a meager Rs 20 for the ride. This is the most famous temple in Hampi. Vijaya Vittala attracts loads of visitors, local and tourists alike. If you are keen on photography, visit Vittala Vijaya at the wee hours of the day and shoot sunrise. It is open from 6 am. Urban ruins of Hampi Check out the ruins of palaces of monuments once used by the kings and the queens! Please note, the temples of Hampi remain closed to visitors during lunch hours. This time can be spent at the urban complex. We utilized lunch hours for our lunch. After lunch we visited Hampi Archeological Museum. We spent some time here educating kids about Hampi. After Archeological Museum we headed towards the queen’s bath, the step well, the elephant stable, lotus temple, zenana enclosure, the mahanavami dibba one by one. The urban ruins did not undergo massive destruction as the religious monuments of Hampi. Just the trunk of the stone elephants was chopped off. The lotus mahal stands as an epitome of Indo-islamic architecture, with curved arches on the tip of the tall pillars. The area has green grass carpet befitting for a temporary seat. You can rest and walk again. In the evening we headed towards Virupaksha temple Virupaksha temple is one of the oldest functioning temples in India and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is the main center of pilgrimage in Hampi. Given the religious importance, the temple gets really crowded during the day with thousands of pilgrims across India. I will recommend you reach the temple around 7-8 am in the morning. During that time, you can also see the morning aarti and the elephant named “Lakshmi” walking towards the river for her daily bath. Virupaksha temple has no entry fees, and it is adjacent to the Hampi Bazaar. Day two in Hampi: an offbeat wildlife destination & coracle ride adds to the old ruins! Explore the riverside ruins, enjoy coracle ride, pay a visit to the Daroji bear sanctuary and in evening enjoy Tungabhadra Dam On the second day of the Hampi itinerary, you can finish off visiting the sacred ruins and aim for visiting a bear sanctuary close-by. We started from Sagar’s home by 8 am and reached coracle boat ride point. Coracle boat ride is must for every visitor. Boat owner charges around Rs. 500 per person. Coracles, also known as Dongis sometimes, are round boats traditionally used to ferry people and livestock across rivers. They have been used in many parts of Asia such as India and Vietnam as well as in parts of Europe such as Wales and Ireland. The name “coracle” actually comes from the original Welsh word for the boat, “cwrwgl”. As you glide through the waters, you will notice several rock-cut temples on your sides. Perched atop boulders or carved into caves, these temples make a pretty sight. Coracles are available between 6 am – 6 pm every day of the week. It was one of the lifetime experiences. In the evening we travelled towards Tungabhadra Dam. At the Hilltop watchtower that offer panoramic views of the dam backwaters. The sunset looks great on the dam water. Take the bus service available from parking to take you to the top bus service provided by the administration to reach top sunset point (private vehicles are not allowed). The buses are quite small and so on holidays, you may need to wait in a queue to get your chance. it will cost you INR 20 for Adult and INR 10 for Children for 3.5 KM journey. If you have a lot of time and the strength with you and you like to do adventure you can climb the steps and reach the top. By bus, it takes around 10 minutes. If you walk, it’d take around an hour. It is advisable to opt Bus service otherwise you will find it difficult to climb the top of the hill from where you will have a nice panoramic view of the entire Dam site. Musical fountain Show starts in evening around 7:00 PM lasts about 20 Min every day. There is a light and sound show at 6:45 PM. Photography allowed Videography with bigger cameras is not allowed. We explored major attraction within 2 days. Hence on 3rd day travel back to Hyderabad. It was total 4 days of trip. 2 days for travel & 2 days for exploration. RECOMMENDED PLACES TO VISIT IN HAMPI As mentioned above, the Sacred Centre of Hampi includes several temples that are all must-visit sites. Before embarking on your temple journey, however, remember that the temples remain closed for visitors between 12.30 pm and 2 pm. This will help you to plan your sightseeing accordingly. Most of the Hampi temples provide for free entry though some may charge a nominal fee for phones or cameras. Following is a brief on a few of them. TEMPLES & STATUES- HAMPI’S PAST GLORY 1. Virupaksha Temple: This is the only religious site where rituals are still carried on today. One of the largest and oldest structures this edifice stands tall at a height of nine stories with its impressive golden tower capping the top. Lord Shiva is the main deity of this temple. 2. King's Balance: Remember all those fanciful tales of Kings weighing themselves with gems, rubies and gold? Well, it's at Hampi where they seem to take on life with King's Balance being one such pleasant affirmation. 3. The Stone Chariot: A huge chariot in stone with intricate carvings adds to the beauty of the Vithala temple. One of the three chariots found in India, this one leaves you awestruck at the depth of the artisans’ skill. 4. Monolith Bull: The imposing monolith Bull can be reached by climbing a few stairs as the Hampi Bazaar ends. The bull is a huge piece carved out of a single rock and has a shrine enclosing it. 5. Achyutraya Temple: As you climb further up the stairs after the Monolith Bull you reach the Achyutraya temple. Unfortunately, this temple is not in a good shape with no maintenance work in progress. 6. Badaviling Temple: This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva includes a huge Shiva Linga carved out of a single stone. It sits in a pool of water and there is a priest sprinkling holy water from the Shiva Linga on to the visitors. 7. Statue of Lakshmi Narasimha: Beside the Shiva Linga stands the statue of Narasimha, half man, and half lion. It also dwarfs you with its sheer magnificence and size. Sasivekalu Ganesh: A huge statue of Ganesh in stone lies beside the Hemakuta Hill temple’s entrance. This is enclosed by a shrine. 8. Royal Enclosure: The actual residing site of the Vijayanagara empire, Royal Enclosure, though a crumbling ruin now, whisks you away to the time when Vijayanagara empire was at its zenith, its reign spreading from Indian Ocean to the Arabian Sea. Within its now fragmented stone walls you will find many of Hampi's most fascinating relics. 9. Vijaya Vittala Temple: As the epicenter of Hampi's attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. No amount of words can explain this spectacle. The temple is built in the form of a sprawling campus with compound wall and gateway towers. There are many halls, pavilions and temples located inside this campus. HILLS & HILL TEMPLE AROUND HAMPI 1. Hemakuta Hill temple: The Hemakuta Hill temples lie on a small hill which gives an enchanting view of Hampi. Many tourists climb uphill to get an epic view of the setting sun. 2. Malyavanta Raghunath Temple: This temple lies on Malyavanta Hill and has priests chanting hymns and prayers there. A huge boulder that is located within the temple structure is a big tourist attraction in addition to the beautiful sunset that can be viewed from atop. The entrance is easily accessible by autos and cars. 3. Anjeyanadri hill: A temple dedicated to the Monkey God, Hanuman, the temple can be accessed by climbing almost 600 stairs. 4. Matanga Hill: The Matanga hilltop offers a panoramic view of the town and some stunning views of the sunrise or sunset. You can start off early before the heat catches up with you and go equipped with a bottle of water and a protective cap. STRUCTURES THAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS 1. Lotus Mahal: Shaped in the form of a lotus this was a separate enclosure meant for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara dynasty. Located within the Zenana Enclosure, it is one of the few buildings that have remained intact to date. 2. Elephant Stable: A huge row of domed chambers which housed the elephants of royalty at one point of time, is also in quite a good shape today. A favorite haunt for the shutter-happy tourist, this place is a not to be missed site. 3. Royal Enclosure: Spread across vast acres of land, this was the base of the Vijayanagara Empire. Imposing structures of the ruins still draw throngs of tourists to the site. How to reach Hampi By Train – Hampi does not have a railway station. The nearest Railway station is Hospet, which is around 12 km from Hampi. There are direct trains from Mysore and Bangalore for Hospet. The best option will be to take “Hampi Express” which starts from Mysore and goes to Hampi via Bangalore. The train starts from Mysore at 6:40 PM, reaches Bangalore city Junction around 10 PM and reaches Hospet around 7:00 PM. For Hospet to Hampi, you can take either a tuk-tuk (INR 250-INR 300) or local bus (INR 20). The buses run from 6:00 AM till 10:30 in the night. By Bus – There are direct buses for Hampi/ Hospet from Mysore, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore and Gokarna. The bus will cost anywhere between INR 1,000 to 2,000 depending on the type you are opting (sleeper/ semi sleeper/ non-sleeper) for. While travelling by bus, be ready for a bumpy ride! If you are not from India and find it difficult/ confusing to book train tickets, take help from a travel agent. The train options are always much cheaper and comfortable vs bus rides. By flight – Hampi does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Hubli which is around 150 km away from Hampi. You will need to hire a taxi from Hubli airport to reach Hampi. Hampi is heaven for backpackers. The rent for basic rooms can be as low as INR 500. You can also experience staying in a mud house or a cosy hut. Don’t expect luxury, most of the guesthouses are run by families who have only basic amenities to offer (bed and fan) but the people are extremely welcoming and helpful. Recommended places – Padma guest house, Gopi Guest house, Funky Monkey, Rocky guest house If you want to stay in a resort, there are a few options like Part Hyatt, Clarks Inn, etc, though most of them are far from the attractions in Hampi. Best time to visit Hampi: Late October to Early February will be the ideal time to visit Hampi. During the rainy season (July to September), Hampi gets inconsistent rainfall and will be humid. In case you enjoy exploring around in rain and want to see ‘Greener Hampi’, July to September can also be a good idea. During the rest of the year, the temperature in Hampi will be at its peak and it will be unbearably hot. Is Hampi safe for Solo Female Travelers: Hampi is safe for solo female travelers. How many days are required for exploring hampi: I would love to spend weeks in Hampi for its laid-back vibes and rich history. You will need at least 2 to 3 days to explore around properly. Some other tips for travelling to Hampi 1. Carry enough cash, the nearest ATM is in Hospet which is 12 km away from Hampi. Debit/ credit cards are not accepted at almost all the places in Hampi. 2. Low mobile network – Not all the parts in Hampi have a good network connection. Some of the cafes and hotels have good wifi (Gopi Guest House, Chilled Out Café, Laughing Budha Café in Hippie Island). 3. Carry Toiletries, towel, etc –Hampi guesthouses offer you basic amenities and hence, it will be good to carry your own toiletries/ towel etc. 4. Peak Season Travel – If you are travelling Hampi in peak season, book your stay and travel in advance or else, you might end up paying double charges for hotels. 5. Bargain – Like any other parts of India, you gotta keep the Bargain-hustle going in Hampi too, especially if you are not an Indian. 6. What to wear – Preferably cotton clothes. There is no restriction or any dress code for visiting monuments. 7. Alcohol is not allowed in the heritage side of Hampi. Some of the cafes do offer alcohol in the hippie Island, you can check with them. Do tell me in case you think I have missed adding something or if you have any other questions. Will be happy to help! Will be looking forward to hearing on your travel experience to Hampi. For more photos follow me on Instagram nomadic_mit. ON A FINAL NOTE Did you know: As a sign of respect, open your shoes while entering the temple sanctums in Hampi, even if the temple seems to be in ruins. Though it is not mandatory, it is a sign of respect to the deity, and you will find the locals doing the same. It is as if you are entering a person’s house and we do not wear a shoe inside the house. Hampi is a place you bid goodbye to with your mind totally amazed at the awesome collection of monuments spread across the entire area. Every boulder there is entrenched with a meaning. Some have helped to create majestic hills of boulders, some have taken the form of ruins belonging way back to the Middle Age, some have gone towards the building of temples and others utilized for carvings. Hampi stands truly unique and magnificent among the heritage sites of India!
  3. 3 souls – 3 states – 3 treks – 5 days – 1700 km drive Rain, valley, fog, mountain, waterfall, river and full adventure. Trekker family Note: This is going to be a long travel blog as 3 treks were covered in it. So grab popcorn, fasten your seatbelt and get ready to witness trek. The Plan: Maharashtra is blessed to have the Sahyadri Range, home to many amazing hills, trekking trails & ancient forts. The Sahyadris offers some really great options for not just experienced trekkers, but complete beginners as well. If you are someone who loves hiking in the rain and exploring the outdoors, a day hike in the Sahyadris during the monsoons will be the perfect option to spend the day with friends and family. The rain makes everything look beautiful. There is greenery all around, with clean and fresh air. The vibrant colors of nature, add charm to the beautiful green valleys and hills of the Western ghats of the Deccan Plateau. Monsoon is my favorite time to drive around in Maharashtra, especially the coastal areas and the western ghats. I love the lush green landscapes, the incessant drizzles with an occasional sunshine, and of course the hot vada-pavs and chai Every monsoon, we typically drive to the western ghats of Maharashtra (our latest drive there, done a couple of months ago, read my blog ‘Heaven is myth, Devkund is real’ ). However, it had been a long time since I drove around in the areas near Pune. I have my friends & family in Pune. Therefore, I visit Pune quite frequently. Most of the time I drive from Hyderabad. So this time we decided to explore mulshi area (Tamnhi ghat). I spent my 4 years on engineering in Konkan. Tamnhi ghat is the area which connect Pune & Konkan. Hence this area has special place in my heart. The Car: The Baleno Zeta CVT (2018) is my companion in all my drives. I call it ‘Simba – a lion cub’. Simba never disappoints me. Whether it a highway, city, plain, muddy it drives like charm. Simba in mountains The Camera: - Smartphone Oneplus 9 - DSLR Canon 1300d with 18-55 mm lens Due to rainy season and to carry light, I took only smart phone with me during trek. All photos in this travelogue are taken using my mobile phone camera. Few photos were taken with DSLR. The Drives: We decided to do this trek with us only (myself, spouse & son). These treks were isolated one, hence decided to opt for a guide. We hired Deepak for this trek. He is local guide and knows area in depth. Very supportive and helpful sharing his contact number +919765476941. I recommend his guidance. I have my brother-in-law and my own brother house in Hadpsar & Wagholi area. As it was around 2 hours journey, we decided to start early from home. Hence, we started around 6 am. As there was no traffic we reached our first meeting point by 8 am. We meet Deepak there and had stomach full breakfast as advised by Deepak. Trek 1 to Kundlika Valley: It is very beautiful and mind blowing place. The Valley is created by erosion of the river Kundalika. Location - Near Tahmini Ghat. Distance from Pune - 60-70 km approx. How to Reach - 1. Pune - Mulshi-Tahmini-Nive- right turn to Bhamburde - next to MCKS Ashram. 2. Pune-Lonawla-Bhamburde-to MCKS ashram raod, near Pimpri Dam After driving a bit ahead of Tamhini Ghat, we found this lovely spot where the Simba could reach after driving down a small off-road track in the rain and mud Kundalika valley hold some of the amazing weekend gateways place around Mumbai & Pune Places like Andharban Trek (The Dark Forest), Devkund Water Fall, Kolad Water Rafting, Lohagad Fort, Rajmachi Point, Tamhini Ghat and it's a strange place with two huge mountain walls separated by a narrow valley. The valley is all hidden behind clouds. Clouds plays hide n seeks all the time. First glimpse Meditation in mountains Keep Calm & watch beauty The stunning view ahead after a short walk: Hills and waterfalls on the hills - another characteristic monsoon scene: The lush green fields and the typical refreshing green shade, which are characteristic to this region of Maharashtra in the monsoon months: Could not resist taking photos of such lovely green fields all around: A closer shot of the flowing water, which felt quite mesmerizing and very soothing as we just stood there watching this scene for some time: The simple but scenic rural roads: After Kundalika Valley we headed towards Plus Valley Trek 2 to Plus Valley: Type: Ghats/Valley/Jungle Range: Mulshi Taluka of Pune district Grade: Medium, Endurance level Medium History: Known for ‘+’ shaped valley, Dense Forest and river-source for Kundalika river Base Village: Nearest village from Pune side is Nive Best Time: Exact post monsoon. Avoid it during rain. Trek duration: Time to reach is around 2.5 hours to descend and 2 hours for back climbing Food n Water: Nothing available. Nearby Hotels: at Mulshi-Tahmini ghat, and Lonawla The place is quiet and isolated. So go in groups. Edges of the Valley are very risky, so take care of hyper personalities. Great photographic and scenic location. Ever been wandered into a forest so thick with green trees where the way looks same in all directions? when the actual odyssey is to find a pool hidden deep in a valley, that very few have dared to explore, even better very few have explored without being lost. The passion for exploring combined with the unending energy had finally given off the beauty of the pool that is hidden deep in the lap of nature. The hope of the possibility of finding the pool took us through an exhaustive retracing of 2 hrs. Finally, with the sound of the small water stream flowing took away the effort and exhaustion of the trip, as we followed the stream we found one of the most beautiful pools surrounded by Rocky Mountains in 4 directions. The lovely mountains and the water: We just walked around enjoying the fresh air and such views: In the midway you will find a large ghost tree Intersection point. Partner relaxing in natural swimming pool. Return journey Once on Mulshi Road, we had these views of Mulshi Dam backwaters on the side of the road (this road goes along the edge of the backwaters and you get some great views of the water all along the road): Back water Trek 3 to Andharban – dark forest Well after exhaustive trek 1 & 2. Home minister & leader of opposition (my son, they only rules house) decided to take rest. Plus valley trek was really tough one. I was having a spare day with me. I just requested my engineering friends to have a trek and they agreed to it. So we 3 different teams (total 7 members) started from 3 different corners of pune and decided to meet at first meeting point around 8 am. This time also we took help from Deepak. So as advised by Deepak we took heavy breakfast and headed towards Andharban. Some quick information about the Andharban Trek. Distance from Pune: Around 75 km Start Point: Pimpri Village End Point: Bhira Dam Trek Distance: Approx. 13 km Grade: Moderate Best time to do this trek: June to October The word ‘Andhar’ literally means ‘Darkness’ and ‘Ban’ means ‘Forest’. True to its name, the trail takes you through a dense dark forest. Andharban trek is a hike through a dense forest with thick overgrowth, beautiful views of waterfalls, streams and the Tamhini Ghat along the way. The trek begins at an elevation of 2,160 feet and descends down into the valley, to reach the backwaters of the Bhira Dam where the trek ends. After having breakfast, we reached trek start point around 10:00 am. We had also carried packed snacks as there are no facilities of restaurants or kitchens during the trek. The weather was pleasant and everyone was excited to hit the trail. We followed a trail passing through the paddy fields and soon entered into the forest. The entry inside the forest is based on a permit issued by the ‘Forest Department’. Deepak had local contacts and without any issues we entered into forest. The almost flat trail with occasional ascents took us inside a dense forest with lush green trees all around. Everything looked so fresh and green. The landscape reminded me of scenes from the movie ‘Avatar’. Though it is a defined trail, some parts were tricky to cross because of mud and puddles after the rain. Also, the trail had many small streams flowing down the hills. At some points, we had to use ropes to cross as the flow of the streams was strong. Deepak helped us throughout the way and made sure we negotiate the difficult stretches safely. We took breaks in between to rest and admire the mesmerizing views of the Kundalika Valley. The surrounding mountains were covered in mist and occasionally, the sun rays passing through the dark clouds created a surreal view. The walk was very refreshing with the soothing sounds of bird calls as well as streams & waterfalls in the distance. There were plenty of streams and natural ponds on the way. Some of us took a plunge in one of the ponds and enjoyed swimming under the gushing waterfall. We reached an open area which was covered with beautiful flowering water lilies on one side and a valley on the other, with a narrow trail passing through it. This was the most beautiful spot on the entire trail. We clicked a lot of pictures. This point is midpoint of the trek. Many of my friends decided to return from this point as next section was difficult one. The trek was tiring because of the long-distance, but it was a refreshing experience to spend some time in nature, away from the hustle & bustle of the city pollution. I met some really amazing people on the trek and it was great interacting with fellow trekkers. This was probably the cleanest trekking trail in the Sahyadris. I would definitely recommend Andharban trek to anyone who is looking for an easy day hike option in the Sahyadris. Some points to note: 1. Hiring a guide or Trek operator I would strongly recommend doing this trek with a good trek operator / guide. Though the trail is defined, it is always better to do this trek with a group and under the guidance of experienced trek leaders and guides. There were few sections where Adventure Pulse team set up ropes which made crossing the streams safely. 2. Transportation The start and endpoint for this trek are two different locations. The distance between the start point Pimpari village and endpoint Bhira dam is almost 22km and there isn’t any availability of taxi or shared vehicles. The network availability in the area is limited. 3. Food and Snacks during the trek There isn’t any food joint or facilities for lunch or snacks on the trail. I would recommend carrying some trail snack such as energy bars, chocolates and dry fruits. Make sure you carry at least 2l of water as it is a long walk of around 13 km. Feel free to contact me on Instagram page: nomadic_mit if you need any help or have queries regarding the trek. Or drop a line to lokhande.amit@gmail.com. Yours truly Cheers!
  4. It was the 15th day of January. While almost everyone was happy, celebrating the festival Sankranti, I was disappointed hearing the news on the ban of tourists to the Gudisa hills. It was one of the most awaited trips of the year. The very first one I’d be doing with my friends on my Ford. Alas… destiny has its plans… good or bad, we need to accept and move on… But how did the plans my destiny had for me turned out? Good or bad? For the busy bees, here is a quick digest. BRIEF Vehicle: Ford Freestyle Titanium 1.5 TDCi. Fuel Type: Diesel. Fuel Consumed: 90lts. Kilometers Travelled: 1160kms. ROUTE DETAILS Route Taken: HYD-TATR (HVK RouteO) HYD – Adilabad – Khelapur – Karanji (left towards Wani from under a flyover) – Wani – Warora – Chimur. Distance: 465 Road Condition: Excellent roads till Karanji. From Karenji to Wani the roads are average. From Wani to Warora the condition is beyond worst and a nightmare for low slung sedans, hatchbacks. Route Taken: TATR-HYD (HVK RouteO) Chimur – Warora – Jam (left from Jam Jn towards Karenji) – Adilabad – HYD. Distance: 580 Road Condition: Again, the worst Chimur to Warora stretch. We have taken a long route (115kms extra) to avoid the time consuming and tiring Warora - Wani route and took Warora – Jam - Adilabad which turned out to be the best decision. Butter smooth Nagpur highway and super stable Ford ensured I always maintain 120kmph+ speed. IN SHORT Route 1 – HYD – Adilabad – Khelapur – Karenji (left towards Wani from under a flyover) – Wani – Warora – Chimur. The shortest route but the roads slowly turn worst. Route 2 – HYD – Adilabad – Khelapur – Karenji (straight towards Jam) – Jam (right towards Warora from Jam Jn) – Warora – Chimur. 100kms longer but not as bad as route 1, Worth taking. Karenji to Wani is average. Wani to Warora is filthy dirty and worst. Warora – Chimur is bad. Route 2 - Can skip the Wani – Warora stretch. STAY DETAILS Resort: Beyond Stay Mahua Tola. (Beyond Stay Mahua Tola, Tadoba 086469 07777 https://maps.app.goo.gl/kLuk6dpaMN5R43iG8) Price: 7500 / day Inc 3 beds + unlimited food for a suite room. Review: This is my second time staying at Mahua Tola Resort and it again turned out to be an excellent stay option. 5-star rating for the food, quality, and service. Mr Shukla, the manager, again turned out to be an awesome guy as usual. Recommended many and will continue to recommend. Must prefer option if staying with family. SAFARI DETAILS Safari 1 (Day 2): Kolara Core Afternoon Safari. Price: 6500 for a Gypsy (6 per Gypsy allowed) + 250 for 600mm Telephoto lens. Safari 2 (Day 3): Madhnapur Buffer Morning Safari. Price: 4500 for a Gypsy (6 per Gypsy allowed) + 250 for 600mm Telephoto lens. Safari 3 (Day 3): Phalasgaon Buffer Night Safari. Price: 5500 for a Gypsy (6 per Gypsy allowed) + 250 for 600mm Telephoto lens. Special mention to the safari guide Amit and driver Anil for their superb spotting skills, knowledge of the forest and route. 6 Gypsys went in for the night safari and ours was the lucky 1 to spot a Leopard too close after a month almost. Special thanks to Amit and Anil. Strongly recommend having them as a guide and driver if you plan for a night safari. Contact details will be shared on request. PLACES EXPLORED 1. Photo walk with Mr Shukla to the lake beside the resort where pugmarks are often seen. 2. Gondmaholi kayaking with Mr Shukla to spot some beautiful birds. DETAILED TRAVELOGUE The previous day, the 22nd of Feb, I Topped up my fuel tank with 40 lts Diesel and Nitrogen topped up. Had my dinner, packed bags and it was my time to sleep. It was the morning of 23rd, 5:15 AM. The excitement was real! The D Day has arrived and we were all set to start in just an hour!! This very thought has made the really short 1 hour very long. I took bath, freshened up, for the final time checked all my camera gear, cleaned my sunglasses and I was all set for the amazing drive. Dumped all the luggage in the boot, cleaned the car, it was time for some quick snaps to boast in my Instagram, WA and Snapchat. Obviously, who wouldn’t!? 23 Feb, 2021 Hyderabad - Karenji Just a gentle press on the push start button depressing the clutch, the diesel beauty vibrated all over the place and started with the typical melodious diesel clatter. “Melodious!? Really!?” May ask the petrol heads. Only a true diesel guy knows the feeling I’d say. It took few minutes for the cold started engine to settle down and within just 15 mins I was below the ORR Medchal entry. Yeah, ORR is close to my home. It was 6:35 AM by the time I was on the proper highway on a good pace cruising the way. The traffic was not much and the roads were excellent. It was opposite to what my experience was during the 2017 Tadoba trip. It was a bad day, certainly a really bad day. Just 2 days before the trip I caught a cold followed by fever. Never worried if it was COVID, but was certainly worried if I would be able to make it for the trip and drive to Tadoba. The day has arrived and my worst fears came true. I started driving with really bad health. The time was 8:45 AM just a few kilometres ahead of Adilabad, I was having fever, bad night sleep, medicines that induce sleep the previous day mixed with some crazy thoughts of having a Tesla Autopilot in these situations. A tinge of dizziness took over me and I near-missed crashing a truck while overtaking it from the rightmost lane at high triple-digit speeds. My ORVM almost brushed past the truck. That was one scary moment in my driving experience. Finally, it was time for me to take a halt, have breakfast, home-cooked curd rice to avoid any further pain in my already soar throat, I halted just after crossing Adilabad toll plaza and the time was 9:30 AM. The day was sunny and sultry, I switched off my AC to sweat a bit and come to my senses, washed my face, had my breakfast and took a tablet that provided much-required relief to me. Clicking pictures are mandatory and is induced in our “Roadtrippers Culture”, after a good bit of photo session, I resumed my journey towards Khelapur (MH) at 10:00 AM. I always believe in taking short breaks every 300KMS-400KMS of continuous driving unless it’s an emergency. This although increases the drive time to a good 1hr, it’ll certainly help us maintain the balance of our mood and help us concentrate on the road without having sleepy eyes. It also gives much-needed rest to the car’s tires. I don’t believe in following the often-said norm “Non-Stop 800KMS drive”. I’m not an ambulance driver on emergency duty neither I’m planning to grab a place in the records book. Call me a newbie or an oldie, I don’t care as far as I’m following good practice. The time was 11:30 PM, I filled my diesel tank with 13lts fuel at Khelapur HP Fuel Station (MH). Did I say I suffer from “range phobia”? From Khelapur to Karenji is around 30mins drive. We reached Karenji at noon and now we have started the main stretch and tedious journey to the most awaited destination bidding goodbye to the butter smooth highways. Karenji – Wani Karenji to Wani takes 45mins and the drive is through some of the bad roads often traversed by the worst drivers. One such driver was the MHRTC bus driver who came close to me and we would’ve ended up head-on if I had not taken the rocky path on the shoulder of the road. These are the advantages of having a crossover, SUV or a CUV! No other car except these high raised cars can take such abusive roads with such ease avoiding some nasty crashes. This road takes us through coal factories, deviations, and some narrow bridges. This might sound interesting for some, but trust me, this is one horrible and energy-draining path. What lies further ahead is just the worst. After a bad drive, we arrived at a Wani junction which confused us during our 2017 trip. Having learnt a lesson from the horrible past, we took the left from the circle. Wani – Warora And this is the stretch. The worst part of the journey, energy-draining, body paining stretch. And in cars like the Ford Freestyle where the suspension is as stiff as a rock, more beatings were inevitable. The drive is for 1 hour takes us through the worst of the worst roads which are always under construction. The pathetic state of this road since 2017 describes the sad state of life of the native villagers. It's better not to speak much about these roads and carry to the further parts of the journey. Warora – Chimur The time was 1:45 PM. After a tiring 1hr 45mins drive we arrived at what is officially called “Vana Kshetr”. The roads were beautiful and it was obvious for a quick photo shoot. The roads covered with forests on either side give a beautiful look to the road. But the happiness was short-lived! There was mass deforestation on either side of the roads. This described the pathetic state we were in where we are “clinging for development & modernization”. What added to the misery was a bad Warora to Chimur stretch. Not as bad as the previous one though. Finally, the time was 2:30 PM and we have successfully crossed Chimur. Chimur – Tadoba / Beyond Stay Mahua Tola A 30mins drive to the resort through a mix of bad and good yet typical forest terrain and we have reached the resort. Those doing this trip be aware not to travel on low slung sedans and hatchbacks. The time was 3:01 PM. Ahh!! What a feeling! We finally, after traversing through the worst of roads, arrived at the place after a long wait of 3 years! Can’t describe the feeling and there are no words that do justice to it. We got down from our car, and Mr Shukla was standing with his fellows offering chilled juice and wet wipes. Sadly, I could never drink the chilled juice considering my sour throat. The time was 3:15 PM and we were extremely hungry having travelled from Hyderabad through some extremely bad roads. We straight away washed our hands and went to the outdoor dining area… What a sight it was!! The beautiful open garden without any boundaries that merge with the forest… we were immediately relaxed with the sight. “Nature is the best cure” and the saying never goes wrong. The server requested just 5 mins to serve the delicious lunch prepared exclusively to match our spicy taste buds and we finished it quickly gulping piping hot rotis and curry only to escape to our rooms jump on the cosy beds for a deep evening sleep… It was 5:00 PM. We were in deep sleep; the phone rang and it was Mr Shukla to inform us the evening tea and snacks were ready. He was quick enough to sense the laziness in my sleepy voice and quickly asked if we want it to be served inside our room. I said no, and we left to the open dining space. We quickly had our snacks and set to the evening photo walk with Mr Shukla hoping to see some owls and birds. We walked far inside the forest and reached the lake. We searched for some birds and owls but couldn’t find any. I peeped into my 600mm Sony G Master lens to see the treetops but was left in despair. “The wildlife is unpredictable. You don’t know what the very next second would transpire into.” The coming 2 days and 3 safaris are proof. We spent a good 1 hour inside the forest and were back to the resort and escaped into our cosy rooms. I spent another 1 hour in setting up my camera battery, SD card and cleaning my lens for the next day safari. It was 7:30 PM, we had some delicious dinner, had some talking with Mr Shukla and after a very hectic tiring day behind the wheel of my Ford, we called it a day. 24 Feb, 2021 The Kingfisher and its Cath! The previous day was a hectic one and we were fast asleep in the cool and calm mornings inside the woods. The AC was off, windows opened wide to welcome the cool forest air to fill the room. It was 5:30 AM, after a night of very deep sleep, we woke up to the fresh cool breeze, the chirpy birds and their melodious songs! We called up Mr Shukla and requested our breakfast to the room. The tea was served hot and the biscuits crispy. And the breakfast? That’s one tasty, mouthwatering parathas! It was 8:18 AM we went to the terrace attached to our room and enjoyed the warm morning views. The birds chirping, leaves rumbling and the trees and bushes till my sight has reached made me feel like a home away from home! The forests are somewhere I feel belonged to, I feel happy and I feel like a home away from home. After finishing breakfast, we went to the dining area to enjoy the view of the lotus lake inside the resort patiently waiting for a beautiful photo. “Wildlife is unpredictable. It rewards the patient eyes, sturdy hands and stoical postures.” After a good 30 mins struggle with the heavy 600mm G Master lens in hard postures, the wildlife rewarded with one of the best and the first photo of the trip. The Kingfisher with its catch. One of the best feelings for a wildlife photographer is when they find the most rewarding picture after a lot of struggles. Kolara Core Safari The time passed quickly. It was noon and time for lunch. We quickly had our lunch and hopped into our Ford with Mr Shukla. The drive was to Kolara core zone afternoon safari. It was a 20 mins drive from our resort and we were at the gate by 1:30 PM waiting for Mr Shukla to finish off the entry formalities. By 1:50 PM we were in our Gyspsys waiting for the gates to open and enter the sprawling forests. The Sandgrouse was the first bird to welcome us into the Kolara forest and patiently posed for a click. Followed by many beautiful animals and birds. How many beauties we may find in the forest, the eyes of a wildlife photographer will always desperately search for the big cat. I was no exception. We drove all around the forest. Multiple rounds around Maya Tala - Tigress Maya, The Queen of Tadoba’s habitat yet, we couldn’t even get a glimpse of her. The one golden rule in the wildlife is, “Avoid target safaris. Enter the forest not to see the Tiger but to witness the wild in its natural habitat. Be patient and enjoy nature and wildlife. It’ll reward the purest souls who find solace in the forest” And I never failed to follow this golden rule. However desperate I was spotting the big cat, I never avoided nor failed to appreciate the sheer beauty of the forest and wildlife. As said, it has rewarded me than all the other entrants in my entire trip. After multiple rounds inside the core zone and some beautiful moments at the Tadoba lake clicking some beautiful pictures, mother nature had her plans to reward me. The time was somewhere around 3:00 PM. We again reached the Tigress Maya abode. Langur calls and the deer were running, The Gypsys lined up and people standing alert while the photographers busy with those heavy lenses in their hands. There were shutter sounds all around and the guide signalling to calm down. The environment changes drastically all in a glimpse when the big cat arrives! It was real and there she was, sitting under cosy bamboo bushes with sheer magnificence. What a sight it was!! Finally, wildlife has rewarded me with the best pics of Maya. We spent good 30 mins at the place and left with not so heavy but happy hearts. There are few new rules in the core zone by the MH Forest Dept. 1. No Gypsy is allowed to stand at a place for more than 5 mins and 15 mins in case of tiger spotting. 2. No Gypsy is allowed to take a U-Turn. It must follow the designated path, turn all-around and arrive at the desired location. No matter what. 3. Every Gypsy is tracked by a GPS device. Though the tracking made sense to me considering the poaching risk, the other 2 rules did not. That just spoils the entire experience and excitement. Anyway, I have no power of reverting them. After a few more hours inside the forest, the time was 5:45 PM and it was the time for us to exit the forest. By 6:00 PM, we were outside the core zone gate talking with fellow photographers about our experience and checking out each other’s captures. It feels so good to be in a like-minded group of people sharing the same level of interest as we do. We were in the resort by the dawn, freshened up, had some tasty dinner and called it a day. 25 Feb 2021 Madnapur Buffer Safari The wind was cool and the windows wide open welcoming the cool breeze. I was fast asleep wrapping myself in the cosy blankets. The time was 3:30 in the morning and I woke up to the wake-up calls of the housekeeping. “sir, aapka aaj morning safari hain sir” said the voice behind the room. The man patiently waited there for my response and left quietly. The time was 4:30 AM, I was quick enough to have the last 10 mins of sleep and get ready to catch up for the morning safari and to see what the forest has to show this day. It was 4:45 AM, after a quick chatting with the ever-energetic Shukla, we hopped into our beloved Ford Freestyle, started the engine and we were all set to enter the Madhnapur Buffer Forest. I often come across people who say they were “disappointed with their trip because they did not see a Tiger!” Few say their money got wasted on a “useless trip”! and few say the other way. But I say mother nature has everything in its lap to show us. Mother knows their children. She only rewards the “purest souls” and not the “commercial souls”. For those who go to a wildlife sanctuary only to spot a tiger, better watch the Discovery channel! When I say mother nature has everything in its lap to show us, I mean it. This day I was lucky unlike the others en route. I have seen not 1 or 2 but 3 rare sighting animals on my way to the buffer safari gate. Fox and Wild Dogs they were. Quick enough to pass through the way and escape into the forest. The time was 5:30 AM. I was at the buffer gate. Mr Shukla, as usual, had completed all the formalities and we were inside the forest by 6:00 AM. There was no GPS tracking this time and the joy in the driver’s face was evident. We took an offroad path. The path not taken by the other Gypsys. The path that was not a path. We made multiple rounds to multiple locations and water bodies in the forest. We couldn’t spot even a single animal. Not even a bird! The co Gypsy occupants already started calling it a dry day, a wasteful safari and with other demeaning names. I was least bothered and had my tasty breakfast amid forest overlooking a beautiful water body just beside a forest check post having some quality discussions with the police staff. The time flew fast and it was already 9:00 AM. The cool and breezy wind has turned into the harsh sunlight. I removed my jacket, cap. I made myself light and comfortable. We were just aimlessly roaming inside the forest maintaining a slow pace wondering at the god’s creation. The time was 9:25 AM and a Gypsy was reversing fast. Then guide of that Gypsy has signalled to the driver of my Gypsy and I understood what it was! I quickly stood, switched on my Sony camera, removed the lens cap and held the heavy 600mm G Master lens in my hand and there she was! 10 months old female subadult of Tigress Junabhai, the first Tiger I have ever seen during my 2017 Tadoba trip in the same location. This is the early separated one. The youngest of the second litter of Junabhai. She was frightened, possibly seeing a bigger animal. She was running fast crossing the path and hit a tree trunk! She gave a frightened look, a growl, sniffed the trunk for any possible danger and disappeared into the woods… The brief encounter of just 8 mins was memorable. It was close, really close. It has given me some beautiful shots, my parents some memorable moments and Mr Shukla some memorable videos. As I always say, “Forest will reward the purest souls who find solace in the forest” Out of all the 6 Gypsys that has entered the forest, It was only ours and the other Gypsy to have found the tiger. It was 10:00 in the morning and we were out of the forest as the previous day, with happy hearts. After a quick shopping buying some hats, shirts and some souvenirs at the nearby store, we were at the resort, checking the photos and updating WhatsApp status! Gondmaholi Lake Kayaking We had a delicious lunch at the dining hall and it was already 2:30 PM. I slept for a few hours and by 4:00 PM after having some delicious pakodis and hot tea, I was all set to “explore the unexplored” on my Ford Freestyle. Mr Shukla, well aware of liking had planned a Kayaking and birding trip to the Gondmaholi lake. It was 4:30 in the evening. After a good soft roading session on my Ford, we were at the lake bed. We entered the Kayak quickly wearing the life jackets and carefully holding the camera. The Gondmaholi lake, a beautiful lake situated amid the Phalsgaon buffer zone, home to a variety of beautiful birds which is not known to many. The Govt. of Maharashtra and the Forest Department had started Kayaking at the lake to boost local tourism and to provide a livelihood to the otherwise uneducated and unemployed youth. We did a full round inside the lake on our Kayak followed by the local youth on a lifeboat. 4 per Kayak are allowed and each Kayak must have a guide which takes the count to 5. It was a nice 1-hour trip with the sun setting, our Kayak slowly rowing and some beautiful birds in the water with the golden hours as a backdrop! Some of the best moments they were… I had spotted Pond Heron, Gray Heron, Egret, Northern Pintails, Spot-Billed Ducks, Red Crested Pochards and The Oriental Darter – Snake Bird with the beautiful sun setting backdrop. Such beautiful scenes never I’ve seen in my life. Phalasgaon Buffer Night Safari The time was 5:30 PM and we quickly hopped into our Ford and left for the final safari of our trip, the Phalasgaon Night Safari! It’s a 10 mins drive from the lake and at 5:45 PM we were at the Phalasgaon safari gate. Destiny had its plans for the last safari. Mr Shukla who was there with us for all the safaris had to leave to the resort on some urgent work skipping the much-awaited night safari. Now it was me, my camera and my parents in the Gypsy. The sundown, dark pitching in and the gates open taking us to the deep forest. The night was cold and I had no protective gear. It was just a thin half hands wildlife T-shirt and camouflaged shorts covering my body. The trees were tall and thick and it was a dark gloomy forest which all of sudden wore a very deep and frightening look. The total opposite of what it was just a few hours back! The driver, Mr Anil and guide Mr Amit need a special mention. You ask me the reason? I ask you to read till the end. The driver upon our guide’s request quickly took us to a water body where Tiger is often seen. On our way, we’ve seen a Nilghai drinking water. I asked my driver to stop. And I begin clicking photos. The driver said let’s move but I ordered him to stop! We spent a good 10 mins shooting a Nilghai! The driver was looking at me like a madman staring at a Nilghai. But only a photographer can understand the real reason that I was accustoming myself with the condition and understanding well to strike the perfect balance between aperture, ISO and shutter speed to get a perfect shot for the night is dark, wildlife is unpredictable and I have to be ever ready. After spending a good 1 hour at the lake, I asked my driver to move. I had a very bad headache because of the strobe lights used by the guide. I turned off my camera and dozed off in the super bouncy Gypsy. It was 9:15 PM already. Just 45 mins for us to get out. We were roaming in the forest like a madman and I was sleeping with a bad headache. The guide woke me up. “utho sir, udhar kuch dikhayi diya” said the guide Amit. I was hopeless of any spotting yet, optimistic at the same time. I woke up, switched on the camera and checked all the controls. The driver Anil took the Gypsy a bit inside the forest deviating from the path. The night was dark and scary. The wind blowing sharp and cool and the leaves rumbling making noises… the strobe light on and the headlights off! I peeped into my camera and the 600mm G Master zoomed to just half its limit and there it was sleeping! The beauty that I’ve never seen. The beautiful beast that many of us have only read and heard of but have never seen. The rarest of the animals, the Leopard!!! What a sight! What a sight! A close 13mins encounter left us with lifelong memories and tales to tell to people and friends… the sighting blew my mind and my headache vanished too! The animal woke up and jumped only to disappear into the pathless woods… It was 9:50 PM, we were outside the forest before 10 mins excitedly talking to the forest guards. I hope now you got the reason why I said the driver, Mr Anil and guide Mr Amit need a special mention. At 10:00 PM sharp, we have left to the resort in our Ford in the empty forest roads… Beyond Stay Mahua Tola We had our dinner, spoke to Mr Shukla telling him how much he missed the sighting, we showed him some pics, sent a few to Mr Amit and Anil, updated the same as my WhatsApp status and called it a day. 26 July 2021 Beyond Stay Mahua Tola The last day of our trip… This very thought has given me a sudden saddening vibe. The much-awaited trip came to an end! As the saying goes, all good things have an end, this good vacation too had to end. The only thing that mattered was the way it has ended. In a good way or not so good way. And this very thing, I leave it to the readers to judge… This day, we planned we will wake up late, enjoy the noon and start late. The time was 9:15 AM. We woke up to the worker's voices. Freshened up, we went to the dining area and had our breakfast. We left for Kolara gate at 10:30 AM and spent 30 mins buying some more souvenirs for our family and friends. It was 11:40 AM we returned to the resort to pack our bags. We finished our lunch early, went to our rooms and took a quick nap. The time was 3:30 PM and we started our drive back to Hyderabad bidding goodbye to Mr Shukla the team and the Forest. Coming back to the first question, How did the plans my destiny had for me turn out? Good or bad? Leaving this answer to my readers to guess, I’m putting an end to this beautiful journey. Goodbye until the next wildlife road trip on my XUV500 AWD. Few More Photos From The Trip A group of Spotted Deers at Kolara Core Zone Red-Wattled Lapwing at Kolara Core Zone A Female Sambar Deer and Doe at Kolara Core Zone Red-Vented Bulbul at Kolara Core Zone - Breakfast Views. Red-Vented Bulbul at Kolara Core Zone - Breakfast Views. Side Lit Picture of a Spotted Deer and Doe at Kolara Core Zone Side Lit Picture of Spotted Deer at Kolara Core Zone - Tadoba Lake A Male Sambar Deer at Kolara Core Zone Spotted Deer at Kolara Core Zone Side View of a Male Sambar Deer at Kolara Core Zone - Tadoba Lake Honey Buzzard at Kolara Core Zone A Male Sambar Deer at Kolara Core Zone - Maya Tala (Tigress Maya's Zone)
  5. Hi guys, Mid of April month, I am Planning to have a Shirdi trip from Lingampally(Hyderabad), Route : Lingampally - Naldurg - Tuljapur - Terkhed - Jamkhed - Ahmednagar - Shirdi return with same route. Would like to know the current road condition of the above route. Thanks, Rajagopal
  6. The covid19 pandemic is not over. We request travelers to follow SMS ‘Sanitizer Mask Social distancing’ The weather in Hyderabad added charm in atmosphere. We decided to explore Gottam gutta which was there in my Bucket list and pending for long time. Planning done, day decided (Friday as being less crowed). My companion in travel: Car Baleno Zeta CVT – reliable partner. Smartphone Poco f1 – all the photos were taken with it. And most importantly Home minister and leader of opposition (son). They rule the house and without them trip is impossible. Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling Things to carry: Own food and water to avoid contact with outsider. Sun cream, sunglasses & Hats. Umbrella (due to rainy season). Trekking shoes (useful for trekking). Difficulty level: No problem for elders and kids. Care to be taken while trekking at Chincholi wildlife sanctuary. People with difficulty in breathing should avoid it. Road condition: Roads are good till Zaheerabad. After that it is mixed of good and bad road but manageable by car and bikes. Best time to visit: The monsoon is the best season to visit the place with family and tourists will not regret having chosen the destination. If you hate crowed and wants to enjoy peacefully then plan trip on weekdays. Introduction to Gottam gutta: People looking for adventure and Nature lovers can relax at the picturesque Gottam Gutta located on the Telangana-Karnataka border. Surrounded by forests and eddies of the Chandrampally dam on the Bhima River in Karnataka. The government of Karnataka built the project in the village of Chandrampally in Chincholi Taluka of the district of Gulbarga. Gottam Gutta Route Map: To reach gottam gutta there are two routes. One is a regular route through the village where the dam is also present; the name of the dam is Chandrampalli dam. Another route is through few small villages and a forest. Hyderabad > Sangareddy > Zaheerabad > Govindapur > Mogudampalli > Chincholi wildlife sanctuary > Gottam Gutta We took first route to reach dam and second route for return journey. Best places to visit in this area: Chandrampalli dam. Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary. Ethipotala falls. 1. Details about Chandrampalli dam: Chandrampalli Dam is built across the Bhima River. The dam is located in Chandrampalli village of Chincholi taluq under the Gulbarga district of Karnataka. As one of the main dams in the district, dam is responsible for the irrigation of several villages in Chincholi taluka. Quick Facts Built on: River Bhima Type: Earthen Dam with Left Bank spillway Length: 926.54 meters Height: 28.65 meters above the foundation Full Reservoir Level (FRL): 493.16 feet Maximum Water Level (MWL): 496.21 meters Number of gates: 6 Purpose: the Irrigation project Travel. Because money returns. Time doesn’t. I travel so my life isn’t disrupted by routine 2. Details about Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary: Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a sanctuary in 2011 and extends over 134.88 Sq.kms. It is the first dry land Wildlife Sanctuary in South India. This is the only area in the Hyderabad Karnataka Region with rich floristic diversity. The forest hosts rich biodiversity. Apart from medicinal herbs and trees, species like Red Sanders and Sandalwood are found abundantly. Main highlights: Safe haven for Wolf and Hyena: Wolves and Hyenas are the primary attractions of Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread over five blocks: Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary consists of five blocks- Chincholi Forest, Sangapura Forest, Bhonsapur Forest, Magdumpur Forest and Shadipur forest. Rich Flora: Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary is home to dry and moist deciduous trees in its core zone and teak, acacia plantations in the outer area. Medicinal herbs, sandalwood and red sanders trees are also found in Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary. Local Tribes: Chincholi is also home to Lambani Tandas, a protected tribal community that lives in the forests in harmony with nature. Look at life through the windshield, not the rear view mirror Go find yourself Take memories, leave footprints We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us 3. Details about Ethipotala falls: Ethipothala Falls (Zadi Malkapur Falls) is a 20 feet & 40 Feet seasonal waterfall cascade, situated at Telangana-Karnatak Border 20 KM from Zaheerabad. This is a Seasonal waterfall starts from Kohir Mandal, Kohir in local slang means "red diamond". The "Pati Matti" once mixed with water turns into very strong material fit for construction of multistoried buildings. Over this journey you can experience the lush green fields on red soil. Let's wander where the wifi is weak Hey GPS, let’s take the scenic route today This guide is meant for beginner travellers who could use a little help with structuring their short trip. I aim to create travel Vlogs and guides to inspire others. And equip with useful + valuable insights for your next adventure. Most importantly to make genuine connections and new friends. Let’s explore the world together. follow me on Instagram :@nomadic_mit.
  7. Best Route from Hyderabad to Wayanad : 880 kms Hyderabad --> Kurnool --> Ananthapur --> Bangalore --> Maddur -> Mysuru --> Gundlupete -> Wayanad Route Condition from Hyderabad to Wayanad: Hyderabad to Bangalore - 4 lane toll road, excellent Bangalore to Mysuru - 4 lane, high traffic highway Mysuru to Wayanad - 2 lane road, decent road Best time to Visit Wayanad : July to February Best Restaurants in Wayanad: 1980's A Nostalgic Restaurant Google Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/rSb2XFNKifC4p2Vz7 WHITE HOUSE RESTAURANT Google pin: https://goo.gl/maps/ftZmNww2M7hXkB217 JUBILEE RESTAURANT, SULTAN BATHERY Google Pin : https://goo.gl/maps/1JsYHJvYAjfGpdRX6 WMO Qatar Bakery & Restaurant Google Pin: https://g.page/qatarbakery?share WILTON HOTEL & RESTAURANT Google pin: https://g.page/wiltonwayanad?share Best resorts in Wayanad (Luxury): Vythiri Resort Morickap Resort Mountain Shadows Resorts Pepper Trail Chateau Woods Best Wayanad resorts (Nature): Sterling Wayanad LakeRose Wayanad Resort Woodrose Resort The Serenity Resort Nexstay Vythiri Mist Resort Wayanad home stays: Koomankolly Heritage Resort Zostel Wayanad Raindrops Resorts Wayanad Day - 1 Start time : 5 : 00 AM Breakfast stop : 7 :00 AM to 7 :30 AM Location : Food Pyramid, Kothakota (Spacious parking, Good Food, Decent Washrooms, Kids Play area) Google pin : https://g.page/Food-Pyramid-Highway-Restaurant?share Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Anantapur Google pin :https://goo.gl/maps/rtL9J69vGRFPKkJy6 Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Apoorva Multi Cuisine Restaurant Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/hZuW5ubr1XKwW4sy6 Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Maddur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/yUVW5Tb3St6J3yGZ7 Coffee break : 5 : 30 PM Location : Empire Restaurant - Maddur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/io1ky8ATta27EPrf8 Final stop : 7 : 00 PM Best hotels in Mysuru: Grand Mercure Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Roopa Elite Hotel Le Ruchi The Prince Day - 2 Route: Mysuru -> Gundlupete -> Bandipur (safari) -> Gundluepete -> Muthanga -> Wayanad Start from the hotel at the earliest hour possible if you are planning to do the forest safari at Bandipur Start time : 6 : 00 AM Reach Bandipur by 7 : 00 AM Book your tickets for Forest safari (Private Jeep and Bus are the options available) Safari Price - 300 INR per head Safari Timings - 6 : 30 AM to 9 : 30 AM and 3 : 30 PM to 7 : 30 PM Breakfast stop : 9 : 00 AM (After Safari) Location : Pugmark Restaurant Google Pin : https://goo.gl/maps/ssAEnNsCC3GHcMu27 Reach hotel by 1 : 00 PM Places to visit: Arrapetta Tea Factory and Tea Sale Outlet. Harrisons Malayalam Limited En-route to Lakkidi view point you can find plenty of tea estates, just park and hike Lakkidi View point Day - 3 Places to visit : Edakkal Caves Karapuzha dam Phantom rock Banasura dam A lot of Tea states enroute and amazing roads. Day - 4 Places to visit : Soochipara Waterfalls Kanthampara Waterfalls Drive back to Bangalore Route: Coorg -> Kushalnagar -> Channarayapattana -> Kunigal -> Bangalore Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Poojari Fish Land Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/D1QTScgwuSt6p12D8 Location :Hotel Ruchi Mane Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/otbS37fNFWGUgPFm9 Reach Bangalore hotel by 6 : 00 PM Stay options on Bangalore to Hyderabad highway: Attide Boutique Hotel Click Hotel Bengaluru Shivas Galaxy Hotel Day - 5 Start back to Hyderabad After Breakfast Start time : 8 : 00 AM Lunch stop : 12 : 30 PM Location : Matsya Amazon Kitchens Google pin :https://goo.gl/maps/ZMYJAabpo6zgiwGi8 Coffee break : 2 : 30 PM Location : Hotel 97 Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/DUBsqRvvUqwxrYTw5 Reach Hyderabad: 6 : 00 PM
  8. Best Route from Hyderabad to Ooty : 875 kms Hyderabad --> Kurnool --> Ananthapur --> Bangalore --> Maddur -> Mysuru --> Masinagundi -> Ooty This road includes sharp hairpins curves between Masinagundi and Ooty, it is fun to drive. Keep you car tyres and brakes in top condition. Route Condition from Hyderabad to Ooty : Hyderabad to Bangalore - 4 lane toll road, excellent Bangalore to Mysuru - 4 lane, high traffic highway Mysuru to Ooty - 2 lane scenic ghat road Best Time to Visit Ooty: July to February March to June (Heavy tourist crowd) Best Restaurants in Ooty: Angaara Google pin : https://g.page/angaaraooty?share Earl's Secret Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/BDrAMZgmaGqejkVD6 Hotel Junior Kuppanna Google pin : https://g.page/JK-Ooty?share Best resorts in Ooty (Luxury): Savoy, IHCL Gyngarth Resorts Sinclair's Retreat Best resorts in Ooty (Nature view) : Green Leaves, The Country side Inn Mountain Trails Sherlock Hotel Sterling Ooty Fern Hill Aventura Fern Hill (Hobbit hole accommodation) Western Valley Resorts Day - 1 Start time : 5 : 00 AM Breakfast stop : 7 :00 AM to 7 :30 AM Location : Food Pyramid, Kothakota (Spacious parking, Good Food, Decent Washrooms, Kids Play area) Google pin : https://g.page/Food-Pyramid-Highway-Restaurant?share Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Anantapur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/rtL9J69vGRFPKkJy6 Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Apoorva Multi Cuisine Restaurant Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/hZuW5ubr1XKwW4sy6 Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Maddur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/yUVW5Tb3St6J3yGZ7 Coffee break : 5 : 30 PM Location : Empire Restaurant - Maddur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/io1ky8ATta27EPrf8 Final stop : 7 : 00 PM Best hotels in Mysuru: Grand Mercure Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Roopa Elite Hotel Le Ruchi The Prince Day - 2 Start from the hotel at the earliest hour possible if you are planning to do the forest safari at Bandipur Start time : 6 : 00 AM Reach Bandipur by 7 : 00 AM Book your tickets for Forest safari (Private Jeep and Bus are the options available) Safari Price - 300 INR per head Safari Timings - 6 : 30 AM to 9 : 30 AM and 3 : 30 PM to 7 : 30 PM Breakfast stop : 9 :00 AM Location : Safari Land Restaurant, Masinagundi Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/RagHQK24aKNLnhfr8 or Location : Coffee Day, Masinagundi Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/AyV7vUWyGKRbN3XaA Reach Ooty and Check into Hotel by 11 AM Start Tour after Lunch Places to visit : The Ooty Tea Factory and Museum (Closing Time 6 : 30 PM) Tea Estate View Point Ooty Hill Station Day - 3 Places to visit : Avalanche Lake (Start early to beat the rush and attend the safari) Doddabetta Peak Emerald Lake Day - 4 Start time : 6 : 00 AM Reach Mudumalai 7 : 00 AM Book your tickets for Forest safari (Private Jeep and Bus are the options available) Safari Timings - 7 : 00 AM to 9 : 00 AM and 3 : 00 PM to 6 : 00 PM Breakfast stop : 9 :00 AM Location : Safari Land Restaurant, Masinagundi Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/RagHQK24aKNLnhfr8 Drive back to Bangalore Route : Mudumalai -> Mysore -> Maddur -> Bangalore Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Cafe Udupi Ruchi - Bellur Cross (Veg) Google pin : https://g.page/cafe-udupi-ruchi-bellur-cross?share Location : Empire Restaurant-Kunigal Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/NfSQsVkgoJhyb89h7 Reach Bangalore hotel by 6 : 00 PM Stay options on Bangalore to Hyderabad highway: Attide Boutique Hotel Click Hotel Bengaluru Shivas Galaxy Hotel Day - 5 Start back to Hyderabad After Breakfast Start time : 8 : 00 AM Lunch stop : 12 : 30 PM Location : Matsya Amazon Kitchens Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/ZMYJAabpo6zgiwGi8 Coffee break : 2 : 30 PM Location : Hotel 97 Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/DUBsqRvvUqwxrYTw5 Reach Hyderabad: 6 : 00 PM Note: Additional Day-5 for Coonoor and Kotagiri
  9. Best Route from Hyderabad to Chikmagalur : 650 kms Hyderabad --> Kurnool --> Ananthapur --> Hiriyur --> Kadur --> Chikmagalur Route Condition from Hyderabad to Chikmagalur : Hyderabad to Ananthapur - 4 lane toll road, excellent Ananthapur to Chikmagalur - 2 lane road, average Limited food options between Ananthapur to Chikmagalur Best Time to Visit Chikamagalur : August to February Best Restaurants in chikmagalur: Khansamaa Restaurant https://g.page/KHANSAMAACKMRST?share Vishnu Delicacy - Vegetarian Restaurant https://goo.gl/maps/pUGfbyd83DZVPQVm7 Best hotels in Chikmagalur town: Hotel Aadrika Robusta Inn DC comforts Best resorts in Chikmagalur (Luxury): Vismita County Resort Trivik Resort & Hotel The Serai Chikmagalur Java Rain Resort, Chikmagalur Siri Nature roost Home stays in Chikmagalur: Mountainvalley homestay Nexstay coffee grove Day - 1 Start time : 5 : 00 AM Breakfast stop : 7 :00 AM to 7 :30 AM Location : Food Pyramid, Kothakota (Spacious parking, Good Food, Decent Washrooms, Kids Play area) Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/Gha9UJ3A14Zvwa9E8 Fuel Stop : Reliance fuel, Anantapur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/kXvy8D47MFCchpDp7 Coffee break : 12 : 00 PM Location : Chowraasta Cafe and Restaurant, Anantapur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/798wC7JbwH1qNZiZ8 Lunch stop : 2 : 00 PM Location : Garlica Restaurant, Hiriyur Google pin : https://g.page/garlica-restaurant?share Coffee break : 4 : 30 PM Location : Sri Vinayaka Cafe, Kadur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/pGpi9BSuAXfQPYUD Final stop : 7 : 00 PM Day - 2 Places to visit : Kallathigiri Falls Mullayanagiri Babu Budangiri (Datta Peeta) 500 steps to climb, but the views are breath taking Day - 3 Places to visit : Ayyankere Lake Hebbe Falls (Private Jeep has to be hired which are available at the location, it will cost around 800/- for 4 people) Kemmangundi Coffee Museum (20 INR per head - Operates between 10 : 00 AM to 1 : 00 PM and 2 : 30 PM to 5 : 00 PM) Day - 4 Start back to Hyderabad Start time : 5 : 00 AM Breakfast Stop : 7: 30 AM Location : Udaya family restuarent, Hiriyur Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/QDLnPwAKu8v2cuJk6 Lunch stop : 12 : 30 PM Location : Garlica Ananthapur Google pin : https://g.page/garlica-restaurant?share Coffee break : 5 : 00 PM Location : Food Pyramid Google pin : https://goo.gl/maps/Gha9UJ3A14Zvwa9E8 Reach Hyderabad: 7 : 30 to 8 : 00 PM Note: Additional Day-5 for Kudremukh
  10. I did not travelled for three months and the traveller in side me is thirsty. Few plans to West Maharastra and Goa with friends did not materialised. I had also planned a trip to Chitrakote falls with family friends but they were afraid of travelling in Chattisgarh. It was late night of 27th July, 2018 Friday and I was desperate to go to some place. I asked my wife and son Shall we go to Chitrakote Waterfalls? They said yes. Rough route plan was with me. No bookings for night stay made. Got up early on 28-07-2018 Saturday and started from Home by 5.30 AM and reached Warangal by 7.30 AM. I know the route up to Eturunagaram before Bhogatha and I know very well that once we cross Warangal, it is difficult to get any food. So we had Breakfast at Hotel Ashoka, Hanmakonda, once my favorite. Entered in to Mulugu road (from here entire roads are 2 lane) by 8.30 AM. Our original thought was to come back in the same route from Chitrakote but it proved wrong. Initially we thought of seeing Bhogatha falls in return journey so as to reach Chitrakote early. By 10.30 we were at Bhogatha Falls cross road and its only 1 Km from there. We thought lets have a look without wasting much time. It proved to be good decision.
  11. Top restaurants on Hyderabad to Vijayawada highway which has decent parking and washrooms: 7 Food Court Raju Gari Thota Village Aharam Hotel Vivera N-Grill Palle Ruchulu Border restaurant Subbaiyya Gari hotel Tip: Suryapet has plenty of options. Usually it is an ideal stopover.
  12. Kalsubai Peak - The Everest of Maharashtra Last year after successful completion of Harishchandra gad trek, I decided to do Kalsubai terk in year 2022. This time the real challenge was taking 2 kids to this summit. But they managed very well. The success of this trek goes to them. Base Village We started our journey from Sangamner (previous night we reached here from Pune) in the morning with 4 adults and 2 kids. The base village was somewhat 2 hrs journey from Sangamner and we reached there by 11:00 am. After small rest we started for summit. I have already booked our stay with Mr. Jagan Khade (mobile no +91 8605963102). He was very friendly and took utmost care of us. I will highly recommend his service. How is a josh? High sir.... High Sir.... High Sir Trek starts by crossing small stre am of water which has farming land around of most of the villagers. Initial 20% of the trek is easy where you just have to cross rocks, muddy tracks and shrubs. Path for the trek is laid out so very well that it is kind of impossible to get lost. Around 2:00 PM we reached base camp. There we had our lunch in Mr. Khade’s hotel ‘Hotel Adaresh’. We then started for Summit climb to witness sunset. Campsite I would advise you to wear good quality sports/trek shoes for this trek as during rain, the path gets very slippery and needs some good grip for safety. There are various small shacks build-up by villagers throughout the trek where you can re-energize yourself but I would advise you to carry at least 2 liters of water per head and energy drinks to avoid cramps. Once you reach around 50% of the trek comes one of the difficult parts which is climbing up an iron ladder. It is an extremely tricky part of the trek which can prove fatal. Ladders are at an angle of around 70 degrees, so you need to be extremely cautious. It took us around 2 hours to reach the camp 4. We identified place for camping and pitches our tents. Around 5 PM we decided for Summit push with Kids. After climbing last ladder we reached peak. The view The view During short break Hureee we officially graduated from the top of peak. Happiness after summit climb Me & my trek partner Climber family At the top you have small temple of Kalsubai. The view from the top is extravagantly awesome, it just mesmerizes you in its beauty and leaves you awestruck the whole time you are at the top. Both my partners watching sunset Peak in the evening Last sunset of 2021 After clicking some memorable photos and cherishing the beauty of Mother Nature, we decided to return to our tents just below the peak. We called it as acclimatization round. Night was terrible it was windy and temperature was around 6 deg. But somehow kids managed it. Home for night Chilling night Next morning, we decided for final summit push. Being very cold myself and my brother in law decided to go to peak and others decided to rest in tents. We again climbed the peak for beautiful sunrise and here are few clicks. Peak around 5 PM First light Gearing up to capture sunrise Temple during sunrise me waiting for first sunrise 2022 View from top First sunrise of 2022 Love you Zindagi Me & my brother in law (Chaitanya). He is a true climber and my support during this trek. 2022 & me The peak & campsite 2022 & Aarav (my son). Happy faces We started to descend around 9:45 am. You need to be extra cautious and careful while descending as one wrong foot can be dangerous. It took us around 2 hrs to reach our base camp. We then took breakfast and again descend to base village where we had our cars parked. Chai During descend. Respect Kalsubai in Maharashtra is situated in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Kalsubai is the most elevated point in the state, at a stunning heights of 5400 ft. above ocean level. The zone goes under Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wild-life Sanctuary and draws in countless city occupants searching for an end of the week escape out in nature! The pinnacle is appropriately called ‘Everest of Maharashtra’. The folklore says that this pinnacle of Maharashtra was named after a girl named Kalsubai, who was blessed with healing abilities and would serve the villagers and the animals. She was also quite active in Village activities, which earned her respect and fame amidst all the inmates of the village. Its believed that once she went for a hike to the peak and never returned, hence in her memory the peak was named Kalsubai and the Villagers would hike to the peak regularly to take the blessings of the Kalsubai Devi. There was a small temple built at her home and the main temple was built on the peak, named as Kalsubai Temple. Kalsubai also gives a sneak peek into other challenging treks like Madan, Alang, and Kulang forts. If you get clear skies on your day of the trek you may get a glimpse of other peaks known as Harishchandra gad, Harihargad, and Ratangad. If you are a seasoned trekker you may combine all the treks, you may pitch tents or ask for accommodation from the locals, they would be more than happy to host you. Being one of the longest treks in Maharashtra, it's also famous among the night trekkers, who flock in here to witness the Sun God bestow his first rays on them. How To Reach The Location Of Kalsubai Trek The closest railway station to the location of Kalsubai trek in Maharashtra is Igatpuri in, which is around 19 miles from the Bari town (the base town). You can take a taxi/taxi from the station and it will take not exactly an hour to arrive at the base town. On the other hand, you can arrive at the base town legitimately by means of the street from Mumbai. Reach Kasara Railway Station. Take nearby Taxi till base town Bari By Road Mumbai – Kasara – Igatpuri – Ghoti – Bari Village Kalsubai Trek from Pune By Road Pune – Sangamner – Rajur – Bhandardara – Bari Nearby manages frequently go with climbers to the Kalsubai trek in Maharashtra Neighborhood Villagers offer homestay and nourishment choice Numerous eateries are accessible till Bari Village Kalsubai Trek Details Area: Bari Village, Akole Difficulty Level: Moderate Known for: Exciting trekking trails, all-encompassing perspectives on Western Ghats, Kalsubai Temple Altitude: 1646 meters Route Of Kalsubai Trek If you are looking for what route the Kalsubai trek follows then here it is. This trek in Maharashtra starts from the Hanuman Mandir, found a couple of kilometers from Bari town. The course is all around stamped and one ought not to have an issue exploring through the trail to the pinnacle. En route, there are a couple of streams to see; you can rest at the stream in the event that you wish. On parcels where there are steep slants, stepping stools have been set up to assistance trekkers. You’ll go over the stepping stools when you draw nearer to the pinnacle. Plummet back to the base can be somewhat strenuous, so take as much time as necessary descending and be mindful. Best Time For Kalsubai Trek Best Time to Visit Kalsubai Peak – June to August for Monsoon Trek, September to October for blooms trek, November to May night treks are prescribed. Taking the trek in monsoon is an incredible time to trek to Kalsubai, the climate is fabulous and the cool temperatures make it simpler for trekking. On the off chance that you love nature and need to watch blossoms sprouting, climb up to Kalsubai in the winter season. 1. Kalsubai trek in summer starts from from Mayand extends till June. The climate is genuinely hot during the season and it tends to be very damp for trekking. 2. Kalsubai trek in monsoon season runs from June to August. The climate is cool however conditions for trekking can be dubious. It likewise gets very blustery at the Kalsubai top in the storm. 3. Kalsubai trek in December, winters in Kalsubai start from the end of October and lasts till February. The atmosphere is astounding for open-air investigation during this season. What To Pack For Kalsubai Trek - 2/3 Liters of water - Some Dry natural products/Dry Snacks/Energy Bars - Great Torch must with an additional battery - Trekking Shoes give more grasp and solace on the trek - One Day Backpack 20 to 30 liters - Sun Cap and Sunscreen - Individual First guide and Personal Medicine - ID Proof - It would be ideal if you wear Full sleeves and Full Track Pant this will shield from Summer Sun/Thorns/Insects/Prickles - Downpours are normal, so gather your sacks likewise to spare them from getting wet - Rainwear/Poncho/Waterproof coat and so on if you are undertaking Kalsubai trek in monsoon. Frequently Asked Questions About Kalsubai Trek Is Kalsubai trek troublesome? The trek is tolerably troublesome, going through lavish paddy fields, wildernesses, little streams, good countries, and rough landscapes, and takes around 3-4 hours, with short interims in the middle of, to arrive at the peak of Kalsubai. Is Kalsubai Trek safe? Is a Kalsubai trek safe in overwhelming precipitation? Truly, it’s everything safe except you simply need to avoid potential risk: First of all, it is the most elevated top in Kalsubai trek in Maharashtra so it is steep yet it has railings or iron stairs to it. To what extent does it take to climb Kalsubai? Amateurs with great wellness or standard trekkers can finish the trek in 3 hours. It will take 3 to 4 hours to finish the trek one way you ought to keep away from evening move as the Kalsubai Shikhar trek course has next to no tree spread. Is Toilet Available on Kalsubai Mountain? Not accessible at location of kalsubai trek. Arrangement for tents will be made at Villagers House – eastern style cabinet. Are Kids permitted on Kalsubai trek? Children underneath 15 with Parents supervision because of the length of Kalsubai trek. Is there telephone connectivity on Kalsubai trek? Restricted telephone network is accessible for most mobile operators and the travelers will be able to contact and keep in touch with their dear ones. The other places to visit nearby Kalsubai Trek The Bandardara Dam: This Dam is 12 km and is about 22 minutes away from Bari Village. Constructed on the River Pravara, you experience Nature at its best here. Surrounded by mountains and waterfalls all around. There’s Arther Lake and Wilson Dam. The place is also home to Agastyarishi Ashram which is about 24kms away from Bandardhara. It’s believed it was home to Lord Rama, who took his Diksha here. Harishchandragad Fort: Being the third highest peak of Maharashtra, standing at a height of 4668 feet, this trek is mentally and physically daunting. Appearing as a Cobra head this concave cliff tilted up to eighty degrees. The Ratangad Fort: Situated at about 32 km away from Bari Village, it takes about one hour ten minutes to reach here. Believed to be constructed 400 years ago, this ancient fort stands at a height of 4225 feet in the Ratanwadi Village. Lying at the bank of lake Bhandardhara, it's covered under the Ajoba Mountain Range. It appears as a tip of the needle, hence the top of the peak is known as the "eye of the needle" or the "Nedhe". Alang Madan Kulang Fort: These being the three different fort treks are considered as one of the toughest treks of the Sahyadris. Usually trekked together, the rocky patches make it difficult for them to be conquered that easily. Situated in the Nashik District near the Bhandardhara Lake, the fort Alang rises to the elevation of 4852 feet and Madan to up to 4841 feet. Igatpuri: Situated in the Western Ghats of Nasik District and well connected through railways and roadways, Igatpuri can be easily accessed through the NH3. Its connectivity through railways is also pretty good. The Bhavali Dam and the waterfalls are like 11 km away from the station and take about 20 mins to reach there. The other places of attraction in Igatpuri are Vaitarna Dam, Darna Dam, and Tringalwadi Fort, and the Internationally renowned Vipassana Meditation Centre. There’s also a famous Amruteshwar Temple of Lord Shiva that is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  13. Can you please share the best route from Hyderabad to Jaipur by car.
  14. Dear ALL, I am planning to travel to tirupati from Hyderabad by in a automatic car. Don't want to take bad roads. Can anyone please suggest the best route?
  15. Distance: 120 kms. Road condition: Excellent (upto Zaheerabad) You divert from the highway towards Chincholi forest reserve near the Mahindra factory exit. The road is a single lane road and through the farms. We started from Miyapur around 7 AM in 3 cars. Packed all the food and water. Note: Be sure to carry your shoes as there would be a short trek to reach the banks of the lake. I will let the pictures do the talking. The road towards the Chincholi forest after getting down the NH 65 The weather was good as the sun shone gently on us that morning The entry gate of the Chincholi forest was very welcoming Though it was a mud track beyond the gate, the drive was smooth and fun. The track will is pretty narrow to just fit in 1 car at a time Our first pit stop was a small temple enroute amidst the Chincholi forest
  16. Hyderabad to Koilsagar - Overnight BBQ camp under the stars - Report When: April 22nd 2017 Where: Koilsagar reservoir Distance: 140 Kilometres Objective : A small gathering with all the 'India-drive men' at the banks of the Koilsagar reservoir for an overnight camp besides Barbecue under the beautiful night skies to study the star trials. Destination description: Koilsagar is a reservoir which stretches across Peddavaagu (A minor tributary of river the Krishna). The western stretch of this picturesque reservoir is surrounded by hills making it a beautiful treat to eyes both during sunrise and sunset. Hyderabad to Koilsagar route: Hyderabad --> Jadcherla --> Devarkadra --> Koilsagar project Video: Participants: 1) Hyundai Grand i10 - Sugandhar 2) Hyundai Grand i10 - Pinaki 3) Maruti Suzuki Swift - Anand 4) Hyundai i20 Elite - Ravi Teja 5) Hyundai i20 Elite - Jagadish 6) Hyundai i20 Elite - Chinmai 7) Volkswagen Polo - Ashwin 😎 Volkswagen Polo - Raghunandan 9) Hyundai Accent Viva - Surya 10) Ford Figo Aspire - Bhargav 11) Maruti Suzuki Swift Dezire - Vishu 12) Mahindra Thar - Ravi Teja 13) Maruti Suzuki Brezza - Srinivas 14) Ford Ecosport - Vinay 15) Ford Ecosport - Varun 16) Maruti Suzuki SX4 - Tej 17) Hyundai Verna - Madhavi 18) Hyundai Verna - Nishant 19) Hyundai Creta - Sagar 20) Mahindra XUV 500 - Rahul 21) Honda Civic - Saran 22) Honda Civic - Gowtham 23) Toyota Corolla Altis - Praveen
  17. Hello guys, Would like to know the best route for Lucknow to Hyderabad. I'll be the Single driver on the entire journey and the car is Swift. Please let me know any route suggestion and any good stays in between for family. Planning to start the journey by Morning 4 am. Thanks Atul
  18. Road trip experience in a Tesla Sharing a road trip experience in EV with Pros and Cons when compared with ICE cars. This is not a leisure travel, We had to go on a work trip from SF to LA. I tried to capture as many details as possible. Car Specifications: Range: 600 kilometers per charge (EPA) 0-100: 3.8 Seconds Top speed is limited to 250km/hr Supports upto Level-3 charging : 250KW/hr Auto Pilot Will be sharing more information on Tesla Super chargers in the upcoming posts A day before the trip Planning: Road trips in electric cars need some planning when compared to traditional(ICE) cars. STEP 1: You can use Tesla website to plan your trip, Select the car that you are planning to take on a drive Advantages with Tesla is super charging network Check out the website for fun : https://www.tesla.com/trips SF to LA has close to 10+ Tesla super chargers(Distance : 600+ kilometers) STEP 2: Calculate total charging time required, you can check Tesla website to understand your trip plan Total charging time required on a 616 kilometers trip is 55 minutes Details given above are in ideal conditions: 90% charge before you start, follow speed limits, no opposite wind, no cold weather(below 0C), no snow storm etc In real world, range varies, this is similar to our ARAI mileage Tesla calculates/displays range based on EPA(ARAI), add 15~20% range error All the Tesla Chargers are located close to some of the best food courts/restrooms Total saving for the trip when compared with gas cars is 52$
  19. Hi, Im planning to drive from Delhi to Hyd in last week of March. I would like, if there any good hotel for family in Nagpur-Hyd Highway. Any leads is highly appreciated. Regards, Sudhir
  20. After unlock 4.0 we started exploring options for travel, which should be short one and safe. Got info about Kondapochamma reservoir and decided to explore it. Initial plan was to catch sunrise. But home's chief minister and leader of opposition (my son, they rules the house) objected this. So started around 8 in the morning from Miyapur. Kondapochamma entry: It has two entries, main entry and secondary entry. Some times main entry is closed, no need to disappoint. There is one more entry from the back side. Drive a little further ahead you can find another entry, but the road is patchy. Kondapocharamma First Entry point location details(High crowd) : https://goo.gl/maps/N1e4tAC9bmYTB4fu8 Kondapocharamma Second Entry point location details (Medium crowd): https://goo.gl/maps/Ca3L4CuGkEc95s8E7 Kondapocharamma Third Entry point location details (Less crowd😞https://goo.gl/maps/AaRAWCpYnqos3Avg8 Road condition from Hyderabad to Kondapochamma: Roads are excellent till reservoir ( just 2 to 3 km of bad road near to it). Distance is around 65 km. Time spent at Kondapochamma: It is good location for relaxation and photography. We spend around 2 hours there, took breakfast and return back by 2PM in afternoon. Best time to visit Kondapochamma: Note: Best time to explore is early morning or late evening. Food availability at Kondapochamma: Carry own food and water, you will find nothing around it. Avoid Kondapochamma on weekends: Avoid Kondapochamma during weekends, it is usually overcrowded. If you plan on weekend, start early in the morning from Hyderabad. Crowd picks up post 10AM. Some of the important facts about Kondapochamma sagar reservoir: It is part of multi-stage lift Irrigation of Kaleshwaram Plan is to make Godavari river live through out the year over a streach of 274 kilometers to make farming efficient. It is around 15 kilometers in area Costed around 1700 crores, water is spread around 17 sqkms Maximum depth is around 600M Provides irrigation to around 2,85,000 acres through canals Mandatory selfie with the steed
  21. Hi All, I have completed the Hyderabad to Goa track yesterday. Let me split the roads into different sections to give clear information. Best route to Goa? It always varies from year to year. Best route: Hyderabad > Zaheerabad > Humnabad > Gulbarga > Vijayapura > Bagalkot > Belgaum > Dodamarg > Goa Hyderabad to Humnabad: Excellent 4-lane road Humnabad to Gulbarga : Smooth 2-lane road, you can take Gulbarga outer ring road to skip the traffic Gulbarga to Belgaum : Smooth 2-lane road, some of it has a toll Belgaum to Goa: Roads are not so great blame the recent rains, few patches are pathetic. Tip: Humnabad to Belgaum road looks same all the way, Food: Zaheerabad Gulbarga Belgaum People using Google maps, split your route into different sections Section 1: Hyderabad to Gulbarga, it should be via Zaheerabad Section 2: Gulbarge to Belgaum Section 3: Belgaum to Goa, make sure you put exact location in Goa (example : Anjuna beach) Drive time Total drive time including breaks is 14~15 hours, Don't get fooled by google times. Lots of village traffic followed by ghat section, will eat away your time. Worst route is via Raichur, completely avoid it. Few clicks from the drive.
  22. December long weekend getaway plans from Hyderabad? 1. Hyderabad to Goa : Nothing can beat December vibes of Goa No of days : 4/5 days Road condition: Average Latest road condition : https://www.trifod.com/index.php?/topic/1505-hyderabad-to-goa-road-trip-nov-2020/ 2. Hyderabad to Ooty : (4 /5 days) The queen of hill stations No of days : 4/5 days Road condition: Excellent 3. Hyderabad to Chikmagalur : (4 days) The queen of hill stations No of days : 4/5 days Road condition: Excellent 4. Hyderabad to Maredumilli: Winter is the best time to visit No of days : 4 days Road condition: Good
  23. We were literally frustrated due to lockdown and were looking for a short drive in the month of June. Then we got information about safe location - Ranganayaka Sagar reservoir. I checked with my Baleno group BOCH ( Baleno Owners Club Hyderabad) and found one more couple for ride. We started from Hyderabad at 7 am and reached by 10 am. Being 100 km away from Hyderabad you will find less crowd on weekends. But if you really want to enjoy plan travel on weekdays. Road condition from Hyderabad to Ranganayaka Sagar: Roads are excellent till reservoir. Distance is around 115 km. Time spent at Ranganayaka Sagar: It is good location for relaxation and photography. We spend around 4 hours there, had our lunch and return back by 7PM in evening. Best time to visit Ranganayaka Sagar: Note: Best time to explore is early morning or late evening to witnesses sunrise and sunset. Food availability at Ranganayaka Sagar: Carry own food and water, you will find nothing around it. Some of the important facts about Ranganayaka sagar reservoir: It is part of multi-stage lift Irrigation of Kaleshwaram Plan is to make Godavari river live through out the year over a stretch of 274 kilometers to make farming efficient. Provides irrigation
  24. List of places to visit around Hyderabad which are under 100 kilometers Miss road trips/traveling during COVID times? Here are the list of weekend getaways around Hyderabad which can be done without any outside contact. Pack your breakfast/lunch/water plan to start early in the morning from Hyderabad visit and place come back by afternoon. 1. Kondapochamma sagar reservoir: 2. GottamGutta Forest Hike: 3. Singur Dam: 4. Vikarabad Forest: 5. Bhongir Fort: 6. Rachakonda Fort: 7. Ranganayaka sagar reservoir: 8. Pocharam wildlife and reservoir: 9. Bidar Fort:
  25. **Route update NH65/ NH16/ NH14** Distance -1672 kms Total time 26 hrs Standstill time : 1 hr 17 min ( includes breaks + refueling ) Source : Hyderabad Destination: Asansol Vehicle - Duster AWD. Start : Friday 9pm . Sept 2020 End - Saturday 11pm Sept 2020 Toll charges - 1600 ( Paytm fastag discounts ) Diesel - 119 litres Average diesel rate at all states ~ 80 Road conditions - (9pm - 1am ) Hyderabad to Vijaywada - nh65 , first 60 kms can get irritating if you drive during daylight and traffic. Post that tarmac is smooth and you can make up time. ( 1am -6 am) Vijaywada - Vizag - Post Tuni till southern Chilka - lots of diversions but they are in a better shape from what I had seen during the last Hyderabad - East Bhutan trip. 33kms before entering Vizag we took the Bypass , it was scenic and scarcely busy although we crossed it at 5:30am . ( 6am -2pm ) Vizag - Chilka - Bhubaneswar : Super scenic + great road. Chilka - Bhubaneswar : Major diversions but manageable with mild traffic from adjoining towns. ( 2pm - 6pm ) Bhubaneswar - Kharagpur : great road ,no issues but tarmac has major undulations , cars with lower GC will bottom out, saw a swift dzire break it's left fog lap. Just be careful. But majorly scenic. ( 6pm -11pm ) Kharagpur - Bishnupur - Raniganj -Asansol : Smooth tarmac, lots of towns / villages enroute, we did it at night, that saved a lot of time. Keep an eye for weak bridges. A brigde we used often for past few years was shattered by an overwhelmed river. Passes and URLs - Orissa - https://covid19.odisha.gov.in/ ( 1 pass ) AP - http://spandana1.ap.gov.in/Registration/onlineRegistration.aspx ( 2 passes, entry and exit ) WB- 8017845555 ( send a ping via whatsapp, then respond accordingly) We were not stopped at any state border for checking passes in the 26 hours of driving. Note: please research about the days of lockdown in AP/OD/WB, authorities are very strict. Picture - A mandatory selfie with Kashfool. aka - Saccharum Spontaneum Those who are planning to drive excercise caution and safety. Have a happy and a safe trip. Source : Aritra Ray
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