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  1. Total Distance Covered: 842 KMS Vehicle: Nissan Micra(Petrol) Fuel: Petrol Mileage: 18 kmpl with A/C all the time(2 Adults and 1 kid). No. of Days: 2 From Nov 6th to 7th 2021(2 Days). Total Tolls: 700(Fast tag) Route expedition Via Google Maps Carried Snacks, water can and other essentials to shorten our halts during the journey due to covid fear.... ** SINGLE HAND DRIVING Day 1: Route: Hyderabad- Mahanandi- Gandikota Total distance covered on day 1 : 408 KMS 2nd Short trip post Lockdown and all went well. Started by 5:30 AM from Hyderabad and reached Mahanandi by 10:30 AM with 2 breaks in between. As usual roads are pleasant to drive until Kurnool and in Kurnool flyover works are going on... so a bit of off-roading..After kurnool roads are excellent until Nandyala...with sceneic views around you in between the rock mountains and also No highway traffic at all.. But make sure to look out for the Speed guns on this strech(Kurnool to Nandyala).... Mahanandi: After Darshan and Lunch .... started towards Gandikota via Anantapur-Tadipatri-Guntur road(RD 223).. Its a single line road without pathholes until we touch the NH40 again. After crossing Allagadda.. again we changed the line to single road towards jammalamadugu... Not that great road but OK.. But from Jammalamadugu to Gandikota the roads are in excellent condition.. and definitely one will njoi the scenic views from Jammalamadugu to Gandikota route.. Excellent Landscapes.. Unable to capture the scenes due to the foggy weather.. but you will mesmerized by viewing directly. Jammalamadugu to Gandikota route: Gandikota: Must visit place.. no doubt at all... very scenic... lot of spots to view the beauty of nature... no hassle in reaching the place from Gandikota. Staying: One can find lot of options online for booking tent stay at very reasonable price(600/person to 3k-AC tent) which includes dinner and breakfast as well in it. Temple ruins are other attractions apart from Penna river view. **Adventure things that u can do there is Campfire...kayaking... rock climbing.. ziplining...trekking @ Freakout Adventures camp directly, all are organized by the Govt with well trained me. --> Only backlog is washrooms availability near the camping site.... u have to take the pay and use toilets... which is 1+km away from camp site . --> Also have a mosquito repellent if you are with Kids are allergic with insects. Once the campfire is started all the insects got vanished. --> My suggestion would be book a normal tents in "Freakout Adventures" campsite if you are going with family and kids... they have the Washroom within there camp.. which will be used only by those who booked in it... No hassle of going 1km. **Bluetooth speaker is a must for you to have a pleasant night.. or else you will be end-up listening to others(Drinkers) voices around you. **It is better to visit in groups to njoi more.. Day 2. Gandikota - Belum Caves - Yaganti - Hyderabad Total distance covered: 441 Kms Woke-up around 6AM but.. Sun was no willing to come out of clouds due to the foggy weather.. Missed the Sunrise... After having breakfast at local hotel which was excellent and included in our package and then moved towards Belum caves. Here comes the worst part....One of the worst route I encountered in this trip.. I was unable to find the road without Potholes except when we entered into the villages. Its a matter of 62KMs but it took 1hour 45min to reach the destination, one could understand the road conditions...Drive was only through potholes which I tried to escape It's the 2nd largest and longest cave in INDIA... must visit place for sure. As you get deeper into the cave you will sweat like hell due to the lack of air but its worth of it. Here and there the air ventilation were arranged and bit of lighting also available **Suggest to carry water bottles... towel.. and a good pair of shoes...while going into the Cave Entry fee 65/- for adult and 45/- for kids. Maintained very well... Belum caves: Visited only 70% of the cave due to my kid.. who is a bit scared .. so.. returned back in between. After 2 hours of time spending over there.. moved towards Yaganti. Road is a bit better from Belum caves to Yaganti.. not great but good. In between, you will come across OWK reservoir .. very huge one.. It was awesome and very scenic, tourism boating was also available but unable to ride due to the time constraint. Reached Yaganti by 2:00 PM, this is my all time favorite temple... located in between the mountains.. Had a very nice darshan of Lord Shiva and Lord Basavayya and also Venkateshwara Swamy Idol in the cave. Yaganti: After spending an hour at the temple, travelled towards Hyderabad. Speaking to locals over there.. they suggested me take peapully road(RD 41) to reach Banglore highway(NH 44) which was a very bad decision.. Worst road condition which I had travelled till now... Please avoid this route and take up the other... By some how reached NH 44 highway after travelling for 1.5 hours for just 57 kms.. From there On NH 44 its just cruising until home with 2 breaks in between. Journey with memories
  2. Summary: Hyderabad -> Chikmagalur -> Mysore -> Lepakshi -> Gandikota -> Ahobilam -> Hyderabad Please forgive for not mentioning much about roads, I can say all roads are easily doable in this trip. KMS: 2326.8 Cars: Ecosport Kwid AMT Members: 8 Adults and 1 Kid Budget: [Ecosport + Kwid] Fuel + Toll : 24,000 Hotel + Home Stay : 8,000 Before trip Grocery Shopping: 5,000 Extra: 4000 Total : 41,000 Exactly what we spent from our pocket. Let's start with the planning It is December 2nd, everyone in my family vexed with lock down effect, So we decided to go for outing. But still Covid-19 is not completely disappeared. So we initially thought to go near by places for 2-3 days, because 8 months old daughter also with me. But no one interested for short trip, they are asking for at least one week trip. But at the same time we are not ready to eat out and staying in hotels. So we bought camping tents from decathlon and bought a small HP cylinder for cooking. [We minimized hotel stay and completely avoided hotel food] In my family, I am the only one who used camping tents, So I teached my family members to pitch the tents. So now we are ready with accommodation and food arrangements. We decided to start on Dec 18th, After one week My friend and his family also wants to join with us. Since they had their own cars, I don't have any problem. December 18th, 2020 Hyderabad -> Doddaballapur We started from Hyderabad around 10AM, Since we had a infant it is not possible to start early. We prepared the lunch at home, So we halted on highway side to had home prepared lunch. Around 5pm we reached Anantapur Iskon, we had darshan and took few photographs. My initial plan was to reach Halibedu by 19th 9AM. It is total 800 KM journey, So we decided to camp near Doddaballapur, So we pitched our tents in a local temple, Which had tap water and clean surroundings. We prepared the food at temple and had it. December 19th, 2020 Doddaballapur -> Halibedu -> Belur -> Chikmagalur We woke up early and done with nature things, and started from Doddaballapur to Halibedu. 10AM We booked the KSTDC room in Halibedu for ladies fresh up. So after fresh up we went for temple darshan. We completed entire thing by 2PM, After that we prepared our lunch. After some rest we moved towards Belur temple. 3PM we reached to Belur and had Darshan. 9PM After that we moved to Chikmagalur town and stayed in I-Palace hotel, decent one, We booked 3 rooms with kitchen but they refused to cook inside due to Covid. But I requested them Since I had a daughter I can't eat outside, So silently they allowed us to cook inside. From here onwards My friend's family also joined with us. December 20th, 2020 Chikmagalur -> Forest 7AM We prepared our breakfast and had it early and moved to Hirekolale Lake, we spent there for some good amount of time and took the pics of family and individual. My family: 2PM It's lunch time, We had a beautiful lunch in middle of nature. of course we left no traces of trash. 4PM We went to Mullayangiri, On the way to it my brother car's silencer hit by a stone, due to that clamps got broken and it is touching the road, Just we are away from 200 meters from main road, But no signs of mechanic, So we stopped all our cars helped to fit it. Meanwhile my daughter enjoyed a lot while repairing the car silencer. Reached to Mullayangiri, everyone enjoyed on their own. So no hurry, Since after this we don't have any plan. 8PM Reached home stay and prepared dinner and had it with favorite barbeque along with vodka. December 21st, 2020 Forest Due to Covid situations, we are not roaming much, So just we covered famous places. second day of Chikmagalur, we started towards baba budangiri. I am not explaining much about the place. We prepared the lunch near lake and had it, We returned to home stay after sunset. We packed everything, next day morning we are leaving the forest, My friend family going to mangulur and we are going to Mysore. Few pics from home stay. December 22nd, 2020 Chikmagalur -> Mysore -> Bangalore After a good bye, we started our journey towards Mysore. We skipped the breakfast and decided to cook some where after crossing town. 1 PM We prepared the food and started to Mysore after some rest. Reached palace around 3.30 PM After palace visit, started to Bangalore to stay in friend apartment. Reached Bangalore by 9PM. Took the complete rest. No cooking.. No Camping... December 23rd, 2020 Bangalore -> Lepakshi -> Gandikota We started our day after my office call, So we crossed city by 11AM, we had the breakfast in bangalore apartment and packed food for lunch. Just before Lepakshi we stopped for lunch. [with some office work 🤣] Visited the Temple. By 5PM we finished Lepakshi and started towards Gandikota. This time we took the rural roads and faced lot of issues, We reached the spot by 11PM and pitched our tents for sleep. December 24th, 2020 Gandikota -> Belum Caves -> Yaganti Wow, we woke up early to witness the beauty of Gandikota and we captured some beautiful pics. Near fort back side we stopped near a temple for bath and food preparation. We used our dress changing tent as shower room. 2 PM Done with Gandikota and moved towards Belum caves. 5 PM Reached Yaganti, Very peaceful location. We reached this place via Banaganapalli. 8 PM We pitched our tents near to Ahobilam and prepared food, Just once re-capped our trip, and believe me no one is tired and everyone wants to go another trip soon. December 25th, 2020 Ahobilam -> Hyderabad We know one day is not enough to cover the Ahobilam, but this is our 8th day, So as per my mom sentiments we should reach the home on 8th day, otherwise we need to wait for 10th day. So we woke up early, and started visiting temples one by one. we covered 5-6 temples. 6 PM Final episode of our trip, with lot of memories we started our journey towards Hyderabad. This trip will be remembered forever, Because this is my daughter's first trip in her life. So we reached Hyderabad by 11.30 PM. Travelled total 2327 KM in 8 days. Plan: ODO: Happy Ending
  3. #One Baleno#6 Souls#One destination#tones of memories#Bucket list tick#Gandikota Belum caves Trip planning started 6 months before and it kept on changing. Finally accommodation booked and trip scheduled on 24.Jan.2020. Thanks to Ksk (Sathish) and Dishari for continuous guidance on route and stay. Car: Baleno ZETA CVT Members: 4 Adults and 2 kids Places visited: Gandikota & Belum caves. One can visit places like Owk reservoir, Yaganti temple, Orvakal rock garden based on time availability. Route taken: Hyd-Kurnool-Nandyal-Gandikota-Belum caves-Banaganapali-Betamcherla-Kurnool-Hyd Road conditions: - Hyd-Kurnool-Nandyal: Roads are good - Nandyal-Gandikota: Roads are good. 50 km before Gandikota roads are average to bad and passes through villages. - Gandikota-Belum caves-Banaganapali-Betamcherla-Kurnool : Roads are average and passes through villages. Once you touch NH40 then roads are good. - Kurnool-Hyd: Roads are good. - Route map provided for ref. Distance traveled: ~ 800 KM Toll charges (Fastag): Rs. 650 Petrol expanse: Rs. 3700 Difficulties: Trip was awesome, except Aarav (my son) fall sick on day of trip with viral fever. But throughout trip he supported us with his smile. The complete success of trip goes to him. At Gandikota you need to wear good shoes to walk on rocks along with comfortable cloths. Avoid it during summer & heavy rains. People with breathing and BP related issues should avoid Belum caves. Stay option at Gandikota: Option 1: Non AC tents Cost is Rs. 1000 per person with food on twin sharing basis. The only problem is during rainy season this will not be good. Also for common washroom, you need to travel 500 m. Option 2: AC tents Very costly around Rs. 3000 per person with food on twin sharing basis. Sometime even they charge Rs 3500. Tents without food charges will be Rs. 3000 on twin sharing basis. Need online booking via freakout. Washroom is attached to tent. Opion 3: AC rooms at Hariths resorts We found this good and reasonable. Per room cost is Rs 1600 from Mon-Wed and on Thur-Sun it will be Rs. 2000 (taxes extra). Rooms are good and 500 m away from site. Rooms being limited we need to book online via AP tourism website. Food options at Gandikota Only food option is Haritha resort (if you have not booked tents). We found food is average and can be manageable. We have carried electric cooker and prepared food by our self. Food options at Belum caves There is a small hotel available near to booking window. They serve cold drink, water and snacks. We found food is average and can be manageable. You can enjoy this trips in 2 days. I advise you to make it on weekdays as there will be less rush. For us it took 3 days as we are travelling with kids and we don’t want to drive in night and early mornings. Disclaimer: Not all of the photos are taken by me. Few are from my friends mobile. Photographic device: Poco f1 Oneplus 7T Canon 1300D Xiomi note 6 pro Beauty of place you can derived from photos.
  4. Precursor to the trip(Skip if you want to know Only about the trip) : All five of us went on to a trip nearly 10 years ago. And in all these 10 years , all of us together haven't met even once. We were working at various places - Hyderabad , Chennai , Pune , New Delhi & Bengaluru. As years passed by, 4 of us moved to Hyderabad due to various commitments. Only one was left out in Chennai. At the end of Jan 2018 , Mr.Chennai , gave me a call ans started discussing about his boring and torturous boring IT life. He suddenly pops up the idea of a weekend trip from Hyderabad, only guys trip without wives. Over the next couple of days , we made whatapp group and discussed various options and finalised Belum Caves and Gandikota. We planned to go at the March 2018. As weeks passed by , each one had to drop off due to some or other reason. At the start of March , only Mr.Chennai and me were onboard ( My wife had to go to her parents place). But Mr.Chennai , was very adamant, he used to share the photographs of 10 year old trip on the whatsapp group. People became nostalgic , First to say yes was Mr.Microsoft , Then Mr.NRI and a day before the trip we have a confirmation from Mr.Daddy. Day 1 of the Trip : Plan was , Mr.Chennai would reach my house by 6 and we would have an early breakfast and leave by 7 from my house. But Indian railways have another plans. Mr.Chennai arrived at my house at 7:45. After freshening up we started at 9:00 A.M to pick up Mr.Microsoft and Mr.Nri. And last pick up of the day was Mr.Daddy , from ORR Gachibowli.(We wanted to give more time for him to spend with his daughter). By the time we picked up Mr.Daddy , it was 10:00 AM and we started cruising on ORR , towards Kurnool. My car has Fastag, and i zipped past the traffic on ORR and the Highway. At 12:00 P.M we stopped at Food Pyramid to have brunch. We had heavy lunch and then off to our first destination Belum Caves. The road till Kurnool was NH and was good , After Kurnool we has to take Rayalaseema Expressway(Toll Road) , this was beyond good. It is better than national highway. (Rayalaseema Expressway - Road work going on the Left lane) By 3:00 P.M we were at Owk reservoir, MR.Chennai was mesmerized by scenic beauty and wanted to stop for few photographs. And indeed the place was super scenic. Its just that it was mid afternoon in Rayalaseema. The cool breeze flowing from the reservoir was a bit of relief from the hot Sun. (From L-R : Mr.Chennai, Mr.Daddy, Mr.NRI & Mr. Microsoft, Im Mr.Driver & designated photographer for the trip) (Panoramic view of the Owk Reservoir) The owk reservoir has APTDC center , with restaurant , and has boating and other activities. But we wanted to head to Belum Caves before they close it down. We next stopped directly at Belum Caves. The caves close at 5:30 P.M , and you have to exit the caves before that. We Reached Belum caves at 4:00 P.M. There is an entry fee and parking fee. We were charged somewhere around R.s 285/- for the 5 of us. This is the first time im entering a cave system , and i was amazed. The caves were neatly maintained, and properly ventilated with the help of electric fans. They were well lit too. I'll tel the pictures do the talking from here. And if you are planning a trip to Belum caves , be ready to carry a huge water bottle , as it is humid as hell, and also wear stretchable clothes , You have to bend and crawl through some spaces. (Map of the caves ) (Entrance to the caves) The entrance has a flight of stairs , at the start of which the security checks for your tickets. Once you show his the tickets , you have to walk down nearly 40-50 steps. Any body can do it, both old and young. Once you get down the stairs you will see this plaque. (This is where the Plaque is posted. After this its all dark) (Notice the pipe behind, circulating fresh air) (L-R - Mr.Daddy & Mr.Driver-Me, you must be wondering why i was wearing goggles in a pitch dark cave, i have sight , those are powered , and i forgot my normal glasses, and yes i put this picture only to point that out ) Soon it was 5:20 and we were off to the entry/exit. And while we were ready to leave , suddenly there was a small power cut and everything went dark. It was pitch dark , and even with cell phone torch we couldn't figure out the exit. Luckily for us it was just intermittent power loss. And the power cut lasted for a maximum of 45 seconds to 1 minute. After coming out of Belum caves , we went to the Budha statue near by to click some sunset pics. (Mr.Chennai Tried to be creative) (Budha Statue at Belum Caves) (Last Pic of the sun set into the clouds) On our way we stopped at a small place called Kolimigundla to have some tea. There is a APTDC restaurant at Belum caves , it closes at 5:30 P.M along with caves. Next day we planned to visit Gandikota , and wanted to stay as close as possible. We couldn't get a reservation from APTDC Gandikota. And place nearest to Gandikota was Jammalamadugu. But we could find any hotels online to book. However during the trip we found that there are a lot of lodges and small hotels available at jammalamadugu. You can directly go and take a room for rent , without pre-booking. We could only reserve a room at Prodattur. Our reservation was at Sri Devi palace. Imagine the shock of our life when we found out that Sri Devi Palace is actually Sri Devi Palace Function Hall , and there was a wedding happening when we went there. (Surely made our trip memorable ) (Full scale wedding with Guests outside) Surprised and Shocked we called the contact provided on booking.com. The owner was friendly , apologized and said he would rent out the rooms on normal days, when there is no wedding and arranged us a place(lodge) within in Proddatur. There is nothing special about the lodge , the washrooms have leaky faucets. But since all of us are guys , and we wanted to enjoy the trip , we were ok with good beds and AC , for having a good night's sleep, Which it had. But if you are going with family , there are many new lodges with similar price range. You can go , check the rooms and then make a reservation. Same is the case in Jammalamadugu. You will find most of the lodges in Bus-stand road in proddatur. After checking in , and unloading our luggage in our respective rooms, we went out to have dinner at the Andhra Spice Restaurant. It was good for family , but there is no parking available, the security made some adjustments and arranged some space at the entrance. We has a sumptuous dinner, had the restaurant special - "Chicken Navya" , did some shopping for toiletries and went back to hotel to rest for the day. (Chicken Navya - Boneless Chicken curry , made in butter with roasted cashew's and stuffed in an omelette and sprinkled with grated cheese , roasted cashews & coriander) Day 2 - Gandikota , Orvakal Rock Garden , Alampur. Next day woke up at 5:00 A.M got ready and woke up everybody else. Everyone was ready within an hour. Advantage of not having women in the trip. Our idea is to reach Gandikota before sunrise. If you are planning a trip to Gandikota , plan to reach gandikota before sunrise. Reached Gandikota at 7:00 A.M , it was already sunrise , but God it was beautiful. The canyon, the rocks they were in explicable. I would have stayed there for eternity , enjoying the beauty. (First shot of the Canyon , when we reached there by 7:20 A.M) (Sunrise reflection on Penna River) (Mandatory Group Pic) (Mr.Microsoft, Mr.Daddy & Mr.NRI were happy looking at the scenery and dint want to explore any more) (Mr.Chennai on the other hand doesn't want to leave any nook or corner. We stayed for more than an hour and we are way away from shade. It was getting Sunny and hot , hence we decided to explore the Gandikota fort. There is nothing left at the place. Only places remaining are Ranganatha Aalayam , Gandikoda Granary , and kathula Koneru. The places in pristine condition are Juma Masjid. Heard from locals that it has been redone in recent times by archaeology department, and they will soon improve the other remaining places too. (Juma Masjid) (Inside the Masjid) Came out of fort , there are multiple roadside eateries , all of us are hungry and just stormed into one of the eatery where we all will fit. The eatery is an extension to the home and is managed by father - daughter duo. We had dosas for breakfast , and had coffee right after. The eatery owner told us that there are tents available for rent , and other adventure actives are available to do during evening time. (Campfire, Canoeing, Boating etc , also sleeping bags are also available for rent). After breakfast i observed a road split off and going in the direction of the near by mountain and windmills, looked more like a service road. I inquired if tourists can drive up there , and to my surprise , they said yes. Drove to the top of the hill , and view of Gandikota fort from there is pretty awesome. we decided to take some pics before leaving. (The view of the fort is towards the left of the pic , with penna reservoir in the background, not quite visible) We left the place at 9:30 at started towards our next destination Orvakal Rock Garden. The Rock garden is opposite to the Kurnool Airport Gate , we reached the place by 12:30. Google maps took us through a route with is not great till we reached the Rayalaseema express way, but it was very scenic. Too bad we didnt take any pictures while driving , and just enjoyed the views. It was 12:30 , by the time we reached Orvakal Rock Garden. There was a APTDC resort. And entry Fee to enter the rock garden. As it was 12:30 we decided to have lunch before heading into the resort, but each one of us went and bought an ice cream or Kulfi , ( Feels like child , when wife or parents are not around). Went ahead to Orvakal Rock Garden. It was not big, but the rocks have been sculptured by air flow over thousands or millions of years. But since it was 12:30 in the after noon , it felt very big. Entrance to the Rock Garden , stairs are neatly cut , and anyone can reach it without any difficulty Once you climb up the stairs , you will be greeted with this statue , and then similar statues of multiple animals It was so hot that we settled under the iota of shade available in the entire rock garden. Notice Mr.Chennai missing from the picture , he again went to explore every nook and corner of the Rock Garden. We waited till he came back and started off to our next destination Alampur. Alampur is one of the 18 shakthipeetas , it is the place where Krishna meets Tungabhadra , and is the place for deity Jogulamba. It is said that when Sati immolated herself , Lord Shiva carried her body across the universe. Vishnu not able to see Shiva's sorrow , cut the body of Sati with his Sudarshana Chakra. Those body parts fell back on earth. And it is said that alampur is where Sati's Upper Jaw/teeth fell. The road to Alampur was well paved , and Telangana tourism has provided drinking water and other amenities to pilgrims. Mr.Daddy who was here some years back was surprised to see the roads and amenities provided. The temple has Medieval architecture , and even if you are not a religious person , but interested in history , you should visit this place. There is a Museum for History buffs. We left Alampur at 3:00 P.M and reached Food Pyramid at 4:30 P.M , had some tea , snacks , and started back to Hyderabad. We reached Hyderabad at 7:30 P.M , went to DLF to have chai. And after chai , everyone went their own separate ways . May be all 5 us will together be on a trip in 2019 next. Signing Off Mr.Driver P.S : This is my first post , please provide feedback , on Pics , mistakes , Spelling , writing style , any thing which you felt is out of place.
  5. Right from childhood, I always had this inner desire to stay alone for a certain period of time, do my chores, live my life all by myself, without my mother helping me nor my dad telling me what to do. I wanted to lead an independent life. This was because I never left home for any part of my life. So I took up this oath for myself that I would travel solo for at least 1 week of the 52 weeks in a year. This year,2017, was no different. It was 4 day trip within the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad- Srisailam-Nalla malla forest- Nalla malla jungle camps- Gandikota- Hyderabad The numbers : Car : Hyundai elite i20 Mileage : 16.5kmpl (tank full to tank full) Total trip : 935kms It was not a pre- planned trip. Just as when things at home were at peace, a little effort to persuade mom paid off, a quick search in the India-drive paved the way for this trip. A Teaser ! Day 1 Drive day is the only day I would wake up so early in the morning (read 4 am) without even alarm setting off. Started at 5 am, and the plan was to reach Srisailam Dam before crowd sets in and explore the route from Srisailam temple to Nalla Malla Jungle resorts Gachibowli ORR - Dindi Reservoir- Srisailam Smooth roads and early morning fog made the drive refreshing! Reached Dam by 8:30am, crowd was sparse Clicking ample pictures, chugged along at a leisurely pace Moving along reached the top of Srisailam. I wanted to savour the moment, found a calm place over looking the dam. Spent a moment in tranquility and drove on. I am a self proclaimed atheist, so skipped visiting the temple and drove down the hill towards Dornala. With smooth tarmac and winding Ghats, the roads up until Dornala Junction were smooth as silk The drive got rugged and bumpy after taking a right at Dormala Junction, leading towards Bairutly on the Vijayawada- atmakur Highway.The road passes through thick and dense Nalla Malla Forest.It is a single lane, potholed road with heavy truck traffic, often veering off the road to allow truck to pass by. As irritating as it can get, and as bumpy as it could be, the silence in the forest and green cover has more than made up for the effort put in driving through this route. Stopped by a thick canopy of heavily grown bamboo trees/plants on either side of the road, turned off the engine, windows rolled down and a breath of fresh air brushes your hair. Blisss!! Savour the moment!The canopy was so dense, even sunlight couldn’t peek through, hence no photographs! Reached Nalla Malla Jungle Camps by 2:30pm. The manager was kind enough to arrange for some home made meals for my lunch. The resort had 4 double occupancy cottages and 3 tent like looking rooms and one dormitory. This was my allocated cottage! The rest of the day was spent in leisure, talking to the staff about the safari the next day and their lively hood in such dense forest. Day 2 It was quite a while since I had such peaceful sleep. Owing to such calm, non-polluted area and beautifully maintained rooms sound sleep was inevitable. Since it was holiday and festival of Diwali, the resort had no guests. I was the only moron I guess who wanted to elude the city pollution. So I had the whole day to myself and I was up and ready by 6am for the safari. A quick breakfast and off we went The safari vehicle The crew consisted of a driver (working as a driver for forest officers for the past 6 years) and local ‘gudem’ guy, Saidulu, who entered the safari vehicle with an axe. Safety I would think! It was a 8km circuit through the jungle I was told and would take about 2 hours for the safari When I asked the driver, what would be the odds of finding the Big Cat, he replied recklessly “very very very slim” Just then, he slammed the brakes of the shoddy safari vehicle and spoke to Saidulu He got down with the axe and did this .. Meanwhile,continuing my chat with the driver and looking around to spot the tiger, he asked me to get down the vehicle and walk with him. Apparently he found something odd at a distance. Walking along.. “Its a female” the driver reckoned! How? I spurted out! Looking at the edge of those pug marks, the rounded edges denote female. Male would have claws which would have dug deep into the mud, he explained! We decided to leave the vehicle behind and start walking. In excitement left my Camera in the vehicle (Facepalm Moment!) As we walked along, we found more pug marks and we were sure to find a few a small distance ahead. We walked for almost an hour, in search of the Wild cat but to no avail. We came across one of the bunkers/ rest areas for men who patrol the forests. There is one such bunker for every 40sqkm and they have 8 men guarding the area round the clock from poachers! Sadly though there have been reported cases of deaths caused by Tiger attacks on these men. This is the path taken by people who visit the Holy shrine of Srisailam during Maha Shiva ratri.This path transverses through the thick jungle, amassing a distance of 80kms. Enroute they have 3 pitstops, each at a temple which provides free food.They would cover the distance in about 11hrs flat. We were already Walking along the thick forests for almost 3hrs now and I was almost drained. Spotted a few deers here and there We sat down at a small pond under the shade of a tree. I asked Saidulu more about his life and what do they do to survive. He very simple replied “ government free rice isthadi, avi udakapedithe ganji osthadi, ullipaya & mirapakaya ikkada pandistham, aviti tho tinestham.dabbulu sampadinchali ani em undadu saaru ikkada” (Translation: Govt gives free supplies of rice, we cook and extract porridge. We grow onions and chilli, we eat rice along with it. We don’t think about earning money) He was very vivid in whatever he told us, what problem they often encounter, how his childhood was. After a while he was kind enough to invite me to his ‘Gudem’ It was an hour walk through the forest again. My eyes never stopped trying to spot a tiger though. There were about 35 people living in the ‘gudem’. They seemed content with what all they had, the kids were smiling and the ladies had their own avagatxion of either raising kids or singing their daily chores away. Lunch, was their staple food. A bowl of rice porridge, onion and chilli as accompaniment! (Left my camera in the vehicle & phone battery drained out. Hence no pictures)- Sorryyy After spending time with the local ppl , we started our long walk back to the resort. While we were walking back i was fortunate enough to spot a few cubs playing at a distance. No means to capture, it was just see and enjoy. After a long day, dozed off early as I had made plans to visit Gandikota the next day. Day 3: Plan was to reach Gandikota as soon as possible and relax during sunset time at the view point. After breakfast, spoke to the manager there and bit adieu to the staff. Bairutly- Atmakur-Jammalamadugu- Gandikota It was a 3.5hrs drive with roads varying from single late to beautiful 4 lanes. Reached Gandikota by 2pm. Explored the surrounding area of Kottalapalli, famour for windmills The service road leading to the Windmills It was too hot and humid, and I drove back to the resort to rest till evening. Made it to the view point by sunset time, and it was heavily crowded. Had an early dinner and dozed off. The beds and rooms were ill maintained at Haritha resort. I could barely sleep. Day 4: Woke up early, had little breakfast at the resort and started my drive back to Hyderabad by 8 am Gandikota-Kolimigundla-Belum Caves-Owk-Betamcherla-Orvakal-Kurnool-Hyderabad All the rounds were either 2lane or 4 lanes opening upto beautiful lush green fields on either side of the roads. Stopped by Owk Resevoir, which was full owing to bountyful rains they received this year Had lunch at food pyramid at Kothakota. Reached hyderabad by 1:30pm The car was battered to the maximum extent with dust and mud and it was cleaning time in the evening. It got all the pampering it deserved All in readiness for the next drive!!! Until then, Drive safe!!! P.S : After I forgot to carry my camera during the safari, I have decided to make this " All Mobile camera pictures only" trip. Sorry for the shady images if any
  6. Hi team, Last week my friends have been here and camped at this view of the Gandikota gorge.. Sharing the pictures here ?
  7. This was in August 2014 after a very boring and hardworking week which meant we had to get away on a drive to chill out. So after browsing for places nearest to Hyderabad, we narrowed down on Gandikota, popularly known as the Grand Canyon of India. Gandikota is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and got its fame due to the gorge formation caused by the river Penna. Planning: When: August. 1 Drive: Ford Fiesta Fuel Type: Petrol Route: Hyderabad - Kurnool - Gandikota Distance: ~400 kms Local Tour Distance: ~100 kms Time: 9 p.m. (August 1st) - 1 a.m. (August 2nd) {4 hours including breaks} Mileage: Avg. 16 kmpl (with AC) Places: Orvakal (Natural rock formations) Belum Caves Gandikota - The Grand Canyon of India Route: Hyderabad ---> Kurnool ---> Orvakal ---> Belum Caves ---> Gandikota ---> Gooty ---> Hyderabad. Execution: Our initial plan was to start in the wee hours of Saturday and reach Gandikota by evening but changed our plan and left on Friday night. The journey began at 9:00 p.m. from Manikonda and got onto the brilliant ORR and Bangalore highway. After a seamless drive till Jadcherla, stopped for dinner at our favorite restaurant called 'Drive-In' which is on the highway after crossing the toll at Jadcherla. After a sumptuous dinner, we continued our journey and reached Kurnool town at around 12:30 a.m. Not having made any prior reservations, we went in search for a hotel to crash for the night. Based on suggestions in Google, we zeroed in on DVR Mansion near SBI circle. It was a pretty decent deluxe AC room. With lot of driving to be done the next day, we dozed off and got up fresh at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. After some nice complimentary breakfast and coffee, we checked out and started our journey to Orvakal Rock Garden, our first destination of the day. Orvakal is a place situated about 30 kms from Kurnool on NH-18 which is the Kurnool-Ongole route. It is famous for its natural igneous rock formations. Although the AP Tourism website claims to have boating and rock museum, we couldn't find either and there was construction work going on. After a slight drive up-hill, we had a decent view from the top with the rocks in the background. We started to get some clicks with our new Nikon D3200. Next on the list was Belum Caves. Glimpses of the rock garden Beautiful natural igneous rock formations Our drive up the picturesque landscape And our principal photography began Orvakal rock gardens is a mix of sandstone & limestone all over We got involved in some 'Rock Climbing' activities We stopped at a longer crack, probably about 20-25 ft high Belum caves, supposedly the longest caves in India after Borra, is about 80 kms from Orvakal. The route is decent not the 4-lane highway so took us about 2hrs to reach the place with breaks. There was an entry fee of about Rs. 50 and we went exploring deep inside the caves. People with breathing problems have to be careful as the caves are quite deep with not many air vents. After taking several pictures of the beautiful caves, we were completely exhausted by the time we finished our exploration. Few pictures of our journey down to the Belum Caves Entrance to the caves, Tunnels inside the caves and broken stalactites. And our underground rocks tour begun The second largest cave and one of the longest caves of the Indian Subcontinent Sculpted by nature, Belum caves have spacious chambers, passages, all creations of the water flow Main Sections of the Belum Caves A stone pillar inside the Belum Caves Carves formed by the flow of underground water One of the small caverns The lighted up narrow pathway Caves photo-walk Muted lighting adds to the mystery and beauty of these caves
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