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  1. Before the trip: It was wifey's birthday weekend, and she wanted to have a trip. And for a safe & happy marriage, you need to listen to your wife. I being the wise guy did the same. after looking at multiple options like Somasila, Laknavaram, we decided on Nagarjuna Sagar for our trip. i made the necessary plans and booked an A/C deluxe room TSTDC Vijay Vihar from here. It is strange to find that the cost of the same room with same facilities increases by 1100/- for weekends. It costed us approx 3300/- for our weekend trip. Day 1 (Saturday): I wanted to start early, but wifey had another plans all to herself. She was busy making food for our trip. (Which turned out to be a good decision). At-last we started at 9:25 A.M , reached ORR-Nagarjuna sagar junction at 10:40. After crossing Ibrahimpatnam and Mall, wanted to have something to eat, but there were no proper restaurants anywhere. Thats when the sandwiches made by wifey in the morning turned out to be useful. We had our brunch and reached Vijay Vihar @12:40. Main Block - Vijay Vihar resort. Vijay vihar is a properly maintained resort on the banks of river Krishna , over looking the back waters of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. Split into three blocks, the Vijay Vihar - Main block , housing reception, rooms , suites and the Restaurant & Bar, Sangamam houses the Swimming pool , and Sarovar is an extension wing housing the rooms. It has okish maintained lawns and children play area, lots of space for parking the cars and the entry to the launch pad of the Telangana boats to Nagarjuna konda. For checking into the rooms , you would need the soft copy of the reservation confirmation and your ID. So, after parking the car , i went to the reception, took out my phone and showed the confirmation and my ID, then i get to hear the shocking news. The receptionist asked me if i am planning to check out before mid night, then i realized that Instead of booking from 1:00 P.M to 12:00 P.M , i booked from 1:00 A.M to 12:00 A.M. Since this is a centralized booking system, he said he is helpless, but asked me to drop a mail to support center , and assured me that they would change the booking time if there are free rooms available the next day. As per his suggestion , i dropped a mail and checked in. Our room was allocated in Sarovar Block. Sarovar Block , as seen from Vijay vihar entrance The room was big spacious , over looking the back waters of the dam , with separate dressing and attached bathroom. the view for the room is breath taking. They have just provided two small soaps and bath towels. The shower is partially blocked and the water falls all around, A fridge is available in the room, but nothing in it. They have given two cups, with two instant coffee , two tea dips and two milk powder packets, but strangely drinking water and kettle is missing to make either tea or coffee. Overall i would rate the room a 2.75/5 and weekend fare of 3300/- for that room is excessive. The regular fare of 2100/- for the room is OK. View from the Balcony of the room After checking into the room, took some rest and decided to visit Ethipothala water falls and Anupu on the Andhra side of the Nagarjuna Sagar. The Krishna river and Nagarjuna Sagar is the demarcated border between the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The left bank is Telangana and the right bank is Andhra pradesh, and connecting the two is a bridge over river kirshna down stream from the dam. We drove to the bridge , and stopped there to appriciate the man made marvel - The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. The dam took 12 years to construct , it started in 1955 and was inaugurated in 1967. And it was possible largely due to efforts of one man, Muktyala Raja. Who spent his personal fortune and donated thousands of acres for the dam to become possible. There are vendors selling Lime soda, Fresh orange juice ,coal fried corn and boiled ground nuts, on the bridge , we ate some , and drank the lime soda while appreciating the dam. The Nagarjuna sagar Dam. ( Observe the old bridge , which was destroyed due to flood) After the dam , we moved on to cross the border. There is a police check post, who checks , if you are carrying any liquor and then you have to pay an entry of 50/- to go through the forest. Then you have to proceed towards the falls. some 2 kilometers before the falls there is an other gate , and he charged Rs.30/- for parking, and gave no receipt. At the end of the road , you will find a park with Haritha Ettipotala resort. The parking is outside the resort , on the road, nor anyone to guide. Cannot understand the concept of parking charge. At the parking , you will find street vendors with makeshift stalls selling cool drinking water , lime soda, hats, key chains & other souvenirs. The entry to the Haritha resort to watch the falls is Rs.30/- per head. and right next to the entry to the resort , you will find an arch for the walk way to dattatreya temple. Name plate right next to the entry arch of the water falls. Entry arch the Haritha resort. As soon as you enter the resort , you will find the park of the resort , with Walkway leading up to the View point. You take hardly 50-60 steps to reach the same. And you get to see the beautiful main falls. Pathway to the view point. Multi tier main falls. The water falls down from one side of the gorge , where as the view point is right opposite on the other side of the gorge. The waterfall is a confluence of three streams - Chandravanka, Suryavanka & Ettipotala. I have heard that the falls were illuminated after sunset in the past , but don't know the condition of the illumination now. There are wooden benches right opposite to the falls, where you can sit and enjoy the beauty. If you take a left at the view point and walk till the end you will reach another view point , which gives a better view to the whole falls. People are not allowed into the water , as they are breeding grounds for crocodiles. The water will go and join river Krishna. Spent some 30 minutes here. View of the falls from the second view point. ( Imagine the falls in full flow during monsoon, It may look like mini Niagara) Towards the other end of the walk way , you will find another view point, from where you will get a glimpse of the gorge and the dattatreya temple in it. Walkway/pathway, Wooden benches to enjoy the beauty of the falls. The disappointing thing about the view point is the maintenance, on Saturday afternoon, there are close to 10-15 cars , and even after collecting 30/- per head , the view point park is not clean. You will find litter here and there. You will also find burnt garbage at one corner. There is no drinking water provision for tourists. there is a restaurant in the premises , but its closed when we went there. Ettipotala View point park. At the end of the park , you will find rooms of Haritha resort, maintained by APTDC. Restaurant, you can notice the litter thrown right next to the walkways. We came out , and decided against going to Dattatreya temple ,in order to reach Anupu. Anupu complex will close down by 6:00 in the evening. Arch to the walkway of the temple. It would take a couple of hours to visit the temple and comeback. We started back to Anupu. The back waters of Nagarjuna sagar submerged the valey of Nagarjuna konda , where you will find the original Acharya Nagarjuna University. Me, being the student of the new ANU, decided to see the original. Anupu is the site where the University complex, the Amphitheater and other historical sites are reconstructed. Anupu is 20 kms from Ettipotala falls , and the road goes through some authentic rural areas. Reached Anupu by 5:00 P.M. Entry to Anupu Anupu has some really beautiful big grass lawns with some big trees in between. If people are not interested in History , they can come down here for the photo shoots. or Insta reels. The number of tourists here is also very less.The university and the Amphitheater is close to 1000 years old. And accommodated close to 10000 students. Some of the pics of the ruins below. Started at Anupu , and drive till the end of the road just to explore, and found myself at the banks of the Krishna river back waters. I found some kids bathing in Krishna waters and enjoying themselves. Banks of Krishna backwater. My companion from the last 12 years, Ford Figo, is parked in the place which will be submerged if waters are full. Full level is visible on the farther hill. After the trip to Anupu , came back to the resort , on the way bought some nachos and 500ml Thumps Up , spent the rest of the evening sitting in the balcony enjoying the views nibbling Nachos and drinking Thumps Up. And then checked my phone, the TSTDC support staff has responded to my request and extended the stay till next day morning. So this means i wont be kicked out of the room at mid night. Went to bed peacefully. Telangana Boating Launch pad is visible from here. Day 2 : Woke up at 7:30 in the morning. It was very cloudy. We planned to go for boating to Nagarjuna Konda, an island in the middle of the backwaters. The TSTDC operates boats at 9:30 A.M and at 1:30 P.M. Got ready by 8:30 A.M , proceeded to check out , packed out bags and put our things in our car , and then went to the restaurant to have breakfast before boarding the boat. The restaurant was small, and could be better. It is full of people who are planning to catch the boat at 9:30. There arent many items on offer. They had , Idly , Plain/Masala/onion dosa, and poori. We ordered a plain dosa and idly. The food was good, but it doesn't feel like a restaurant in a resort. Its more like a small road side hotel. The boating ticket is given near the resort itself. To & fro ticket for boating costs 150/- per head and the museum ticket is 30/- per head. You can drive down the ramp till the launch pad. And from there you have to walk till the water level. The boat started at 10:35 A.M and took an hour to reach Nagarjuna Konda. People Tying the boat , before the the boarding of the passengers. During the boat journey , i sat on the upper floor of the boat. And after 10-15 minutes moved to the lower deck , and towards the front of the boat , And stood at the farther most point on the boat. It is a beautiful experience. Stayed there for couple of minutes, and as soon as people saw me , some of them came there , and tried the Titanic pose. After an 50 Minutes on boat , we arrived at Nagarjuna konda. There are stairs leading to the top of the island, and to the museum. While de-boarding the boat , they will inform you that you have to be back in an hour. for us they wanted us to be back by 12:30. Nagarjunakonda island After climbing up the stairs in the above picture, you will be able to reach the top of the island. Its mostly plain from there. And end up here in the below picture. There under the tree, two security guards were inspecting our tickets . Right after crossing the tree in the above picture , you will find a map of the island. The island has drinking water , neat and clean washrooms and a canteen. By the time we came out of the museum, it was already 12:15 and we have 15 more minutes. Some of the tourists , who are not interested in history, moved to explore the rest of the island. We came back to our boat by 12:25 , till then another boat from APTDC , from the right bank also joined our boat,and some merchants bought packets for Little hearts, lays, cool drinks, and drinking water. All the tourists , came back and bought some snacks for return journey. Our boat started the journey back by 12:35, and we were back at the launch pad by 1:30. Tourists for the 1:30 trip are beginning to arrive at the launch pad, by the time we arrived. Snap of Vijay Vihar , and launch pad , from where our boat started during return journey. We came back to Vijay Vihar Restaurant , had our lunch, (Only Meals can be served quickly, hence we ordered meals, also from our previous experience we didnt expect much). After lunch we proceeded to Budhavanam complex. Before going in , we have to give in our details at the entry. Budhavanam complex is a massive Buddhist monastery/Pilgrimage( I dont know exactly what it is) site , newly constructed its a massive complex , sprawling acres. It has Stupa Vanam , a garden full of stupas, Charitha vanam , a garden full of idols depicting the life of budha. Damma Nagarjuna camplex, to teach Vippasana meditation, and they have future plans of expansion. I decided to just visit Budhavanam , the main stupa like structure , due to time constraints. The ground floor contains a museum , and a statue of Acharya Nagarjuna. First time seeing the man, whose name is on my Bachelors degree. The museum has a better presentation than the one on Nagarjunakonda. But the on Nagarjuna konda have more artifacts. It will take 10 minutes to complete this museum tour. The first floor has a meditation hall. It was so beautiful and silent. I sat there , looking at the beautifully decorated structure for some time. The center of the meditation hall has a big throne , and the there are four doors to go inside. The four buddha's on the throne , face each of the doors. Then there are smaller buddha's sitting in between the larger statues facing the diagonal directions , in between the doors. The statues , the throne is covered in golden paint , and it is highlighted by yellow lighting. The ceiling of the hall , above the statues is painted a cloud filled sky. The throne , the statues and the yellow lightning. Ceiling Meditation hall with neatly arranged Sofa's and cushions Outside the first level, there are a series of intricately carved stones. even the entry door into the mediation hall is carved beautifully. After Budhavanam, we started back to Hyderabad. The roads were absolute bliss. And being Sunday, there are no/Minimum vehicles on roads. Encountered traffic only after nearing Ibrahimpatnam. Came back to Home by 6:30
  2. Short monsoon drive to Gottam gotta As the climate outside is beautiful these days, we wanted to go to a peaceful and scenic destination by following all the safety measures. So, finalised Gottam gotta. As usual, our plan was to start early in the morning, but finally started by 10AM from our residence. Due to covid, we have prepared home made food and carried necessary items to have lunch somewhere in the nature. We have reached the place by 1PM, after few breaks at beautiful spots en-route. The most interesting part was to drive through the silent Chincholi wildlife sanctuary to reach the lake. There is a small village en-route, which is beautiful. At around 1PM, we hardly saw 5-7 people at the lake and after few minutes, we were the only one at the lake. Trek: The trek to the lake was normal (kids can do it as well). We spent sometime at the lake and returned back at 2:30PM or so. We have observed that crowd started gathering a little after 3PM but won't be more than 20-30 people.. Then we had our lunch under a tree near the chincholi wildlife sanctuary, collected the trash after our lunch and explored the place randomly. The views were really good and the place is definitely worth a visit. We started heading back home by 5:00PM and reached in 2 hours. Drive and Road condition Distance: ~240 kms. (to and fro). Road condition: Excellent until the NH65 ends, Good from then. You will see some rough patch once you enter chincholi wildlife sanctuary (doable for any car). Things to note: Carry everything you need and don't expect any stores nearby. It's completely remote place and group travel will be fun and secure during odd timings. By Aditay Ram More details: https://www.trifod.com/index.php?/topic/382-hyderabad-to-gottamgutta-road-trip/
  3. After lot many considerations, finally we decided to have a one day road trip to Bidar which was ~145 KM from Hyderabad towards Hyderabad - Mumbai highway. Places considered for weekend stay by road trip, - Vishakapatnam - Badrachalam - Maredumilli But since we where planning at the last moment, finding the accomodation with nominal cost was not happening. We started by 05:30 A.M. Route: Manikonda --> Khairatabad --> Kukatpally --> Patancheru --> Muthangi --> Sadashivpet --> Digwal (After this I was diverted to a patchy strip by google map) --> Bidar (Ring road). Since it was early morning, there was less traffic and so gone with the above route. But while returning, the route was: Bidar --> Digwal --> Sadashivpet --> Muthangi --> ORR --> Manikonda Reached home by 03:30 P.M. Some pictures below during the drive (this time took some pics of the drive and places we visited).
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