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KSK

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KSK last won the day on April 27

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  1. @Shekar What a wonderful road trip, and what a beautiful birthday gift one can give to self. That cake cutting in rain (though a bit risky) was icing on cake. Appreciate for the idea and also to your travel enthusiasm. Thanks for sharing.
  2. KSK

    Hyderabad ORR meetup

    Updated Confirmed list 1. Ranger (Civic) 2. Pralay (Grand i10) 3. Sridhar Tandra (Tiago) 4. SaiKishor (ev2) 5. Naveen Gummadi 6. Saurabh mishra (XUV 300) 7. Shiva (compass) - tentative 8. Amit (Baleno) - tentative 9. Allwyn (Octavia) 10.LoneRanger (FordFigo) - Tentative. 11.Anand Singh (EcoSports) - tentative 12. Sathish (Baleno)
  3. Thank you @driveking I think post monsoon would be good time. Thank you @sagar
  4. Pakhal Lake: Pakhal Lake is a man-made lake in the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary in Warangal. The place gets more interesting as this amazing plateau region is surrounded by a mesmerizing range of low hills. The wildlife park’s natural scenic beauty and its breathtaking landscape are extremely captivating. A visit to this promising spot would never disappoint you. Initially, this was the only place I wanted to visit to capture its surrounding scenic beauty with my newly bought Canon M50 camera. To my utter shock and surprise, the ticket cost for photography was 500 and for videography 2000, but one can shoot and record using mobile phones. So I dropped the plan of carrying my camera. We enjoyed a 10-minute speed boat ride, experienced mesmerizing evening at the lake, took some snaps and refreshed our thirsty throats with soft drinks at Haritha canteen. As you walk into the sanctuary, trees act as a curtain-raiser for the beautiful lake: This man-made lake is enveloped by the scenic forested hills: The lake offers breathtaking picturesque site: It attracts many nature enthusiasts: Boating and speed boating services available: We took a speed boat ride: Though the blue waters of the lake does not have lush green surroundings to compliment, the charming ambiance around the lake provided picturesque settings to explore, even in summers. Evening boating experience was icing on the cake and provided much needed rejuvenation to a long trip. On that note, we bid adieu to the place. My mobile phone came out one last to capture the sunset, indicating it's time to go home.
  5. Laknavaram Lake: This lake is around 70 km from Warangal and 30 km from Ramappa temple. It is one of the must-visit places among many tourists. The lake was formed by closing down three narrow valleys, and it is surrounded by thick deciduous forest. An added attraction to this mystic beauty is the suspension bridge, which connects many small islands. Watching huge spread of serene water from this suspension bridge is the main reason why tourists prefer to visit it in rainy and winter seasons. Keeping in view the growing number of the tourists, the Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC) constructed a new suspension bridge. The length of the new bridge is 210 metres and the width is 1.5 metres. The carrying capacity of the bridge is 1,000 people. It was constructed with the rust-proof galvanized sheets. The new bridge connects the main land near parking area to an island. The existing bridge (old one) is with length of 160 metres. Initially, I did not include this place to the list, but wanted to check what kind of perspective and viewpoint it will bring in summer. The lake was dried up for the most part; but the good thing is, vehicles are allowed to drive down to the lake shore, which otherwise is not possible in peak season. So that's another experience in itself. After reaching here, we had our lunch in Haritha restaurant. Only veg meals were served. One can also book accommodation in Haritha lake view resorts or cottages in islands for overnight stay, also camping facility too available. We've spent almost an hour exploring the place by walking on the suspension bride, driving to the shore and enjoying in the lake. Then continued our journey towards the last place of the tour, Pakhal lake. No shade for parked vehicles: Information can be procured from reception: Way to Haritha lake view resort (restaurant can be seen on the left): Old suspension bridge: Old bridge connecting to the new one can be seen in the background: New suspension bridge: From the other side: End or rather start of the new bridge, where limited parking place available: Beautiful view of the new bridge: And here is the old one: Intersection of two bridges; dry lake will be full in monsoon and winter (pic taken while coming back from lake shore): Very less water, no wonder very little crowd: Look farther for small islands which are used for camping: No one believed when I told I've taken my car to Laknavaram lake shore (yeah! not possible unless it is summer): My Baleno almost stuck in the mud:
  6. Ramappa Temple: The Ramalingeswara temple, which is popularly known as the Ramappa temple, is one such amazing pieces of art that stands as a testimony of the royal Kakatiyas. The temple got its name Ramappa because of its chief sculptor Ramappa. It's probably the only temple in the country to be known by the name of its sculptor. The beautiful Ramappa Temple depicts the grandeur of those times through its exquisite architecture. Though some structures of the temple have been ruined due to natural calamities and lack of maintenance, majority of the structure remains intact. It now comes under Jayashankar Bhupalpally district (one of five districts Warangal was divided into by Telangana government). Ramappa temple is approximately 64 km from Thousand pillars temple, and by 12 noon we reached here. There is no dedicated parking place and no shade whatsoever. We went a few meters ahead and found an open place and parked our car under a tree. The sun was blazing down and we could feel the heat. We wore full face mask so that nose and ears are covered, and took out the umbrella to protect ourselves from direct sunlight. Need to walk quite a distance to reach the temple. Literally and truly, one cannot stop admiring the temple's architectural brilliance and the panoramic view of true scenic beauty, both inside and outside. Another striking feature of this temple is that it is built with bricks that are so light that they can easily float on water. I've read that these floating bricks were used to make it earthquake proof. We savored leisurely the architectural splendor for almost an hour. Cameras are allowed inside the temple and we did capture some snaps. After coming out, we hydrated ourselves with 'Nimbu paani', bought a chilled water bottle and started our journey towards Laknavaram lake. Lush green path dotted with trees to reach the temple: The main structure is called Rudrasheswara temple, named after King Rudra Deva: Temple shows historical richness and architectural excellence: Massive pillars leading way to Garbagriha and Maha Mandapa: Ceiling of Maha Mandapa: Maha Mandapa is supported by four enormous pillars carved with elaborate detailing: Intricately sculpted pillars: Jaw-dropping carvings: Depictions of dancing figurines: View from Sabha Mandapa or outer porch: Temple has three entrances, one of which leads to roofless Nandi mandapam: Nandi Mandapam: Majestic view from Nandi mandapam: Backside view: Architectural brilliance everywhere: A mini tower: Sub shrine adjacent to main structure: Ruined sculptures, both outside and inside: Once a royal garden, now reduced to a lawn with a path paved by trees:
  7. Thousand Pillars Temple: The Thousand Pillar Temple is a historic temple located in Hanamakonda. It was constructed in the 1163 AD by King Rudra Deva. Thousand Pillar Temple is one of the finest specimens of Chalukyan style of architecture and sculpture. The temple has three shrines, which are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. This amazing temple is supported by the pillars that are richly carved. It has a star-shaped architecture, which stands as a testimony to the expertise of the wonderful craftsmen of the glorious period. As in the case of any Shiva temple, there is a huge Nandi situated at the entrance of the Shiva shrine. The colossal structure of Nandi is carved out of a single piece of black basalt stone. It is said that there were 1000 pillars in the structures, but no pillar obstructs a person in any point of the temple to see the God in the other temple manifests the quality of workmanship that existed during those days, when technology was not even born. Restoration work is still on the Kalyana mandapam, so visitors were not allowed inside. Photography was not allowed inside the main temple.
  8. Bhadrakali Temple: It is one of the oldest temples that is dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali. Located atop a hill, between the city of Warangal and Hanamkonda, by the side of Bhadrakali Lake, it is an ancient temple which was originally built during the Chalukyan reign in 625 AD. Kakatiya kings later have adopted the temple and considered Goddess Bhadrakali as their "Kula Devatha". We started off our journey by 5:15 am from Habsiguda and reached Bhadrakali temple around 7:30 am. The temple is big, spacious and neat. Before worshippers could arrive in large numbers (as it was Sri Rama Navami), we completed our darshan and spent some time bird watching at the lake. The temple opens at 5:30 am and early morning is the perfect time to do bird photography and shoot magnificent sunrise over the lake. Though we couldn't capture sunrise moments, watching the lake was a spectacle in itself. Entrance: Grandeur entry to this view: On the banks of Bhadrakali lake is this famous Bhadrakali temple: Natural rock formations are said to carry immense spiritual powers: Due to some kind of a procession on the fort road, we could only go up to the entrance and returned back without seeing the famous Warangal fort. Southern entrance on Ford road:
  9. Intro Rant: Summers are always tricky. Most people don't prefer to venture out on a trip in summer, for obvious reasons. So, when I bounced an idea off a trip to Warangal this summer, everyone went nuts. They even ridiculed that I'm not in my senses. But I did not want to drop the idea just because someone feels it to be stupid. I needed a break from my monotonous work life, so I was adamant. I know my wife also wouldn't agree; even if she does, she doesn't come considering the weather, but I have to do the customary - inform. My son's response, quick as a wink, was "Let's do it". Wonderful kid. It took some collective effort by me and my son to get the go-ahead from the home minister. Phew! Plan and Preparation: Being a Kakatiya University graduate myself, I regret not exploring enough of Warangal (capital of Kakatiya Dynasty) for long, which is known for its rich history and heritage. Though it is well within 150 km distance from my hometown and also from Hyderabad, I did not specifically travel to see some of its historical places. So, it's that time again - One-day trip! There was this understanding with my wife and me that any impromptu trip needs to be done and dusted same day. If it's feasible and possible then she and our daughter would also join. Otherwise, my only soul companion is my son on any given day. He can only match and endure my crazy schedule. But being peak summer, my wife was skeptical and worried about excessively hot weather. Only after explaining and reassuring about all necessary precautions taken, we were given the nod. I feel there is nothing like "perfect" time to travel. There is only convenient time. The more the amount of convenience the better. That's it. Peak season travel can bring expensive price tags, overcrowded tours, accommodation, parking and food problems etc. So sometimes off-season travelling could bring in some benefits. One such benefit is leisurely exploring the place in its entirety without hassle. In the end, it proved to be a wise decision as we could spend some quality time exploring the places (especially Laknavaram which is crowded during peak season). Once the date (April 15th) was decided, it was only up to us on how many places we can cover in a day. We finalized 6 places. I've gone through Google maps for route and order of visit. The Route: Hyderabad -> Bhuvanagiri -> Yadadri -> Kazipet -> Warangal. This is the only route everyone takes from Hyderabad, but little did we know what was in store for us. The four-lane road is under construction from Yadadri (Yadagirigutta) to Warangal, and it is a 99-km section of National Highway–163 in Telangana. Lots of patches, diversions and traffic was allowed only on one side. It was a nightmare to drive with heavy oncoming truck traffic especially at night. It took nearly 4 hours to cover 145 odd KMs for return journey, excluding dinner time. The Journey: Below was the order of places we wanted to visit: Bhadrakali Temple Warangal Fort Thousand-Pillar Temple Ramappa Temple Laknavaram Lake Pakhal Lake Trip Details: Total distance covered: 539 KM Total duration of the trip: 17 hours Road Conditions: NH163 - Yadadri to Warangal: Quite a few diversions, patchy roads, potholes, and heavy truck traffic (at night). Other connecting roads are good to okay. If travelling to Pakhal lake from Laknavaram then do not blindly follow Google maps. It'll take you through some thandas. We drove almost 6 KM through a thanda and got lost. Just take left at Mallampalli and follow NH365 until Narsampet (Ambedkar statue), and then take left and follow Pakhal road till the lake. Food Options: Limited food options everywhere we visited except Warangal. At Laknavaram, food options available like lunch, but depends on the crowd. Better to carry home-made food to other places. Parking Facility: Limited or no proper parking facilities at all places I visited. It'll be chaos at Laknavaram in peak season unless there is an alternative.
  10. Thank you @Ranger and @sagar. Apart from personal trips, there are no group drives planned for the next 4 months, but you never know ☺️ Thank you @mit1682. Glad to know that.☺️
  11. Thank you @sagar We've carried our own BBQ equipment. Some randomly taken pics of hotel rooms:
  12. "It's not just where you travel, it's who you travel with that makes the experience special." And this quote is absolutely apt for the team Baleno (BOCH). Enthusiastic members, lovely people, beautiful souls and most importantly good human beings. It's a bliss to accompany them anytime for any trip - short or long. Trip Planning: Coming to the trip, after our Koilsagar night camping in January 2019, we (core team) wanted to go to any beach and spend some quality time for relaxation and refreshment. As soon as the idea popped up, almost all were ready and planning started. Considering several factors, we fixed our dates on March 9th and 10th. And two beaches came into consideration - Ramapuram and Suryalanka. We zeroed in on Ramapuram beach in Chirala rather than Surylanka beach as it is less crowded and later it proved to be a wise decision. Meanwhile, as the date fast approaching, a few core team members indicated why not to make this a BOCH meetup rather than just a core-team meet and wanted me to inform other members also. After informing, there was a very good response and as many as 15 members enrolled for the same, hence it became our 8th meetup. But as with any trip, as the date approached, 4 members dropped and eventually 11 members made it to the trip. Including family members and friends, the total member count was 28. Hotel Booking: Initially, some members did not want to shell out money for accommodation just for one night stay, but later as many were coming with families and small kids, they wanted accommodation in resorts near the beach. By the time we contacted Sea Breeze Resorts, it was too late and no rooms were available. The only other option wass Palm Coast Beach Resorts. I contacted them on February 17th and the price quoted was Rs.3000/- for double occupancy and Rs.5000/- for 4-member suite including free breakfast the next day. After bargaining, they agreed to remove GST and we booked beach side 5 DO rooms and 2 suites on Feb 18th. After hotel booking, some members were worried about bad reviews about the resort. I again contacted them mentioning the same and the person (John) whom I spoke with re-iterated that they will make sure to take all necessary steps to maintain clean rooms and other services, so we'll have a great time at their resorts. And indeed, the rooms and suites were clean and neat, and food served was delicious. Contact Persons of Palm Coast Beach Resorts: John - 8885439102 Pavan - 8341118904 For food service - 6371818313 Check-in and Check-out timings: 9 am to 9 am. Itinerary: 1) On March 9th, all members should reach the convergence-point RFC by 5 am. 2) Breakfast at Vividhi Restaurant and Lodge, Madgulpally, Nalgonda. 3) Reach Palm Coast Beach Resorts around 12 to 12:30 pm. 4) Settling in rooms followed by lunch. 5) From 5 pm to 8 pm, beach time. 6) At 9 pm, Barbeque and moonlight dinner. 7) Sunrise capture at beach, followed by breakfast and return journey back to Hyderabad. Routes: 1) Hyderabad-NAM expressway-Chirala (305 km) - We took this route from Hyd. Avoid this. Till Narsaraopet it was easy breeze, but after that had to pass through villages, narrow roads and traffic. 2) Hyderabad-Vijayawada-Chirala (370 km) - Best route. Taken this route for return journey. Overall Experience: The meet-up drive to Chirala beach went as planned and as expected without any problems or niggles. It was super fun and joyous trip with so many memorable moments. Members with families and friends enjoyed to the core at the beach. Only hunger and exhaustness retreated us to the hotel. After a short break, the fun continued with barbeque, conversations, dinner and drinks till midnight and after. Palm Coast Beach Resort is very near to the beach and a liquor shop available just a few meters of distance to it. So we bought drinks there, and put them in an ice box. We also bought 5 kgs of chicken and other stuff from Chirala town for BBQ. I don't know about Sea Breeze Resort but Palm Coast Resort is very convenient and had no restrictions for bringing outside food and drinks. They are very generous even for excess members in a room. They helped us a lot in setting up BBQ at an open area in front of the resort by providing tables, chairs and of course bringing food to that place, so we don't have to worry about anything. Also, we checked out of the hotel by 11 am as opposed to 9 am. The only major drawback (of course it was intimated to us) was salt water in bathrooms. So a few members carried 20-liter water bubbles for bathing (especially kids) and to wash hair. Some missed chances include we could not get a drone for rent to shoot our fun activities at beach. And due to travel, excess amount of time spent at the beach and late night drinks, we could not woke up to shoot sunrise pics and timelapse. Otherwise, it was a totally fun-filled trip. Here are some pictures (sorry for some poor quality pics): 1st meeting point at RFC: Stopped for breakfast at hotel Vividhi: Like father like son, Amit's son ever active Aarav: Cutie pie Aadhya: Palm Coast Beach Resorts (noting like resort look and feel): A view from beach-side room: Some boats at beach added flavor to the shore: Waves were moderate: Enough scenic surroundings for photography enthusiasts: BOCH members: Final group pic (two families missed here): Line up before return journey: In between Ramapuram and Vodarevu beaches, found this nice place: At Vodarevu beach: Last stop, Rajugaari Thota @Suryapet before members dispersed:
  13. @Pralay That must be some intriguing experience. Thanks a lot for sharing.
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