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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.
SK01 posted a topic in OthersHey all, Dussehra vacations are on the way and I started planning from today itself for my next wildlife trip. Woke up in the morning to see a mail about the vacations 😁 for me its going to be a long holiday from 13th October to 21st October. What could be more happier on a Monday morning than opening a mail about the long holidays... 😍 So coming to the point, I request people over here to give some information about the forests reserves in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, AP mostly as I will be spending most of my time in Vijayawada and Ramachandrapuram (EG Dist). Been to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve this year visited Nallamalla forests the previous year, and Maredumilli forests before Nallamalla (couldn't spend much time though). this time also I'm planning to visit some place and want to spend some time, at least a day or two in the forest. everyone please give the list of places which will also be useful for wildlife enthusiasts like me as there are very less posts on wildlife here.
Kohir hills : Hyderabad weekend getaway Location : Kohir hills Distance : 90 kilometers from Gachibowli Kohir hills Highlights: Windmills Zero crowd Calm and peaceful Ideal place for nature lovers GPS location tag : Google maps Mr. Vamshi has guided us to this beautiful place. A well spent weekend which involved a cars photo shoot in a cloudy and fresh village environment. Monsoons and winters would be the best time to visit. Villagers are friendly. Would suggest to go along with group as the area is remote.
Hello India-Drive members, This is a travelogue of my recent trip to Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve and my third travelogue in this Forum. Wanted to make it the best out of three so took some time. Before starting the story, i would like to thank my dear friends from the WhatsApp group who made this trip a memorable one with their tips and advice. Distance: 408KM Drive Time: 8HRS including 1 breakfast break for a hour. Mileage: 13KMPL Vehicle: Honda City VX Manual Fuel: Petrol Speed: Cruised at 100KMPH and 140KMPH Route Taken: HYDERABAD-KURNOOL-NANDYALA-ATMAKUR-BAIRLOOTY DAY 1. 22 SEP 2017 Started at Kompally at 6:00 AM and reached M food court Mahbobnagar at 7:30 AM. The road is a good 4 lane road but going above 100KMPH is a tough thing after entering AP border. There are many white lines near the intersection which irritates at high speed. Had breakfast at M food court and started at 8:30 AM. About M food court, A restaurant with bad food and bad service. Not at all VFM. There is another restaurant called hill park before M food court but missed it due to the speed i was in. Started at 8:30 AM. after having breakfast and a small quarrel with the hotel staff there and reached Kurnool around 10:00 - 10:30AM. Got confused after reaching Kurnool and asked in the group. Thanks to @DheerajReddy @jay_chitti for suggesting me a route. Took RAYALASEEMA express way to reach Nandyala. After entering Kurnool we will get a signal from which we should go straight and then left to enter RAYALASEEMA express way. Going left from the starting signal will directly take us to Atmakur which is the best and quick route. Reached Nandyala at around 11:30 and did a mistake by switching on Google maps. It took me through streets where even a cycle guy thinks twice to enter. The street is Sunkallamma street adjacent to market road. got stuck there for one hour. That time i was sure that some one would come and trash me and my car for entering that narrow street with such a long vehicle... as imagined people came near me but what happened is a very different thing... people there are very good and kind, they helped me cross the street with absolutely zero damage to my car. One local there even walked for almost a kilometer just to ensure that the road is clear so that my car could enter. even a police there did the same thing. Was pleased by the way they treated their guest. all these things were because of the TS number plate my car has. After all those things, crossed Nandyala around 12:30PM and reached Bairlooty at 1:30PM. Had lunch there and started off to safari at 3:00PM, half and an hour earlier as there were no one that day. The safari is very good, takes us through dense forest. A person with an axe accompanies us for safety. Unfortunately could not spot any wild animals as its difficult during this time, happened to spot a Sambar female in this first day and captured it in my camera. The very adventures thing that has happened was a Gypsy break down. The Gypsy after going deep inside the forest broke down and we had wait for an hour for next Gypsy in the calm, peaceful, serene forest enjoying the chirping sounds of the birds, waiting for some wild animal to come so that i can capture. The driver, and few guys accompanying us were very attentive as they knew that there is always danger hidden behind a beauty. The place that we stopped was a thick forest where tigers, bears, cheetas come for evening snacks. The place is near a Y junction where there is an old British building and an old temple which is very very risky. Completed the safari by 6:00PM entered the room, had some tasty pakodas with hot tea enjoying the nature and then had dinner at 9:30 in the room itself as we were tired and slipped onto the bed. DAY2. 23 SEP 2017. Woke up at 7:30 AM from the comfy beds, got freshed up, had breakfast, bought some goodies from the local shop in the resort and went on for a second safari at 10:15 AM Forgot to tell you, there is an old Shiva temple inside the forest which is considered as a very risky place to go. The second day morning my father woke up early took the Gypsy and went inside the forest and temple. He spotted few wild bores, wild dogs, and wild pig on the way to temple. Many wild animals including Bears and Wild dogs, which are considered as the most dangerous animals than tiger come to that place early in the morning and in the evening. One should be prepared for the worst thing before going to the temple. Many people asked me the reason forgoing there, instead of going to some other place, there is no answer for those type of questions.. after all its a wildlife enthusiast and travelers thing. Coming to the second day safari, I was fortunate enough to spot few Neelghais this time. Spotted a group of Neelghais in the bushes and captured it in my camera. After going deep inside the forest for few kilometers there was a ditch where our Gypsy wheels got stuck and back seat occupants had to get down. The drivers are well experienced and got the Gypsy out of the ditch after few minutes of off-roading. This is my first off-roading, that too deep inside a forest.. after going for few kilometers, the driver stopped the vehicle at a safe zone and then i took few pictures. Completed the safari at around 12:30 and then bought an archery ticket for 100 rs for 10 arrows, the archery is a thing filled with great fun and joy. Learnt archery from the local tribal workers there and managed to shoot the red wall on the target board. A great achievement for me Finished the fun filled archery paid extra amount ie, 200 for 20 arrows, had lunch at 1:30 PM and drove to YSR Smruthi Vanam at 2:15 PM. Reached the place in less than 45 mins, a very good road where one can easily maintain 60KMPH entire 30KM stretch. About YSR Smruthi Vanam, A place which is 30 kilometers away from Bairlooty( Nallamalla Jungle Camps) at Atmakur. A place build in memory of undivided Andhra Pradesh ex Chief Minister Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. His plane was crashed 15 kilometers from YSR Smruthi Vanam at Pavuralagutta which is clearly visible from a view point tower constructed at that place. Its a picnic spot for many locals, a good place for children to play around and have fun, for elders its not so interesting. Visited that place paid my respects to the great person, my father went on to the view point and clicked some pictures, we read few facts about him engraved on a marble stone and left the place at 2:45 PM. Reached Bairlooty at 3:15 PM took rest for an hour, had snacks, Mirchi Bajji, Tea, and then again paid 100rs for archery at 5:30 PM. could not play much because of the low light and returned early to the guest house. There the light is very low, looks like 6:30PM but will still be 5:30PM Had some quality talk with the supervisor Mr. Rajendra Prasad. He is a very passionate person, passionate about wildlife, a nature lover, photographer, and flutist. His passion towards these things are obvious from the way he talk, he is a Bpharm degree holder, had a lab of his own, stopped it and came to bairlooty from Kadapa just to serve the nature. His job at Bairlooty is amazing, outstanding, and he is still a contract employee. His wildlife photo collection is excellent. He has a Nikon D5 with which he captures the beautiful wildlife. He has got a very good knowledge over wild animals, plants, forests. He caught a very dangerous spider and sealed it in a box. Took the picture but its not clear. At 8:30PM i tried for some star trails but could not get because of the clouds. Had dinner at 9:00PM and slipped onto the bed at 10:30PM. DAY 3. 24 SEP 2017 Woke up at 7:00AM, had tea, paid 200 for 20 arrows, (yes, I am addicted towards that game) had breakfast at 9:30, Packed our bags, bought some more goodies from the store there which were made by the Girijans there, paid amount and left the place by 10:30 with a heavy heart Route Taken: BAIRLOOTY-ATMAKUR-KURNOOL-KADWAL-HYDERABAD. Reached Hyderabad at 7:15 as we stopped for some time at Gadwal and Food Pyramid. About Gadwal, A nice place famous for its sarees. Could not explore much. About Food Pyramid, A restaurant with worst food and service. No hygiene at all. Stopped at Gadwal and my mother took some sarees at the weavers. The roads were good all the way, the road from Bairlooty to Atmakur is a beautiful two laned road surrounded by lush green farms. A special thanks to @Ranger @DheerajReddy @jay_chitti @varunc @shruthi and all the WhatsApp group members for sharing the information rite from the beginning to the end of the trip. Few pictures