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Monsoon Drive Meetup at 'The Grand Canyon of India' Gandikota Fort & Gorge, Belum Caves and Orvakal Rock garden - August 20th and 21st 2016

 

Start point - Gachibowli (ORR)

End point - Harita Resort, Gandikota.

Start time - 5:15 a.m.

Total Distance - ~810 kms

Objective - A weekend monsoon drive to enjoy the sudden drop in temperature and thank the pre-monsoon showers.

 

Participants:

1) Maruti Suzuki Wagon R

2) Hyundai Grand i10

3) Hyundai i20 Elite

4) Maruthi Suzuki Swift Dzire

5) Hyundai Creta (Red)

6) Hyundai Creta (White)

7) Honda Civic

 

Cover Pic: 

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Route taken: Hyderabad (Gachibowli) - Kurnool - Gooty - Belum caves - Gandikota - Orvakal - Kurnool - Hyderabad

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All the 'India-drive men' have gathered at the meet up point by 5 15 a.m. and after a brief introductory session about the rules and their position during the convoy, the drive towards the 'Grand Canyon of India' was set to track as the clock swept 5 30 a.m. The cars got tattooed before the drive was set to pace and yes we were 'Road-Trippin' at the moment

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We took our first pit stop at the 'Hill-Park Drive-Inn' to grab some Indian breakfast delicacies followed by minutes of interactions and interesting conversations.

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All the cars of the drive line up to pose for a click before we steered on to the highway post breakfast

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Our 2nd pit-stop was to re-fill the car tanks after we crossed Kurnool

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We took a quite 5 minute break after the refueling to stretch ourselves before we headed to our first destination of the drive i.e. 'Belum Caves'

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And so we commenced the drive towards Gooty

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We drove down the highway along the convoy to elaborate safety and eliminate risk:D

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Here is something that you would get used to while driving in a convoy with 'India-Drive' - That's how you space up with the car ahead of yours

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We then broke free from the drive after we reach our first destination by 12 30 p.m.

 

Destination description:

 

Belum Caves:Belum caves, supposedly the longest caves in India after Borra, is about 80 kms from 'Orvakal'. Belum Caves have long passages, fresh water galleries and siphons. It is a natural underground cave formed by the constant flow of underground water. The caves reach its deepest point of 150 feet known as 'Pataalaganga'.With all fresh faces we pose at the entrance of the cave before we started to explore

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Only point in the cave where the sunlight creeps in is this entrance

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We were all set for a cave photo walk

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Carves formed by the flow of underground water

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Unlike the Borra Caves in Vishakhapatnam the Belum Caves have long passages and spacious chambers

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Muted lighting adds to the mystery and beauty of these caves

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Few glimpses of the caves captured during the photo walk

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Everyone of us got involved in clicking some beautiful pics

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And we head out to exit the cave

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Some really unique Buddhist relics have been found at the Belum caves. The serene 60-foot Buddha statue built here by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism

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After a tiresome photo-walk inside the caves, we moved out to recharge ourselves with the Rayalaseema delicacies for lunch.Post lunch, we resumed the drive and steered towards the Gandikota to sight the gorge during the sunset time

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We had stopped by for a small break to click some pictures on the open road

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The sun behind the dark clouds reminded us about the sun set at the Gandikota gorge and we started the drive towards our next destination

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Destination description:

 

Gandikota:

The name Gandikota was acquired from the picturesque gorge formed between the Erramalai hills. A deep valley with massive boulders of red granite resembling the Grand Canyon surrounds the fort. The Penna river flows between the gorge which is ~100 meters below the western and northern sides of the fort.

 

We had reached the fort area by the sun set time but we still knew that we were late by a quarter

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On our way towards the gorge, we spotted a Raghunatha swamy temple around which is being maintained by the ASI.

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We trekked on to the edge of the cliff to sight the beautiful 'Gandikota gorge' before the light dimmed down

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After an evening exploration at the gorge, we decided to revisit the place the next morning for the sunrise and headed back to the Harita resort where our accommodation was reserved. The Harita Resort in Gandikota is located just a Half kilometer away from the fort area which is quite easily walk-able.

 

And our exploration the next morning has begun :D

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Few glimpses while we trekked down towards this beautiful landscape

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The little kid had no looking back while he traced his path towards that point

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Everyone of us had explored the place all over cheering and wondering at the geography that looked similar to America's Grand Canyon!!!

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A deep valley and impassable hills surrounded by massive boulders of red granite, does remind us of the Grand Canyon.

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The huge red boulders added to the magnificent background and the landscape looked majestic

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We spent there for about 2 hours exploring and resting at the top edge of the cliff and clicking hundreds of pics

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One our way back from the gorge we stopped by the fort and the architecture of the mosque looks complete with the intricate carvings on the Minar.

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All these 13th century built Jama Masjid, Temples and Forts around the Gorge are being maintained by the ASI

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We then started back from the fort area to the resort for breakfast

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The accommodation which was reserved for a night stay at Gandikota Harita resort was quite decent and immensely spacious

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There is a provision to park your car beside your room

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After a sumptuous breakfast at the resort, we were all set to start our drive back to our next destination

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There they pose bold at the entrance of the resort before we exited the place

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As the Marshall lead the convoy, our drive continued towards Orvakal to sight the Natural igneous rock formations

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Destination description:

 

Orvakal:

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. A slight drive up-hill, we had a decent view from the top with the rocks in the background.

 

After a session long drive of about 3 hours, we reached the Orvakal rock garden and had our lunch at the Harita rock garden resort

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Post lunch, we explored the natural rock formations sight and our principle photography session had begun

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A glimpse of the rock garden along with our run machines

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A group pic with the most famous natural igneous rock formation which was formed by the mix both of sandstone and limestone

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And then the rock alone :D

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We stopped by a small broken wooden bridge to get a click while we were exploring this picturesque landscape

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Drawing down to the final pic of the drive before we started back to the start point around 5 p.m., I have no doubt in saying that this drive meet wouldn't have been so much fun without these high spirited souls. Cheers to all these 'India-drive men' flag.

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We had a perfect overnight meet, Thank you all for making the drive successful.

 

Cannot find proper words to express, drive was fantastic.One of the best till now.

 

Had so much fun walking around in caves (missing the routes) and trekking at Gandikota.

 

Meeting new members, late night conversations, resort with beautiful view all together made my weekend amazing.

Hope to see you all again in the upcoming drives.

 

Excellent travel log 

 

Felt like I am on the trip again, Thank you for sharing.:clap:

Will try to post the videos, when I get time.

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Wonderful meet up report sagar. You have made us relive our trip through this travelogue.. Reading this makes me itch to do this circuit again. Thanks a ton for sharing :D

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Brilliantly written mate.. The pictures look really awesome.. The convoy pics you articulated so explicitly needs a special mention.. :clap:

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Wonderful travelogue and extensive photographs too.. I'm sure you guys must have had an amazing time. I'm definitely not missing the next drive :)

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Superb landscape and amazing pictures. The cottages that you guys have booked also looks very neat. Thanks a lot for sharing this :)

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Beautiful narration of the entire drive sagar .. It really makes me think why i did not join this convoy.. :(

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Excellent and meticulously planned drive and your pictures never fail to disappoint us. Great to see the cars follow a convoy and the rules which is quite a departure from Indian nature to follow rules. Can't imagine this kind of convoy amidst the western ghats. Waiting for your next with an even longer convoy.. Good luck India-Drive.flag

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Fantastic travelogue and beautiful photographs  .. Drives like these are best enjoyed i'd say. I feel like kicking myself for missing such a drive.. Are you guys planning any drive for the upcoming long weekend.. Sept 3,4,5. ?:Dont know:

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It was hard to drag myself to the office on monday morning after such a wonderful weekend.Lovely convoy of cars, meeting fun loving like minded people, beautiful landscapes and whats more memories to be cherished for a very very very long time to come. What else can you ask for over a weekend??

P.S : For all those who couldnt make it to the trip, Do make sure you wont miss any in the future.To spice things up... Have a look at my contributions to the gallery.

 

The Convoy

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The First Glimpse of the rocky terrain and the mangled remains of the fort

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The Gorge

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Selfie??? At the edge of a cliff?? who cares??? say cheeseeee!!!

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With a view as spectacular such as this, you won't realise time fly by!!!

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It was hard to drag myself to the office on monday morning after such a wonderful weekend.

Lovely convoy of cars, meeting fun loving like minded people, beautiful landscapes and whats more memories to be cherished for a very very very long time to come. What else can you ask for over a weekend??

P.S : For all those who couldnt make it to the trip, Do make sure you wont miss any in the future.

To spice things up... Have a look at my contributions to the gallery.

Beautiful pictures Ravi, Specially sunrise picture.

Next time you should conduct some photography sessions (free of cost).

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