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Hyderabad to Ahmedabad, Little Rann of Kutch, Dholavira and Great Rann of Kutch.

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My friend and fellow moderator Sagar always wanted to explore Gujarat.


Personally, I had very less expectations on Rann of Kutch.
When he came up with Gujarat, our plan started to take its shape but I tried to skip it. I have initiated different plans and suggestions, but he did not budge.

 

On one fine day, he booked the tickets from Hyderabad to Ahmedabad.
We pulled in a few more friends and Now we are a group of 10 members ready to explore Gujarat.

 

Car booking:

Our next step was to book self drive cars, Only options available were Zoom and Myles.
All the 'Myles' cars were booked on our dates, So we have booked three cars from 'Zoom'.

 

Initial plan was to book 3 Eco-sports.

 

But due to unavailability and bad car conditions, we booked the following cars.

 

1. Ford Figo
2. Ford Ecosport
3. Mahindra Scorpio

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Day -1 Ahmedabad to Little Rann of Kutch.

 

We hired a cab from Ahmedabad airport to Zoom car pick up location.
We completed all the formalities and we are out by 10:30 AM

We started hunting for the breakfast, We couldn't find a proper restaurant for breakfast.:o

 

We searched for 15 kilometers with in the city and gave up.
Once on the Highway, we found a small Dhaba and had a heavy brunch, we resumed our journey by 1 PM.


Little Rann of Kutch Permissions:

 

  • Little Rann of Kutch requires permission to enter, Officially bikes are not allowed inside, but many people ride around without any issue.
  • It has many entry and exit points.
  • Many people don't take permission, when get they stuck or get caught, they end up paying fine which is very high.

 

How to get the permissions to explore Little Rann of Kutch?

 

  • Little Rann of Kutch Permission is available at Bajana.
  • Forest Guest house is located the entrance of the village.
  • If you miss it, not a problem, you can ask around, It is very well known to the locals.

 

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How much does the Little Rann of Kutch permit cost?
It costed us around 1800/- for 3 cars and 4 cameras.


Is the guide mandatory for Little Rann of Kutch?

Guide is not mandatory, but if you are not sure about trails,  and have no idea about routes, in a single vehicle, It is suggested to take a Guide.

We did not take a guide and have faced some issues. More on that later.


Is it easy to get the permission?

Permission is pretty straight forward, they even gave us some map.
They insisted us to hire a guide but we decided not to take.


Can we do Little Rann of Kutch in a Hatch back?

Yes can be easily done in any car.
We have done it in a Ford Figo, We did not face any issue.

 

Do we require GPS to cross Little Rann of Kutch?

It is better to take offline maps along with you, but you can easily manage without it.

Simple rule, follow the white stones and trails. Don't even try to make our own road which might lead you to end up in a no man's land at times.

What to do when we got lost in the Little Rann of kutch?

It is not completely isolated, you can get help from the other people, many locals roam around.
When in doubt always stop and ask around.

 

Best season to vist Little Rann of Kutch?

Post January is the best time to visit.

Entry Points at Little Rann of kutch?

You can get the latest information at the Bajana forest guest house.

  • Major entry point is at a village name Zinzuwada and entry is from Mandapol gate. Use this route to cross Little Rann of Kuch and exit at Palasava. Check with the forest department before finalising the route.
  • Bajana is the second point of entry.


Stay options at Little Rann of Kutch?

Stay options at Little Rann of kutch are very limited.
Accommodation options :

  • Rann Riders
  • Deseret coursers
  • Bhavan resort and farm
  • Royal Safari Camp
  • Flemingo Acropolis

 

Let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

We took the Bajana entry point due to time constraints, If we were early, we could have taken the Zinzuwada entrance.
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We soon realised that it is tough to navigate without any analysis.

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Fords Kicking some dust

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We stopped at many water bodies enroute and we spotted numerous variety of birds which were in large colonies.

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Ready for the takeoff

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We will either find a way or make one. We drove deep into the barren lands of Little Rann of Kutch.

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Visibility is poor for the cars driving behind, better to maintain space

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A look at ford said 'Keep calm and drive'

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Creativity is always a leap of faith, When we face waste empty lands, time analysis is needed

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Small dude joined the party late due to GC issues

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Some walks you love to take alone

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Birds have wind, they are free, they have mobility and still we envy them

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Scorpio: I wish to be as free as birds do

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Getting stuck and Falling out has been quite an adventure
 

It's not about the destination, it's all about where you end up, mishaps and memories you create will stay down the memory lane.

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Always follow the tracks, If you try to make your own road, get ready for this.

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Happiness is finding the rescue equipment in a no mans land, when you get struck.

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We managed to get the Scorpio and Figo out quite easily, but the EcoSport got royally struck.

 
We found a villager few miles away with some raw tools.
 
Though we have the tools, we are not able to get the vehicle out.
It is getting deeper and deeper.
 
He pointed out at our wrong techniques on how we were trying to get the car out.
 
Now it was his turn to guide, we followed his instructions/inputs.
 
We are able to pull out EcoSport in 20 minutes.
He proved to us that experience is superior to any theoretical knowledge.



Video-log of our trip.

 

Accommodation details:

Name : Holiday village resort, Gandhidham.

 

We had booked our stay at this resort through 'Make my trip' which costed us 8000 INR (after 50 % discount) per room for 3 nights. The resort was beautiful and royal with all the amenities available. 

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Rooms are neat and decent enough in area

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There was good amount of greenery all around the place

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Day-2  Great Rann of kutch, Dholavira.

 

Stay options at Dholavira?
Dholavira tourism Resort (Would suggest you to stay at 'Great Rann of Kutch')
 

Great Rann of Kutch is spread across a vast area where one can explore either sides of it.

  1. Dholavira
  2. Dhordo (White desert Rann of Kutch)

 

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We have decided to explore Dholavira on Day-2

We started from our hotel by 9 AM and stopped by for breakfast at a Dhaba on the highway.
Roads were excellent through out the journey. Some of the best roads in the country.

 

First glimpse of 'The Great Rann of Kutch' white desert, Dholavira.

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Black and White!

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What Gujarat roads say? Stop worrying about the potholes and enjoy the drive.

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We didn't bother about the burning hot climate as the view seemed breath taking!

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Quote

When he came up with Gujarat, our plan started to take its shape but I tried to skip it.

 

After this view, I felt that I would call myself an idiot, If I had skipped this trip

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Freedom of travel. We could go as far as we could sightIMG_8161-01.jpeg

 

After spending around 1 hour, we left the place to explore more

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Our next destination was towards the Dholavira excavation site - Ancient Harappan and Mohenjadaro sites

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En-route we found a 'Sambar' in the middle of the road, by the time got to her, she ran deep into the woods

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We finally reached the Indus valley civilisation and moved towards the the huge walls built of mud and stone to explore the ancient Harappan culture

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Hats-off to the Tourism department of Gujarat who is still working on cleaning the remains and spoilts post earthquake

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After the Harappan culture visit, we drove down towards the Fossil park which is end point of Dholavira

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The poetry of earth is endless, breath taking view.

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Even our cars are enjoying the view.

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Helipad at Dholavira

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Nature is cheaper than some random therapy in your city

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On our way back to the resort, we stopped by the white salty marshy land to enjoy the sunset

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Sunset from the place where we were was bliss to watch and we spent about 2 hours even after it got dark on the salt desert admiring the nature in peace. A beautiful end to the day

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Day - 3  It was planned to explore the 'Great Rann of Kutch' and we reached this salt desert by noon

 

Great Rann of Kutch accommodations (Decent resorts - would suggest you to stay here)

  • White Rann Resort
  • Gateway to Rann
  • Toran resort Kutch

 

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Took the necessary permits and reached the entry point from which private vehicles are not allowed beyond this post.

We are supposed to walk down for 2 kms or hire a camel cart to reach the White desert land of the Great Rann.

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We had paid 1000 INR to hire this camel cart for a journey up and down

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We were given an hour's time to explore 'The Great Rann of Kutch' by the cart owner to take us back to our start point

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On our way back from 'The Great Rann' we took an off road track to explore Dordo

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Having everything set for this drive, we tightened our rocker-arms to enjoy our drive further

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We made our own tracks driving deep into a place where we could find no human in the vicinity

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Thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this drive as we drove down and simultaneously, we were being very watchful after a crazy adventure on Day-1 at 'The Little Rann of Kutch'

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The Ford turned out to be an absolute performer on these tracks throwing out her brilliance in handling and dynamics

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The Mahindra also turned out to be quite a stunner apart from being bumpy at times

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And that's how it happened :D

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Surprisingly, The Figo showed up nothing less on an off road track

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Next destination?
Mandvi beach for sunset

 

Mandvi has many beach view resorts.

  • Serena beach resort
  • HV Beach hotel. (right on the beach)
     

After experiencing high temperatures, everyone decided to visit Mandvi beach

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Memories made at the beach will last for a lifetime

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Promise of a new tomorrow

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Cleanest sunset ever

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Superb pictures @gowtham. Thanks for sharing all the information which would help the fellow road-trippers.

I would like to share a few memories that I've carried back home from this amazing road trip. Cheers!

 

Day - 1 (Ahmedabad - Little Rann of Kutch - Gandhidham) 

 

We started our road-trip from Ahmedabad towards Bajana to explore the 'Little Rann of Kutch'   

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We have taken the necessary permits at Bajana village for our exploration drive and in no time, we made our tracks into the 'Dhrangdhara' wild ass sanctuary

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The scorpio fared really well with the off-road conditions out there 

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One needs to be really careful without getting lost during their exploration as the place looks almost deserted

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There already existed few tracks which were laid by the regulars, otherwise we need to pave our own paths at times 

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We passed by a huge lake whose area seemed absolutely dried out on a vast scale

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One needs to pay 25000 INR as fine or undergo 7 years of imprisonment if any rules are violated or skipping of permits

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We have arrived by a small lake which had numerous variety of birds such as swans, flamingos, cranes, herons etc.

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Having spent some time by the lake banks, we moved further towards the lake bed which was quite hard

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Another glimpse of the birds on the partially dried lake banks

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We hovered up in between to stretch ourselves and relax a bit while the sun was scorching on us

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We raced further deep into the woods to explore further and ended up in a no man's land

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What is a road trip without any adventure in the tale. All the 3 cars ended up getting stuck in a deserted land with no other human to spot at for help. A lesson learnt, we need to be a watchful while we trace our track here.

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A few miles away, we found a small shack where we could get some help with the equipment to dig the wet mud and clear the track and get out of the pit. The whole process of getting all our cars out of this wet land took us 4 hours

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We drove back to the highway and headed towards Gandhidham as the land beyond where we got stuck seemed even more wet which seemed impossible to explore

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Day - 2 (Gandhidham - Dholavira - Gandhidham)

 

Our day drive towards Dholavira started off post breakfast from Gandhidham

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The road towards Dholavira was quite decent with neatly laid roads even after you bifurcate into the villages after you cross Bhuj highway

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All the 3 cars lined up to halt at our first sight of the white salt desert of Dholavira

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We parked the cars on to the side and got down the bridge to walk into the salt desert

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Fabulous view of the vast salt desert of Dholavira which goes endless

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We paved our path a little deep into the marshy salt land which seemed a little loose on friction to hold our feet 

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All of us got involved in the photo sessions enjoying the magnificent view even though the sun was shining bright 

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Having spent ample time clicking pictures, we started to walk back towards our cars to explore the next destination

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There are absolutely no short-cuts to any place worth going!

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We paced up the track, towards our next destination

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Our next was the Harappan civilisation - The ancient genius

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Harappan or Indus valley civilisation was built in 48 acres land with tall walls to protect it's residents from outsiders

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A few glimpses of the Harappan civilisation

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We then drove down towards the Kutch fossil park road to reach the end point (Karni temple) of Dholavira. 

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The whole of day-2 turned out to be tiresome but eventful and we drove back to our residence in Gandhidham

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Day - 3 (Gandhidham - Dordo - Great Rann of Kutch - Mandvi - Gandhidham) 

 

View from my room - The Holiday Village Resort

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The resort were we had stayed is a beautiful place which offers all the amenities including sports like squash

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The Restaurant inside the resort serves continental food suitable for any person in the country

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Tried some authentic Gujarati food such as Dhokla, Fafda, Bhajiya goti, Dabeli etc. 

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Our drive towards the 'Great Rann of Kutch' was an eventful one 

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Fabulous view of 'The Great Rann of Kutch' - The place where 'The Rann Utsav' takes place every year

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We chose to hit this place post 'Rann Utsav' to avoid the crowd which could be best suitable for exploration

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We further explored the barren lands of Dordo and drove down to the Mandvi beach to enjoy the beautiful sunset 

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Mandvi is one of the best beaches in Kutch, Gujarat to enjoy the sunset and relax amidst nature

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We reached our resort late in the night to set everything for our drive back to Ahmedabad from Gandhidham on day-4

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I am seriously amazed by the beauty of that place, super intriguing stuff .. It reminds me of the Amitabh bachchan's Ad on Gujarat 'Katch nahi toh Kuch nahi' :D Brilliant stuff guys..

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A-1 drive & another scintillating report embellishing every bit of winsomeness. Kudos to the whole team for coming up with such a sterling story

Gujrat has always been an inviting territory with its elegant vista diffused all over.

Wish to go on an expedition with you guys soon.

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A-1 drive & another scintillating report embellishing every bit of winsomeness. Kudos to the whole team for coming up with such a sterling story

Gujrat has always been an inviting territory with its elegant vista diffused all over.

Wish to go on an expedition with you guys soon.

28214dbf40cfb58fb0f096fae4ab2e89.jpgbec945665a4433db710d835e7dbd92d1.jpg9e6a4bdb272912c048b6ebb4b1d05cfb.jpg

Ur comment described a lot abt this trip. For the next trip count me in
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First picture of the post itself moved me. Lovely way of explaining with mind blowing pictures. Definitely a 5 star thread :)

 

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This arid dry land is a beauty on earth. I had goosebumps all the way while I was going through this travelogue. Awesome pictures and very well narrated. It has all the information needed for a traveller.

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It has been one of my best trips so far, super adventurous.. Thanks for making it a memorable one guys.. And when is the next :D

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Awesome travelogue.. The beauty of this white desert is something which cannot be explained in words.. how hot was the temperature there when you had gone there :D

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The Rann is so mesmerizing and humbling when you are standing in the middle of it. Another super duper travel story in your chariot ,, Great going team :)

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      (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.
       
       


    • By Raj1
      Hello guys...
      I'm planning for a Road trip from Hyderabad to Goa.... And back to Hyderabad...
       
      I'm new at this... So would love to hear out suggestions about the route to be taken, places to stay along the way and places to visit!
      Along with approximate time duration for all of the trip!
       
      Thanks in advance
    • By Ranger
      A quick drive to Hidden Castle.
      Place is located around 100 kilometers from Hyderabad.
       
      Road condition:
      4-lane with very few diversions. Once you hit the highway, You will reach the destination in an hour.
       
      Food options on highway:
      Enroute you can find Haritha food court.

    • By KSK
      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.  

       

       

  • Gandikota meetup on January 26 and 27th

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