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Mady

Journey into the magical mountain range of North East

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The most memorable journey into the magical mountain range of North East

TsongmoLake_Changu_Lake_Filephoto.jpg

 

Planning

Booking for Sikkim Gangtok Darjeeling - 8 Days & 7 Nights | Cities : Lachen

 

Day 1 (07 May 2017)
=================


Arrival at IXB (Airport) NJP (Railway Station) and Transfer to Darjeeling
(Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 69 kms)
Arrive & Meet Our Official Representative at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB)–He will be assisting for the transfer - Darjeeling - Check into hotel – Evening free to roam around Mall or local Shopping centre - Over Night stay at Darjeeling.

 

Day 2 (08 May 2017)
=================

Darjeeling Local Sight-Seeing (Including Tiger Hill)
Go for the early morning 3-point tour at 3:45 am which covers famous sunrise from Tiger Hill, Old Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop where the toy train takes a dramatic loop and negotiates an Altitude of 140ft. You will be back to your hotel by 7:30am. Relax for a while and After Breakfast later take the 7-point local tour which includes Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Zoological Park, Ropeway, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Center, Lebong Race Course, Happy Valley Tea Estate etc. This tour will take about 4 hours.

 

Day 3 (09 May 2017)
=================
Darjeeling to Gangtok& Gangtok Local Sightseeing:-
(Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
Morning breakfast – Transfer to Gangtok –– Check into Hotel – After taking rest - Drive flora half day sightseeing and visit to Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, Research Institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Chorten (Stupa), Enchey Monastery, White Hall, Flower Show, one , etc. – Back to hotel – Evening free - Over Night stay at Gangtok.

 

Day 4 (10 May 2017)
=================
Gangtok to Lachen:-
(Duration: 5–6 hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
Early morning breakfast –Lunch at Chungthang – Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang Reach Lachen late afternoon / early evening - Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Tshangu are the major attraction– Like a Shangri - La – Check into a hotel - Welcome Tea – Evening free to stroll and visit the Lepcha Village – Overnight stay at Hotel in Lachen.

 

Day 5 (11 May 2017)
=================
Excursion To Gurudongmar Lake And Transfer To Lachung:-
(Duration:2 ½ - 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 85kms )
Early morning breakfast – Visit to Gurudongmar Lake through which Lachen Chu flows, generally covered with snow from December to April or even more is known as the Holy / Sacred Lake - Next drive through the cold desert till Tibet / China back to Resort for Lunch – After lunch drive to Lachung - Back to hotel for lunch - After lunch proceed to Lachung -Check into hotel at Lachung - Evening free to visit Lachung Monastery - Overnight stay at Hotel at Lachung.

 

Day 6 (12 May 2017)
=================
Sightseeing AtYumthang Valley + ZeroPoint (Optional) & Transfer To Gangtok:-
After breakfast drive towards Yumthang situated at an elevation of nearly 11800 feet - On the way you may visit the famous hot spring which is known for its curative properties of skin diseases - Yumthang is a valley near the river Lachung Chu surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends - In spring the valley erupts in riots of colors as Primulae, Rhododendrons and many other Alpine flowers in full bloom along with snow covered valley except in autumn - During winter Yumthang is somber with snow all around and the snow clad mountains adding to the ethereal beauty.

Optional Zero point(Additional Cost) is the last outpost of civilization. The road ends here. Peaceful valley and is quite windy - there was not much to hear but just stay here for some time to enjoy the beauty. With the majestic mountains and ice around - it was like being the only people in the world. Calm, quiet and a sense of insignificance - time seems to stand still here.... like nothing ever changes.Return to resort at Lachung for Lunch – Transfer to Gangtok – Reach Gangtok in the evening – Check into hotel – Night stay at Gangtok.

 

Day 7 (13 May 2017)
=================
Excursion To Tsomgo Lake& Baba Mandir:-
Morning breakfast at hotel – Excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir nearly 40 kilometers - The Lake is oval shaped lake nearly 50 feet deep - Generally covered in snow for most of the year – This lake is home to the Brahmini ducks & many migratory birds – Nearby is the sacred Baba Mandir known to be a very holy site for all - Nathula Pass to Republic of China is nearly 20 kilometers and is optional tour - Back to Gangtok - Evening free to roam around M G Road (Mall) or local Shopping center - Over Night stay at Gangtok (In case of Landslide or due to any other reasons if Tshangu Lake is closed then an alternate sightseeing will be provided).

Optional Nathula(Additional Cost)(14140 Ft / 4310 Mts / 20 Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) Baba Mandir (13100Ft / 3994 Mts / 16Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) is an Indo China border, controlled by the Indian Army & is situated approx 20 Kms ahead of Tshangu Lake at an height of 14140 Ft / 4310 At this point the right arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Baba Mandir & left arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Nathula.

 

One can opt for Nathula Excursion by paying a supplement cost which varies from month to month. Nathula permit gets confirmed 24 hrs prior to the journey date & it is subjected to permit availability as it is allotted as per lottery. Nathula is closed on Monday & Tuesday for tourist. Organising the permit at the last moment is not possible & a clear window of 72 Hrs with proper documents is required to process the permit. To process the permit we would require 04 Passport Size Photograph & photo proof identity card such as Voter Id / Passport / Driving License. Pan card is not accepted as identity proof by authorities. There is no refund, in case the permit is confirmed by Sikkim tourism & due to whatsoever reason (Land slide, Heavy rain fall, VIP Movement, Health issue etc) one is not able to visit.

 

Day 8 (14 May 2017)
==================
DepartureAt Airport (IXB) / Railway Station (NJP) :-
(Duration:4-5hours Approx) (Distance: 135kms )
After breakfast transfer to Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) Guest are advised to start early and not to rush - Forwarding Journey.

 

Execution:

 

Day 1 - 
Hyderabad - Bhagdogara - Darjeeling

 

Day 2 - 
Darjeeling:
State - West Bengal
Elevation - 6,700ft / 2,042.2m
Tourist Attractions - Tea estates, Tiger Hill, Toy train, Japanese temple, Rock garden, Spectacular views of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest mountain

 

Day 3 -
Darjeeling - Gangtok
On the way - Teesta river - River rafting

Gangtok
State - Sikkim
Elevation - 5,410ft / 1,600m
Tourist Attractions - A centre of Tibetan Buddhist culture and learning - Several monasteries, religious educational institutions, and centres for Tibetology, Spectacular views of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest mountain

 

Day 4 - 
Gangtok - Lachen

Lachen:
State - Sikkim
Elevation - 9,000ft / 2,750m
Tourist Attaractions - It's the base for Chopta valley and Gurudongmar lake 
Chopta valley - Located at an altitude of 13,000ft / 4,000m

 

Day 5 - 
Lachen - Gurudongmar lake - Located at an altitude of 17,800ft / 5,430m
Lachen - Lachung

Lachung:
State - Sikkim
Elevation - 9,600ft / 2,900m
Tourist Attractions - It's the base for Yumthang valley and Zero point

 

Day 6 - 
Lachung - Yumthang valley - 11,693ft /3,564m
Yumthang valley - Zero point - 15,300ft / 4,664m
Zero point - Lachung  - Gangtok

 

Day 7 - 
Nathu La pass:
Elevation - 14,140ft / 4,301m
About -  It's one of the three open trading border posts between China and India, It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People's Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies
Tsomgo Lake:
Elevation - 12,300ft / 3,753m
About - It's located 35kms from Gangtok town and on the steep route known as Jawaharlal Nehru Road which leads all the way to Nathula Pass

 

Day 8 - 
Gangtok - Bhagdogara - Hyderabad

 

***Please carry AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) medicine along

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TsongmoLake_Changu_Lake_Filephoto.jpg

Nathulapass1.jpeg

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Lovely photolog and superb plan maddy.. Your plan looks quite set for a week to enjoy the beauty of NorthEast

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Excellent stuff Mady. The way you planned and executed is at professional level. Thank you for motivating us to cover north east.
Beautiful pictures, nature at its best.

 

I have few questions related to your trip.

How are the roads in North east? Is it possible to do in a sedan or SUV is a must?
How expensive are accommodations?
Any particular place that require permit in your entire trip?

 

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@Mady great execution... definitely a handbook for the future roadtrippers

Sent from my S7 - Using India-Drive App

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Brilliant images! Planning and execution top class!


Sent from my iPhone using India-Drive

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Brilliant images! Planning and execution top class!
We should plan it, pending from years.

I want to drive from Hyderabad.

What do you guys suggest?

41 hours

Screenshot_20170609-144824.png

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On 6/9/2017 at 9:11 AM, Ranger said:

Excellent stuff Mady. The way you planned and executed is at professional level. Thank you for motivating us to cover north east.
Beautiful pictures, nature at its best.

 

I have few questions related to your trip.

How are the roads in North east? Is it possible to do in a sedan or SUV is a must?
How expensive are accommodations?
Any particular place that require permit in your entire trip?

 

It's patchy and bumpy all the way. You will find good roads at certain places, but some of the roads are very bad  & narrow and some more are like man made passages (as good as no roads)

 

We can't do in Sedan and also not all SUVs. Innova was struggling, we need something like Bolero which is tough and have more ground clearance. I have few videos that can clearly show the road condition. Just that I could not upload here.

 

Accommodations are not very expensive except Gangtok, just needs better planning. 3K-5K per day/night is good enough.

 

Yes permits needed for all the places around Lachen, Lachung, and Nathula pass (we need to pay per cab/vehicle for Nathula). And , on our way to Darjeeling to Gangtok there were police outposts where drive had get down and show the passenger details. Perhaps those two places don't need passes but just verification about tourists.

 

On 6/9/2017 at 2:46 PM, Ranger said:

We should plan it, pending from years.

I want to drive from Hyderabad. emoji3.png

What do you guys suggest?

41 hours

Screenshot_20170609-144824.png

Driving to Sikkim is absolutely fine but not inside Sikkim going about 9000 ft to 13000 ft. I would not even suggest but urge you not to do that, not safer roads.

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@Mady Super short and crisp your story looks. It has got all the necessary information needed with some amazing clicks. Thanks for putting them up. Could you suggest me the best time to tour Sikkim?

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22 hours ago, Mady said:

we need something like Bolero which is tough and have more ground clearance.


You cleared my doubts.

 

22 hours ago, Mady said:

Accommodations are not very expensive except Gangtok, just needs better planning. 3K-5K per day/night is good enough.

 

Yes permits needed for all the places around Lachen, Lachung, and Nathula pass


Will note them down, Thank you for the quick and informative answer.

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On 6/10/2017 at 10:24 AM, balag said:

@Mady Super short and crisp your story looks. It has got all the necessary information needed with some amazing clicks. Thanks for putting them up. Could you suggest me the best time to tour Sikkim?

Summers are the best..monsoon is also fine but just that rains may disrupt your trip and make you alter your plans quite a bit. 

Winter might be too difficult to handle..even the schools be closed there just like summer here as the weather be very harsh in the other way,

Drivers there told us that they spend their winters playing football most of the times, doing nothing as there be very few tourists.

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Your plan looks very much perfect @Mady and nice pictures too. Could you please post any pictures of the roads in your road trip so that I can judge on myself about the difficulty level suitable for me for my road trip in september

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I have gone through your thread in one go and it sounds super perfect. The weather condition was awesome and you just had the view of the mountains to admire at. Just beautiful!

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On 6/12/2017 at 3:22 PM, vivek said:

Your plan looks very much perfect @Mady and nice pictures too. Could you please post any pictures of the roads in your road trip so that I can judge on myself about the difficulty level suitable for me for my road trip in september

Hey Vivek,  ping me on whatsapp, so I can share the videos with you there..I have more of videos and could not upload here..and didn't want to spam our whatsapp group :) 

 

On 6/12/2017 at 5:25 PM, swez said:

I have gone through your thread in one go and it sounds super perfect. The weather condition was awesome and you just had the view of the mountains to admire at. Just beautiful!

Thanks much :)

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Amazing pictures. perfect itenary.

Can you also give hotels list to stay in each of these locations.

 

How about covering Bhutan as well apart from the above itinerary?

 

On 6/9/2017 at 2:46 PM, Ranger said:

We should plan it, pending from years.

I want to drive from Hyderabad.

What do you guys suggest?

41 hours

Screenshot_20170609-144824.png

 

I luv to drive but its too far and needs one extra week holidays. 

How about driving from Bagdogra after landing in airport?

 

 

On 6/11/2017 at 1:50 PM, Mady said:

Summers are the best..monsoon is also fine but just that rains may disrupt your trip and make you alter your plans quite a bit. 

Winter might be too difficult to handle..even the schools be closed there just like summer here as the weather be very harsh in the other way,

Drivers there told us that they spend their winters playing football most of the times, doing nothing as there be very few tourists.

 

when did you do this trip in the month of june?

Is it preferable in April or June 1st week?

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On 2/15/2018 at 11:28 PM, sahil said:

Amazing pictures. perfect itenary.

Can you also give hotels list to stay in each of these locations.

 

How about covering Bhutan as well apart from the above itinerary?

 

 

I luv to drive but its too far and needs one extra week holidays. 

How about driving from Bagdogra after landing in airport?

 

 

 

when did you do this trip in the month of june?

Is it preferable in April or June 1st week?

I did this trip during the mid May..and April & June are preferable too..

Only the winter time is bad there, as per the locals..

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On 17/02/2018 at 10:13 AM, Mady said:

I did this trip during the mid May..and April & June are preferable too..

Only the winter time is bad there, as per the locals..

Thank you. 

would be great if you can list some hotels list and local transport details...

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29 minutes ago, sahil said:

Thank you. 

would be great if you can list some hotels list and local transport details...

This list of hotels that we stayed - cant' say all of them are best, but either good or decent for sure. There were few options available, as we started making the bookings only a month before the actual trip. You might want to plan well ahead of time.
Day 1 & 2 - Darjeeling - Krishna Service Apartment
Day 3 - Gangtok - Rhenock House A Luxury Villa
Day 4 - Lachen - Accommodation provided by travel agency
Day 5 - Lachung - Delight Hotels Royal Lachung
Day 6 & 7 - Gangtok - The Lindsay Himalayan Heights

 

Here is the complete travel itinerary, which you can use to plan & negotiate with any of the travel agencies for the ground transport for the entire trip -

Day 1 (07 May 2017)

Arrival at IXB (Airport) NJP (Railway Station) and Transfer to Darjeeling

(Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 69 kms)
Arrive & Meet Our Official Representative at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB)–He will be assisting for the transfer - Darjeeling - Check into hotel – Evening free to roam around Mall or local Shopping centre - Over Night stay at Darjeeling.

Day 2 (08 May 2017)

Darjeeling Local Sight-Seeing (Including Tiger Hill)

Go for the early morning 3-point tour at 3:45 am which covers famous sunrise from Tiger Hill, Old Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop where the toy train takes a dramatic loop and negotiates an Altitude of 140ft. You will be back to your hotel by 7:30am. Relax for a while and After Breakfast later take the 7-point local tour which includes Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Zoological Park, Ropeway, Tibetan Self Help Refugee Center, Lebong Race Course, Happy Valley Tea Estate etc. This tour will take about 4 hours.

Day 3 (09 May 2017)

Darjeeling to Gangtok& Gangtok Local Sightseeing:-

(Duration: 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
Morning breakfast – Transfer to Gangtok –– Check into Hotel – After taking rest - Drive flora half day sightseeing and visit to Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom, Research Institute of Tibetology, Do Drul Chorten (Stupa), Enchey Monastery, White Hall, Flower Show, one , etc. – Back to hotel – Evening free - Over Night stay at Gangtok.

Day 4 (10 May 2017)

Gangtok to Lachen:-

(Duration: 5–6 hours Approx) (Distance: 135 kms )
Early morning breakfast –Lunch at Chungthang – Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang Reach Lachen late afternoon / early evening - Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Tshangu are the major attraction– Like a Shangri - La – Check into a hotel - Welcome Tea – Evening free to stroll and visit the Lepcha Village – Overnight stay at Hotel in Lachen.

Day 5 (11 May 2017)

Excursion To Gurudongmar Lake And Transfer To Lachung:-

(Duration:2 ½ - 3 ½ hours Approx) (Distance: 85kms )
Early morning breakfast – Visit to Gurudongmar Lake through which Lachen Chu flows, generally covered with snow from December to April or even more is known as the Holy / Sacred Lake - Next drive through the cold desert till Tibet / China back to Resort for Lunch – After lunch drive to Lachung - Back to hotel for lunch - After lunch proceed to Lachung -Check into hotel at Lachung - Evening free to visit Lachung Monastery - Overnight stay at Hotel at Lachung.

Day 6 (12 May 2017)

Sightseeing AtYumthang Valley + ZeroPoint (Optional) & Transfer To Gangtok:-

After breakfast drive towards Yumthang situated at an elevation of nearly 11800 feet - On the way you may visit the famous hot spring which is known for its curative properties of skin diseases - Yumthang is a valley near the river Lachung Chu surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends - In spring the valley erupts in riots of colors as Primulae, Rhododendrons and many other Alpine flowers in full bloom along with snow covered valley except in autumn - During winter Yumthang is somber with snow all around and the snow clad mountains adding to the ethereal beauty.

Optional Zero point(Additional Cost) is the last outpost of civilization. The road ends here. Peaceful valley and is quite windy - there was not much to hear but just stay here for some time to enjoy the beauty. With the majestic mountains and ice around - it was like being the only people in the world. Calm, quiet and a sense of insignificance - time seems to stand still here.... like nothing ever changes.Return to resort at Lachung for Lunch – Transfer to Gangtok – Reach Gangtok in the evening – Check into hotel – Night stay at Gangtok.

Day 7 (13 May 2017)

Excursion To Tsomgo Lake& Baba Mandir:-

Morning breakfast at hotel – Excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir nearly 40 kilometers - The Lake is oval shaped lake nearly 50 feet deep - Generally covered in snow for most of the year – This lake is home to the Brahmini ducks & many migratory birds – Nearby is the sacred Baba Mandir known to be a very holy site for all - Nathula Pass to Republic of China is nearly 20 kilometers and is optional tour - Back to Gangtok - Evening free to roam around M G Road (Mall) or local Shopping center - Over Night stay at Gangtok (In case of Landslide or due to any other reasons if Tshangu Lake is closed then an alternate sightseeing will be provided).

Optional Nathula(Additional Cost)(14140 Ft / 4310 Mts / 20 Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) Baba Mandir (13100Ft / 3994 Mts / 16Kms in 1Hrs one way from Tshangu Lake) is an Indo China border, controlled by the Indian Army & is situated approx 20 Kms ahead of Tshangu Lake at an height of 14140 Ft / 4310 At this point the right arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Baba Mandir & left arm of the “V” which is 4 Kms takes one to Nathula.

One can opt for Nathula Excursion by paying a supplement cost which varies from month to month. Nathula permit gets confirmed 24 hrs prior to the journey date & it is subjected to permit availability as it is allotted as per lottery. Nathula is closed on Monday & Tuesday for tourist. Organising the permit at the last moment is not possible & a clear window of 72 Hrs with proper documents is required to process the permit. To process the permit we would require 04 Passport Size Photograph & photo proof identity card such as Voter Id / Passport / Driving License. Pan card is not accepted as identity proof by authorities. There is no refund, in case the permit is confirmed by Sikkim tourism & due to whatsoever reason (Land slide, Heavy rain fall, VIP Movement, Health issue etc) one is not able to visit.

Day 8 (14 May 2017)

DepartureAt Airport (IXB) / Railway Station (NJP) :-

(Duration:4-5hours Approx) (Distance: 135kms )
After breakfast transfer to Siliguri / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) / Bagdogra Airport (IXB) Guest are advised to start early and not to rush - Forwarding Journey.

Cost is Rs.48,600/-

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On 2/17/2018 at 10:13 AM, Mady said:

I did this trip during the mid May..and April & June are preferable too..

Only the winter time is bad there, as per the locals..

I missed to see your other queries :)

How about covering Bhutan as well apart from the above itinerary? 
Not that I know of or can suggest any thing as my knowledge is limited here. However, if you can keep your trip flexible, I would rather suggest you to visit the museum in Darjeeling, check for the route plan more clearly and check with the cabbies there about the possible challenges. 

 

 

I luv to drive but its too far and needs one extra week holidays. 

How about driving from Bagdogra after landing in airport?
You can save a day  each ways (Up & down)..all the plan & timing will remain as-is, traveling in the mountain range is like, you can have avg 10-20KMPH, in most of the places. The detailed travel plan should give you more details on the time it takes for commuting from one place to another

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    • By LoneRanger
      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. 
       
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      (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)
       
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      (Entrance to the caves)
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      (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.
       
       


    • 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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