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Ravi

Solo Sojourn! Hyderabad - Srisailam - Nalla Malla - Gandikota

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Right from childhood, I always had this inner desire to stay alone for a certain period of time, do my chores, live my life all by myself, without my mother helping me nor my dad telling me what to do. I wanted to lead an independent life. This was because I never left home for any part of my life. So I took up this oath for myself that I would travel solo for at least 1 week of the 52 weeks in a year.

 

This year,2017, was no different. It was 4 day trip within the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

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Hyderabad- Srisailam-Nalla malla forest- Nalla malla jungle camps- Gandikota- Hyderabad

 

The numbers :

Car : Hyundai elite i20

Mileage : 16.5kmpl (tank full to tank full)

Total trip : 935kms

 

 

It was not a pre- planned trip. Just as when things at home were at peace, a little effort to persuade mom paid off, a quick search in the India-drive paved the way for this trip.

 

A Teaser !

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Day 1

Drive day is the only day I would wake up so early in the morning (read 4 am) without even alarm setting off.

Started at 5 am, and the plan was to reach Srisailam Dam before crowd sets in and explore the route from Srisailam temple to Nalla Malla Jungle resorts

 

Gachibowli ORR - Dindi Reservoir- Srisailam

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Smooth roads and early morning fog made the drive refreshing!

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Reached Dam by 8:30am, crowd was sparse

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Clicking ample pictures, chugged along at a leisurely pace

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Moving along reached the top of Srisailam. I wanted to savour the moment, found a calm place over looking the dam. Spent a moment in tranquility and drove on.

 

I am a self proclaimed atheist, so skipped visiting the temple and drove down the hill towards Dornala.

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With smooth tarmac and winding Ghats, the roads up until Dornala Junction were smooth as silk

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The drive got rugged and bumpy after taking a right at Dormala Junction, leading towards Bairutly on the Vijayawada- atmakur Highway.The road passes through thick and dense Nalla Malla Forest.It is a single lane, potholed road with heavy truck traffic, often veering off the road to allow truck to pass by.

 

As irritating as it can get, and as bumpy as it could be, the silence in the forest and green cover has more than made up for the effort put in driving through this route.

 

Stopped by a thick canopy of heavily grown bamboo trees/plants on either side of the road, turned off the engine, windows rolled down and a breath of fresh air brushes your hair.

 

Blisss!! Savour the moment!The canopy was so dense, even sunlight couldn’t peek through, hence no photographs!

 

Reached Nalla Malla Jungle Camps by 2:30pm. The manager was kind enough to arrange for some home made meals for my lunch.

The resort had 4 double occupancy cottages and 3 tent like looking rooms and one dormitory.

 

This was my allocated cottage!

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The rest of the day was spent in leisure, talking to the staff about the safari the next day and their lively hood in such dense forest.

 

Day 2

It was quite a while since I had such peaceful sleep. Owing to such calm, non-polluted area and beautifully maintained rooms sound sleep was inevitable.

 

Since it was holiday and festival of Diwali, the resort had no guests. I was the only moron I guess who wanted to elude the city pollution.

 

So I had the whole day to myself and I was up and ready by 6am for the safari.

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A quick breakfast and off we went

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The safari vehicle

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The crew consisted of a driver (working as a driver for forest officers for the past 6 years) and local ‘gudem’ guy, Saidulu, who entered the safari vehicle with an axe. Safety I would think!

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It was a 8km circuit through the jungle I was told and would take about 2 hours for the safari

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When I asked the driver, what would be the odds of finding the Big Cat, he replied recklessly “very very very slim”

 

Just then, he slammed the brakes of the shoddy safari vehicle and spoke to Saidulu

 

He got down with the axe and did this ..

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Meanwhile,continuing my chat with the driver and looking around to spot the tiger, he asked me to get down the vehicle and walk with him. Apparently he found something odd at a distance.

 

Walking along..

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“Its a female” the driver reckoned!

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How? I spurted out!

 

Looking at the edge of those pug marks, the rounded edges denote female. Male would have claws which would have dug deep into the mud, he explained!

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We decided to leave the vehicle behind and start walking.

 

In excitement left my Camera in the vehicle (Facepalm Moment!)

 

As we walked along, we found more pug marks and we were sure to find a few a small distance ahead.

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We walked for almost an hour, in search of the Wild cat but to no avail.

 

We came across one of the bunkers/ rest areas for men who patrol the forests. There is one such bunker for every 40sqkm and they have 8 men guarding the area round the clock from poachers!

 

Sadly though there have been reported cases of deaths caused by Tiger attacks on these men.

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This is the path taken by people who visit the Holy shrine of Srisailam during Maha Shiva ratri.This path transverses through the thick jungle, amassing a distance of 80kms.

 

Enroute they have 3 pitstops, each at a temple which provides free food.They would cover the distance in about 11hrs flat.

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We were already Walking along the thick forests for almost 3hrs now and I was almost drained.

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Spotted a few deers here and there

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We sat down at a small pond under the shade of a tree.

 

I asked Saidulu more about his life and what do they do to survive.

 

He very simple replied “ government free rice isthadi, avi udakapedithe ganji osthadi, ullipaya & mirapakaya ikkada pandistham, aviti tho tinestham.dabbulu sampadinchali ani em undadu saaru ikkada”

 

(Translation: Govt gives free supplies of rice, we cook and extract porridge. We grow onions and chilli, we eat rice along with it. We don’t think about earning money)

 

He was very vivid in whatever he told us, what problem they often encounter, how his childhood was.

 

After a while he was kind enough to invite me to his ‘Gudem’

 

It was an hour walk through the forest again. My eyes never stopped trying to spot a tiger though.

 

There were about 35 people living in the ‘gudem’. They seemed content with what all they had, the kids were smiling and the ladies had their own avagatxion of either raising kids or singing their daily chores away.

 

Lunch, was their staple food. A bowl of rice porridge, onion and chilli as accompaniment!

 

(Left my camera in the vehicle & phone battery drained out. Hence no pictures)- Sorryyy :(

 

After spending time with the local ppl , we started our long walk back to the resort. While we were walking back i was fortunate enough to spot a few cubs playing at a distance.

 

No means to capture, it was just see and enjoy.

 

After a long day, dozed off early as I had made plans to visit Gandikota the next day.

 

Day 3:

Plan was to reach Gandikota as soon as possible and relax during sunset time at the view point.

 

After breakfast, spoke to the manager there and bit adieu to the staff.

 

Bairutly- Atmakur-Jammalamadugu- Gandikota

 

It was a 3.5hrs drive with roads varying from single late to beautiful 4 lanes.

 

Reached Gandikota by 2pm.

 

Explored the surrounding area of Kottalapalli, famour for windmills

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The service road leading to the Windmills

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It was too hot and humid, and I drove back to the resort to rest till evening.

 

Made it to the view point by sunset time, and it was heavily crowded.

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Had an early dinner and dozed off. The beds and rooms were ill maintained at Haritha resort. I could barely sleep.

 

Day 4:

Woke up early, had little breakfast at the resort and started my drive back to Hyderabad by 8 am

 

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All the rounds were either 2lane or 4 lanes opening upto beautiful lush green fields on either side of the roads.

 

Stopped by Owk Resevoir, which was full owing to bountyful rains they received this year

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Had lunch at food pyramid at Kothakota.

 

Reached hyderabad by 1:30pm

 

The car was battered to the maximum extent with dust and mud and it was cleaning time in the evening.

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It got all the pampering it deserved

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All in readiness for the next drive!!!

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Until then, Drive safe!!!

 

P.S : After I forgot to carry my camera during the safari, I have decided to make this " All Mobile camera pictures only" trip. Sorry for the shady images if any :P 

 

 

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Nailed it. Great pictures.
Read the log three times, I believe such trips can be done who is very passionate.

Now you planted a solo drive bomb in my mind.

It will trigger at some point, very soon!

 

35 minutes ago, Ravi said:

I would travel solo for at least 1 week of the 52 weeks in a year.

 

I have done few Solo drives, usually I drive back home by night.

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9 minutes ago, Ranger said:
Nailed it. Great pictures.
Read the log three times, I believe such trips can be done who is very passionate.

Now you planted a solo drive bomb in my mind.
It will trigger at some point, very soon!
 
 
I have done few Solo drives, usually I drive back home by night.

 


Hehehe between Gowtham, i need new set of stickers. Had to remove the old ones, while waxing the car!

 

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2 minutes ago, Ravi said:

i need new set of stickers.

 

Sure, will pass them on the next meetup. 
We should plan a quick drive. 

Need some photography inputs from your end, will discuss with you and Omkar on this weekend. 

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Sure, will pass them on the next meetup. 
We should plan a quick drive. 
Need some photography inputs from your end, will discuss with you and Omkar on this weekend. 

Always at your service !
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Too good @Ravi I do have a habit of driving solo for as long as I can see the highway, but need to plan this kinda stuff sometime..!! Lot of Bairutly Jungle camp discussions / pictures around in the last couple of months, will have  to check this place out ASAP.

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Too good [mention=35]Ravi[/mention] I do have a habit of driving solo for as long as I can see the highway, but need to plan this kinda stuff sometime..!! Lot of Bairutly Jungle camp discussions / pictures around in the last couple of months, will have  to check this place out ASAP.

I suggest you to visit this place during summers! As per locals, the chances of spotting a tiger are higher during that time.
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2 minutes ago, Ravi said:


I suggest you to visit this place during summers! As per locals, the chances of spotting a tiger are higher during that time.

Oh! I always though opposite, In summers they generally do not get out and chances of spotting them are slim.. 

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In summers chances of spotting are high.

They come out for water.

Safari guys know the exact spot and timing.

 

In few forest reserves they create artificial pools for animals.

 

Density of tigers are very less in Nallamalla, one must be super lucky to spot a tiger.

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Oh! I always though opposite, In summers they generally do not get out and chances of spotting them are slim.. 

Tigers actually like the shade and coolness of a bamboo tree. During summers they rest under their shade.

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In summers chances of spotting are high.
They come out for water.
Safari guys know the exact spot and timing.
 
In few forest reserves they create artificial pools for animals.
 
Density of tigers are very less in Nallamalla, one must be super lucky to spot a tiger.

There are quite a few artificial ponds in the forest here. Also there are about 72 tigers in nalla malla as on june 2017
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@Ravi Brilliantly written bro. I had no idea that you done this trip until now. To my surprise, I've been wondering about when did this even happen even thought we catch up everyday :D

Now that you have done this solo, you are gonna become an inspiration to a many in this group. Keep revving. :cooler:

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[mention=35]Ravi[/mention] Brilliantly written bro. I had no idea that you done this trip until now. To my surprise, I've been wondering about when did this even happen even thought we catch up everyday
Now that you have done this solo, you are gonna become an inspiration to a many in this group. Keep revving. :cooler:

It just happened.
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19 hours ago, Ravi said:

Also there are about 72 tigers in nalla malla as on june 2017

 

Number of tigers are high in  Nallamalla forest.
Major Problem, Nallamalla forest is huge (low tiger density)


If they can increase the tiger density, It has potential to become a major tourist destination(Thadoba).

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Excellent write-up@Ravi
Good that you spotted pug marks and visited Gudem. I couldn't find pug marks there. And they didn't encourage me to walk deep inside the forest. I was with my parents probably that might be the reason. I also couldn't go to Gudem considering my car's GC.
After all Nallamalla Jungle Camps is the best place to visit from Hyderabad for wild experience.
According to Rajendra Prasad, tiger spottings are more in the summer season it would be good to plan that time around.

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Excellent write-up[mention=35]Ravi[/mention]
Good that you spotted pug marks and visited Gudem. I couldn't find pug marks there. And they didn't encourage me to walk deep inside the forest. I was with my parents probably that might be the reason. I also couldn't go to Gudem considering my car's GC.
After all Nallamalla Jungle Camps is the best place to visit from Hyderabad for wild experience.
According to Rajendra Prasad, tiger spottings are more in the summer season it would be good to plan that time around.

We could barely walk in such dense forests, GC is another issue!
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It was a wonderful experience reading through your post.

Your words, combined with your pictures are Inspiring.
 

Keep Inspiring people like me.
Would love to read more of your experiences. 


I'm back in Hyderabad, will catch up on the next drive meetup.

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brilliantly written.. awesome pictures.. I feel, one should spent at least few moments in solitude. That's the best time when you can talk to. yourself.

Once again, a lovely write up with some splendid pictures.. Thanks for sharing.!!

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Very nice @Ravi

You have great writing + photography skill.
Would love to read more from you.


I have given your plan to one of colleague.
He is planning to start this weekend.

Thank you for sharing.  

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      Same friend of mine booked a Room for us in  3 Star Hotel - Hotel Preethi Classic http://www.hotelpreethiclassic.com   which was closer to city center and had quick tour of Tea Factory , Botanical gardens did shopping at Tibet Market - Finding Good food in Ooty is little tough and we had our breakFast at A2B and its pretty decent and good .
       
      Return Journey was Simple - Stopping here and there for few clicks and my car being Wagon R and people cautioned about clutch issues generally occur in that route and asked me to take some breaks and give some time for car and then start ...slowly reached Gudalur and it took sweet 4 hrs including photo breaks and tea breaks , Reached Mysore by 8:00 P:M  ,me being no mood to drive  wanted a break and i thought of starting next day early morning , and went to Ganapathi Sachithananda Aashram  -
       
      They allotted a room  , we went to near by restaurant and had dinner - Next Day Morning after a good nap and fresh-up started at 5:30 A:M to Bangaore- Hyderabad , Had Break fast at A2B Food Court after Mysore on Bangalore Highway [Excellent and Neat rest Rooms] 
      Crossed Bangalore in midst of heavy traffic and being Monday it was very very tedious to cross Bangalore - Had stop after Bangalore at Shell Bunk and topped up the fuel ,they have checked the car and i took their engine oil and they did the oil change in quick time and started for Hyderabad . Bangalore Highway is one of the best roads i have driven and being day time we can find less traffic on Roads and one can certainly get bored too ...went into Anantapur town in search of a good mess for Lunch but traffic made to change our plans and we stopped at Dhaba some where in between Anantapur and Kurnool  highway .
       
      After having Some Rotis started for Hyderabad which was Straight Road with speed breakers here and there 
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  • Gandikota meetup on January 26 and 27th

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