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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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      After the first rest stop , there is enough tree cover and it was a little cloudy , we reached the second Gateway in some time. 

       
      The distance between the second and third Gateway is not much , but there is a increase in elevation. We soon reached the third gateway , and the the view looked like this after crossing the third gateway. 

       
      From here there is no tree cover , and to my bad luck there is no cloud cover either.  From here ,  if you walked towards right from the path , you would find some ruins. This signifies that you have reached level 1. From here the path goes on to the top of the hill. We kept on walking and discussing on how ingeniously the architect of the fort has constructed multiple Dams to conserve rain water. 

      (Level 1 ruins towards the left of the picture and Check Dams to conserve towards the right of the Picture) 
       
      From here the walk way is very steep , one has to be careful. And this can be slippery during rains. 

      (Steep Walk way , with stairs cut into the rock, Rails installed in the modern era for support, Another Check Dam towards right and Mr.Daddy gauging on how far we have to go)
       
      After this i was completely exhausted , and stopped at every 5-10 minutes on the pretext of taking pictures 😛 ,  Approximately after an hour we started , we reached the top of the fort. 
      (Celebratory pic of climbing the hill, My smile will tell you how happy i was on the top, the cannon at the back might be a late addition to the fort , as they were developed only in 15th century) 
       
      There are three structures at the top of the Hill , one ruined old fort , and two other government buildings , with Cellular tower on top of one. The other building was build on top adjacent to an old well. (The Pic of the fort). 
       
      The views from the top of the hill are simply amazing. Google maps told us that we were 1000 meters above MSL. Below are a few pics of the views from the fort. 

       (You can spot Bhongir Railway station , from where i first saw this magnificent Hill Fort. Also , at the bottom right , notice how Dams were constructed to save water.)
       

      (Another pond , and the fort wall at a distance)
       
      We explored the whole place for an hour , found a small entrance and a staircase, just out of curiosity i went in and started climbing the stairs , and Mr.Daddy followed me. 
      The stairs took us to the top of the fort. There is no higher point in Bhongir Than this.  

      (The fort view from behind)

       

      (Me after conquering the fort, instead of a sword i posed with an Umbrella, modern day weapon to fight the soldiers of the nature) 
      By 2 o clock we were hungry and decided to descend, as soon as we thought of of it , we could see dark clouds manifest out of no where and weather became cloudy and pleasant.  I wonder where these clouds were when i was climbing up the hill.   

       
      We climbed down, and there were 6 other cars parked in the parking. We went to the shop next to ticket counter had another bottle of water. Went to a nearby restaurant in Bhongir and had our lunch. After and uneventful lunch , we started back to Hyderabad , and it started raining just as we were ready to leave Bhongir. 
      Tips for Trek to the Top : 
      Carry your own water one bottle per person. Carry an umbrella , Sun or Rain it will help you a lot.  Avoid Summers , It was tiring to climb in October Sun. Imagine April Sun beating down on you.   
      Suggest to go in groups, Half of the time i was engrossed in deep conversations with Mr.Daddy , and didn't feel the tiredness. 
      Wear shoes and avoid Slippers and Flip flops at all costs

      PS: For those who are wondering , why i call him Daddy , You can find the explanation in my previous write up






    • By rkamal
      This Dussehra holidays we planned a long road trip to Coimbatore in our EcoSport.
       
      Thanks to India-Drive members, especially @sagar @Ranger for suggesting trip route and staying food options along the route. 
       
      Day -1:
       
      We started around 4 AM from Miyapur, Hyderabad. Drive till Anantapur is quite familiar to me, as i have driven this route many times.
       
      Drive was excellent with good pleasant weather, around 9:30 AM We reached Anantapur for breakfast at Club RuRu.
       
      Food was good as well as the service and atmosphere. After some nice breakfast we started towards Bangalore, as we approach the outskirts of the city traffic made us slow down, and also the fear of over-speeding and getting fined made me cautious, kept at 60-80 speeds reached Devanahalli around 12:30 PM.
       
      Our EcoSport flyaudio gave us this route which bypassed the traffic areas of the city (silkboard, electronic city) and took us to the sarjapura main road and joined on the NH just after the electronic city. The route we took to bypass the city is quite scenic and some places were narrow roads. and in some parts very rough roads (2-4 KM) with construction work is ongoing. I am attaching the route map for reference.
       
      Around 2:30 we reached Hosur outskirts, despite being a Sunday afternoon the road is filled with heavy vehicles occupying all the lanes and made us slow down, managed to reach a good restaurant which serves good tamil meals by 3:00 PM.
       
      The food was good and hot. after staying so long out of Tamilnadu we always look forward to eating in Tamilnadu hotels, glad we could make it for lunch.
       
      After lunch started the journey towards Salem, Roads were quite good and smooth but not as wide as Hyderabad-bangalore highway. Not a pleasant experience as the vehicles seems to be in hurry and not giving space occupying all lanes, had to be very patient to outmatch the city buses.
       
      Kept a average speed of 60-80 KM reached Salem, thought have a break at Salem, but due to some politicians visit (i am guessing its CM visiting his native Town) the roads were filled with cops asking us not to stop and keep left. At some places the cops were confusing us with their directions, over all a confused environment, but good thing is they reroute the heavy vehicles like lorries and trucks to some other route, so we had a clear road ahead of us.
       
      The only catch is we couldn't stop for the tea break. And it started drizzling once we past Salem, it's almost 7 PM, and those rerouted trucks joined us back while we are nearing Coimbatore making our last leg of journey more interesting  At Komarapalayam we stopped for some hot Badam Milk and much needed break.
       
      After that it was nice to drive to the coimbatore city with with lit wide roads, reached around 9:15 PM to Sungam cross roads, Coimbatore. After parked the vehicle and went inside the house all of us were feeling that still we are moving. From morning 4 to night 9 this makes my longest distance driven in a day. (960 KM says speedometer)
       
       We visited the famous GeDee Car museum, Coimbatore. the beauty of the museum is we can see so many vintage cars at one place which are maintained so good.
       
       Checkout few pics:

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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