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#One Baleno#6 Souls#One destination#tones of memories#Bucket list tick#Gandikota Belum caves
Trip planning started 6 months before and it kept on changing. Finally accommodation booked and trip scheduled on 24.Jan.2020.
Thanks to Ksk (Sathish) and Dishari for continuous guidance on route and stay.
Car: Baleno ZETA CVT
Members: 4 Adults and 2 kids
Places visited: Gandikota & Belum caves. One can visit places like Owk reservoir, Yaganti temple, Orvakal
rock garden based on time availability.
Route taken: Hyd-Kurnool-Nandyal-Gandikota-Belum caves-Banaganapali-Betamcherla-Kurnool-Hyd
- Hyd-Kurnool-Nandyal: Roads are good
- Nandyal-Gandikota: Roads are good. 50 km before Gandikota roads are average to bad and
passes through villages.
- Gandikota-Belum caves-Banaganapali-Betamcherla-Kurnool : Roads are average and passes
through villages. Once you touch NH40 then roads are good.
- Kurnool-Hyd: Roads are good.
- Route map provided for ref.
Distance traveled: ~ 800 KM
Toll charges (Fastag): Rs. 650
Petrol expanse: Rs. 3700
Trip was awesome, except Aarav (my son) fall sick on day of trip with viral fever. But throughout trip he supported us with his smile. The complete success of trip goes to him.
At Gandikota you need to wear good shoes to walk on rocks along with comfortable cloths.
Avoid it during summer & heavy rains.
People with breathing and BP related issues should avoid Belum caves.
Stay option at Gandikota:
Option 1: Non AC tents
Cost is Rs. 1000 per person with food on twin sharing basis.
The only problem is during rainy season this will not be good. Also for common washroom, you need to travel 500 m.
Option 2: AC tents
Very costly around Rs. 3000 per person with food on twin sharing basis. Sometime even they charge Rs 3500. Tents without food charges will be Rs. 3000 on twin sharing basis.
Need online booking via freakout.
Washroom is attached to tent.
Opion 3: AC rooms at Hariths resorts
We found this good and reasonable. Per room cost is Rs 1600 from Mon-Wed and on Thur-Sun it will be Rs. 2000 (taxes extra).
Rooms are good and 500 m away from site.
Rooms being limited we need to book online via AP tourism website.
Food options at Gandikota
Only food option is Haritha resort (if you have not booked tents). We found food is average and can be manageable. We have carried electric cooker and prepared food by our self.
Food options at Belum caves
There is a small hotel available near to booking window. They serve cold drink, water and snacks. We found food is average and can be manageable.
You can enjoy this trips in 2 days. I advise you to make it on weekdays as there will be less rush. For us it took 3 days as we are travelling with kids and we don’t want to drive in night and early mornings.
Disclaimer: Not all of the photos are taken by me. Few are from my friends mobile.
Xiomi note 6 pro
Beauty of place you can derived from photos.
Precursor to the Trip:
Mr.Daddy calls me up on Oct 2nd in the evening.
Daddy : I had to work today , who the hell works on Gandhi jayanthi? They don't even sell Liquor today.
Me : Chill Macha , we chose this job. And have to take everything it throws at us.
Daddy: I need some relaxation , plan something for the weekend.
Me : Hmm, lets go to Bhuvanagiri Fort, I have been meaning to trek that fort since childhood.
The plan has been made , but could not be executed the Dussehra weekend, due to the obvious reasons. Our Wives would let us go on a trek on a festival day. And i totally forgot about it , till 12th When Mr.Daddy messages to ask me if i'm available to do the trek on 13th (Sunday). I said yes , and the trip was on.
Hill Fort of Bhuvanagiri:
If you have ever have traveled to Warangal by road or by train you would not miss this small fort on top of the hill. I remember watching the hill for the first time as a kid, from a train window, on my way to Hyderabad. Since then i was always fascinated by this small fort and it was my long lasting desire to trek to the top of it.
The fort is constructed in the 10th century A.D by Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI. That makes this fort atleast 1000 years old. In contrast Golconda fort is 400 years old. And Since it is built by Tribhuvanamalla , the fort is called Tribhuvanagiri , Which latter became Bhuvanagiri and with the Persian and Urdu influence of the local kings became Bhongir. The fort was built on a small egg shaped hill, and there were small steps cut into the rock to climb up to the fort.
Drive To The Fort:
I started at 8:30 A.M on Sunday morning , and started towards Mr.Daddy's home in Manikonda, Hyderabad. I picked him up and on the way we stopped at Organic hotel to have breakfast. After having quick breakfast we took the ORR to reach Warangal Highway.
(Organic Hotel , where we had or break Fast)
As there was no hurry , we mostly drove in the middle lane at 80KMPH max speed, The ORR charged us 140/- to get down at Warangal high way, And soon after that we had to pay another toll on the highway, We took a to and fro pass for 140/- and went on our way. The toll has dedicated lanes for fastag , and if you still don't have one Get one ASAP.
As soon as you cross the toll gate and proceed further , you see something like this (Image is taken from Wiki)
With the help of google maps we reached the entry point of the fort. There are two gates to get into , one for regular tourists and another for rock climbing school in the premises. There is ample space to park 8-10 cars. We parked our car , proceeded to the shop next to the ticket counter bought ourselves a water bottle & moved to ticket counter to buy our tickets. Ticket cost for Adults is rs: 10/- per head.
The Rock has steps cut into it , which looks fairly a recent addition to the 1000 year old Hill Fort. We started our climb from this point.
The weather forecast for Bhongir on that day was partially cloudy and with intermittent rains. But Sun god has different plans for us. It was hot and the rock reflected the heat. After a brief walk , we ended up at the first gateway to the fort. There was some shade and i sat there for a couple of minutes.
(The first gateway , where you will find some shade.)
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
We (my son and me) went to Kondaveedu Fort on Jan 13, 2019, in our Baleno. It is approximately 275 km from Hyderabad, and drive time is around 5-1/2 hrs.
Hyderabad -> Narketpalli -> Narsaraopet -> Phirangapuram -> Kondaveedu Fort
Kondaveedu Fort is situated in a beautiful spread of Kondaveedu mountain ranges, located 1700 feet above the sea level and at a distance of 26 kms from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. The fort being located on a hill top, the view from this place is awe inspiring. And driving through the newly-laid continuous hairpin bend (almost 20) ghat road is exhilarating to say the least. It is a shame that this beautiful place, once flourished as the capital of Reddy kings, could not fast become a tourist hotspot. It is only in recent years, tourists from across the state are thronging the place and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area.
We started from Hyderabad at 5:30 am and reached the fort by 10:30 am. We drove to the top of the hill, spent some time, took some photographs, enjoyed beautiful view of natural scenery and returned back. Unfortunately, we could not get into the fort as renovation work was still going on. Later, we went to Mangalagiri and Kanuka Durga temples and returned back to Hyderabad same day by 7:15 pm. Total trip distance was 635 km.
Since Kondaveedu Fort can be reached easily via road and has excellent roads, I would recommend going here for a picnic and returning on the same day. However, if you want to crash, put up in any hotel in Guntur. Although the roads have been maintained, there are not many options for food and drinks around the fort. However, presently renovation work is going on and no tourists are allowed to go to the top of the hill. We were fortunate enough to be allowed.
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