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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.
If there is a reading meter in the market to gauge what I always love the most in nature , the scale will always be reading 100 % for beaches. Probably I didn't go to the right mountains in the right season and never fancy to get lock down inside a room after sunset since then. AND then this magic happened! After few trips to same Chirala and burning out my fuel of love and passion for beaches , probably I didn't want to see that place again . I packed my bags in summer and risk my preference for once and all changed ; Coornoor just flushed off my insensible attraction towards mountains to a desire for exploring more , loving more, tripping more in mountains.
After Bengaluru traffic beaten us badly , we speed up well through Mysuru highway, quickly took a tea break at my favourite spot @Gundlupet , we managed to cross all 31 hairpins of Ooty and its awful traffic at city centre. It was almost dark and up above the world so high... Moon was shining like a diamond in the sky! Before you reach Ooty, beautiful Bandipur and its forest life always cheesecake your life with taste of beautiful nature.
Our Resort was another 14 kms from Udagamandalam. It was an offbeat homestay with lake at one side, tea estate on both sides of the homestay, valleys and mountains all around us. The beauty of mountains, tea estate,azure sky, lively greenery around the stay was just a luxury you cant afford to miss! The gentle breeze and the freshness is so far away from the hustle bustle of city life and recycled air at home. On our way to the stay, we did spot quite a few bisons and wild deer. It was quite thrilling stay since we had no one around the venue though everything was quite safe and secure. The homestay has two bedrooms, well furnished with furnitures, bed, mattresses, pillows, glass windows every where, sofa, dinning hall and a kitchen will refrigerator , gas connection, spice , utensils everything. The food was arranged by the local guide himself for us during our stay and it was very economical.
Next day, the first thing on our agenda was to explore the property, tea estate and the road towards the lake. It was so so different for me for I have never explored mountains, tea estate with so much enthusiasm.
The local guide, take us around a lot of beautiful off beat places -Palada, Adikaratti, Nonsuch Tea estate, Archiesden, Dolphin Point and Lambs Rock. In One day we did cover a lot of points for photography and short breaks. While you continue driving across small villages, you do notice the beauty of ghat roads, tea estates, factories, vegetable washing machines , beautiful railway tracks for toy trains, trees filled with colorful flowers etc.
Archiesden is a peak point close to an eculaptus oil factory . Heard you can spot leopard after the sunset at this point. You need to hike for five ten minutes to reach this scenic beauty. You can see mountains, roads, life all around from the top as if you are the lord of the world and appreciating the beauty of your own creation. Clouds can touch you and go if you hike here early morning or in winters.
We did stop at a chinese restaurant for lunch though we wanted to try local Biriyani from a small outlet. The outlet was closed and we decided to go to a decent restaurant.
A must try - Honey Lemon Tea at TanTea stall in Coornoor. I did drink two cups myself . It is an awesome point for drinking tea and enjoy the sunset. The gentleman brew the tea in front of you in a carefe and serves you hot refreshing tea in a glass made cup and saucer.
You can drive around the military zone in Ooty for its beauty stretching across the golf course to Statues of National Leaders . Incase you are a coffee lover, sip a coffee from Bossoms coffee cafe in Ooty. Its really cool.
The local guide later took us at the top of a road close to Mahindra Holiday club resort for a scenic view of OOty from the top of the peak under full moon night! Its heaven. The pearl of lights all over just can kill you with its beauty. The lights across the small homes across the mountains, the moving traffic , the beauty of trees and moon playing hide and seek -is so so thrilling, probably one has to be on the spot someday to experience it. The place has so much of tranquility to offer , you wont feel like stepping out of the place till you are ready to go back home. I wish I had a bed there itself to experience the sunrise next day.
We decided to have dinner at the spot itself and was served with excellent dinner and a great hot tea after the dinner.
It was a long day for us and we drove back to the resort through the forest and ghats at night!.
The short trip was not only beautiful, it was a kind of a change for me too. It did change my outlook towards mountain, made me found a place where I sat and saw from the top of the peak both morning and night in two different beauties. I didn't miss sea for a second! Only thing that was missing from my list was - wrong opinions about mountains.
'Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar , Panchgani' - Monsoon Drive Meetup
Hyderabad to Koilsagar - Overnight BBQ camp under the stars - Report