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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