#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.
The Jungle Book By Rudyard Kipling - During my childhood , the only cartoon which used to come on DD is Junglebook. And the kids from early 90's late 80's would surely know the underwear clad Protagonist Mowgli. Some of us, like me, would also recollect the song "Jungle Jungle Baat chali hai , pata chala hai , chaddi pehenke phool kile hai" , Now you might be wondering why is this guy being nostalgic , well the story of Jungle book is set in Pench National Park. Hence the nostalgia.
Planning to the weekend Trip To Pench :
I stay in Hyderabad , and cannot complete the trip to Pench in a Weekend drive. But if you plan properly , you can complete the trip in a weekend. I did this trip with my parents, my dad being in his mid 60's is eager and enthusiastic for trips.
Booked a train from Secundrabad to Nagpur on a friday night. Booked a Zoom car on Saturday Morning from Nagpur. Booked a room in one of the resorts from Saturday to Sunday. (One Day). Booked Return Tickets on Sunday Night from Nagpur to Secundrabad. Reach Hyderabad on Monday morning , and go to office.
Actual Trip :
We have booked tickets to Nagpur on Secundrabad-Nagpur SF express , the train leaves at 22:15 from Secundrabad station. The train reaches 8:15 AM sharp to Nagpur station.
We woke up at 7 in the train itself , and freshened up. When the train reached Nagpur , for our conveyance i borrowed my friend's car. Very generous of him to lend his car for my family trip. He left the car for us at the station back gate. For other's , there are multiple options of self drive cars are available. Choose the car according to your needs.
Another thing i had to keep in mind with my elderly father is his food. He has to eat on time and take medicines accordingly. Hence we went to the nearest Haldiram's to have our breakfast. To my bad luck , this particular Haldiram's was serving all south indian breakfast that day. I wanted to try something with Pav. .
( Haldiram's where we had our breakfast)
(Inside of haldiram's , where we had our breakfast)
After having breakfast, my friend left for his place, and decided that we would catch up again here , to return back the car the next day. It was 10:00 A.M by the time we started for Pench National park.
We booked our accommodation at Pench Jungle Camp (https://www.penchjunglecamp.com/) , and we also booked the Breakfast, Lunch , Dinner package along with accomodation. We also made the safari booking through them. so no other headaches. but if you do book by yourself , it might be a little cheaper.
It took us 2 hours 30 mins(Approx) to reach Pench Jungle camp. And it was 12:30 P.M by the time we reached there. Took some time for check in , and had our Lunch immediately , before even going into our Tents. Lunch was buffet , completely Indian. You will find both Veg and Non-Veg options. Reachech Tents by 2:00 P.M.
(The fan and the chandelier inside the tent)
(beds , and a lovely wall art)
(Extra space with Sofas)
The tents are comfortable , we got ready by 3:30 P.M for the evening safari. The safari timing's is evening 4:00P.M till 7:00 P.M , and morning 5:30 A.M till 10:30 A.M.
We went to safari on both the days, Saturday evening and Sunday morning. As the Safari was organised by the Resort on Sunday morning , they had packed some sandwitches and boiled eggs , for us to eat. After coming back at 11:00 A.M , we had our break fast , went to our tents , freshened up and checked out at 1:00 P.M. We paid to have our Lunch , there in the resort , and left Pench by 2:30 P.M , By 5:30 we were back at Haldiram's in Nagpur , to catch up with my friend and have some coffee.
My friend dropped us at the railway station, we took the train Nagpur - SC train back to Hyderabad. Below are some of the pics from the safari.
(The water tanker is used to fill water in ponds for animals)
(If you are luck, you will spot a tiger , )
( This tent/housing belongs to forest dept , and they serve tea/biscuits for tourists, Also notice Mowgli , of the far left of the image)
(Deers in Pench River)
(Thats the safari Road)
Roadtrips... long drives... holiday to the hills driving our car, gives a high to all the drivers. Driving to the beaches or to the unexplored hills with our family or friends is an all-time favorite activity. Driving is fun, but a single error makes it a disaster.
All drivers know the feeling - a frightening realization behind the wheel of the car when a wave of drowsiness hits, that you may be too tired to go on. A blink of an eye is all it takes for one to end up trapped inside a toppled car or a badly mangled car in the opposite lane.
20% of the accidents on Indian Highways are caused by driver fatigue says a survey. It all happens in seconds, as said above, in a blink of an eye. Drowsiness is extremely dangerous.
Pushing yourself beyond the limits, just to make it on time or just to boast to your friends of your achievements of "non-stop 800kms drive" is the last thing you would want to do.
You Can’t Afford to Drive on Through Fatigue
Fatigue is a serious concern for everyone on the road. Feeling sleepy makes a driver, less attentive, and affects the driver’s ability to make quick decisions. You need to be able to navigate, merge safely, respond to unpredictable drivers, accidents, potholes or even the sudden appearance of a cattle.
Delayed reaction time can mean the difference between life and death – for you, or another person on the road. A tired mind also has more trouble concentrating, making it difficult to judge speed and distance.
Entering a trance-like state while driving is a trait we notice quite often while driving on highways at a constant speed, at constant cabin temperature. This is known as Highway Hypnosis. Becoming attuned to your body and its need for rest and sleep will make you a safer driver.
Warning Signals that It’s Time to Get Off the Road
Driving requires your undivided attention. If you notice one or more of these signs, it is time to get off the wheel and rest.
Frequent yawning & fidgeting
Frequent lane changes without knowing
Delayed reaction time
Missing on turns and signboards
Missing to check on ORVMs IRVMs
Missing to use indicators
Rolling down the window for fresh air
Blurred vision or frequent blinking
5 Tips to Combat Fatigue
1. Surveys show that a short nap can increase alertness and significantly lower the risk of driver fatigue. Take a short twenty-minute nap, preferably before you become too sleepy.
2. Avoid medications that may induce drowsiness.
3. Eat a healthy and balanced meal at regular intervals. Lack of proper food leads to a drop in blood sugar levels which makes us drowsy. Also, heavy meals make us lazy and sluggish increasing the drowsiness.
4. Coffee, smoking, turning up the volume on the radio and fresh air only work for short periods of time. Do not rely on them to keep you alert. (Personal experience, play those songs that give you a good feeling. Not too loud and not too much music. Play it at a medium volume, this will help you cruise at a constant speed making you feel attentive.)
5. Stay hydrated and also keep switching between ‘recirculating’ and ‘fresh-air’ modes on the air-con. A change in temperature helps you stay more alert. (Personal experience, roll down the window and allow fresh air and those traffic sound to enter the cabin. Hearing those makes us attentive and lets us drive till we find a good tree to rest under.)
Above all, never forget to take naps at regular intervals. It's not only beneficial to you, but also to your car, its engine, and tires. If you are really tired, never attempt to drive beyond the limits. It's your maturity and safe driving habits that ultimately call you a good driver, not your "800kms non-stop achievements".
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
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