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Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani, Road trip, Monsoon Drive

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'Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar , Panchgani' - Monsoon Drive Meetup - October 8th and 11th 2016
 

Start point - Gachibowli (ORR)

End point - Panchgani hill top (Accommodation)

Start time - 4 :15 a.m.

Total Distance - ~610 kms

Objective - A monsoon drive meet to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani during a long festive weekend.

 

Participants:

 

1) Maruthi Suzuki Swift

2) Volks Wagen Polo

3) Hyundai Creta (Red)

4) Hyundai Creta (White)

 

Route Taken:

Option 1 

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Pargi --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Baramati (Via Akkalkot) --> Solapur --> Indrapur --> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Single lane road till Solapur, but some sections are super good and some are average, no potholes. 

 

Option 2

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Zaheerabad --> Solapur --> Indapur--> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Last 100 kilometers before Solapur is pathetic, road is filled with potholes.

 

Option 3

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Zaheerabad -->Humnabad --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Baramati (Via Akkalkot) --> Solapur --> Indapur --> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Smoothest and longest of all. 

 

While you are coming back, would suggest you to take following route, so that you can cover KAS, valley of flowers.

Mahabaleshwar --> KAS --> Satara --> Pandharpur --> Solapur --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Humnabad --> Zaheerabad --> Hyderabad (Gachibowli)

Cover Pic: 

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Places to visit in Panchgani:

Panchgani is a pseudo head quarter for the parasailing which is conducted through out the year except during the monsoons.

1) Table Land

2) Parsi Point

3) Sydney Point

4) Devil's Kitchen

5) Mahabaleshwar

 

Places to visit in Mahabaleshwar:

There are as many as 30 viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar. Few of the major places are,

1) Elephant's head point

2) Arthur's seat

3) Kate's point

4) Kaas Plateau (Valley of flowers)

5) Venna Lake

6) Panchganga Temple

7) Mapro garden

8) Lingmala waterfalls

9) Pratapgad fort

10) Elphinstone point

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Having all the recipe ready for the meetup on a long weekend, the drive had begun on a rainy morning when the clock swept 5:15 a.m. It's perhaps surprising but true that driving on a rainy day is more dangerous than driving on a snowy one. Knowing the statistics of how tough the start of the drive was when the visibility showed zero, the convoy was as cautious as it could get until the sun showed up. Pacing up the track towards Kalaburagi (Gulbarga), we took our first pit stop at 'Lumbini's Grand Hotel' for breakfast by 9:30 a.m 

 

After a decent drive in the heavy rain until we reached Kalaburagi, the condition of the road was pretty good.

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It is a decent 4 lane track with less traffic where you can cover quite a distance in a short while.

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The track of the road is excellent after you cross Kalaburagi and it starts to deteriorate as you reach a town named Akkalkot. The road from Akkalkot to Solapur is an average track where you come across frequent ditches and pot holes.

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The moment you get on to the Solapur-Pune Highway, the road is just bliss. We had come across many decent restaurants for families all along the highway and we stopped by the 'Athithi' restaurant for lunch for another pit-stop around 12 30 p.m.

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After a 100 km drive on this flawless highway, you bifurcate towards 'Indrapur' and proceed towards Baramati. This road is a decent 2 lane track with less potholes and more than decent for a comfortable drive.

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Having covered most of the distance in quite a decent amount of time, we started taking frequent pit-stops to live the beauty the nature and we proceeded towards Wai before we reached our stay at Panchgani.

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We got off the road track to explore more of the offbeat and untouched side of the western ghats on our way to Panchgani

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All the cars have lined up for a photo session

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After the first leg of enjoying nature, we started to pace up towards our stay at Panchgani and we reached our destination by 8:00 p.m.image_3196.jpg

 

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Panchgani - A quaint Hill station..Panchgani is a small town on the way to Mahabaleshwar with an unhurried relaxed charm with its strawberry farms, boarding schools and old British buildings. Panchgani is set at the foot of five hills and blessed with pleasant weather around the year which is an ideal weekend destination from Mumbai and Pune. The five hills surrounding Panchgani set atop a volcanic plateau opens up numerous vistas making Panchgani a photographer's paradise! Major attractions of Panchgani are Sydney Point,Table Land, Parsi Point, Devil's Kitchen.

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Day : 01 - In Panchgani, we wanted to check out some off-beat locations and explore the untouched sights around the place and hence our drive begun post breakfast

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As we started our drive towards the Kaas plateau to explore the Kaas pathar and the Kaas lake bed, we had come across a beautiful sight filled with a lot of fog and green land full of flowers... Yes the mother nature started to show good on us as we climbed the Panchgani ghat.image_3202.jpg

 

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Kas Plateau - The Valley of Flowers..Kas Plateau or as popularly called Kas Pathar is a vast plateau in Satara district which during most parts of the year is just a hinterland on the way to Tapola and Mahabaleshwar. It's a plateau situated amidst high hills and grasslands which turns into a 'valley of flowers' during monsoon season, especially in the month of August. The valley of flowers of Kas pathar even overshadows Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani in popularity as a weekend destination during the months of July and August when the vast plateau of Kas transforms itself into a bed of flowers with more than 150 varieties of flowers.

 

We had taken quite a lot of pitstops to cherish the beauty in nature on our way towards the Kas pathar (valley of flowers) 

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We started to explore the untouched beauty of the Kas plateau. Ask the people of India-Drive about how it is enjoy nature when there is no crowd.. Calm.. Serene and Blissful.. !!!

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A look down to sight the whole of Panchgani when you stand high above the clouds :rolleyes:

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Those amazing times when your foot couldn't stand still to cover all the distance and sight every single bit in the scene.. :cooler:

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And we felt prey to capturing some memories of the place

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With a score of this beautiful valley offering a panoramic vista, the whole team excites to pose at this natures artistry! 

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With salubrious weather throughout the drive, we enjoyed every bit of it craning out and cherishing all the beauty that nature had offered

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We have taken the roads less traveled to absorb all the untouched beauty in and around Panchgani

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How much ever freedom the open roads had offered us, we never miss out on driving in a convoy.. 

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The visibility factor has almost become zero as we moved towards Bamnoli ghat section. We had enjoyed this phase of nature too.

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Pretty soon, the weather got even colder and the fog turned so intense that we could hardly sight the other end of the lake..The Happy Couple - Tej and Sruthika :)

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We have waited until the fog got cleared and commenced our drive ahead towards the top most point of the Kas pathar

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We have lined up for a short photo session at a beautiful view point to stretch ourselves

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Towards the south of the Kas Plateau is the Kas Lake which adds to the beauty of the flower carpet the plateau adorns. Kas lake looks like a bowl carved out of the green verdant mountains. With mist all around, we hardly found another colour to sight except white.

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They never miss out on any drive 'India-Drive' does.. 'The fantastic 4'

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Ascend the ghats from Bamnoli and you are at the beautiful seasonal flower beds of Kas Pathar which is a must do especially in Aug - Sept. For the first time we felt that the mist was spoiling our sight at the 'Valley of flowers' 

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On our way back from the Kas plateau, we had stopped by numerous view points which were not on the commercial end 

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Few glimpses of the beautiful Kas Plateau :D

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Without these cheerful souls, the trip wouldn't have been so much fun

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End of Day 01, We have closed down the night with some fun filled interactive games and BBQ ..

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Day - 02, The next morning started off with a small hike around the valley in the backyard :)

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And then our drive on Day 02 had begun to explore the places around Mahabaleshwar

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Mahabaleshwar - The Queen of Hills

Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau, bound by valleys on all sides. Celebrated as the Queen of Hills Mahabaleshwar truly lives upto its reputation with its mesmerising beauty. It is a perfect getaway and is well known for its panoramic viewpoints. There are as many as 30 viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar.

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Mahabaleshwar has different shades during different seasons and offers a delectable experience in all the seasons. The best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is Sept - Nov.

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There is lots to see and experience in Mahabaleshwar. Amongst the major attraction in Mahabaleshwar are the Venna Lake and Old Mahabaleshwar with the Panchganga temple. If you want to see strawberry farms a good place would be the Mapro gardens. 

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Our drive towards Tapola was chosen as the first leg to be covered for the day

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Tapola - The Mini Kashmir

Tapola famously called the mini Kashmir of the west. It is a rustic hamlet with a magnificent lake - Shivsagar. It is at the end of the road and practically a dead end! From Mahabaleshwar Tapola is 25 kilometres away and the drive to Tapola is a picturesque one with vistas galore on either side of the road.

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The primary attraction in Tapola is the Shivsagar Lake - a 90 km long water body infact the reservoir of the Koyna dam. If you are a water sports enthusiast Tapola is the place to head to. Be it boating, water scooter rides, kayaking or swimming Tapola. image_3241.jpg

 

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The whole team pose cheers by the Venna Lake before we drove down to the restaurant for lunchimage_3243.jpg

 

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Our 2nd leg of drive post lunch was to checkout the famous view points of Mahabaleshwar which the dense fog around the place had pulled us aback.. The visibility factor turned out to be absolutely zero which had given us zero possibility of sight at all the view points. A dense fog filled conjuncture which takes us to the Elphinstone point and the famous Arthur's seat view points each..

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As the sky turned dark, we waited for the fog to clear out which turned out to be of no help and we drove back home for the day.

 

The next day, our drive was all set to hit back to Hyderabad and we followed the same track which felt was apt. :D

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On the whole, the drive turned out to be a successful meet-up with a beautiful team all along.. We lived the Dream, We Drove the places to Discover the untouched side of the Western ghats.

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Very nicely composed sagar.

A wonderful meet, Kids to elders everyone contributed to make the drive a success.

4 days and 1600 kilometers in a convoy was fun.

Even though the drive was hectic, It was great to see the high energy levels and lifted spirits.

Thoroughly enjoyed the meet. Looking forwards for the pictures from other cameras as well.

Dream Drive Discover. 

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Nice write up @sagar!!! Truly it was an amazing drive !! Places are really worth visiting!! If it isn't for fog,we would have captured more view point beauty!! One of the most memorable drive's so far!!:)

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One of the best drive's i've ever had. Loved the places, climate & fun-filled people. Would love to explore & join the upcoming meet-ups. Cheers!

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Awesome pictures guys, Looks like you have had super fun. It was the right time you had toured Mahabaleshwar.. I know how disappointing it feels when the fog disturbs your views and schedules :D

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Good write up. Request you to give a heads up to all the members of 'India-Drive' before you venture out for these drives. I don't want to miss this next time.. :)

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Excellent travelogue and lovely pictures, I had visited the same place few months ago and they looked drenched in fog & mist! Feel like visiting the place another time in a convoy with 'India-Drive' the next time.. Thanks a lot for sharing flag

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All the photographs are superb, and you did it at the right time before monsoon ended. Another informative wanderlust travelogue. Keeps us wanting for more.. Way to go 'India-Drive' :D

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Nice pictures Guys.Climate is looks very good from the pictures.

How is road condition between Solapur and Mahabaleshwar?

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driveking said:
Nice pictures Guys.Climate is looks very good from the pictures.

How is road condition between Solapur and Mahabaleshwar?

Road is fine 

We took the longer route

Solapur --> Indapur --> Baramati --> Lonand --> Khandala (not the main Khandala) --> Wai --> Panchgani --> Mahabaleshwar.

Solapur to Indapur : 4-lane excellent.

Indapur to Wai : 2-lane average , but we get a 4-lane road for 15 kilometers which is amazing.

Wai to Mahabaleshwar : 2-lane Ghat section, Beautiful views.

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Amazing pictures and it looks like a fun convoy. I shouldn't have missed this.. Can any one suggest me some decent accommodations around Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani..?

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  • Similar Content

    • By LoneRanger
      Precursor to the trip(Skip if you want to know Only about the trip) :
       
      All five of us went on to a trip nearly 10 years ago. And in all these 10 years , all of us together haven't met even once. We were working at various places - Hyderabad , Chennai , Pune , New Delhi & Bengaluru. As years passed by, 4 of us moved to Hyderabad due to various commitments. Only one was left out in Chennai. 
       
      At the end of Jan 2018 , Mr.Chennai , gave me a call ans started discussing about his boring and torturous boring IT life. He suddenly pops up the idea of a weekend trip from Hyderabad, only guys trip without wives. Over the next couple of days , we made whatapp group and discussed various options and finalised Belum Caves and Gandikota. We planned to go at the March 2018. As weeks passed by , each one had to drop off due to some or other reason. At the start of March , only Mr.Chennai and me were onboard ( My wife had to go to her parents place).
       
      But Mr.Chennai , was very adamant, he used to share the photographs of 10 year old trip on the whatsapp group. People became nostalgic , First to say yes was Mr.Microsoft , Then Mr.NRI and a day before the trip we have a confirmation from Mr.Daddy.
       
      Day 1 of the Trip : 
       
      Plan was , Mr.Chennai would reach my house by 6 and we would have an early breakfast and leave by 7 from my house. But Indian railways have another plans. Mr.Chennai arrived at my house at 7:45. After freshening up we started at 9:00 A.M to pick up Mr.Microsoft and Mr.Nri. And last pick up of the day was Mr.Daddy , from ORR Gachibowli.(We wanted to give more time for him to spend with his daughter). By the time we picked up Mr.Daddy , it was 10:00 AM and we started cruising on ORR , towards Kurnool. 
       
      My car has Fastag, and i zipped past the traffic on ORR and the Highway. At 12:00 P.M we stopped at Food Pyramid to have brunch. We had heavy lunch and then off to our first destination Belum Caves. 
       
      The road till Kurnool was NH and was good , After Kurnool we has to take Rayalaseema Expressway(Toll Road) , this was beyond good. It is better than national highway.

      (Rayalaseema Expressway - Road work going on the Left lane)
       
      By 3:00 P.M we were at Owk reservoir, MR.Chennai was mesmerized by scenic beauty and wanted to stop for few photographs. And indeed the place was super scenic. Its just that it was mid afternoon in Rayalaseema. The cool breeze flowing from the reservoir was a bit of relief from the hot Sun.

      (From L-R : Mr.Chennai, Mr.Daddy, Mr.NRI & Mr. Microsoft, Im Mr.Driver & designated photographer for the trip)

      (Panoramic view of the Owk Reservoir)
       
      The owk reservoir has APTDC center , with restaurant , and has boating and other activities. But we wanted to head to Belum Caves before they close it down. We next stopped directly at Belum Caves. The caves close at 5:30 P.M , and you have to exit the caves before that. We Reached Belum caves at 4:00 P.M. There is an entry fee and parking fee. We were charged somewhere around R.s 285/- for the 5 of us. 
       
      This is the first time im entering a cave system , and i was amazed. The caves were neatly maintained, and properly ventilated with the help of electric fans. They were well lit too. I'll tel the pictures do the talking from here. And if you are planning a trip to Belum caves , be ready to carry a huge water bottle , as it is humid as hell, and also wear stretchable clothes , You have to bend and crawl through some spaces. 

      (Map of the caves )

      (Entrance to the caves)
      The entrance has a flight of stairs , at the start of which the security checks for your tickets. Once you show his the tickets , you have to walk down nearly 40-50 steps. Any body can do it, both old and young. Once you get down the stairs you will see this plaque.


      (This is where the Plaque is posted. After this its all dark)

      (Notice the pipe behind, circulating fresh air)

      (L-R - Mr.Daddy & Mr.Driver-Me, you must be wondering why i was wearing goggles in a pitch dark cave, i have sight , those are powered , and i forgot my normal glasses, and yes i put this picture only to point that out  )


       
      Soon it was 5:20 and we were off to the entry/exit. And while we were ready to leave , suddenly there was a small power cut and everything went dark. It was pitch dark , and even with cell phone torch we couldn't figure out the exit. Luckily for us it was just intermittent power loss. And the power cut lasted for a maximum of 45 seconds to 1 minute. 
       
      After coming out of Belum caves , we went to the Budha statue near by to click some sunset pics.

      (Mr.Chennai Tried to be creative)

      (Budha Statue at Belum Caves)

      (Last Pic of the sun set into the clouds)
       
       On our way we stopped at a small place called Kolimigundla to have some tea. There is a APTDC restaurant at Belum caves , it closes at 5:30 P.M along with caves. 
       
      Next day we planned to visit Gandikota , and wanted to stay as close as possible. We couldn't get a reservation from APTDC Gandikota. And place nearest to Gandikota was Jammalamadugu. But we could find any hotels online to book. However during the trip we found that there are a lot of lodges and small hotels available at jammalamadugu. You can directly go and take a room for rent , without pre-booking. We could only reserve a room at Prodattur. Our reservation was at Sri Devi palace. Imagine the shock of our life when we found out that Sri Devi Palace is actually Sri Devi Palace Function Hall , and there was a wedding happening when we went there.


      (Surely made our trip memorable  )

      (Full scale wedding with Guests outside)
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      After checking in , and unloading our luggage in our respective rooms, we went out to have dinner at the Andhra Spice Restaurant. It was good for family , but there is no parking available, the security made some adjustments and arranged some space at the entrance. We has a sumptuous dinner, had the restaurant special - "Chicken Navya" , did some shopping for toiletries and went back to hotel to rest for the day.

      (Chicken Navya - Boneless Chicken curry , made in butter with roasted cashew's and stuffed in an omelette and sprinkled with grated cheese , roasted cashews & coriander)
       
      Day 2 - Gandikota , Orvakal Rock Garden , Alampur.
       
      Next day woke up at 5:00 A.M got ready and woke up everybody else. Everyone was ready within an hour. Advantage of not having women in the trip. Our idea is to reach Gandikota before sunrise. If you are planning a trip to Gandikota , plan to reach gandikota before sunrise. Reached Gandikota at 7:00 A.M , it was already sunrise , but God it was beautiful. The canyon, the rocks they were in explicable. I would have stayed there for eternity , enjoying the beauty. 

      (First shot of the Canyon , when we reached there by 7:20 A.M)


      (Sunrise reflection on Penna River)
      (Mandatory Group Pic)

      (Mr.Microsoft, Mr.Daddy & Mr.NRI were happy looking at the scenery and dint want to explore any more)

      (Mr.Chennai on the other hand doesn't want to leave any nook or corner. 

       
      We stayed for more than an hour and we are way away from shade. It was getting Sunny and hot , hence we decided to explore the Gandikota fort. There is nothing left at the place. Only places remaining are Ranganatha Aalayam , Gandikoda Granary , and kathula Koneru. The places in pristine condition are Juma Masjid. Heard from locals that it has been redone in recent times by archaeology department, and they will soon improve the other remaining places too. 

      (Juma Masjid)

      (Inside the Masjid)
       
      Came out of fort , there are multiple roadside eateries , all of us are hungry and just stormed into one of the eatery where we all will fit. The eatery is an extension to the home and is managed by father - daughter duo. We had dosas for breakfast , and had coffee right after. The eatery owner told us that there are tents available for rent , and other adventure actives are available to do during evening time. (Campfire, Canoeing, Boating etc , also sleeping bags are also available for rent). 
       
      After breakfast i observed a road split off and going in the direction of the near by mountain and windmills, looked more like a service road. I inquired if tourists can drive up there , and to my surprise , they said yes. Drove to the top of the hill , and view of Gandikota fort from there is pretty awesome. we decided to take some pics before leaving.

      (The view of the fort is towards the left of the pic , with penna reservoir in the background, not quite visible)
       
      We left the place at 9:30 at started towards our next destination Orvakal Rock Garden. The Rock garden is opposite to the Kurnool Airport Gate , we reached the place by 12:30. 
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      It was 12:30 , by the time we reached Orvakal Rock Garden. There was a APTDC resort. And entry Fee to enter the rock garden. As it was 12:30 we decided to have lunch before heading into the resort, but each one of us went and bought an ice cream or Kulfi , ( Feels like child , when wife or parents are not around). Went ahead to Orvakal Rock Garden. 
      It was not big, but the rocks have been sculptured by air flow over thousands or millions of years. But since it was 12:30 in the after noon , it felt very big. 

      Entrance to the Rock Garden , stairs are neatly cut , and anyone can reach it without any difficulty

      Once you climb up the stairs , you will be greeted with this statue , and then similar statues of multiple animals






      It was so hot that we settled under the iota of shade available in the entire rock garden. 
       
      Notice Mr.Chennai missing from the picture , he again went to explore every nook and corner of the Rock Garden. We waited till he came back and started off to our next destination Alampur. 
       
      Alampur is one of the 18 shakthipeetas , it is the place where Krishna meets Tungabhadra , and is the place for deity Jogulamba. It is said that when Sati immolated herself , Lord Shiva carried her body across the universe. Vishnu not able to see Shiva's sorrow , cut the body of Sati with his Sudarshana Chakra. Those body parts fell back on earth. And it is said that alampur is where Sati's Upper Jaw/teeth fell. 
       
      The road to Alampur was well paved , and Telangana tourism has provided drinking water and other amenities to pilgrims. Mr.Daddy who was here some years back was surprised to see the roads and amenities provided. 



       
      The temple has Medieval architecture , and even if you are not a religious person , but interested in history , you should visit this place. There is a Museum for History buffs. 
       
      We left Alampur at 3:00 P.M and reached Food Pyramid at 4:30 P.M , had some tea , snacks , and started back to Hyderabad. 
       
      We reached Hyderabad at 7:30 P.M , went to DLF to have chai. And after chai , everyone went their own separate ways . May be all 5 us will together be on a trip in 2019 next. 
       
      Signing Off 
      Mr.Driver
       
      P.S : This is my first post , please provide feedback , on Pics , mistakes , Spelling , writing style , any thing which you felt is out of place.
       
       


    • By Raj1
      Hello guys...
      I'm planning for a Road trip from Hyderabad to Goa.... And back to Hyderabad...
       
      I'm new at this... So would love to hear out suggestions about the route to be taken, places to stay along the way and places to visit!
      Along with approximate time duration for all of the trip!
       
      Thanks in advance
    • By Ranger
      A quick drive to Hidden Castle.
      Place is located around 100 kilometers from Hyderabad.
       
      Road condition:
      4-lane with very few diversions. Once you hit the highway, You will reach the destination in an hour.
       
      Food options on highway:
      Enroute you can find Haritha food court.

  • Gandikota meetup on January 26 and 27th

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