With Friday, Nov 1st being a holiday in Karnataka for Kannada Rajyotsava, my wife had a long weekend. I decided to take a day off from work to make it a long weekend, and planned a road trip with family (kids and parents). The thought came to mind while I was speaking to a colleague at work about his hometown (Proddatur). As I looked at the map, I realized that Gandikota (The Grand Canyon equivalent in India) was nearby, and a 2 day weekend trip would be ideal and we would have a day in hand to rest.
Then, as I started researching about other attractions nearby, I learnt about Yaganti, Belum Caves, Gooty fort, Tadipatri, Ahobilam, Mahanandi, Kurnool and Alampur. Each place had so much history, culture, mythology, and religious prominence that it was not to be missed. We realized that to cover all these places, 2 days was not going to be sufficient. Finally, we decided to make it a 3-day road trip, and also cut down the places to visit. There are several blogs from people who have a 2-day itinerary of combinations of these places (Yaganti/ Belum Caves/ Gandikota, or Gandikota/ Ahobilam, or Mahanandi/ Alampur, or Mahanandi/ Ahobilam - and the list goes on).
THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND:
Because we were traveling with kids and parents, we had to keep in mind the following:
Accommodation - these are remote places, and good accommodation is not easily available. So you need to plan slightly in advance. We booked camping tents in Gandikota for the first night, and a hotel in Nandyal for the second night.
Travel - Plan/ Book your own travel and know the routes (and nearest cities/ towns). You will be traveling through farm land, villages, and help may not be imminent.Plan with a contingency of 3-4 hrs (unforeseen incidents, traffic, flat tire, kids/ parents wanting a break). We rented a 7-seater vehicle from Avis Rental India. It made the journey comfortable. Roads are amazing - NH40 and Rayalaseema Expressway - both were a pleasure to drive.
Food and Water - Carry bottles of water with you (again, because of the remoteness of some of the places). We did not have much space left after packing our luggage. So we took 5 liter cans (easier to handle), and 1-liter bottles from home to refill as and when we needed. There are plenty of food options along the highway, so that is not an issue.
Read up about the places you are visiting - one will not be able to appreciate the value unless they know what is the history behind these temples, and their architectures.
Enjoy the journey - it's ok if you miss a place or don't stick to schedule. You can always come back another time. We missed seeing Orvakal rock garden and Konda Reddy Fort. But we still have amazing memories of the trip!
Here is how we planned our itinerary for the trip (we planned on our own):
Our ride - Avis Rental Car (comfortable car, good service) - suggested by a friend.
Day 1 (Nov 1, 2019)
We started from home around 5.20 am.