We’ve got a dog. She’s descended from a blue ribbon, pedigree line of purebred mongrels. Our mutt, Pippin Galadriel Moonchild Took the First (if you get the references, leave me a message!), has been with us for over a month now, and she’s got separation anxiety issues since she’s a rehomed dog. Anyway, the upshot of all of this is that for the next few months, until we can confidently leave her with somebody else, it’ll be all about road trips (and maybe train trips if we can navigate the red tape, which we’re horrible at). But c’Mon, dogs are adorable, and Roadtrippin’ Pippin should make you happy!
Roadtrippin' Pippin behaving well
For her first longish trip, we picked Ananthagiri Hills, about 90 kilometres from home sweet home. Of course, we also wanted dhaba food and hoped that since it’s got ‘Hills’ in its name, it might be a bit cooler there. Spoiler: It was NOT.
Pippin and my day started at six in the morning, when we got up, I took her up to the terrace and repeated ‘Pippin go potty!’ until I thought I was about to go the other kind of potty. She refused to be rushed, so at about 8.30, we were all packed up (Pippin treats, Pippin water, Pippin bowl, Pippin towel, Pippin and us) in the car and set off. We were worried we might’ve been late, but as it turned out, we overestimated our schedule drastically.
From Hyderabad, you take the Ring Road and then exit no. 18 to Vikarabad, which is the closest town to Ananthagiri Hills. There are plenty of signs, so you won’t get lost. We didn’t, but that might’ve been because I didn’t offer my sage advice. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’ve learnt my lesson, but I just might be getting there.
The roads are nice, if you’re not the one driving. There’s plenty of greenery and some parts have really old banyan trees lining the sides, so if you like road trips more for the drive than the destination, this is a pretty good choice. We reached Vikarabad at about 10.30 am since we were in no rush, and soon reached a fork in the road. One road led to the Haritha resort, the other to the temple. We first took the temple road, drove right past the temple and reached the section of the road that we decided was the real Ghat road. It wound and twisted downhill a bit, and then came the fun part. There were no more signs to tell you where you were heading.
There are quite a few roads through forests (not the kind of forests I’m used to, but I’m from Kerala so lofty standards for green) that just wind around and end up either at the temple or at the Haritha resort. But the roads are interesting. One (there was a sign there saying Vikarabad 10 km, and that it was the non-Ghat road to the town) took us past an extremely nice lake where Pippin was most happy. She loves places with wide and varied kinds of poop to sniff. Buffalos, cows, donkeys, camels, elephants, hippogriffs, sphinxes and much more must come to that lake, though we didn’t see any. On the way to Ananthagiri Hills, you drive past a really big lake. We argued a bit about whether it was part of that same lake, but came to no conclusions.
Really awesome unexpected lake
We drove on, encouraged and hopeful of finding more hidden lakes, but hit a glitch in the form of a narrow bridge over which a huge bovine entourage was making its way. There was obviously no way we were going over that bridge for a while, so we took a U-turn and went to find another road to explore.
Thou shall not pass unless thou art a cow
Since I’ve already established that I suck completely and utterly at finding my way anywhere, I will only tell you that we followed every road we could find and made quite a few loops. We saw cotton fields, fields of flowers, tomato fields, what I think were bajra fields... A lot of fields. By now Roadtrippin’ Pippin was getting extremely fed up because she couldn’t sleep; too many turns, changes in speed and bumps, not to mention all the cows who seemed to have personally offended her. She was so brave, barking at them from my lap, inside the car (#sarcasm, she is also Pippin the Chicken).
'Where're the cows? I'll get those cows!' (aside: I can hide behind your legs if they look at me, right?)
We finally realised we’d gone on most non-bovine-occupied roads at least twice, and after a couple of hours, decided to make our way back to the highway and find a dhaba. Dhabas are good for roadtrips with dogs. Most of them don’t mind if you take your dog along with you. We had the chicken fry, dal fry, butter chicken and rotis, and no, there are no pictures because it was past two, really hot, and we were far too hungry to even consider taking photos. Then we were far too full to stop and get farm fresh vegetables (much regrets – please get them if you go, the tomatoes and green beans looked awesome). By about four in the evening, we were back home, and the backseat sleeping heap of teenager (my young brother-in-law came along) and dog were woken up.
If that was all TL;DR, then: Ananthagiri Hills is probably much nicer in the monsoons when I’m sure everything gets a lot greener. We enjoyed the road trip because the roads are really nice (except for the one driving), and you will find unexpected lakes where you can make pit stops. View points are not marked as such, but find your own. If you want to stay here, Haritha resort is probably your best bet. I’d recommend it as a nice day trip from Hyderabad, though mostly if you like watching trees, farms and lakes.