Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden)

Tripoto
29th Mar 2018
Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

How would you feel when you get to know that even India has its very own 'Grand Canyon' !! 🙄 Totally unbelievable.. However, yes, it's true.. there exists a Grand Canyon in India..

This place has recently started coming on every traveller's and photographer's list; located at Gandikota !

Staying in Mumbai, tired from the daily routine lifestyle, I needed a break and wished to explore some different place.. this is when while discussing with a friend, I heard of Gandikota.. Not trusting what he said, I googled whether such a place really exists or is it he is trying to pull my leg ! But, at my surprise, the images I saw, were mind blowing ! couldn't believe the picture was of a place situated in some village in India..

Then starts the planning..
- how to reach
- where to stay
- what else to see
- any other interesting places to see around
- most importantly- keep a budgeted trip

Here's a brief itenary we followed:

Day 1

(29th March 2018)- Board Chennai Express from Dadar
We had booked in our tickets for the train, but, the tickets didn't confirm.. however, we never lost hope, and the eagerness to visit Gandikota. I managed to buy the tickets in tatkal and kept the excitement on !
Boarded the train at 8:30pm from Dadar station and were l set to reach Tadipatri the next day at 12:30pm

While boarding the train

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi
Day 2

Gandikota

Waking up to the landscape of rocks and lush green fields seemed like a perfect combo !

Gooty was the station, where the train stops for quite some time and the appropriate place to have your brunch ! Idli, dosas, uttappam, dal wada, Pongal, masala rice etc. etc..

Once down at Tadipatri, you can find a normal auto which will take you to the local bus stand (15min away) and from there one can take a bus to Jamalamduggu.. this was a 2hour journey where one would experience being in the era of the Karan Arjun movie looking at the nnn number of windmills and the scene !

Reaching here, we took an auto to Gandikota. Private auto will cost you rs. 200. Since we were unable to book a room from the Andhra Pradesh tourism website (Haritha hotel is the only place to stay) , we went to the hotel n asked for a room but it was fully booked.. then comes a person to our rescue who said they would put up a tent at some place from where we would be able to experience the sunrise and would be a memorable experience ! Indeed it was an extraordinary place giving that amazing view.. these guys would set up a tent at the place you tell just for Rs. 900 !!

The auto driver was sweet enough to drive us to that location (7-8min walk from the hotel), n back to the hotel to keep our luggage till the time we visit the canyon.. I wish we could have stayed there, but, unexpected rains didn't allow us to.. 😑

After freshening up at the common washroom available in the hotel, we went to to experience sunset at the Canyon..

And, trust me, I couldn't take off my eyes at the scenenic beauty I was seeing.. an exact replica of the picture I had seen on internet !! So serene, so beautiful, so peaceful !!😍

One of the best memories of sunset I could ever have ! And then the 1st rains made it a perfect weather be alone and be thankful for everything I have 🤗

P.s.: kindly book a room in the hotel else you'll be able to experience the tent stay or would have to sleep in the common hall (only if these it rains all of a sudden the hotel guys allow you to do so; like they allowed us 😃)

Overall cost for the day:
2000 (incl 3tier ac tickets, rickshaw to tadipatri bus stand, bus to Jamalamduggu, auto to Gandikota, tent cost, snacks and dinner)

Mosque at the entrance of Canyon

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Can't get over this !

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

The place !!

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

On the way to Jamalamduggu

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi
Day 3

Sunrise at Gandikota, Belum caves and Oravakullu Rock garden

In order to not miss the sunrise, we woke up by 5:30, freshened up and reached the Canyon by 6:15.. this time we climbed a little more n reached the top of those rocks to get a better view of the canyon..

Bright start of this day was one of a lifetime experience 😀

Having breakfast at the hotel, we left for Belum caves.. being lucky enough we met an old couple from Bengaluru who were kind enough to take us alongwith them in their car ! (But, age does not make 1 old, they would have been the most enthusiastic, fit, energetic couple I have ever met and who loves travelling that too having an unplanned trip)

The temperature inside these caves can soar upto 40degress, but we were a little happy that the weather was a little cooler coz of the rains the previous day !

These are the longest caves accessible to humans in India.. one can go deep inside and the walk would go on for a 4-5km stretch ! It was really nice to have visited the caves after the childhood days..

Spending 2hours here, we waved the couple a good bye and waited for the local bus to take us to Bananganapalli. From there we had to change the bus n catch another 1 for Oravakullu..

Right in the middle of the highway is the Haritha Resort (only place to stay in that area).. this hotel is in the midst of the famous Rock garden which was our next destination !! Starving since morning we ordered for the local thali they had.. it was indeed yummy..

After we freshened up, we went towards the rocks on the top, experienced the sunset and the immediate weather change !

Not to make our trip hectic, we stayed back at the resort and next day had planned to leave for Hyderabad ! Else one can visit the rock garden and leave for Kurnool the very same day or plan to visit few other nearby places..

P.s.- Hats off the the Andhra Pradesh Tourism for making these hotels right next to the top visiting places in that state !! APTDC hotels are really well maintained and perfect locations to have a leisure trip.. also, the localites are so helpful in every manner 😊

Overall cost for the day:
1000rs (Entry to Belum caves, journey to rock garden, lunch, stay and dinner)

Most enthusiastic couple iv ever met

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

The hanging Rock !

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Statue at the entrance of the caves

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Inside Belum caves

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

A part of the rock garden

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Happiness

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi
Day 4

Kurnool to Hyderabad

Next morning we checked out from the hotel after breakfast, were waiting to catch the local bus to Kurnool and instead got a sharing auto right in the middle of this highway ! 😀

Reaching Kurnool, it was just the Kurnool fort (konda Reddy fort) we visited, had lunch at the only mall seen nearby, and headed to the station to catch our 3pm train to Secunderabad.. it was a 5hour journey n then took an auto to reach Hyderabad !

If you all are well aware of the places, one can try visiting a few more locations like Alampur, Kalva Bugga, Jagannatha Ghattu etc.

Reaching Hyderabad, it was already quite late to roam hence, we searched for some nice place for our dinner an went to the Bench Cafe located 5min away from our hotel..

P.s.- list down what to do and where to go in Hyderabad ! Too many places to see, plenty of good restaurants for hogging !

Overall cost for the day:
1500 rs (travelling from Oravakullu to Hyderabad, lunch n dinner for the day)

Kurnool fort

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Bench cafe

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Enroute Secunderabad

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi
Day 5

Roaming in the Nizammi city
After breakfast, we kept our luggages at the hotel's reception and left for Golconda Fort..

Having a guide with us for explaining the history behind this fort, was the best we could have done !! Each and every spot of this fort, was so well planned and made !! The guides there give details of the structure of the fort, the mechanism of how water was checked before the king has it, the reason for building 7 walls, the 5 most important jewels, why the walls of the fort are cool 365days, and the most importantly the rulers making this fort from the top to bottom !!

After spending almost 3hours here, the guide helped us book an autowala who took us to various places and dropped us to the airport at the end..

Next we went to the Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Chowmahallah Palace (very very beautiful place) and the Salar Jung museum.. the palace n the museum are a must must visit ! And the most important thing to see in the museum was the musical clock !! (You need to google it to understand why this clock is so famous)

Roaming around whole day long, we finally collected our baggage from the hotel, bought few packets of the famous Karachi biscuits and went towards the airport !!

It has indeed been 1 of the best and most memorable trips 🤩🤗

Overall cost for the day:
3500rs (stay, travelling of the day, flight cost and food)

Palace

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Golconda fort

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Interiors of the palace

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Part of the fort

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Entrance of the palace

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi

Golconda fort from the bottom

Photo of Exploring the unexplored !! (Gandikota-Belum caves-Rock garden) by mansi munshi
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