The place was on my radar for quite sometime, but time was not on my side. And finally, without any prior bookings, I decided to give it a try. We were two of us, with wide open minds set out to make the trip. Boarded a Kadapa bound bus from Hyderabad. Landed us in the small (when I say small, it was like 1 km radius small) town of Jammalamadugu on the early hours of the day. For a need of a place to stay and freshen up, we inquired in nearby shops for any lodge or hotel. Well, then the actual realization dawned and yes we were the aliens out there. We did not speak the same language at all. And the only means of communication left to us was sign language. In the hope of some kind of shelter, we walked a bit and found a sign board which showed the word "LODGE". We were beyond elation. We took a room for 750 which to our biggest surprise was furnished with an AC and a bed. There was one care taker who had a chair for "Reception" to the lodge.
We took shower, changed and set out for our destination that is the Gandikota fort. It was about 15 kms from Jammalamadugu. We thought of catching a bus as suggested by the lodge owner/caretaker, but as it was a Sunday, we came to know that buses were not running. We had to book an auto-rikshaw. The 15km in autorikshaw was not a very welcome idea at the first, but to our surprise it was quite good as the road was only slightly bumpy and the scenic beauty was splendid. We were busy soaking in our surrounding. It was something I haven't experience before. The terrain was rocky and not the usual rocks we see, the color varied from yellow to brown and all were stratified rocks with measly vegetation. The road sneaked in and out of the terrain like a sleek black serpent. And to add to the oddity of the scenery, the hills far ahead were lined with wind mills. As we moved towards the hills and the plateau, the wind mills kept moving farther. Just like a mirage!
Finally after almost 40 minutes, we reached our destination. With enough (online) research on the history of the place, I had the idea of the structures we should be expecting. There were the ruins of the fort, 2 temples and 1 mosque, 1 jail and 1 granary and the gorge with the Pennar river meandering down below the high rise piled up rocks. We started from the mosque. The Jamia masjid as once called had a huge podium like structure with two adjacent minarets and had ruins of once a plush garden surrounded by small domes for prayers. On the right of the Masjid is the temple...Ranganatha Swamy Temple. The temple ruins had such beautiful carved sculptures on the walls. The sculptures varied from Gods, to damsels to animals and what not lined the walls. It was like a seeing lost capsule of time from the outside- wearing out from outside but brimming with untold history inside. Coming to the present, while I looked and gazed at history, my companion photographer was lost in the scenery.
We then moved towards the canyon. And oh my God! Like history was not enough, Mother Nature will not be left behind to display her extravagant splendor. The extra blue and clean sky hovering above, green water below of the Pennar river and the contrasting brown and yellow boulders naturally piled above one and other was an absolute treat to the eyes. Words evade me to describe the theater of the place so I let the pictures take the job. There were only a few tourists and so we could have the scene to ourselves, well almost and we grabbed the chance to fully take in the nature's vigor. The SD card was almost exhausted and a few master pieces are here on display. After quite a while, we strolled back to our ride and then a short pebbly and bumpy ride we reached the other temple, the Madhavarya temple. That was another brilliant structure with rock walls lined with extra ordinary sculptures emitting history. Gulping into everything possible, and capturing whatever we could through the lens, it was almost time for us to make the leap from past to present with our hungry growling tummies. We rode back the same 15 kms downside to Jammalamadugu. While coming back we could view the entirety of the scene with the stratified rocks, lazy shrubby vegetation scattered, the big blue sky with feathery white clouds and the clear waters of Rayalacheruvu. At one point, I was scared to even blink to make sure I don't miss anything. It was one hell of a ride through time.
On return we had a sumptuous meal and then retired for the day watching tv and enjoying the quiet of the tiny town for the rest of the night. Though the grandeur of the then kings are in ruins now, but I really hope the remains are preserved well. After all our history paves the path to our future!