After a short nap, at 4 we woke up and started our journey to Gandikota. Around 5.30 we reached a small town, where we took some tea and refreshed ourselves. A left from there, led us to Jammalamadugu. There were numerous Cuddapa quarries en-route and we stopped at one huge one to have a look! The quarry looked abandoned with a huge pool of water down below. The size was humongous! At around 8 we reached Jammalamadugu, had an amazing breakfast (Idly, kara dosas, vada, poha etc) and made our way to Gandikota. The road and the scenery en-route to Gandikota is a treat to the eyes! Winding roads through vast barren land with varying terrain, we didn't want the ride to end! After a small glitch with one of the cars, which took an hour of our time, we reached Gandikota by 10 AM. We were the first people to reach the place that day. The entry to the fort was like entering a palace! We rode into the fort through the narrow road and parked our car inside (which we realized was a huge mistake) and walked up directly to the canyon. The views at Gandikota are astoundingly beautiful and gives you goosebumps all along! I would suggest each on of you, who is in India or visits India to go to Gandikota! It's just spectacular, all along!
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219 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,September,October,November,December
If you live in a hot part of the country, Bangalore's good weather will immediately put you into a good mood. While the centre of the city has remained as it was during the British Raj, the area encircling it is on a constant boom with a vibrant student culture, popular pubs and a major electronic and industrial lifestyle. As a tourist, you can go see the Bangalore Castle. Modelled on the lines of the Windsor Castle, the one on Bangalore is a great example of the Tudor architectural style. It has beautiful gardens and the wooden carvings. The glass house at Lal Bagh and its botanical garden is a good place to relax while taking a walk. Cubbon park is one of the primary reasons why Bangalore was formerly nicknamed as the Garden City. The picturesque greenery in the middle of the city is stupefying. You can visit the Peninsular Gneiss to witness the oldest granite formations and also the look at the city from an elevated land. For a perfect end to the day, grab a beer at Toit or Peco’s. Follow it up with a grand meal at Koshy’s or Ebony, or the hundreds of other quirky restaurants in the city.
287 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,October,November,December
Chennai, standing as the fourth largest city in the country, is still known as Madras by many residents. Kapaleeshwar temple, though always crowded, remains a popular visiting site where one can witness southern India's multi-hued spiritual energy and the beautiful sculptures bedecking it. A place to unwind and enjoy some good street food would be Marina Beach. Those who wish to avoid the crowd, however, should pick Eliot's Beach, which is also relatively cleaner. The Anna Centenary Library is also a great refuge for peace and solace. If anything vintage charms you, make it a point to visit the 17th century British Fort, St George and the historical neighbourhood of George Town circumscribing it, now thronged with bazaars selling everything from spices to flowers and bangles. Parallel to this commercial hub is the Armenian street housing an 18th century Armenian Church. Nature lovers will dote over the Madras Crocodile Bank, where these sunbathing beauties can be seen and thoroughly learnt about. On the same lines, Arignar Anna Zoological Park is another must visit, especially for families with children, who will receive the much required infotainment. Chennai is an unforgettable site of colours and music during January when the festival Pongal is celebrated. Restaurants such as Copper Chimney, Hotel Saravana Bhavan, Dakshin remain widely known for their exquisite versatile cuisines constituting the whole of south India.
288 Kms from Gandikota
Once the capital of the Nizams, it is now the joint capital of both the states of Andhra Pradesh as well as Telangana but officially is only the capital of the latter. It is one of the busiest cities of the country and crammed with people almost the whole year round. The old charm of the city is still intact and it is only because the people love their culture and heritage and are successful in keeping up with their roots. There are a number of places to visit in this city such as the Charminar, Golcoda Fort, Mecca Masjid and so many other places. The Hyderabadi Biryani is like the signature dish of this place and was also a favorite of the Nizam's. You still get the richest and most authentic taste of the dish out here. The market places are lined with sweet shops which sell the most delicious desserts for you to give your diet a toss. Shopping is also an option here.
203 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Before the tropical air hits you here, an uncanny sense of time travel does, as you scan the historic Vijayanagar's devastatingly beautiful ruins and temples spread across the boulder-strewn landscape. The ancient capital of the Vijayanagara Empire (1343-1565), which has now become a favourite hipster holiday destination, is best explored on foot or bicycle. It has a lot of famous attractions such as the Hemakuta Hill, home to the ancient scattered ruins and a monolithic sculpture of Hindu God Vishnu, along with Hampi Bazaar, once an ancient trading spot for horses, silk, cows, precious stones and now a hub of handicraft shops and little restaurants, with the 15th century Virupaksha temple at its western end and the 16th century Vittala temple at its eastern end. Sule Bazaar and the Achyutaraya temple is also a must visit. This historic expedition can get tiresome and overwhelming for many, and the village in contrast maintains a very laid back atmosphere, with innumerable guest houses spread around, some even with a fascinating spartan setting, costing no more than 300 rupees. Just like its ruins, an ancient festival called the Hampi Utsav has also been kept alive since the Vijayanagar reign and is celebrated annually in November, with light and sound shows, music and dance performances, all boasting of the Kannadigas' rich culture, set against the backdrop of Hampi's ruins. The Mango Tree restaurant is a quaint place reached via passing through a banana plantation. Other good places to eat include Prince Restaurant, Goan Corner Restaurant and Laughing Buddha, popular for South Indian, Chinese, Israeli, Tibetan, and usual vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, enjoyed by the riverside.
297 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu is considered to be one of the most holy cities in the state. The famous Annamalaiyar Temple located here is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deity Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the incarnations of the five natural elements and in Tiruvannamalai it is the element of fire known as Lord Arunachaleshwar. The temple is on the foothills of the Arunachal Hills and every full moon devotees come here to perform the sacred Girivalam ritual. The city also has a number of ashrams, mostly revolving around the deity worshipped in this temple. If you are looking for some peace and spiritual comfort, this small city is sure to surprise you.
173 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,April,May,June,July,August,September,October,November,December
Located about 60 km from Bangalore, Nandi Hills is a popular destination for people looking for a break. Nandi Hills is known for its rich cultural history; it is believed to have been Tipu Sultan's favourite summer retreat. The hills in fact have a massive fort named Nandidurga Fort built by him. This fort was inhabited by the Britishers during their rule as well. Do visit Tipu’s Summer Palace and Fort, Amruth Sarovar Lake and Secret Escape Route when you are here. If you'd like to explore the hills on your own, do ask a local to take your around, especially if you have plans to go trekking. Paragliding is another activity that you can try here. Perfect for adventure seekers and foodie lovers, Nandi Hills is a treat to explore!
178 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,November,December
Known all over the country for the sacred Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati is located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is actually located in Tirumala along with a number of other temples, though Sri Venkateshwara Temple or Tirupati Balaji is the main attraction for visitors. Tirumala is always bustling with energy owing to the many tourists as well as the number of festivals celebrated here. Legend has it that one should visit Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting Sri Venkateswaraswami. Varahaswami owned the seven hills and agreed to give them to Sri Venkateswaraswami with the demand that he too should be worshipped. And for this, Sri Venkateswaraswami asked his pilgrims to visit the Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting him. For first timers there are a few things you should keep in mind including appropriate clothing, no alcohol and carrying extra locks for your rooms as well as vehicles. Before visiting the temple, you'll need darshan tickets, which are available at various TTD counters across the country. A beautiful place with immense spiritual energy, Tirupati is a must visit.
116 Kms from Gandikota
Best time to visit - January,February,March,October,November,December
Located in Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool is home to some of the most sacred temples of India, including the Shrine of Srisailam, Peta Anjaneyaswami and Birla Mandir. Kurnool being a developing city, you will find spots with construction going on in full swing. Belum Caves is one such attraction. Considered to be one of the longest caves in India, it is a great way to spend your day. The caves demand a lot of walking around, so do wear comfortable shoes when you head here. The oxygen here is a little low so don't take toddlers with you and also avoid if you are claustrophobic. Ugra stambham is another lovely sightseeing spot with great views. It's definitely worth a visit, though you should avoid going in the afternoon since it can get very hot.