22 November 2014
I had been hearing about this place for past couple of years. Seeing the photos, it was hard to believe that they were taken so near to Bengaluru!! But our neighbor Andhra Pradesh was on constant boil for last two years due to the bifurcation issue, making the journey difficult. Gandikota being in Rayalaseema has a very long off season (Read Summer!!) providing tourists a small window of opportunity to visit the place.
With statehood issues resolved, Andha Pradesh was back to its peaceful state prompting me to hatch a trip to this place. My friend Anoop and his family also joined us.
|Roads on the way|
We left the Bengaluru at about 6 AM. Our breakfast was at Kamat Upachaar at outskirts of Chikkaballapur. It was important to have a heavy breakfast here as we would not be finding decent eateries all along the route.
After Bagepalli, we cross over to Andhra Pradesh. Within few minutes, we had to say adieu to beautiful NH-7 and take deviation to Kadiri. At Gorantla we saw a beautiful stone Temple (Madhavaraya Temple) but did not stop. We had not planned for it and hence we could not take a decision whether to stop or not.
At Kadiri, we took couple of detours and proceeded further towards Jammalamadugu. One notable feature of the villages in this area is the statue of YSR. They are omnipresent and it looks like a rule to have his statues!! The landscape is beautiful as we cross couple of ghat sections.
|Crossing ghat sections|
We reach Pulivendula which looks like a town dropped from heaven. The shape of our country would have changed if all towns were of the same quality. A beautiful town with ring roads, double roads and pothole free roads. I was stunned!!
|Road before Gandikota|
We were supposed to take deviation before Jammalamadugu. But google took us through a shortcut. That gave us some anxious moments when we had to go through narrow and mud roads. But we joined the main road without incidents!!
Just before Gandikota was APTDC hotel. My wife had called them on previous day and booked rooms. (Online booking is not available for this place). The place looks good with children play area and garden but lacks maintenance. The people who maintain this place will ensure that the stay is memorable for all wrong reasons!! But that would take a complete post. Let concentrate on good stuff.
After lunch we went to the village situated inside the fort. Rarely one gets a chance to drive inside a fort and Gandikota was one such exception!! The first place we saw was Charminar.
Near Charminar was the Jail. It is mostly filled with bats and inside of the jail smells a lot.
From jail we proceeded towards Madhavaraya Temple. It seems like villagers defecate in open which made this short walk really stressful. But Madhavaraya Temple was exceptionally good. Relatively well maintained compared to other monuments in Gandikota, this Temple resembles Vijayanagar architecture.
It was a pity that there were no guides to explain about the Temple. A sculpture of a dancer at the entrance wall of the Temple.
Look at the architecture of the main Temple.
On the sides are the pillars with great carvings.
A ruined Temple in the complex.
Immensely satisfied with Madhavaraya Temple, we proceeded towards Jama Masjid. It is another nice piece of architecture.
Next to Masjid is a granary followed by Ranganatha Swamy Temple. The Temple is smaller and is in ruins.
By then we had reached near the gorge which was the main center of attraction. We walked for some distance over rocks to reach the edge. What an amazing sight!!
The river Pennar flowed some 300 feet below in a gorge providing some stunning views.
In order to get the complete view of the Canyon, I climbed up the rocks to the highest point. This route is not suitable for families or children. That brought be to the place where I could get a panoramic view of the gorge.
I had to almost go to the edge of the rocks to get good views. It was worth the effort!! It also provided some nice views of the fort.
In the meantime, others were having fun time at the canyon. And we had long photo sessions!! What a great day we had!!
Gandikota is about 290 km from Bengaluru and would take about 5-6 hours of drive. Roads are mostly good. The route does not have decent restaurants other than Kamat at Chikkaballapur. Accommodation is only available at APTDC hotel in Gandikota. Expect a shabby service from hotel staff. Gandikota village is a dirty place. There are some good places to see on the way. More about it in the next post!!