May 6th, 2013 by admin

Location: Gooty, Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh

Distance: 264 km from Bangalore, 50 km from Anantapur, 306 km from Hyderabad

Route: Bangalore – Hyderabad National Highway 7. To reach Gooty one has to take a left deviation from the main highway.

Travel time: Around 4.30 hrs from Bangalore

Accommodation: There are few lodges but nothing decent. If you are going with family best staying option will be at Anantapur or Kurnool.

Food: Available at local shops but no decent restaurant.

The star attraction of this town is the magnificent Gooty fort. As we were nearing Gooty town, we came to face the towering fort. The fort located on a hill can be seen from a distance. The hill rises abruptly out of miles of plains around and has no range. Earlier people used to stay inside the fort but with increase in population people started living outside the fort and thus rouse the town of Gooty around the fort. It is not straight forward to find the way to the fort. It took us asking few people to find the correct route. The road to the fort goes through a bazaar and leads through the boundary of the fort. At the foot hills of the fort there is a settlement of population. One has to track around 2 – 3 km to reach the top of the fort. At one end of the foot hill, there is a cemetery of the ones who ruled the fort once and their subordinate.

We started climbing in the afternoon in the month of August and it was pretty hot. To go around the fort it would take more than 3 hours time. At the foot hill, the climb starts and there is stone paved way with walls on both sides. I have been to many forts but this one was unique and landscape around was also unique. As we were climbing I could notice the various layer of additions this fort might have gone through. Some part of the fort is almost in ruins. ASI has mentioned it is a protected monument but it needs some help immediately.

The fort is said to be in existence since 7th century AD but I could not find any concrete evidence on who built it. It is understand that this area was under Gupta emperor Ashoka’s rule as archeologist have found one of his rock edit few kilometers away from here. Major construction of the fort might have started during the Vijaynagar empire. Under the Maratha rule the hill was further strengthened. Murari Rao, one of the Maratha general in the 17th century captured the fort and made it his permanent residence. His favorite place in the fort is know as Murari Rao’s seat. In 1775 Hyder Ali captured the fort and it went to British hands after his son Tipu Sultan died in 1799.

As we continued climbing our view of the surrounding became better. Now I could see the hills had only one major access without any barrier which was walled by the rulers to control access. After some time we opened up to a plateau which houses a water storage, ammunition depot and soldier resting place. From here we started to see Bangalore Hyderabad highway. Some steep hiking here onwards will take you to the peak of the hill where the palace and watch tower is located. I had to return back from the summit of the peak due to peer pressure who were not ready to climb further. From here I  saw see a goods train going towards Bangalore. The descend was pretty easy and by early evening we reached the foot of the hill.

Today Gooty is just a small town but it is an important railway junction.

To view more pictures visit, Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

March 14th, 2013 by admin

After my trip to Kumbhalgarh towards the end of July 2012, I was planing a trip this long holiday weekend (31st Aug – 3rd Sep). Joined by 3 other friends we hired an Indica car for a day trip. The idea was to cover as much as we can in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Rate per Km: Rs 6
Driver bata: 6 am to 10 pm = Rs 200, If you need to use the cab before 6 am and after 10 pm, driver will ask for another set of bata
Andhra Pradesh entry fees: Rs 500 for Indica car
Toll charges: National Highway 7 is mostly tolled upto Gooty. We paid 3 toll charges till then. If you pay return charges at the same time, it comes cheaper.

The pickup started early in the morning by 5.30.  We are able to leave Bangalore city by 7.30 am. After crossing Hebbal and Devanahalli airport junction, we had breakfast at Kamat Lokarruchi on NH 7. While we were having breakfast we noticed a superbiker group with green Yamaha Ninja, Suzuki Hyasong and a Hurley Davidson. They were also on a ride that day and later we met them again at Lepakshi temple. The Andhra Pradesh – Karnataka border post is at Bagepalli. After entering Andhra we traveled little further on smooth NH 7 and then took a left on country road for Lepakshi village. It is around 120 km from Bangalore. The demography of Anantapur district and the neighboring Karnataka district is very similar.

Lepakshi Temple

Few hundred meters before the main temple we saw a monolithic statue of Nandi. Lepakshi temple built under Vijaynagar empire’s patronage is historically as well as architecturally superb. Read my article separately on Lepakshi temple. By noon we left Lepakshi. We got back on NH 7 and kept traveling for Gooty. On the way we saw the diversions for Pavagada, Penukonda, Puttaparthi, Dharmavaram and Tadipatri. All these were on our list but we were not able to cover them due to scarcity of time. Little before Anantapur, we had lunch at one of the Dhaba. We paid a premium price for having food on the highway. Food was decent to can have grade. One plate (small) chilli chicken was Rs 140, wheres the same in Bangalore would be in the range of Rs 80 – 100. For lunch of 5 people (including driver) we paid Rs 790. Here, I am mainly taking about the quality and quantity against the price.

By the time we hit the road again, it was 1.30 pm. We traveled past Anantpur city over a flyover. This is a good plan by NHAI where in people traveling on the highway need not enter the town. Anantpur is around 200 km from Bangalore and 354 km from Hyderabad (capital of Andhra Pradesh). It is the largest district in the state of Andhra Pradesh covering an area of 19130 square km. From tourist point of view, nothing to see in Anantapur but one can halt there in the night for more than one day tour. Gooty (pronounced as Gutti) is around 58 km from Anantapur. On NH 7 one has to take a left diversion to read Gooty town. To go to Tadipatri, Yadiki caves or Nellore one has to go via Gooty town.

Even before entering Gooty town, Gooty fort could be seen from around 4 to 5 km away. Gooty fort is located on a 300 meters or more high hill which rose above the plains besides Gooty town. We had to ask a few people to find the way to the fort. Gooty fort is one of the oldest fort in Andhra Pradesh. It changed several hands and it is historically very intriguing. Read about Gooty fort and our trek up there on a separate post. We were very tired and sweating by the time we descended from the fort. Bought couple of cold drinks and water from Gooty town. Then felt soul back in the body. It was over 5 pm then. We had plan to go to Yadiki caves but to reach there we were told it takes 1 hour and to see the caves it takes around 2 hours. So the consensus was we do not have enough time and we proceeded for Penukonda or Puttaparhi.

We ended up going to penukonda town. It was once the capital of Vijaynagar empire. On the way we saw a large cement architecture of Kumbhakarna, a mythological character from the epic Mahabharat. It was describing the scene when people were trying wake Kumbhakarna. It was almost evening when we reached Penukonda. We entered through the entrance of the fort. Then traveling inside we saw many temple, some new and some old. Then we looked for the way to hill fort. After finding the way, we started driving up the soil road up the hill. The road is still under construction and by the time we reached the dead end from where one has to walk to reach the top, it was pitch dark. During day time one can command a awesome view from here. With nothing to do there we left for Bangalore.

One hard lesson learned was view the destinations as you travel. That way we can see more places and spend less time on travel. On this trip we spent more time on travel. We reached Bangalore 9.30 pm and I was home by 10 pm. I have no complains as for me traveling is as important as the destinations. Traveling is like a release for me. I have enjoyed the trip.

January 1st, 2013 by admin

The plan to visit Lepakshi temple was long on the drawing board and even took time to write about it. We visited it in August 2012.

Location: Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh

Distance: 120 km from Bangalore (Karnataka) and 15 km from Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh

How to reach there: By private vehicle directly to Lepakshi or by bus/train to Hindupur and then travel to Lepakshi.

Route: Bangalore – Hebbal – NH 7 (Bangalore – Hyderabad highway) – turn left for Lepakshi road – Lepakshi village – Nanadi Monolithic statue – Lepakshi Virabhadra temple

Where to have food: No facility Lepakshi. However, one can have food at roadside stalls.

Where to stay: No facility

As we approached the Lepakshi village we saw a huge statue of Nandi, which I later found to be the largest in the world. As we reached the base of the hill we understood that this temple is built on a rock. One has to climb a few steps and then enter through the main gate. We washed our feet and proceeded to the entrance. The exterior of the temple is a boundary wall which is typical of many south Indian temples. But there are no inner boundaries. Inside we first encountered a jajastambha (pillar) which again found in almost all south Indian temples. Both sides of the entrance is flanked by pillared corridors.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Known by the name Virabhadra). There are other deities inside like Durga, navagraha etc. The pujari (monk) here offers to describe the events in three languages – Telegu, Kannada and English. In this main temple area only oil lamps are lit. The interior is very intricately designed in stone work. Then we went to pillared hall where every pillar is a display of extensive stone work. There are various stones carved mythical characters and ornamental works. We were shown a pillar wich is virtually hanging and called the hanging pillar.

Behind the pillared hall is the most amazing display of stone work. We found a shiva linga coiled by a nag (Snake) and placed his hood over the shiva linga. This linga and the snake is said to have been carved out of a single stone. This huge shiva linga with multiple head snake hood is an amazing sight to watch. The main linga seems to be a different type of stone though. Behind this is the Kalyana mantapa. It is severely damaged and needs immediate attention. We walked through the periphery of the temple and reached the temple which also acts as exit.

The temple is said be constructed by a noble merchant Virupurana during the vijaynagar empire times.

Note: There is parking fee of around Rs 10 for two wheelers and Rs 20 for 4 wheelers.

October 19th, 2011 by admin

Location: Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh

Distance: Around 165 km from Bangalore, 144 km from Tirupati, 274 km from Chennai

Time taken to reach there: 3 hrs from Bangalore in 4 wheeler, 3.5 hrs in bike and 4 hrs or more by bus.

Route:

1. Bangalore – KR Puram – Hoskote – on NH4 after HP petrol bunk take left for Chintamani road – Chintamani bypass – Rayalpadu – Madanapalli – Take left in front of Madanapalle post office – on NH 205 look for an arch on the left hand side or AP Tourism board showing sign to take left for Horsley hills – Horsley Hills

How to reach there: By 4 wheeler, bike and by Bus. One can go to Madanapalle by bus from Bangalore. From Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh state buses are available to Horsley Hills. The nearest rail link is Madanapalle road which is 13 km from Madanapalle town.

Where to have food: If you are going for a day trip it is best to have food at Madanapalle. Though food is available at Horsley Hills it is little costly. A bar is also available.

Where to stay: At AP Tourism Haritha Resort or Government guest house.

1. Haritha Resort
Tel: +91 8571 279323/24
Cell: +91

There are various types of accomodation starting from Rs 800 to Rs 2500. Small cottage will cost Rs 800 and big cottage will cost Rs 1600.
Website: http://aptdc.in/accomodation/index.php

2. Horsley Hills Holiday Homes (private)
Ph # 08571 – 279307
Cell # 9440671253, 9502449777
Note: Rooms are small and cost Rs 500 per room.

Horsley Hills is one of the few hills stations in Andhra Pradesh. Horsley Hills was earlier known by the name Yenugu Mallamma Konda. The name of the hills might be related to a little girl named Mallamma who use to live here alone in the jungle according to legends. There is an temple based on her called Mallamma temple. The Chenchu tribes lives here. The then Collector of Cuddapah district, W.D. Horsley found this place in the first part of 1840s. The hills has been named after his name. Due to its immense beauty and cool climate he choose Horsley Hills as his summer residence. Now the Andhra Pradesh Governer use that as the summer residence and renamed as Governor’s House.

Horsley Hills is located at an altitude of 1,265 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by smalls hills and hillocks. The hills have nice green cover and would have very nice view in early morning and evening.

I visited Horsley hills recently in a largely unplanned visit.

It will be amazing to walk around the hills in leisure which I could not do much. At the main complex there is a swimming pool which is clean. Do carry shorts if you want to swim or you will have to shell out Rs 65 for an useless short. Entry fees for guests at Haritha Resort is Rs 50, Childrens Rs 50 and adults Rs 100.

What to see:

1. View point: One can sit at the view point and relax watching the vast expense of sky and small hills dotting the landscape below. There is also another viewpoint behind the Governor’s house.

2. Zoo: The zoo is a laughing stock. There are a couple of Rhesus Monkey, few variety of birds and rabbits. Also, there are 3 crocodiles who are in bad condition. However, there are lots of trees and at the end one can watch an amazing phenomenon – two separate trees merging together.

3. Mallamma temple

4. Manasa sarovar: It is a nice place to spend time and you can watch tortoise here. There is another lake called Gangotri which comes while climbing the road to Horsley Hills.

One can also go for adventure activity like trekking, archery, zorbing, walk on water, rope challenge etc all for a fee. Individual activity cost from Rs 30 to Rs 150. There are also different packages like Trekking + Archery (Rs 150) to Rs 600. For more details check the website: http://freakouts.com/

ph # 7799360313, 8897906455, 9440353009

Places to visit nearby:

1. Rishi Valley School: It is one of the best residential school in India. Founded by Philosopher J Krishnamurti and spread over an area of 350 acres. The campus has been declared a bird preserve. They also offer a course on ornithology. Rishi Valley School is around 16 km from Madanapalle town and buses are available from Madanapalle town.

Website: http://www.rishivalley.org

2. Kaundinya wild life sanctuary: This sanctuary is located around 87 km from Horsley Hills. To enter the forest one need permission. It has various wild life like elephant, panther, jungle fowl, birds etc. It also has a water falls inside.

3. Kaivara: On the way one can see kaivara cave temple.

To view ore pictures of Horsley Hills visit Travelingbeats Photo Gallery.

July 25th, 2009 by admin

Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is the official tourism department of the state government of Andhra Pradesh. It owns and maintains many hotels and restores. Runs various tour packages for tourists in AP. Following are the APDTC package tours from various places:

1. APTDC Package Tour from Bangalore

2. APTDC Package Tour from Hyderabad

3. APDTC Package Tour from Vishakapatnam (Vizag)

4. APTDC Package Tour to and in Tirupati

5. APTDC Package Tour from Chennai

6. Misc APTDC Package Tours

Corporate office address:

Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation
Tourism House, Himayatnagar,
Hyderabad – 500 063
Andhra Pradesh, India

Phone: +91-40-23262151, +91-40-23262152,
+91-40-23262153, +91-40-23262154
+91-40-23262457
Fax: +91-40-23261801

APTDC addresses in other places are as follows:

Bangalore
24/1, Race Course Road
Ph: +91 80-41136373
Fax: +91 80-22385513

Delhi
A.P. Bhavan
Ph: +91 11-23381293

Chennai
31/14, Burkit Road, T.Nagar
Ph: +91 44-65439987,
Tele Fax : +91 44-24353373.

Kolkata
4/1, Sikkim House, Middleton Street
Tele/Fax: +91 33-22813679
+91 9330999811

Tirupati
Srinivasam Complex
Ph: +91 877-2289219, +91 877-2289216

Room No.5 & 6, Sridevi Complex,
Tilak Road, Tirupati.
Ph: +91 877-2289120.

Visakhapatnam
Railway Station
Ph: +91 891-2788821

RTC Complex, Visakhapatnam.
Ph: +91 891-2788820
Fax: +91 891-2788822
Cell: +91 9848813584

Information & Reservation Offices
Hyderabad

Tank Bund Road,
Ph: +91 40-65581555, +91 40-23450165
Fax: +91 40-23453086

Opp.Viswanath Theatre, KPHB Road
Ph: +91 40-23052028, +91 40-65504999.

Tourism Plaza, Green Lands
Ph: +91 40-65571682
Cell: +91 9848540374

Yatrinivas, S.P. Road
Ph: +91 40-27893100,
+91 40-27816375,
+91 40-66387598

Central Reservation Offices,
NSF Shakar Bhavan, Opp. Police Control Room,
Basheerbagh, Hyderabad.
Phone: +91 40-23298456,
+91 40-66746370, +91 40-66745986
Cell: +91 9848540371

Vijayawada
Godavari Motor Complex
M.G.Road, Vijayawada.
Ph: +91 866-2571393

Email: info@aptdc.in

July 25th, 2009 by admin

Following are the tour packages to Tirupati from various places by APTDC. Also, APTDC conducts local city tour in Tirupati.

1. Daily Local Sight Seeing Tour:

Dep. 9.15 am Arrival 5.30 p.m.
Srikalahasti, Tiruchanur, Kanipakam, Sreenivasa Mangapuram & Kapilateertham, Tour terminates at Govindaraja Swamy Temple.

fare : From Tirumala – Adult Rs. 340/- Child : Rs. 280/-
fare : From Tirupati – Adult Rs. 310/- Child : Rs. 250/-

2. Coimbatore – Tirumala Tour Daily by Volvo Coach:

Dep. 8.00 pm Coimbattore Arr. 7.00 am Coimbattore
Three days tour Covers Tirumala, Tiruchanur & Kalahasti

FARE : Adult Rs. 1720/- Child. Rs. 1380/-
(includes Break fast, Lunch, S & L Show, Accommodation & Cellar Darshan)

3. Coimbatore – Tirumala Tour Daily by Non A/c Coach:
Weekly Thrice
Three days tour Covers Tirumala, Tirupati, Tiruchanur & Kalahasti

FARE : Adult Rs. 1350/- Child. Rs. 1080/-
Includes Break fast, Lunch, S & L Show, Accommodation & Darshan with Sudharshan Token

4. Karur – Tirumala Tour:

Dep. 2.00 pm from Karur
Daily Non A/C coach 2 days tour

FARE : Adult Rs. 1330/- Child : Rs. 1070/-
Includes Break fast, Lunch, S & L Show, Accommodation & Cellar Darshan

5. Tirupur – Tirumala Tour Daily by A/C Volvo coach:

Dep. 2.00 pm Tiruppur
2 days tour covers Tirupati, Tirumala & Tiruchanur

FARE: Adult Rs. 1720/- Child Rs. 1380/-
Includes Break fast, Lunch, S & L Show, Accommodation & Cellar Darshan

6. Kumbakonam – Tirumala Tour:

Daily by Non A/C coach 2 days tour covers Tirupati, Tirumala & Tiruchanur

FARE : Adult Rs. 1480/- Child Rs. 1190/-
Includes Break fast, Lunch, S & L Show, Accommodation & Cellar Darshan

7. Neyveli – Tirumala Tour:

By Non A/C coach 2 days tour covers, Tirupati,Tirumala & Tiruchanur

FARE : Adult Rs. 1010/- Child Rs. 810/-
Includes Accommodation, S & L Show, & Sudarshan Token

8. Tirupati – Sripuram Golden Temple Daily Tour:

FARE : Adult Rs. 300/- Child Rs.240/-
Includes transport by Non A/C Hitech

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