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.

March 7th, 2013 by admin

Bolgatty palace

Bolgatty palace was originally built by the Dutch on an island now known as Bolgatty island. It is one of the oldest Dutch palaces outside the Netherlands. It was built by the Dutch traders and later served as the Governor’s place for the commander of the Dutch Malabar. It served as home to the British governors after it was leased to British in 1909. After Indian independence it was converted to a heritage hotel – Bolgatty Palace run by KTDC.

Bolgatty palace

It has a beautiful surrounding. Our driver was able to take his car inside. The water front is banked with concrete and one can see marine drive the other side. Now the resort has a swimming pool, golf course, a Shiva temple, ayurvedic center and daily Kathakali dance performance. Sitting at the waterfront one can enjoy the traveling tourist and passenger boats crossing the bay area.

It is a premium heritage hotel and entry is not that liberal. We spent some time by going around the property. Walking around the lagoon is an awesome experience. There are a few igloo type honeymoon cottages which could be worth experiencing. They have their own boat to take the guests around. The view of the surrounding bay area is great!

To view more pictures of Cochin visit: TravelingBeats Photo Gallery

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