Roadtrip to Gandikota, Belum Caves and Yaganti, Andhra Pradesh

Roadtrip to Gandikota

Planning of the Trip

This weekend saw us head-over to Gandikota popularly known as “Grand Canyon of India” situated in Andhra Pradesh which is definitely an understatement.

The plan was to head to this destination on a Saturday and return back on the Sunday as a overnight camping trip.

Gandikota Travel

With all planning complete with friends n colleagues all set, we met at the ORR at 06:15 hours.

After a few introductions, we set to our destination at around 06:45 hours.

Route Option: Hyderabad – Gandikota via Owk, Belum Caves is good (via Betamcharla and Banaganapalli

We hit the Bengaluru Highway and continued towards Mahabubnagar, Kurnool stretch which is a lovely 4-lane road.

Breakfast Stop on the Bengaluru Highway is always “Food Pyramid” who don’t disappoint as always..

After crossing Kurnool, we took the newly constructedRayalaseema Expresswayand continued towards Tirupati before taking the State Highway towards Betamcharla.

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Rayalaseema Expressway from Kurnool

Roads were in decent and good shape most of the journey until we reached Banaganapalli and had a mix of good and bad patches from here on.

Day One of Gandikota

Having reached Gandikota around 15:00 hours, we headed over to Haritha Resorts (run by AP Tourism) and the only hotel in Gandikota, we had our lunch which had plain rice, dal, curry and a bit of curd with fryums.

Haritha Resorts, Gandikota

We then explored the area by going off-roading to the windmills and seeing windmills so close ever.

We then headed back to the Gandikota Fort to explore the place as we got ready for the sunset.

Sunset at Gandikota

After lazing around for sometime and doing our bit of trekking and one of us getting slapped by a thirsty monkey, we headed back to Haritha Resorts.

Camping at Gandikota

Started discussing with the resort staff at Haritha and were awe-struck with the loot that they were resorting to in the pretext of AP Tourism charging ₹400 – ₹500 for pitching our tents in government land away from the resort. This was broadlight loot of tourists that was in full swing over any given weekend.

They were also charging ₹1,500 -₹2,500 depending on the tents and scenic views from tourists in tie-up with locals which was looting people.

Not yielding into the pressure, a colleague and myself set out post dinner to find a place to pitch our tents.

This was mystery that we built to our other 22 colleagues and their family as once we found a good camping site, we just asked them to follow us. We then set out at around 20:30 hours to one of the best locations to setup our tents on our own and didnot pay any money to anyone.

Ask for the Camping Site near fort if you need guidance, you can take a right just before entering the fort and take a right again for camping at this beautiful location

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Camping at the Grand Canyon of India (Copyrights reserved – Srikanth’s Traveldiaries)

Finally, having pitched our tents, we set out chatting, and talking about multiple things as the singing / Antakshari set in and we had a couple of super cool singers in our group, the clock was ticking, and I called it a day at around 01:30 and went of to sleep and the others continued till around 03:30 hours.

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Gandikota Gorge (Copyright of Srikanth’s Traveldiaries)

Day Two of Gandikota

We woke up at around 06:45 and that is when, all of the campers discovered where did they camp overnight and were pleasantly surprised.

We headed over to Haritha after packing our tents to freshen up and having breakfast. Now here again, we had surprises, a small cup of tea costed ₹16 and was not even full. Washrooms were charged which we understand and didnot make a fuss about but a local woman was collecting money randomly. This Haritha experience was turning to be pathetic compared to the Haritha Hotel we stayed in Dindi a few months back.

After getting ready, we set out to Belum Caves our next destination for the day.

Places to Visit / Things to Do:

  1. Ruins of Gandikota Fort (walking & a bit of trekking)
  2. Sunsets from the Gandikota Gorge overlooking Pennar river and the Grand Canyon of India (a bit of climbing and trek involved, but worth the efforts)
  3. Belum Caves
  4. Rayalacheruvu Lake (ideal for Sunsets)
  5. Belum Caves
  6. Yaganti Temple (Agastya Cave, Pushkarini, Venkateshwara Cave)
  7. Orvakal Rock Formations

Journey to Belum Caves

We set course for Belum Caves which is around 62kms from Gandikota. This stretch had very good roads and we had a good time heading over.

Belum Caves is the longest and the second largest cave system open to public in India

Temperatures started soaring and we in no time were experiencing ~40* C.

Taking around 1.5 hours to reach our destination, we took tickets to enter the caves.

Belum Caves is the deepest at Patalaganga at 151ft and has air pumped in at various locations for circulation of oxygen

The caves take around 60-75 minutes to visit and is a place you should not miss.

Part of the group as we explored Belum Caves
Part of the cave formations
Patalaganga in Belum Caves

Detour to Yaganti

We started our journey to Orvakal, our pit stop for Lunch and Google got confused and redirected us on a route which lead us to Yaganti, the place known for Uma Maheshwara Temple which talks of a Nandi Statue that keeps growing.

We briefly had a halt there and were mesmerized by this temple and the surroundings.

Yaganti Temple

Interesting Fact: Sage Agastya was in his penance when crows disturbed him and he has cursed them from entering the region due to which you would not find crows in this area

After the detour and experiencing such wonderful view, we headed over to Betamcharla only to realize there was no road and we were travelling on gravel and sand-dust for approximately 4-5 kms.

We then joined the main road and continued onto Betamcharla to head over to Orvakal for our lunch (at a Haritha Hotel) and were lagging by 15-20 minutes than the other three cars which went in the correct route.

After enjoying a good meal, we relaxed a bit before continuing on our journey to Hyderabad but not before farewell to our friends.

Thats us before we started to Belum Caves
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Heading back to Hyderabad

Things to carry:

  • Tents (2 people) capacity
  • First aid kit
  • Odomos cream
  • Bedsheet / sleeping bag
  • Snacks for munching (biscuits / chips etc)
  • Water (2ltrs /person)
  • Battery / Power bank
  • Torchlight
  • Toiletries (as required)
  • DSLR / Camera / GoPro
  • Ensure your Camera is charged

My travel with colleagues from work has been a super cool experience, made some good friends on the way and had great fun as we drove to our destination and bearing me as we detoured even when we were getting delayed for lunch and enjoying all through, thank you ladies and Pavan!

I would take your leave at this point as I work on my next journey, until then, this is Srikanth signing Off!

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About Srikanth's Traveldiaries

A travel enthusiast and a Duster Owner who likes to visit new places and pen his experiences...

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