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Old 12th February 2013, 09:20   #1
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Trip to APTDC Haritha Coconut County Resorts at Dindi – 7th to 10th Feb

It had been a long time since we as a family, had taken a break from the daily routine. The wife had been pestering for a break for quite some time, so I started checking out for options. The first choice was to head south to Chickamagaluru (CM). I checked out the journey time, accommodation options and overall expenses for the CM trip then chose to head somewhere relatively close-by. The CM trip has been put on the backburner now.
The next couple of options were within AP – a trip to the extended family’s place near Allagadda, a weekend trip to Nagarjunasagar, a trip to Dindi resorts or a trip to one of the numerous resorts in Hyderabad’s outskirts. While the last option had the least driving time, I wasn’t too interested, and started actively checking out Dindi. Thanks to the numerous trip reports available on TBHP, I made a plan and booked an A/C suite online with APTDC from 8th Feb to 10th Feb (Check – in at 13:30 and checkout by noon – costs Rs 5846/- with a 30% discount till March 31st 2013). Its’ pretty strange that APTDC neither sends you an SMS nor sends the confirmation to your email address. You would need to take a printout!
Dindi is about 475 Kms from my place in Hyderabad via Vijayawada & Tanuku and the estimated journey time as per Google Maps was around 7.15 hours. In order to break up the journey, so that the kids get sufficient rest, we decided to halt at Vijayawada, at a family friend’s place and continue the journey. The plan was to leave Hyderabad on the 7th evening (Thursday), reach Vijayawada by night, sleep over and continue in the morning.


In anticipation of the trip, I got the 3rd and the last free servicing done on my WR – the odometer was at 9200 Kms. An update on the WR servicing is available in the Initial Ownership reports section. Just after the servicing I had tanked up the WR, and by the time we left for the trip the tank was 3/4ths full.
A couple of days prior to the trip, I went to Reliance AutoZone at Moosarambagh to check for sun shades and an inverter. AutoZone had no stock of sun shades left, and all the inverters on display were priced around Rs 3000/-. I chose not to purchase, as the pressing need itself was not there, and instead, picked up a Tire Inflator from Coido at Rs 1500/-, which according to me, was a much more worthwhile investment.
On the 7th evening, I reached office early, logged in the mandatory hours and left early. We had packed dinner to be had midway, and I packed in my laptop with some CDs for the kids. We loaded up the boot area (luggage can be quite a handful for a family of four with two young kids, even for a 3-day trip), and after a silent prayer to the gods, left home by 1730 hours. The route I had planned to take was
• NH 9 to Vijayawada,
• NH 5 to Tanuku
• Nidadavolu – Narsapur Road till Palakollu outskirts.
• Right turn to the Razole road onto Dindi resorts.


We left at 1730 hours and slowly made our way through the chaotic evening traffic. Traffic was backing up frequently thanks to the Metro works on the Dilsukhnagar main road, and the congestion in & around Dilsukhnagar bus stand. It took us a good one hour to reach the ORR entrance and thereafter, it was a relatively smooth ride, and we pulled in to the 7 hotel before Suryapet by 1941 hours. The highway is super smooth - of course you have to contend with the truckers who occupy both the lanes intermittently, leaving you to rapidly weave your way amongst them , albeit with a lot of caution thrown in – akin to playing a video game, if I may!
I was really impressed by 7, especially by the fact that the toilets there are very clean – something that is very rare in facilities along Indian highways. The place is quite spacious for the kids to run around and heck – you have a Subway, a Café Coffee Day, a BR, and the regular restaurant serving South and North Indian items. There’s adequate parking space for cars, and you also have a car wash too!
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We completed our dinner there, and after a refreshing cup of coffee at Coffee Day, we were all set to go again. Night driving on highways means that you get a liberal dose of insects and flies plastered neatly on the windscreen and the car’s façade, so it took me a good deal of cleaning the windscreen and the headlights with water and paper, before we could proceed. It was 2030 by the time we left Suryapet.
While the drive to Suryapet was uneventful, post Suryapet had me on my toes. A few minutes after Suryapet, a couple of bikers are directly headed on to me, in my lane, and I had to gingerly move left to make way for one of these idiots.
Perhaps the biggest menace on driving on the highway, are the truckers – a majority of them do not have functional tail lights and indicators, and are found in equal measure, moving sedately on both the lanes. So here I am, doing a consistent speed, and I find a dark mass ahead, I flash my lights, and find that it’s a truck, with no rear lights – not even the red reflective tape. Within a couple of minutes I find out which lane he is on – the left or the right and blessed am I, if there is no truck on the adjacent lane. If he is on the right lane I flash my lights , put on my left indicator, pass him, switch on the right indicator and get back on to the right lane. And then there would be two trucks trundling along on both the lanes, with the traffic behind backing up, and it took a good deal of flashing and a couple of honks, to make way.
At Nakrekal, I was almost caught off guard by a couple of barricades meant to slow down traffic near an intersection. Though the intention is good, adequate signage must be posted well in advance. The flyover at Jaggaiahpet was not yet ready, and we lost some time there. And then near Nandigama, the 4 lanes suddenly turn into 2 lanes – well apparently the up & the down lanes split here, but then folks care two hoots about the one way, and you would find a lot of vehicles nonchalantly coming up the wrong way. We lost some more time at Nandigama due to ongoing road works – again after Nandigama, I find a bike parked in my lane (the right lane), and the owner blissfully sleeping on the divider!!
Finally we reached Vijayawada (near Prakasam Barrage) by 2150 hours, and by the time we could locate our friend’s place off Eluru road, it was 2215 hours.


I had spotty sleep the night before, thanks to mosquitoes – and was a bit tired by the time we finished our breakfast and hit the road. I had planned to take the Kankipadu – Gudivada – Bhimavaram – Palakollu – Dindi route, but the folks in whose place I stayed over, advised me to head out on the NH 5. My objective was simple – to cover the distances as briskly as possible, before the kids started getting cranky – so NH 5 was the option.
Compared to NH9, NH 5 can get quite crowded in comparison at least till you cross Hanuman Junction and Eluru bye-pass. Again the tarmac is good, but you have to be on guard for three wheelers, that stop abruptly on the slow (left lane) to pick up passengers, and truckers, who suddenly barge into your lane, without any indication of sorts. Well, beyond getting frustrated, there’s nothing much you can do, and being on your guard in probably the best thing to do! But, to compensate, NH-5 passes through the lush green countryside, with paddy fields all around – this can be quite a treat for us city slickers. At one of the toll booths – the first one after Vijayawada, we picked up one of the tastiest guavas from a vendor for Rs 10/- - really good!
We got off the NH 5 a few Kms after Tanuku, and took the Canal Road (Nidadavolu Narsapur road) to head towards Palakollu. The wife decided to get behind the wheel for this short stretch and I took the back seat with one of the kids. We reached Palakollu by around 12:40 hours, and took the Razole road, and finally reached the resort at Dindi by around 1310 hours.


Since I had booked the accommodation online, I furnished a printout of the confirmation slip, and the staffer at the counter checked me in and collected an advance of Rs 1000/-. We were allocated an AC suite in the first floor right wing. All the rooms in the resort overlook the Godavari river and its’ quite a pleasant sight to have a river flow down close to you below.
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We quickly freshened up, and headed down to the restaurant below for lunch.
I wouldn’t dwell in details about Coconut County, as it has been discussed in detail in T-BHP. The environs are great – no doubt about it, but the facilities and the overall maintenance need to be improved. For example, they have a trampoline, but then it is managed by a private party. In the evening at say 05:30 pm, my kids want to romp around on the trampoline and they can’t – why? – The trampoline is ‘locked’ and the keys are with the guy and he’s already gone for the day, and will be back tomorrow morning!! What the heck – why can’t I get to use the facilities, when I am paying close to Rs 6000/-? And what’s with this private management? Can’t APTDC take over? And some of the play facilities for kids were in a bad shape - the slide was out of order.
And I had clearly mentioned in my booking request that there would be 2 adults and 2 kids aged 6 and 2 in the itinerary and guess what? I need to Rs 300/- extra for a mattress, and Rs 30/- for additional breakfast for my eldest child (You get complimentary breakfast for 2 adults when you book a room). What’s the point mentioning all the details about kids, when anyways you charge all these extras? Beats me!!
Coming back from my rants, we finished lunch, and headed back to the room for a quick nap. In the evening, we headed to the nearby Razole town to withdraw some cash from the ATM, and I was pleasantly surprised to find an ICICI bank branch. We had some tasty jalebis and Samosa from a Rajasthani guy’s shack, and then started looking for early dinner options – after all lunch was not that great in the resort. Looks like Razole had only 1 pure veg option – Not sure about the name though – “Arya Niwas” or something – and that does not serve dinner. So, we decided to head to Palakollu, and I got my car washed at a service station in Razole.
Palakollu didn’t fare better either as far as food was concerned. With some difficulty, we were able to track down a ‘Punnami’ hotel(not the one run by APTDC) near the town center, and had some iffy- tiffin there – The Masala Dosa had some weird curry and was super spicy, and the Puri didn’t fare better either. We could make do with whatever we could, and headed back to the resort.


On this day, we were in no mood to head out early, so got up leisurely, and had a complimentary breakfast (Idli, Upma and Bonda) and coffee. We then headed out to the pool where the four of us had a good time. The younger one was skeptical of the water, and was whimpering all the time she was in the pool. I and the elder one spent some more time frolicking around in the pool, and by around 1045 we were all set to head out for the day.
Ryali or Antarvedi? My wife wanted to visit Ryali for two reasons. Her surname before marriage was ‘Ryali’ – she was interested to check out the town which had a connection to her name – and secondly this town had a famous temple where the presiding deity was ‘Jaganmohini’ – one of the Avatars of Vishnu. We decided to head to Ryali and come back by evening to visit Antarvedi.
The ride to Razole was very pleasing with lush green fields to our right and a canal constantly giving us company throughout on our left. Hidden to us and running parallel to us, behind an embankment, was the mighty Vyaneti Godavari , the same river that we saw at Dindi.
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As a surprise element, my wife managed to trace out a paternal cousin sister who stays at Ravulapalem, and got in touch with her. We then decided to take a small detour via Ravulapalem before heading back to Ryali. We had a traditional lunch at the cousin’s place, and it was a welcome break for the kids also.
After an hour and half, we headed back on the NH5 towards Eetakota, from where we took a right turn to head towards Ryali which was 8 Kms from that place. Time was rapidly at a premium, as it was close to 1500 hours, and we had to cover Ryali, and then head back to Antarvedi. At one point the wife even volunteered to turn back but I declined. We reached Ryali, and the wife was very happy to pose by the side of a signage heralding the town’s name! We had a quick darshan of the Ryali Jagan Mohini Keshava Swamy temple, and it was interesting to see the deity as Keshava Swamy from the front and Jagan Mohini from behind. The priest explains the salient features of the idol in the light of burning camphor.
By the time we had completed Ryali, it was pretty clear that we could not make it to Antarvedi, so we decided to head back to the resort and take a 20minute boat ride.

At one of the places en-route saw this truck smashed up badly against a temple.
Trip To Dindi - Coconut County Resorts-truck_smash.jpg
By around 1745, we were all set for the 20 minute boat ride on board ‘VASHISTHA’ – the blue colored boat. It costs Rs 400/- if you want to book it all for yourself or, if you are a team of 10 people, it would work out to be Rs 40/- per head. The boat slowly took us underneath the Chinchada Bridge, and we spotted a private guest house adjacent to our resort, with a red boat anchored at the pier.
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Trip To Dindi - Coconut County Resorts-chinchaada_bridge_1.jpg

Past Chinchada bridge, we headed out for a few meters before heading back, and it was indeed a very pleasant feeling with the cool breeze blowing in, and the sounds and sights of the fishermen rapidly going about their work, setting up fishing nets at various points. We docked back at around 1820 hours – post dusk, it’s a no traffic zone on the river, as the fishermen cast their nets for the fish in the night.
I had a couple of beers in the bar – a hyperactive dog in the resort had scratched my elder one’s right arm – luckily it was a minor scratch – my girl was rattled though and I spent some time consoling her. We had a relatively better dinner that night – taste wise, and retired for the night. Occupancy that weekend, was not too high, and was less than 50 %.


It’s the last day in the resort, and we had a target check out time of 12 noon. So, we decided to check out Antarvedi, especially the light house, and then head back home, pack up and then leave. By around 0830 we were ready to leave, and as is customary prior to every departure, I cleaned the car interiors with the portable vacuum cleaner; interiors can tend to get messy with kids round, what with food stuff and papers strewn around.
The road that leads to the resort also continues down a few kilometers, before merging with the main road to Antarvedi. We continued on the same road, and the scenery around, was much more lush compared to what we had seen. Lots of paddy fields around interspersed with an equal number of coconut trees – along with the occasional fish ponds – lovely sights. The road was bad though – but we were not complaining!
We headed out to the beach, only to backtrack and make a left turn to head to the lighthouse. Alas, the visiting hours were from 1500 to 1700 hours only, so a lighthouse visit was out of bounds. Nevertheless, we parked our car near the beach, and were prepared to spend some time there, when a man approached us and asked if we would prefer a boat ride to an island visible far away in the horizon.
I wanted to compensate for the missed light house visit, so agreed immediately. The deal was stuck for Rs 500/- and if I could find some more people, we could split up the costs. Almost on cue, a team of four gents enquired if we were headed on a boat ride and on an affirmative indicated their willingness to come on board, if we agree. Sure, I had no problems, so all of us headed down the sandy beach, crossed a dune, and reached the banks of the spot where the river meets the sea.
Within a couple of minutes, the man and his companion pulled up in a blue fishing boat with a diesel motor attached. The cost issues settled (We pay Rs 250/-, the gents pay Rs 250/-), we were out on the choppy waters of the confluence, with strong sea breeze blowing. The kids were nervous initially, but had fun nevertheless. Half an hour down the sea, we pulled up into an island – a sort of a temporary island, with sand dunes stacked high up. These islands are seasonal, and their location keeps shifting every season. Our only other occupants on the island were a party of fishermen, camping there for the night for fishing.
Having spent some moments of solitude, and a few photo-ops later, we headed back to the confluence. Overall the boat ride took 50 minutes, and was worth the time and money. We headed back home, picking up some food for the kids en-route.
By around 1215, we vacated the room, settled the dues and headed back. The return route was the same, and the objective was to cover distances as quickly as possible. By around 1345, we pulled into Tanuku town for a vegetarian meal at one of the Chitturi group hotels. For Rs 465/- we got good food – this hotel is recommended.
So I hit the highway again and am doing triple digit speeds, and get frustrated time & again by three wheelers stopping abruptly on the slow lane forcing me to panic break; many a times I wished to kick some sense into these idiotic folk, only to realize that its’ all futile.
On the adjacent railway tracks, the Howrah Yeshwantpur express gave us company for a few minutes, but then we lost it behind.
I had left Tanuku by 1425 hours and by 1550, we were entering Vijayawada, and it took us a good 45 minutes to finally exit the town via the bye-pass. By around 1710, it was back to triple digits speed, with some company now in the form of a red Skoda Rapid and a new Duster. By around 1815 I pulled I pulled into 7 at Suryapet again for a well needed break, and started off after a 35 minute break. Having filled in fuel en route, we continued on and finally reached home by around 2045, thus ending the 3-day trip.
We had covered a total of 1140 Kms in this trip – and to sum it up, it was not bad – though things can get a bit hectic with kids. One thing to have is truckloads of patience on the highway, for all sorts of maniacs!!

Last edited by Technocrat : 14th February 2013 at 03:27.
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Old 14th February 2013, 22:09   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th February 2013, 23:25   #3
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Nice narration of a short and lovely travelogue, PVS! Keep it coming. Also do update us on how the Waggie felt on the highway and its F.E., etc.

I've heard of all those places you visited, but never got a chance to visit any of those. Now that the highway to Vijaywada is good, I should make a plan this year.
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Old 15th February 2013, 12:12   #4
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Nice travelogue.More pictures if you have any pls 7 is an excellent place and to keep it the way it is,it takes a humongous amount of effort. www.foodseven.com

You should do Chikmagalur next,lovely place and lots of options for stay as well.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 15th February 2013, 12:44   #5
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Nice and short travelogue PVS. How far is Vijawada from Suryapet? You did this stretch in 1:20 hours?

Also, whats the tarrif at APTDC Dindi? I would like to make a visit sometime this year as never been to it till date.

You also didnt mention the total kms of this trip as well.

Look forward to more snaps of the trip !!!
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Old 15th February 2013, 22:43   #6
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Venu Sir, Ranjit and Avi - thanks for your feedback and glad you liked the trip report!
About the Wagon R's high way behaviour - its a comfortable highway cruiser; and the free revving K-10 engine is fun to drive. I had to panic brake two times, and though the car did a little wriggle, it held on nevertheless. Had no complaints about the headlights, and the high beam has a good throw to it and is really effective on dark highways. Contnuos and regular usage of the horn, does tend
to produce a jarring note, spo probably I have to get the horns replaced.A/C was effective and I never had to go beyond blower position 3.

The highway to Vijayawada is really good - the Jaggayapet flyover is not yet done though , and while going to VJA, you would need to slow down at Nandigama.

Regarding the fuel efficiency, I didn't tank up every time - would just fill in Rs 1000/- or Rs 2000/- worth of fuel at times, so can't get the accurate figures, guess it must have given about 17 odd Kmpl.

Ranjit - yes the 7's USP is probably its clean toilets and the range of food options available. Its become the de-facto stopping place for families out on this route. Haven't got a chance to have food at this place, but my friends in Vijayawada are of the opinion that the food quality has fallen of late. Nevertheless, an amazing stop to refresh and rejuvenate. And yes, Chikmagalur is definetely on the radar, probably would do it after summer.

Avi - An A/C suite for 2 adults and 2 kids costed us Rs 5846/- for two days and that includes a 30 % discount till March 21st 2013. You could book the accommodation online. House boat rides can also be booked but it would be great if you are in a group and take the 24-hour or the 12-hour package. The 6-hour package at Rs 2411/- is simply not worth it. Alternatively you could go on a half an hour boat ride for Rs 400/-.

We had covered a total of 1140 Kms in this trip.
Suryapet and Vijayawada are 146 Kms apart and we started at around 08:30 pm and by 09:50 pm, we were near Prakasam barrage. The highway is smooth, but as mentioned earlier, you would have to slow down near Jaggayapet and Nandigama.

I will check and see if I have some more snaps to upload - thanks for your feedback folks.
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Old 16th February 2013, 20:19   #7
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Originally Posted by PVS View Post
Compared to NH9, NH 5 can get quite crowded in comparison at least till you cross Hanuman Junction and Eluru bye-pass.
You are quite lucky to find the NH 9 less crowded. We, who travel regularly on this stretch, find any other road a cinch to drive.

The NH 9 four lanes are inadequate, though road itself is quite smooth.
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Old 17th February 2013, 08:21   #8
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Originally Posted by simplyself View Post
You are quite lucky to find the NH 9 less crowded. We, who travel regularly on this stretch, find any other road a cinch to drive.

The NH 9 four lanes are inadequate, though road itself is quite smooth.
Probably because I started at an hour on a weekday when the traffic is sparse.
But on the return trip I started at around 05:00 pm on a Sunday evening, and there was a fair amount of cars giving us company - but even then, I felt that the NH9 was not that congested, at least till Hyderabad outskirts.

Yes, if you leave any time at say 11:30 pm or so from either ends, when a lot of private buses leave, you might find it congested.

By the way, at what times of the day or night do you travel on the NH9?

Last edited by PVS : 17th February 2013 at 08:22. Reason: Spelling mistakes
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Old 17th February 2013, 22:43   #9
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Originally Posted by PVS View Post
Yes, if you leave any time at say 11:30 pm or so from either ends, when a lot of private buses leave, you might find it congested.

By the way, at what times of the day or night do you travel on the NH9?
Mostly mornings and evenings. Of late it is more of evenings and after midnights.

Today the traffic was fairly heavy in the evening.

I have travelled on NH 5 from Vizag to Naidupeta and in NH 7 from Hyderabad to Bangalore. I find these have considerably less traffic.
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