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Old 6th September 2016, 00:59   #1
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Default One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

This is a travelogue of a one day road trip to a place that I never knew existed in India, until a friend recently shared the pictures. I just couldn’t believe that I had never known about its existence! Upon asking him for more information and after doing some research myself, this place was on the immediate travel list over the coming weekend.

About the place :

Belum Caves - "Belum Caves is the largest tourist cave in Indian subcontinent and the longest caves in plains of Indian Subcontinent, known for its stalactite and stalagmite formations. Belum Caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. It is a natural underground cave formed by the constant flow of underground water.The caves reach its deepest point (150 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga.In Telugu language, it is called Belum Guhalu. Belum Caves has a length of 3229 metres, making it the second largest natural caves in Indian Subcontinent after Krem Liat Prah caves in Meghalaya." - Source : Wikipedia.

60 kms from Belum caves,there exists a remote village called Gandikota.

Gandikota - "Gandikota is a small village on the right bank of the river Pennar, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh.It was founded in 1123 by Kapa Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana.The town played a significant role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods. The fort was made more impregnable by Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu. The fort was under the control of Pemmasani Nayaks for over 300 years.The fort of Gandikota acquired its name due to the 'gorge' (in Telugu it is called 'gandi'),formed between the Erramala range of hills, also known as Gandikota hills and the river Pennar that flows at its foot,reducing its width to a mere 300 ft Situated amidst beautiful landscape and wild forests, it is endowed with vast natural resources." - Source : Wikipedia.

The Plan :

Leave Bengaluru early in the morning. Reach Belum caves by 12 noon and spend a couple of hours exploring them. Travel 60 kms to reach Gandikota for a sunset view over the gorge on the banks of the river Pennar. An overnight stay at APTDC resorts near the fort. Witness sunrise and return.

The sequence of events that unfolded :

03:30 am - 04:30 am : Woke up in the morning; turned off the alarm! Got ready, packed my bag and left.

05:15 am - 05:30 am : Parked my bike at a friends place. Picked up two other friends and hit NH-44 towards Belum caves in his 6 months old Honda City i-vtec VXMT.

07:30 am - 08:00 am : Pit stop at a restaurant for a quick breakfast - Masala Dosa, Idly and hot coffee

08:00 am - 9:30 am : The journey continued for little over an hour on a good stretch up to Anantapur.

09:30 am - 11:30 am : Took a deviation at Anantapur towards Gooty and the road got patchy. On the way,we witnessed landscapes that were very dry clearly suggesting lack of rain in the region. The terrain reminded me of a town named Pushkar in Rajasthan that I had visited a couple of years back.

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11:30 am - 12:00 pm : We finally reached our first destination after a 6 hour long journey. Refreshed ourselves and headed straight towards the access point to the caves for some exploration. As per the plan we had 2 hours before we headed to our next destination - Gandikota.

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-entrance-2.jpg

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm : Cave Exploration!

Will leave the pictures and videos to do some talking.

Access to the caves:
One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-1.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-2.jpg

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One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-5.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-6.jpg

A fresh water stream:
One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-7.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-8.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-9.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-10.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-cave-11.jpg

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Video 1 :


The more time you spend inside them, the more claustrophobic and suffocating it gets. It's good that they have installed blowers at a couple of points for fresh air to flow in.

Video 2:


02:00 pm - 02:30 pm : Came out of the caves tired, exhausted and we were in desperate need of some fresh air and food. Had lunch at a restaurant in a nearby village and resumed our journey to our second destination - Gandikota.

02:30 pm - 04:15 pm : The road narrowed further into a single lane as we reached closer to the village of Gandikota.

04:15 pm - 04:30 pm : Entered the premises of APTDC resorts and upon inquiry at the reception, an unexpected news of all the rooms being unavailable hit us. This was the only resort in the vicinity and it had all its rooms occupied and we were told that the closest place for accommodation is 100kms away. With no options left, we were compelled to make changes to the remaining part of the plan. We had to call off our trip after sunset and decided to return to Bengaluru on the same day.

04:30 pm - 06:30 pm : We had 2 hours with us before we resumed our return journey.

Video of the Gorge :


Mesmerizing View :
One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-gandikota-1.jpg

One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota-gandikota-2.jpg

06:30 pm - 01:00 am : The return journey was tiring and exhausting. Opted for a different route (Gandikota-Pulivendula-Kadiri-Bagepalli) and it turned out to be more pathetic than the one we took during the first half of the day. The speed slowed down to 20 kmph for most part of the stretch until we hit Hyderabad-Bengaluru highway.

Summary :

Trip Date - 3rd Sep, 2016
Bengaluru to Belum Caves - 325 kms
Belum Caves to Gandikota - 60 kms
Gandikota to Bengaluru - 280 kms
Total Distance - ~700 Kms
Car - Honda City i-vtec VXMT
Fuel - Filled the tank twice.Half tank left unused in the end
Mileage - ~16kmpl
Camera Body - My new Nikon D5300
Lens Used - AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm F/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200 mm F/4-5.6G ED VR II
Tolls Paid - Rs 345
Entry fee to the caves - Rs 50/adult
Road Conditions -The interior roads are bad.Drove very carefully and still ended up scraping the under belly on 4 occasions
Pros - Though the final access to these locations are poor, they are definitely worth a visit.
Cons - I wonder why the resorts at Gandikota have no online booking. They work on a first come first serve basis.
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Old 6th September 2016, 05:50   #2
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Default re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Wonderful stuff. Great pics too.
Must try and do this one of these days. These quick drive explorations are most rewarding indeed especially when one simply doesn't know they exist at all.
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Old 6th September 2016, 19:31   #3
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Gandikota is an awesome weekend exploration place. Its rustic outdoor location provides a perfect choice for the drive.
Nice log!
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Old 6th September 2016, 19:54   #4
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Excellent log and pictures, rekindling the urge to visit the place soon
Thanks for sharing.

Can you share the route map for the routes you took ? Are there any alternative roads that are better ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syed_Munazzir View Post
08:00 am - 9:30 am : The journey continued for little over an hour on a good stretch up to Anantapur.

09:30 am - 11:30 am : Took a deviation at Anantapur towards Gooty and the road got patchy.
Why did you take a deviation at Anantpur - did you go via Tadipatri ?
The NH 44/NH 7 goes all the way to Gooty where you can then deviate towards Belum (via Yadiki).

gMaps suggests this route:Link

Last edited by NPV : 6th September 2016 at 20:04.
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Old 6th September 2016, 23:12   #5
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post
Wonderful stuff. Great pics too.
Must try and do this one of these days.
Thank you Shankar

Quote:
Originally Posted by NPV View Post
Can you share the route map for the routes you took ?

Why did you take a deviation at Anantpur - did you go via Tadipatri ?
The NH 44/NH 7 goes all the way to Gooty where you can then deviate towards Belum (via Yadiki).
Yes you are right. I was referring to Gooty Anantapur.

I have attached the route map links below -

Bengaluru - Belum Caves : http://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Ben...2!2d15.1025998
We reached Gooty and then took a deviation towards Yadiki. Further ahead, we passed through UltraTech Cement factory and then Belum Caves.

Belum Caves - Gandikota : http://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Bel...9!2d14.8146912
Decent single lane road. Many un-scientific speed breakers. They are camouflaged with the road. Gets a little tricky to spot them from a distance.

Gandikota - Bengaluru : https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Ga...7!2d12.9715987
This is a route that you must avoid. Try looking for an alternative. It is in a very bad condition till it merges with NH-44.
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Old 7th September 2016, 17:47   #6
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syed_Munazzir View Post
Cons - I wonder why the resorts at Gandikota have no online booking. They work on a first come first serve basis.
Did you try at aptdc.in? APTDC have online booking facility for Gandikota as well, like other resorts (Haritha) that they run.
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Old 7th September 2016, 18:02   #7
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

That's a short yet informative travelogue! Pics do lure me to visit this place. Albeit I am from AP I've never visited this part before. Should try this trip once!
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Old 7th September 2016, 22:04   #8
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

That's a nice thread buddy.

I too visited the caves and have plans to go to Gandikota again. Couldn't complete that side trip when I went there.

Here's my travelogue, do go through:

Weekend Drive to Belum Caves, AP
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Old 7th September 2016, 23:12   #9
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Quote:
Originally Posted by nischaltopno View Post
Did you try at aptdc.in? APTDC have online booking facility for Gandikota as well, like other resorts (Haritha) that they run.
The plan to visit this place was made at a very short notice of just one day. Most of the information acquired was through word-of-mouth. I did not research much about accommodation though.Tried my luck for a direct check-in but in vain. This is the drawback of getting the plans implemented at the last moment. We remain ill informed. You are right, there are options to book rooms online. Thanks for correcting me
Actually,the initial plan was to carry a rented tent from Bengaluru for overnight camping[Camping is allowed!] , but failed to get it implemented as the equipment was unavailable due to 'Bharath bandh' which was observed last Friday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pferdestarke View Post
That's a short yet informative travelogue! Pics do lure me to visit this place. Albeit I am from AP I've never visited this part before. Should try this trip once!
Thank You

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
That's a nice thread buddy.

I too visited the caves and have plans to go to Gandikota again. Couldn't complete that side trip when I went there.
Here's my travelogue, do go through:
Weekend Drive to Belum Caves, AP
Hello Anurag! Thanks you Did go through your post. A very detailed and informative one indeed.Thanks for sharing !

Last edited by Syed_Munazzir : 7th September 2016 at 23:18. Reason: Spell check
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Old 8th September 2016, 11:48   #10
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Short and informative one.

Even I was there on 3rd September with couple of my friends and I think I saw your City parked right opposite my Swift.

We went to Gandikota directly from Hyderabad and the route from this side was good, apart from a bad patch towards the end. We left Hyderabad at 6 and reached Gandikota around 12.30. We also had plans to go to Belum caves but we were too mesmerized in the beauty of Gandikota and we left from there around 6 directly for Hyderabad and reached Hyderabad at 1.

It was a short and fun trip.
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Old 8th September 2016, 23:28   #11
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

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Originally Posted by Amit_breakfree View Post
Even I was there on 3rd September with couple of my friends and I think I saw your City parked right opposite my Swift.

We also had plans to go to Belum caves but we were too mesmerized in the beauty of Gandikota and we left from there around 6 directly for Hyderabad and reached Hyderabad at 1.
Oh! Is it ? Nice. You seem to have spent the entire day near the gorge. Did you try climbing down and get to the banks of the river? I could hear echoes of people shouting, from the valley!

Belum caves is worth a visit. A good place
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Old 9th September 2016, 10:35   #12
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Default Re: One day road-trip: Belum Caves & Gandikota

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syed_Munazzir View Post
Oh! Is it ? Nice. You seem to have spent the entire day near the gorge. Did you try climbing down and get to the banks of the river? I could hear echoes of people shouting, from the valley!

Belum caves is worth a visit. A good place
I think so.

We were thinking of the same but there were couple of girls in our group who didn't want to do the hard work in the hot weather and also get tanned.

So we didn't go down. Maybe next time in an all boys trip. There were echoes but they were primarily from a large group of college students and they were quite rowdy, throwing all the garbage near the gorge.

That's in my go to list and will surely plan one in the coming weeks.
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