Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 5th June 2009, 21:24   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default Tirupati, Talakona and Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot

The sudden plan:

A family outing was due for the past 5 years, and owing to different work and study schedules for the 4 of us, we always had to travel individually or in groups of 2 this far. But since summer holidays were on, and also because my daughter did pretty well in her CBSE 10th exams, my wife insisted on a pilgrimage to Tirumala Hills.

A look at online bookings for both darshan and train reservations indicated that we'd need to wait for at least a month. I suggested we drive down, and go through any contact who could get us a darshan ticket, though we might have to cough up some money. A friend of ours knew someone who could make arrangements for stay and darshan, but said
that we could not do it on weekends owing to heavy VIP visits. So we planned to leave on Sunday and have the darshan on Monday or early Tuesday, and drive back on Tuesday to Hyderabad.

Since our friend also wanted to come along, we thought of taking 2 cars so that the 5 of us could travel in comfort--all of us were tall by Indian standards, ranging from 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet. My kids were more insistent on this, but I convinced them that the second car would entail 3K more fuel, and also that we could not speak to one another in 2
cars. I also gave them an incentive of sharing the saved fuel costs with them, and they were gung ho about it then (Pity, even kids need to be bribed these days ). So with a heavy heart, we decided to let go of my Fiesta. This apart, our friend's car was what is considered the roomiest of sedans south of 25 lakhs---it is a Sonata Embera. During the journey, we were all seated in great comfort, with tons of room all around. We did not feel the strain of the journey in either direction.

So we planned to go via Kadapa, Rayachoti and Pileru so that we could visit Talakona waterfalls, and return via Rajampet, Vontimitta and Kadapa---at least we could witness both routes.

The onward journey:
So off we went on Sunday morning--started from Hyderabad at 530 am, and were in Kurnool (207 kms) for a leisurely breakfast by 8 am. Left Kurnool at 9 and I took the wheel from there, and were in Kadapa (195 kms) by noon. A few
kms before Cuddapah, there is a 4 road junction, where you see an AP Tourism restaurant on the right---the left takes you to Renigunta via Rajampet, straight goes via Rayachoti, and right takes you to Tadipatri.

We went straight via Rayachoti. The road from Kadapa to Pileru via Rayachoti was quite deserted and has a scenic ghat near Rayachoti. My
son also had a stint of driving on that stretch.We branched off left at Pileru to NH 205 (straight goes to Chittoor and right to Madanapalle). Pileru was 498 kms from Hyderabad. Another 22 kms saw us in Bhakarapeta at 2 pm, where we broke journey for half an hour for lunch---no decent food joints there, but just some daal and roti in a shanty. We took a left turn at Bhakarapeta and drove 25 kms to Talakona, where we spent an hour at the waterfall amid dense forest and hills. It is an awesome place for nature lovers.
Here are some pics of the areas near Rayachoti and Talakona
A view from the ghat near Rayachoti
Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1947.jpg

The black machine
Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1949.jpg

Zipping at 110 kmph
Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1966.jpg

Talakona waterfall
Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1968.jpg

The forest track to the waterfall
Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1974.jpg

We then headed towards Bhakarapeta and then to Alipiri which was a mere 30 kms from that place. But this 30
kms took us through very scenic forets and hills via Chandragiri, and we were greeted with a heavy downpour all along
the way. The temperature suddenly cooled down from 35 degrees to 23 degrees.

We finally reached Alipiri at 6 pm (551 kms from Hyd, ignoring the 50 km detour to Talakona). We got our luggage scanned and reached our accomodation at Tirumala at 630 pm, which was 20 kms from Alipiri. Had dinner at Woodside restaurant and crashed after a hot shower.

On the next day, we completed two rounds of darshan--one in the late night and another on Tue early morning. We spent the earlier part of the day visiting the valley view point where the old steps from Srinivas Mangapurm end, and took good pics of the scenic places there.

I shall post some pics of Tirumala's scenic spots in a future post---I ain't all that sure how to insert them at multiple places.


The return journey
We left Tirumala at 9 am on Tuesday, June 2nd, and had a sumptuous breakfast at Bheemas hotel near Tirupati Railway Station. Tanked up with credit card nearby and left Tirupati at 11 am. Returned via the other route, which had a broader road, and no ghat section. Only flip side was the numerous speed breakers at every village. We passed a
historic Chola temple at Vontimitta and were at the 4-road junction at Kadapa by 1 pm.

We continued towards Kurnool as none of us was hungry. We reached the Haritha rock gardens at Orvakal, 25 kms before Kurnool at 1530 hours. We
had sighted this place on the onward journey, and wanted to check it out. We were delighted to see an AP Tourism restaurant there, and had a good lunch there, after exploring the awesome rocks. Took a good number of snaps there and resumed at 1625 hours.

I took the wheel from there. We missed the turning to Hyd after Kurnool and drove towards Bangalore for 7 kms. On asking someone, we took a U turn and found out that we'd missed an inconspicuous turning---God,when will they put sign boards!!
Since it was getting dark, I could not drive at speeds over 120 on the 4-laned highway (we'd hit 140 on the onward journey). After an hour, my son took over for around 30 minutes. At one spot, my heart skipped a beat--we discovered to our horror that an old woman was crossing the road at a bend when we were overtaking a truck---the stupid woman
did not even think that there could be a fast moving vehicle that was not in her line of vision. And the speed was around 110. My kid slammed the brakes and controlled the car pretty well, and the lady could cross unscathed. We decided then on that my son proved that he was worthy of his DL!

We reached outskirts of Hyderabad at 730, and were stopped by cops for checking. They let us go after taking down our journey details and checking the boot---they also commented that the whole car was filled with aroma of Tirupati laddus! We got stuck in traffic from Mehdipatnam, and finally reached home at 830 pm. Had a quick round of booze and
dinner and hit the sack---it was tough staying away from all this for 3 days ---our motto is never to drink and drive, moreso on a pilgrimage.

But hey, what a heck of a stress buster the trip was!

Here is some summary information:-
Distance from Raj Bhawan Road, Hyd to Alipiri via Rayachoti and Pileru: 551 kms.
Driving time: 7 and half hours. But the trip to Talakona and breaks for breakfast & lunch took us 4 hours extra, so total
came to 12.5 hours.
Distance from Alipiri to RB Rd, Hyd via Rajampeta: 540 kms
Driving time: 8.5 hours. Total time including breaks:9 hours 40 minutes
Actually the return road via Rajampet is better, permitting better speeds. But we lost time on NH7 due to night travel and also due to traffic at Hyderabad. We also lost about 20 minutes at Kurnool owing to the wrong road.

Road conditions:
  1. Hyd to Kurnool---awesome for 90% of the 210 kms, but only 70% is open to traffic. Rest of the places you need to use only one side of the divider for both directions traffic. It is in these junctions that we saw an Ikon, a Baleno and an Indica lying on top of the divider at different spots--looks like they were driving in the night and had to suddenly turn to the other road,and were prevented by oncoming traffic, so they had no choice but to go over the divider. Hence caution advised for nightg driving.
  1. Kurnool to Kadapa---pretty good old highway (NH 18) of 190 kms. Could drive between 100 to 120 at least half of the stretch. But about 10 kms after Kurnool, there is a sudden undulation on the road that will catch you off guard. There are also several twisties near Panyam and Nandyal, forcing you to drop speed. Traffic is scanty to medium in density.
  2. Kadapa to Pileru---good roads with scanty traffic. Small ghat section after Rayachoti. This is for 98 kms.
  3. Pileru to Alipiri via Bhakarapeta--Good roads,though narrow at some places. This is a 51 km stretch that has a scenic ghat section near Tirupati.
  4. Tirupati to Kadapa via Rajampeta: Fabulous state highway of 140 kms---can drive at 100 to 120, but watch out for speed breakers at villages. There are more villages on this route. We covered this route in 2 hours.
From Kadapa the route is common, and the information is already above.

Close shaves: One was the old woman crossing the NH 7 in darkness. And another was a Tata 407 overtaking a truck near Rajampet. The truck suddenly turned right to a dhaba, forcing the 407 to veer right --luckily there was enough space. He had to veer left to get back on the road, and he was bang in front of us. Luckily we spotted him in time and stopped.

Finally the car: The Sonata Embera is a luxury to travel on---far more roomy than my Fiesta. Engine is very refined, and it reaches 120 kmph at 3000 rpm on the tacho, whereas my Fiesta touches 3000 rpm at a lower speed of 100 kmph. It sounds very refined even at 140, though I prefer the growl the Fiesta makes above 120 kmph. Even with 5 on board,
overtaking was a breeze. I did however feel it to be a bit wallowy on the handling front, despite the new Michellin XM1s on it. But at speeds of 120, perhaps even my Fiesta would have felt the same on those undulations on the road.
And, oh, since I know most guys would be keen on the F.E., it was around 11 kmpl--not bad for a huge car like that.

Last edited by vnabhi : 5th June 2009 at 21:28. Reason: Captions for pics
vnabhi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th June 2009, 21:34   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Some more pics of the vista points at Tirumala:-

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1986.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1988.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1992.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_1999.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2003.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2014.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2004.jpg
vnabhi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 5th June 2009, 21:42   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

And finally the ones at the Haritha Rock Gardens at Orvakal:-

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2024.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2029.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2030.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2034.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2041.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2045.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2049.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2038.jpg

Tirupati, Talakona and  Rock gardens @ Orvakal in one shot-img_2040.jpg

Well that's it for now. Adios amigos!
vnabhi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th June 2009, 19:36   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
aaggoswami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vadodara
Posts: 4,675
Thanked: 1,426 Times
Default

Good details.
However, would love if you manage to put in more pictures of nature with the car. This car looks fantastic in black color, something true for the competition also i.e. Accord and Camry.

Sonata is not a well known handler and you quickly discovered this because you have Fiesta, a car that is the only survivor from the time of G1HC, Baleno, Esteem and Ikon. But the car is a nice cruiser. Spacious, comfortable and good ride quality.
aaggoswami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th June 2009, 21:57   #5
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Good details.
However, would love if you manage to put in more pictures of nature with the car. This car looks fantastic in black color, something true for the competition also i.e. Accord and Camry.

Sonata is not a well known handler and you quickly discovered this because you have Fiesta, a car that is the only survivor from the time of G1HC, Baleno, Esteem and Ikon. But the car is a nice cruiser. Spacious, comfortable and good ride quality.
Thanks aaggoswami. Yes, the Sonata looks best in black---IMO it looks better than the old Accord. I like the twin exhausts at the rear. The only flip side is the interior---the dash looks too darn simple for a 16 lac car. I'm told the Transform has a better dash.
I'll upload some more pics of the car that my pal has taken with his Nikon---the above pics were from my teeny weeny Canon Ixus 3.2 Mpixel camera.
vnabhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2009, 22:15   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
pulsar56's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,173
Thanked: 319 Times
Default

Quote:
Well that's it for now. Adios amigos!
Travelogue ending in the first page? Justice not done!
We are waiting for more pictures Venu Sir!
Hyd to Kurnool is amazing road (expressway?) I was maintaining a constant speed of 140 throughout the stretch during my last drive!
pulsar56 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2009, 22:16   #7
BHPian
 
muralisk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hyderabad, Bangalore
Posts: 674
Thanked: 9 Times
Default

The last picture clearly shows that there isn't much of mainteance at Rock Gardens. I had been there in last year and the wooden pathway had the side supporting structure intact. In your pics, I see them fallen off. Sad. On the whole, it is a very nice travelogue and nice narration as well.
muralisk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2009, 22:21   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Travelogue ending in the first page? Justice not done!
We are waiting for more pictures Venu Sir!
Hyd to Kurnool is amazing road (expressway?) I was maintaining a constant speed of 140 throughout the stretch during my last drive!
Sure, will post them once i get them. I agree that the Kurnool drive was damn good---hardly took us 2 hrs 20 mins or so.
BTW, we put your cool keg to great use---thx.

Quote:
Originally Posted by muralisk View Post
The last picture clearly shows that there isn't much of mainteance at Rock Gardens. I had been there in last year and the wooden pathway had the side supporting structure intact. In your pics, I see them fallen off. Sad. On the whole, it is a very nice travelogue and nice narration as well.
You are right---I was a little dicey about crossing it. I also remember seeing your post last year. I did not know that place looks so fabulous in real life. The food is great there too.
vnabhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2009, 22:33   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
snaronikar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bengaluru
Posts: 2,845
Thanked: 23 Times
Default

Nice crisp and travelogue with good pics. As others has told,the car looks stunning in black. The 2nd and 3rd pic of the Haritha Rock Gardens at Orvakal has come out very nice. Is it some kind of resort?
snaronikar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th June 2009, 22:42   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaronikar View Post
Nice crisp and travelogue with good pics. As others has told,the car looks stunning in black. The 2nd and 3rd pic of the Haritha Rock Gardens at Orvakal has come out very nice. Is it some kind of resort?
Those are pics of the restaurant and loo respectively!
It is a good place to drop by and dine---not a resort, as there aren't any places to stay. Kurnool is around 25 to 30 kms away.
vnabhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2009, 08:09   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
akroy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Posts: 2,414
Thanked: 29 Times
Default

Nice pics and travelogue Venu Sir!!

Looks like you were put up in Tirumala itself? Where did you stay and how did you book the accomodation?

Abhi
akroy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2009, 12:01   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Nice pics and travelogue Venu Sir!!

Looks like you were put up in Tirumala itself? Where did you stay and how did you book the accomodation?

Abhi
Thanks Abhi. My friend had a contact in the Income Tax dept at TPTY who acted as an agent---we stayed in Vyasaraja Mutt, diagonally behind the temple, and paid Rs 1100 for an AC room, instead of Rs 2000 normally charged.

He also arranged for special darshan and Arjitha seva, and apart from the normal charges, we tipped him by Rs 1500. After reading the newspapers on the number of pilgrims who could not have darshan last week, we feel the expenses were justified.
We could have avoided the extra charges had we planned a month in advance--but for me that is a tough proposition.
vnabhi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2009, 12:12   #13
Team-BHP Support
 
mobike008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 10,728
Thanked: 7,893 Times
Default

Venu, thats a wonderful travelogue. A very wise decision of taking one big car instead of two even though you must have missed driving the Fiesta.

How was the weather up there? Tirupathi must have be scalding hot. Look forward to more pictures of Tirumala.

How about some update about the performance and FE of the car?
mobike008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2009, 12:33   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
vnabhi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: DC -> DC
Posts: 5,265
Thanked: 1,233 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Venu, thats a wonderful travelogue. A very wise decision of taking one big car instead of two even though you must have missed driving the Fiesta.

How was the weather up there? Tirupathi must have be scalding hot. Look forward to more pictures of Tirumala.

How about some update about the performance and FE of the car?
Hey Avi, I've kept your request in mind during darshan time!

The weather was very pleasant, as we were greeted by a heavy downpour at the outskirts of TPTY, which dropped the temperature from 36 degrees to 23! The weather uphill was pleasant, as always.
While on the weather front, I was surprised to see that the outside temperature on our return around 20 kms before Shamshabad was 32 degrees at 7 pm, and shot up to 37 inside Hyd at 8 pm!

I've already mentioned regarding the car's performance in the last para. As regards FE, there was a mistake---it was around 9.5, not 11. We got this figure after refuelling 2 days later.
vnabhi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 10th June 2009, 13:25   #15
Team-BHP Support
 
mobike008's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 10,728
Thanked: 7,893 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Hey Avi, I've kept your request in mind during darshan time!
Thanks for keeping that in mind. And, it seemed to have worked

9.5kmpl is not bad for such a heavy car.
mobike008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tea Gardens, Misty clouds and a bit of offroading: A weekend of fun at Sinnadorai Lukeskywalker Travelogues 30 9th July 2013 17:53
Ooty in rain! A trip thru Nanjangud, Bandipur and Brindavan Gardens while returning. Fusspot Travelogues 24 21st December 2011 22:34
Rock Riders Torquing Indian Rock aargee Motorbikes 1 3rd September 2010 15:59
My jeep trip to horsley hills and the jungles of Talakona kittigadu Travelogues 9 2nd July 2010 11:31
Horsley Hills, Talakona and a NIKON D60 romyeo4u Travelogues 23 29th April 2010 12:40


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:44.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks