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Old 6th September 2010, 23:14   #1
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Default An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti

In the first week of August, decided for a trip to Srikalahasti and I postponed booking Volvo, Train tickets thinking I may easily get tickets as this is off season. Second week of August, Hyderabad is witnessing heavy rains. Needless to say most of the small rivers overflowed and roads/apartments were submerged in water. My apartment was no exception.

Some pics:

Bus in river ?

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-20082010019.jpg

My Indica in water :-)

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-20082010022.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-20082010023.jpg

Situation outside:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-20082010026.jpg

Third week of August, had to cancel the tour plans. Wifey, don't want to waste leaves, went to visit her parents. While she escaped Hyderabad and was happy in her Mom's home, I had to witness horrible traffic jams everyday.

Last week of August, wifey informs that she had planned the tour and her parents also will be joining now and asks if I can join. I said it may not be possible for me to join the tour. So wifey and her parents booked Train tickets ( In Tatkaal) for Aug 29, Sunday night. Aug 28, Saturday night, decided to drive down to Srikalahasti on Sunday, Aug 29. Informed Wifey, she says no problem, but take care of driving alone.

Packed my bags, camera, laptop ( not used though) and a quick check with google maps reveals the distance to be 590 KM's. Route suggested was

Hyd - Kurnool - Nandyal- Kadapa - Renigunta - Srikalahasti

Another route, a bit longer around 640 KM's was

Hyd - Kurnool - Gooty - Tirupathi - Renigunta - Srikalahasti

I was a bit apprehensive about the road conditions as it was raining all over AP, but decided to take up the tour. Thought its good time to test my new Michelin XM1 tubeless tires which were around 5K KM's old.


Some where on NH-7:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00009tbhp.jpg



To be continued .....
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Old 7th September 2010, 23:51   #2
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Before writing my short travelogue, would like to thank,

1. Team-BHP: Yes, this is the place where I learn't a lot related to Cars and Driving Tips/Techniques. In Particular in driving safe. After I put those Team BHP stickers have always been driving carefully :-)

2. Google Maps: The maps and navigation (of course without voice guidance) from Google were very accurate and once I set the start and end point, just had to follow the track suggested. These maps have very minute details and almost every road. You would know every curve ahead of the road and every detail along, be it a bridge over a river or a forest area. If google provides voice guidance along with these maps it would be surely a big hit. There are minor mistakes, for example, instead of suggesting a bypass road, google may suggest you enter the city and join back the highway, but these are minor compared to the benefits it offer.

Now, like the rule in "Transporter" movie series, I had my own rules for highway drive. To name a few,

1. Max Speed Limit of 120 KMPH irrespective of how good the roads are. Often speeds are in the range of 80 - 100 KMPH.

2. Never overtake from left (exception being on 4 Lanes where slow moving trucks occupy the right most lane).

3. Never overtake at turns, even if no vehicle is coming in the opposite direction.

4. Slowdown when entering and exiting villages.

5. Drive with Low beam and use High beam only when absolutely necessary.

6. Never race with other cars, vehicles on highways. Don't feel shame when being overtaken.

There were many like these and most of these are learn't from our beloved Team BHP


Day-1:

Woke up leisurely at 7 AM, got ready, tanked up my Indica. Started off from Hi-Tech city at exact 10 AM after a heavy break fast. Was on NH7 towards Kurnool by 10-30 AM after an excellent drive on ORR.

NH-7 was wonderful to drive on and I kept a steady 100 KMPH.

Some Pics of NH-7 and my Indi:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00004tbhp.jpg


An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00006tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00007tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00003tbhp.jpg


Between Hyderabad and Kurnool there were a total of 3 toll gates. Paid a total of 134/- (40 + 39 + 55).

By 1-15 PM, entered Kurnool City. To move on to NH18, take left from NH-7 where you see Kurnool 0 KM's ( Avoid the flyover after this). NH18 passes through the city and Google Maps accurately helped in passing through the city without any issues. Never had to roll down my windows for asking directions.

Around 5 KM's after Kurnool, there was a diversion ( approx 0.5 KM) which is full of stones, had to navigate carefully. Michelin XM1 did a wonderful job here :-). Soon after was cruising on NH-18 at constant 80 KMPH. There was a beautiful ghat ( which is quite small) with greenery everywhere. The road tarmac seems to be newly laid and it was great taking the curves. Could not stop for pics as was driving alone.

Reached Nandyal ( 75 KM's from Kurnool) at 3-30 PM, didn't felt hungry and continued my drive towards Kadapa. The road after Nandyal was a typical Indian 2 Lane road with occasional potholes. But I could easily maintain speeds of 60 - 80KM/H.

Pictures of NH-18 en route to Kadapa:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00019tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00024tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00026tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00032tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00035tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00042tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00052tbhp.jpg

Reached Kadapa bypass by 5-30 PM ( 130 KM's from Nandyal) and found a big display board with directions towards Renigunta through Kadapa bypass. Since I traveled once on APTDC Volvo, could easily recollect the place and drove directly into APTDC hotel which is right beside the Kadapa bypass circle ( It is towards Kadapa City).

Ordered Some fried rice and snacks. Called up wifey, informed her that I was around 150 KM's from Srikalahasti. Wifey was surprised hearing that I started at 10 AM but was almost there by evening :-). They are yet to board the train ( at 8-30 PM) in Warangal. Assured her that will be driving safe and by 6-30 PM started towards Renigunta through Kadapa Bypass.

( Google suggested to enter Kadapa town and then join back the state highway)

Pics near APTDC hotel:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00053tbhp.jpg

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00054tbhp.jpg


Last pic of the day:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-dsc00057tbhp.jpg


Soon it got dark and found the trunk traffic to be heavier on this route. Kadapa to Renigunta is around 140 KM's and this is some State Highway ( could not recollect the number). This road is much wider compared to NH18 and I could maintain speeds of 70-80 KM/H.

This road has some real nice curves, ups and downs and was a delight to drive. As AC is on, need to do frequent downshifts ( to 4th Gear) when overtaking the trucks. Almost every village has customary speed breakers ( most of them are the large ones, which can be done in 3rd gear) at the start and end of the village.

Since its night, missed couple of these speed breakers and was on 4th Gear when crossing. Also missed couple of huge potholes when doing around 80 KM/H. But the XM1's did a fantastic job of taking up these without any issues. Initially, when going for XM1 tubeless over steel rims, was worried a bit, but a couple of searches through team bhp put those fears aside.

Reached Renigunta at 9-30 PM and from here Srikalahasti is 25 KM. Called up the agent/broker who is supposed to book our accommodation/Pooja tickets etc and informed that I will be there in half an hour.

Tanked up at a fuel pump near by and finally reached Srikalahasti at 10-15 PM. It took a little over 10 hours from Hyderabad to reach Srikalahasti excluding all the breaks.
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Old 8th September 2010, 00:19   #3
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sriswe,
Nice travelogue with pictures. Keep it coming.
How was the food at APTDC hotel by the way?
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Old 8th September 2010, 10:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by live360 View Post
sriswe,
Nice travelogue with pictures. Keep it coming.
How was the food at APTDC hotel by the way?
hi live360,

Thanks for your comments. I would rate the food in APTDC hotel to be above average. On return, we had breakfast there which is pretty decent for the price we paid :-) .

Thanks,
Srinivas.R
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Old 8th September 2010, 11:26   #5
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Wow..... Those Water photos are scary. Where do you stay Sriswe? Just curious to know? Good photos and eagerly awaiting Kalahasthi Temple snaps. I am saddened by that fact the temple's Gopuram fell.
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Old 8th September 2010, 11:26   #6
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Sri, very well written. Keep the photos coming. Your ride looks cool, not to mention - all those TBHP stickers as well. I dint spot too many TBHP cars in Hyderabad.
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Old 8th September 2010, 11:45   #7
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Sri,

Very good writing and pics are superd, though scary. Esp the transformer one. Lucky that the water did not rise to that level or else it would have been catastophic.

Keep writing. I had visited Kalahasti during my last trip to Tirupati. Have already booked the tickets this Oct last week for a trip to Tirupati again.
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Old 8th September 2010, 15:10   #8
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Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
Wow..... Those Water photos are scary. Where do you stay Sriswe? Just curious to know? Good photos and eagerly awaiting Kalahasthi Temple snaps. I am saddened by that fact the temple's Gopuram fell.
Thanks venki, I am staying in madinaguda. Sorry, I could not take any snaps of the temple, dont know how I missed and why I forgot to take the pics :( . Yeah, its very sad to hear the Gopuram fall, however, AP CM Mr K.Rosaih layed a foundation stone on the same day ( Aug 29, 2010) for rebuilding the gopuram. A Picture of old gopuram was kept at the site and police protection is there for that area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Sri, very well written. Keep the photos coming. Your ride looks cool, not to mention - all those TBHP stickers as well. I dint spot too many TBHP cars in Hyderabad.
Hey ET, thanks for the appreciation. Have read your COLD STARE log and its wonderful :-). A Jogfall trip and then cold stare and now to Goa. Wondering how did you manage these trips in such a short span .

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
Sri,

Very good writing and pics are superd, though scary. Esp the transformer one. Lucky that the water did not rise to that level or else it would have been catastophic.

Keep writing. I had visited Kalahasti during my last trip to Tirupati. Have already booked the tickets this Oct last week for a trip to Tirupati again.
Hi ghodlur,

Glad that you liked the log. The water levels were indeed scary. I kept worrying about the level being raised till the transformer height. Luckily GHMC people came and made some path for the water to move towards the drain. In general people who come to Tirupathi will surely visit Srikalahasti as it is very near ( 40 KM from Tirupathi) and there were many buses ( 45 mins I guess in non stop bus). The temple is pretty famous for the Rahu - Kethu pooja :-)

will be updating the log tonight

Thanks,
Srinivas.R
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Old 8th September 2010, 17:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
Wow..... Those Water photos are scary. Where do you stay Sriswe? Just curious to know? Good photos and eagerly awaiting Kalahasthi Temple snaps. I am saddened by that fact the temple's Gopuram fell.
The water photos do look scary. It reminds me of Thane some years back (yeah yeah when mumbai/ thane sunk). I still waded through water and took photos from my mobile.

I'm shocked and saddened too about the kalahasti temple gopura. Man. When did this happen? How?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sriswe View Post
Thanks venki, I am staying in madinaguda. Sorry, I could not take any snaps of the temple, dont know how I missed and why I forgot to take the pics :( . Yeah, its very sad to hear the Gopuram fall, however, AP CM Mr K.Rosaih layed a foundation stone on the same day ( Aug 29, 2010) for rebuilding the gopuram. A Picture of old gopuram was kept at the site and police protection is there for that area.
Oh. I would have loved to see some photos. And did you visit the Kannappa nayanar's temple atop the hill near Kalahasti? I've been wanting to go there, but could never manage. My next trip to Kalahasti definitely has a pit stop at the famous temple, where kannappa plucked his eyes and offered them to shiva, and to mark where he has to place the second eye, he put his feet on the idol!
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Old 8th September 2010, 19:10   #10
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Thanks for the driving tips, Srinivas, very sensible that all of us should bear in mind on highways. I especially liked the tip on not overtaking on curves - that extends to even 4-laned roads and not just conventional 2-laned ones.

BTW, the road you took from Kadapa is the Rajampet route. NH18 continues via Rayachoti to Chittoor.

Tell me one thing, in the Kadapa bypass - I guess the town goes to the left - where does the NH18 veer away to the right, and the road to Rajampet turns to the left. I have been on this route long ago and at that time, I remember that to go to Renigunta via Rajampet one had to go through Kadapa town.

Since the Kurnool-Panyam-Allegada route is a Naxal stronghold, did you see any checkposts or warnings against night travel? Even many years ago, the roads around Nadyal/Panyam had problems and vehicles used to travel in convoy at night.
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Old 8th September 2010, 22:22   #11
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Nice story there! Water snap IS scary! We had one such day in Bangalore 2-3 years back, and were advised to go in groups from office to home.

All places were under water. Some how I reached home that day. Still have not forgotten that moment!
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Old 9th September 2010, 00:50   #12
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Originally Posted by sriswe View Post
Hey ET, thanks for the appreciation. Have read your COLD STARE log and its wonderful :-). A Jogfall trip and then cold stare and now to Goa. Wondering how did you manage these trips in such a short span .
Thanks Srini. Me and wifey wait all year for the Aug-Nov months to come by and then hit the roads. Most of the time we are on a tight budget, taking cheap but safe accomodations, eating at dhabha's (this is where the slurpiest of food is and being veggies also helps) and traveling with company that cuts our running costs in half and adds to the fun too! Goa is on a shoestring budget. Will post the TL on Wed/Thu of next week.
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Old 9th September 2010, 07:41   #13
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The water photos do look scary. It reminds me of Thane some years back (yeah yeah when mumbai/ thane sunk). I still waded through water and took photos from my mobile.

I'm shocked and saddened too about the kalahasti temple gopura. Man. When did this happen? How?

Oh. I would have loved to see some photos. And did you visit the Kannappa nayanar's temple atop the hill near Kalahasti? I've been wanting to go there, but could never manage. My next trip to Kalahasti definitely has a pit stop at the famous temple, where kannappa plucked his eyes and offered them to shiva, and to mark where he has to place the second eye, he put his feet on the idol!
Hi MX6,

It took whole day ( 24 hours) for the water to clear from the roads, courtesy poor drainage system in Hyderabad. There was a small lake beside the railway track ( track toward Lingampally) in Madinaguda. Since all the apartments were constructed illegally ( later regularized) with out any facilities for drainage, non stop rains caused the lake to overflow and I think it must be 1 KM or so and all the apartments on the way flooded till NH-9 ( Last snap shows NH-9). It was really a bad day :(

Regarding Srikalahasti Rajagopuram, it fell in last week of may (around 27th May) and it was huge ( saw the pics at the crash site).

I too love to visit the Kannapa temple on the hill just beside the Srikalahasti main temple. There were around 240 steps to reach the temple and the view of Suvarnamukhi river and Shiva temple is amazing from Kannapa temple. In my childhood every time we visit Srikalahasti, we visited kannappa temple too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Thanks for the driving tips, Srinivas, very sensible that all of us should bear in mind on highways. I especially liked the tip on not overtaking on curves - that extends to even 4-laned roads and not just conventional 2-laned ones.

BTW, the road you took from Kadapa is the Rajampet route. NH18 continues via Rayachoti to Chittoor.

Tell me one thing, in the Kadapa bypass - I guess the town goes to the left - where does the NH18 veer away to the right, and the road to Rajampet turns to the left. I have been on this route long ago and at that time, I remember that to go to Renigunta via Rajampet one had to go through Kadapa town.

Since the Kurnool-Panyam-Allegada route is a Naxal stronghold, did you see any checkposts or warnings against night travel? Even many years ago, the roads around Nadyal/Panyam had problems and vehicles used to travel in convoy at night.
HVK Sir, I am very very happy to see your reply in the thread and that too appreciating my rules :-) . I feel driving fast is not FUN, but driving sensibly is. Thanks for your words.

Yes, NH 18 Passes through Kadapa town. I think around 5 or 6 KM's from Kadapa, while coming from Nandyal route there will be a circle with 4 roads intersection. Left is bypass towards Rajampet, Renigunta. Straight towards Kadapa town and right towards Tadipatri. To be exact the village where bypass road begins is Alakampalli. The bypass is 10KMs after which it will join the road from kadapa town towards Renigunta.

Following is the pic from google maps showing the circle:

An Unplanned Trip, executed well - Hyderabad-Srikalahasti-kadapabypass.jpg

I did not see any warnings against night travel on the Kurnool - Panyam - Allagadda route, but between Kurnool - Nandyal Ghat / Forest road noticed police check posts at several places. I think Night drive would be scary in this route ( day time it self traffic is very sparse).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Nice story there! Water snap IS scary! We had one such day in Bangalore 2-3 years back, and were advised to go in groups from office to home.

All places were under water. Some how I reached home that day. Still have not forgotten that moment!
Thanks ampere, we recently moved to this flat ( rented) not knowing this is on the path of the water whenever the lake (situated 1 KM above our flat) overflows. Now whenever it rains, I keep an eye on the road before our apartment. Its becoming worrying day by day as still rain is pouring in Hyderabad :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeTorque View Post
Thanks Srini. Me and wifey wait all year for the Aug-Nov months to come by and then hit the roads. Most of the time we are on a tight budget, taking cheap but safe accomodations, eating at dhabha's (this is where the slurpiest of food is and being veggies also helps) and traveling with company that cuts our running costs in half and adds to the fun too! Goa is on a shoestring budget. Will post the TL on Wed/Thu of next week.
Oh! must appreciate both of you on the tours on a tight budget. I would also love to have some friends/family for company on long drives, but usually end up traveling with wifey as our friends were off to their home towns or they have some other plans :-) . Will see if we both can club any of the trips together.

Thanks,
Srinivas.R
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Old 9th September 2010, 10:40   #14
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Originally Posted by venki.bala View Post
Wow..... Those Water photos are scary. Where do you stay Sriswe? Just curious to know? Good photos and eagerly awaiting Kalahasthi Temple snaps. I am saddened by that fact the temple's Gopuram fell.
It is not the temple gopuram. It is called Raja Gopuram built by Sri Krishna devaraya . it is just out side the temple compound

As per the news reports the Gopuram started to have cracks since last few years.

( the reasons mentioned were, sand quarrying in the river near by, construction very near to the foundation of the gopuram ( driange ) made the foundation weak)

In 1980'e some repairs were carried by some contractor who it appears stole all the Teak wood support beams present inside the gopuram

This was also similar in construction to Hampi structures, with stone was used upto 20 odd feet after wards it is brick construction with lime mortar plastering giving it a look of stone construction
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Old 9th September 2010, 10:44   #15
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Srini,

I learnt that Chanda Nagar lake breached, never thought that madinaguda will be flooded and the level of water is too high. I was stuck in traffic jam on that day near Kondapur for 2 hours and I wanted to take a U-turn and go through Hyd Univ and Lingampalli, an Auto driver watned me that Lingampally road is flooded. Lucky that i didnot take that route on that day. By the way I live in Nizampet Road, Kukatpally.

MX6: The Rajagopuram had cracks for sometime and the temple and Govt authorities didnot heed to warnings given by the Archeaologists. The cracks widened due to the rampant Borewell digging near the Gopuram. This led to the collapse on May 27. The krishnava devaraya statue near the Gopuram escaped and it still remains.

Regards,
Venkatesh
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