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Old 14th January 2019, 17:14   #1
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Default A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Gata loops or Kolli Hills?

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog0.png

Answer: No!

This is a continuous hairpin bend road leading to Kondaveedu Fort - a fort situated in a beautiful spread of Kondaveedu mountain ranges, located at a distance of 26 km from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh.

Kondaveedu Fort is located 1700 feet above the sea level. The fort being located on a hill top, the view from this place is awe inspiring. It is a shame that this beautiful place, once flourished as the capital of Reddy kings, could not fast become a tourist hotspot. It is only in recent years, tourists from across the state are thronging the place and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area. I've searched for any travelogue done on this place in Team-Bhp also, but surprisingly there is none (correct me if I'm wrong).

History:
The main Kondaveedu Fort was built by the Telugu Chodas, strengthened by Kakatiyas and occupied by Prolaya Vemareddy who shifted his capital from Addanki to Kondaveedu in 1323 A.D. Later, the fort was under the control of Vijayanagar Kings, Gajapatis, Golkonda sultans and lastly under French and British. All who had divergent approaches to the administration of their province and the fort. While the Hindu rulers showed benevolence to its subjects and brought prosperity to the region, the Muslims subjected the province and its people to many depredations.

In 1323, Warangal and the whole of Andhra Pradesh came under the reign of Tughlaqs, rulers of Delhi. Their depredations and despotic reign resulted in formation of a confederation movement by the Hindu Musunuri Nayaks who ousted the Muslims from Warangal, and the Reddys were part of this movement.

The Reddys of Kondaveedu were initially feudatories of the kings of Warangal. From inscriptions, it is inferred that their rule overlapped with that of the Korukonda Reddis and that they shifted from their earlier capital at Addanki in Guntur to Kondaveedu. The founder of the dynasty was Prolaya Vema Reddy, the son of Prola. They ruled in the region around present day Vijayawada and Guntur towns for nearly a hundred years (1328–1428). Their first ruler Prolaya Vema Reddy (followed by five other rulers till 1428) who ruled till 1353, strengthened the defenses of his kingdom by building a number of forts, which included the Kondaveedu Fort. He shfited his capital from Addanki in Guntur to Kondaveedu fort. Subsequently, the region was ruled by the Bahmanis (1458), the Vijayanagara Kings (1516), the Qutb Shahis, (1531,1537 & 1579), the Mughal army of Aurangzeb in 1687, the French (1752), the Asafjahi Kings, and finally the British (1766 and 1788).

Source: Wikipedia


We planned to do a Hampi trip during Christmas time, but it was called off due to some other work. I was becoming a restless human with work-from-home and no long drives in 2018 (except a trip to Papikondalu on Dec 31st 2017). One might think working from home would bring more positives than negatives - think twice! No matter where you are working from, you are still doing just that - working. And, many times combating extreme boredom and isolation will be a difficult task. How long can you go without seeing another living human being, or a place? Though I interact (virtually) with some friends, colleagues, fellow Baleno owners and Bhpians daily, the itch to go out, drive and breathe fresh air was longing. So an impromptu drive is what I wanted to do rather than plan one and cancel it. While looking for some places (2 days before journey), one of my friends suggested this (coincidentally, Hyd Bhpians were also discussing about this place at the same moment in WhatsApp). It is approximately 275 km from Hyderabad and drive time is 5-1/2 hrs. So I immediately discussed with my wife. With relatives coming home the next day, she did not want to stress out by travelling, but gave me permission to do it (if same day return). My son and me gleefully agreed .

Route:
Hyderabad -> Narketpalli -> Narsaraopet -> Phirangapuram -> Ganeshwarapadu -> Kondaveedu Fort

We wanted to start at 4 am on Jan 13th from Habsiguda and reach Kondaveedu Fort by 10 am. But, with Cyberabad police issuing an advisory about deep fog conditions and appealing travelers not to travel in early hours of the day, we delayed the journey a bit and started at 5:30 am. As soon as we reached Panthangi toll plaza, my heart was in my mouth by seeing deadly fog covering the road and surrounding areas. Could not be able to even see more than 20 mtrs of road ahead and vehicles were vanishing into fog even with hazard lights on. Stopped a couple of times on highway shoulder due to fear of invisibility of the road. As many still driving, I tailgated a couple of cars for about one hour or so until fog reduced. At 7:30 am, we took a right turn at Narketpally and stopped for breakfast. The Hyderabad-Guntur highway is very good until Narsaraopet, and Narsaraopet-Guntur is a two-way road which is also not bad. Needs to take right turn at Phirangapuram (26 km from Narsaraopet) and one has to go through villages for about 7 km to reach Kondaveedu ghat road. I was aghast and speechless when I saw a banner stating - "Repair work is undergoing and no tourists are allowed to go to the top of the hill" - a couple of KM before Fort's ghat road. Hoping for the best I drove till ghat road. There were barricades in place and also the same banner at the entrance. As the road was not completely closed with barricades and no one stopped us, we drove further towards the fort. The Kondaveedu ghat road is approximately 4 km, which includes nearly 20 hairpin bends. The newly laid road is excellent and it was joy to drive. We went to the top of the hill, spent an hour, took some photographs, enjoyed beautiful view of natural scenery and returned back. Unfortunately, we could not get into the fort as renovation work was still going on.

Last edited by SDP : 15th January 2019 at 11:10. Reason: Corrected a date :)
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Old 14th January 2019, 17:41   #2
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Default re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Here are some pictures:


Took this route:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog1.png

Deep fog
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog2.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog3.jpg

Waiting to the side:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog4.jpg

Clear of fog now:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog5.jpg

Beautiful fields:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog6.jpg

Hoarding and the banner (circled):
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog7.jpg

Notice on banner:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog8.png

Barricades at the entrance:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog9.png

A glimpse of the road and the fort:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog10.jpg

Beautiful tarmac:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog11.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog12.jpg

Work under progress on top:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog13.jpg

Panoramic view of the hairpin bend road from the top:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog14.jpg

Another view:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog15.jpg

Father and son duo:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog16.jpg

Pic captured by my son:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog17.jpg

Baleno having its day out:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog18.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog19.jpg

Beautiful mountain ranges:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog20.jpg

..and surroundings:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog21.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog22.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog23.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog24.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog25.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog26.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog27.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog28.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog29.jpg

Road was closed and tourists were stopped by police:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog30.png

Some of the Kondaveedu Fort images can be seen here
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Old 14th January 2019, 18:08   #3
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Default re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

As we did not get a chance to see the fort, I wanted to cover Mangalagiri and Kanaka Durga temples, both in Vijayawada. Came down and went to Nallapaneni Shilpakaladhamam and Shri Vijayadurga Sametha Mallikarjuna Swami temple, which were in the vicinity. Reached Mangalagiri temple by 12:45 pm and quickly completed darshan, but did not go to Shri Panakala Laxminarasimha temple on hill as I heard the temple will be closed by 1 pm. Completed free darshan in Kanaka Durga temple by 2:20 pm. The crowd at both the temples were moderate. We then searched for a restaurant to fill our crying tummies and found one (1947 restaurant) just 4 km from Prakasam barrage. After having delicious food, at 3:15 pm we started our return journey from Vijayawada and reached home by 7:15 pm.

Road to Nallapaneni Shilpakaladhamam:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog31.jpg

Entrance view:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog32.jpg

This park is very good and has excellent sculptures of a few deities:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog33.0.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog33.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog34.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog35.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog36.jpg

Also seen, some sculptures of legendary NTR in different avatars:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog37.jpg

Titanic ship:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog38.jpg

Mallikarjuna Swami temple:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog39.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog40.jpg

Mangalagiri temple:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog41.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog42.jpg

Seen here Shivalayam and Shri Panakala Laxminarasimha temple (backdrop):
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog43.jpg

Prakasam barrage:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog44.jpg

Kanaka Durgamma temple:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog45.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog46.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog47.jpg

A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog48.jpg

1947 restaurant:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog49.jpg

Interesting photo inside the restaurant:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog50.jpg

Stopped for tea at 7 food court, Suryapet:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog51.jpg

NH65 road (Vijayawada-Hyderabad) was excellent, covered the distance in good time:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog52.jpg

Total trip: 635 km
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-kondaveedu-tlog53.jpg

Toll taxes paid: ₹326/-

During return journey from Vijayawada, I didn't pay any toll taxes except at one booth I entered into Fastag and got money deducted. I came to know that government officials gave instructions to waive off toll plaza charges for commuters on national highways to and from Hyderabad during the Sankranthi holidays and a day before and after (January 13th and 16th). Unfortunately, I paid toll tax during morning journey to Kondaveedu, maybe toll plazas didn't get the info by then .

Epilogue:
The department of Archaeology and Museums (Andhra Pradesh) has decided to carry out major development and restoration works to bring out the past glory of the forts. The works proposed involve construction of hill (ghat) road of 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) length from the eastern side of the hill (the first step to approach the forts to begin restoration works), resetting and providing railing along the rocky pathway, and improving the view-points, bastions, garrison barracks, stables and internal roads with appropriate tourist signages.

Since Kondaveedu Fort can be reached easily via road and has excellent roads, I would recommend going here for a picnic and returning on the same day. However, if you want to crash, put up in any hotel in Guntur. Although the roads have been maintained, there are not many options for food and drinks around the fort (can have tea and some snacks at the entrance of ghat road).

Hope you liked my travelogue!

Last edited by kskthere : 14th January 2019 at 22:32.
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Old 14th January 2019, 22:55   #4
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Default re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th January 2019, 16:12   #5
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Never heard about the place before, thanks for putting across the travelogue.

Unfortunate that you were not able to visit fort, however from pics online I understand that the road work is progressing fast. So, soon tourists will be able to drive all the way to top.

That said, even without a fort, the ghat road itself is reason good enough to plan a trip.
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Old 15th January 2019, 23:17   #6
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
That said, even without a fort, the ghat road itself is reason good enough to plan a trip.
That is very true. With excellent road and hairpin bend ghats, I think no one will complain even if the fort is closed. It is a joy to drive to the top and watch mesmerizing surroundings.
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Old 21st January 2019, 13:30   #7
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Beautifully narrated blog. Loved the way you shared the information and the details of the location. The pictures are beautiful and described the landscape . Lots of data shared too. Keep traveling and sharing such wonderful threads.
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Old 21st January 2019, 16:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
Beautifully narrated blog. Loved the way you shared the information and the details of the location. The pictures are beautiful and described the landscape . Lots of data shared too. Keep traveling and sharing such wonderful threads.
Your words are inspiration to me. Hope I could do long drives like you. Thank you very much.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 10:25   #9
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Quote:
Originally Posted by kskthere View Post
Gata loops or Kolli Hills?

Attachment 1837242

Answer: No!
Wow. Loved the teaser image.

Thanks for this detailed log with excellent photographs. This ghat road looks mouthwatering. This place is added in my "To Do list".
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Old 23rd January 2019, 11:29   #10
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Just an observation - Stopping on the main highway in foggy conditions is not advisable. You may turn out to be the reason (unknowingly) for a crash as their are champions on our highways who can drive in pitch darkness and will give a hoot to foggy conditions. They will try to overtake the slow moving vehicle ahead of them from the left in the main lane and may not catch an unsuspecting car parked on the slowest lane. It's a sure shot recipe for disaster. Always stop on unpaved shoulders (if not possible to find any other spot) but at least avoid the tar sections. Otherwise excellent pictures and a spot added to my bucket list. Cheers !!
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Old 23rd January 2019, 11:35   #11
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Awesome TL! Looks alluring for a visit, especially the winding road and mystic scenery. Thanks for posting. I'd not heard of this fort at all.

By the way, never knew that there was a place called Chengizkhanpet!
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Old 23rd January 2019, 13:55   #12
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Default Re: A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno

Quote:
Originally Posted by SJM1214 View Post
Wow. Loved the teaser image.

Thanks for this detailed log with excellent photographs. This ghat road looks mouthwatering. This place is added in my "To Do list".
Thank you @SJM1214

Quote:
Originally Posted by adi_gt View Post
Just an observation - Stopping on the main highway in foggy conditions is not advisable. You may turn out to be the reason (unknowingly) for a crash as their are champions on our highways who can drive in pitch darkness and will give a hoot to foggy conditions. They will try to overtake the slow moving vehicle ahead of them from the left in the main lane and may not catch an unsuspecting car parked on the slowest lane. It's a sure shot recipe for disaster. Always stop on unpaved shoulders (if not possible to find any other spot) but at least avoid the tar sections. Otherwise excellent pictures and a spot added to my bucket list. Cheers !!
Point noted! Actually, this was the first time I had come across such conditions in my driving experience. That one hour was so torturous that I could not even see the edge of the shoulder when I wanted to stop, so I had to stop wherever I felt safe; but yes, I made sure at least one vehicle was there behind my Baleno. In one instance I almost drove down the shoulder edge.

Heart in mouth moment:
A trip to Kondaveedu Fort in our Baleno-img_20190113_063451_1.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
Awesome TL! Looks alluring for a visit, especially the winding road and mystic scenery. Thanks for posting. I'd not heard of this fort at all.

By the way, never knew that there was a place called Chengizkhanpet!
Yes, there is Changizkhan peta. From Satuluru, one can also reach Kondaveedu Fort through Changizkhan peta, only 2-3 km more than Phirangapuram route.
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