The gorge at Gandikota, popularly known as the Canyons of India, has been in my mind for a very long time. I kept hoping for a weekend to escape to this village and to soak myself in the lost history and ruins . That weekend finally dawned when we made an 8 hour ride from Chennai , all the way up to the less or not so commercialized village of Gandikota.
Keeping sunrise in mind, the bumpy narrow roads and the necessary breaks to be taken during a night drive, we started pretty early and we were there right before the break of the dawn.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Gandikota – The Grand Canyon Of India
We walked through the fort entrance with torch lights and crossed the small living village inside the fort. There were clear direction broads that guided us to the gorge view. Once we climbed up the boulders, we took our positions to catch the first rays of the rising sun. It was dark at around 5:45 and the breeze was chill enough for an extra layer of clothing to cover ourselves.
For a person who always fantasied sunsets as soothing and romantic, this sunrise was soothing and calming. As the sky was splashed with hues of love and hope,the dawning sun emitted warmth to the soul. As the golden rays were dripping, the gorge looked magnificent. We sat there for hours in absolute tranquility with no distractions except for the flocking birds and their synchronized movements over the green Pennar river every now and then.
An hour after the sunrise, we saw a small group of people making their way to the gorge and we graciously gave them the spot and made our way out . Before exiting the place, we stood for a moment, taking in the breathtaking view of the gorge and the quietly flowing river for one last time.
We made our way back slowly through the fort and its ruins . The villagers dwelling inside the fort had sprung into action with the women folk milking the cows, the men smoking their ‘beedi’ and the kids playing among themselves. We headed straight to the guesthouse run by the AP tourism board for a quick shower and breakfast. The guesthouse is an average place to stay or to freshen up and there are no other stay option in and around the village.
Our next stop was Belum caves. An hour drive through another series of bumpy roads fringed with fields , we were at the caves. Paying an entry fee of INR 65 for adults and INR 45 for the little fellow, we walked down through the man-made spiral staircase that led to the cave. This site was first explored by a group of German cavers and there after the government had declared the site safe for public in the late 1980s. Intricate formations by nature add beauty to the allure of the Belum caves. The breathtaking natural sculptures,the perennial underground stream and the maze of paths is a gem to any adventure seeker.
There are stalls selling eatables near the site. But step out a bit and look out for those small hotels run the villagers for some lip smacking, super spicy Andhra lunch. They serve with so much love and charge a very meager amount.
After a spicy Andhra meals, we steered the vehicle to the nearest hill station, Horsley hills. With the help of Exoticamp, we had tents laid out at the APTDC run resort. Having camped with them earlier, we were sure of the comfort awaiting as our energy levels were draining slowly. Camp fire, stare gazing were the scenes of that evening before we curled into our sleeping bags. The tent stay provided by Exoticamp was a luxury with clean sleeping bags.We woke up to trek to a view point and to get some pictures all the way. When we came back with grumbling tummies, idli, dosa and upma were a feast.
We had another few hours left and we had arrangements for rappelling. While one of us were determined to take up the adventure, the photographer took his own spot to click pictures. The little fellow was skeptical initially,but soon he changed his mind and decided to descend the rock and he did it like a cake walk. Do I have to mention how fast my heart beat those few minutes.?
As we wrapped up the activities ,packed our bags and sought the help of google maps to find our way back to Chennai. And in 7 hours we were back in the middle of the crazy mad city traffic.
Things to know
- The Village of Gandikotta is still not commercialized . Be prepared to carry your own bottles of water and food. It was disheartening to see empty glass bottles discarded around the spot. Let’s be responsible enough to keep the place clean and safe for visitors.
- There will be a lot of climbing , walking and crawling(inside the Belum caves). So remember to wear comfortable clothing and footwear.
- Extreme hot and dry weather will cause headaches. So keep yourself hydrated. Remember to carry your sunglasses, caps and sunblock lotions.Wear cotton clothes to keep yourself cool.
Best time to visit
Gandikota is pretty warm throughout the year. But best preferred to visit between September – February. The place will be unimaginably hot and humid for the rest of the year.Plan to watch the sunrise or the sunset. Any other time of the day is not advisable.
So , what are you waiting for. Add this to your bucket list, chart out a plan, for Gandikota is the Grand Canyon of India. Reach out to Exoticamp for camping options and adventure activities.
P.S : This post is based on personal experience and not a sponsored post. A few pictures were shared by the fellow travelers who joined us and we’d like to thank them for letting us use .
You may like to read about our previous experience with Exoticamp at Vagamon here.