Friday, February 1, 2008

By Krishna Rao
Hyderabad, July 14:
If one desires to have a darshan of Hindu Gods and Godesses in the ancient temples, seeing the flood flows of mighty rivers, getting a feel of adventurous boating in the mighty gorges, driving in the breathtaking illustrious forest environment-One has to take a four day trip to Mahaboobnagar and Kurnool Dts in this season.
Day 1.
Start early from Hyderabad, say 6 am on day one, take National High way 7 to reach Kurnool ( 210 Kms) by 9am. Try Amaravati, a way side restaurant famous for its delicious ethnic yet hygenic food preparations just opposite to the State Guest House there. Then proceed towards west for one and half hour journey to reach Mantralayam, the abode of Guru Raghavendra swamy called Brindavanam on the banks of river Tungabhadra, now flowing thanks to early floods in last June. Have a dip in the river and have a darshan of Brindavanam and start return journey to Nandyal Via Kurnool City ( 150 Kms) for the night stay. It would be better to finish the dinner at Kurnool City which had good eateries if compares with Nandyal. Rayalseema Ruchulu ( taste of Rayalseema) like Jonna rotte ( jawar roti), Natu kodi koora ( country chicken kurry) Ragi sankati, Rasam etc will certainly offer Accomdation at Nandyal is not a problem, has many number of Budjet hotels besides Irrigation Dept Guest Houses.
Day 2.
Start at 7am from Nandyal, drive for half an hour to reach Mahanandi (16 Kms) to see the Mahanandeeswara temple, an ancient one on the foothills of Nallamala. This particular temple has a unique bathghat famous for its crystal clear water from the perennial springs flows from unknown sources from the adjoining Nallamala hill range into this. Start again around 9am from Mahanandi and proceed to Allagadda (50 Kms) on the Kurnool-Chennai Highway, take a left turn and travel for an hour to reach Ahobilam the oldest Vishnavite temple and abode of Lord Yoga Narasimha Swamy. Another peculiar feature here is one has to visit diguva Ahobilam ( temple lies at the foothills) temple and also Yeguva Ahobilam ( temple on the top of the hills-Ofcourse six km ghat road provides picturesque of the famous Nallamala dense forest). Serene yet majestical atmosphere of Nallamala forest with several springs, waterfalls provide you the much wanted break from the busy life of the Cities. On the return at Allagadda finish the lunch in way side eateries. Then proceed towards Banaganipalle ( 40 Kms) from there to Yaganti (12 Kms) famous for ancient shiva temple and one can see here the evergrowing Nandi (Bull) statue. Also visit Caves in the adjoining Hill range which has rich archielogical value. Return to Banaganapalle and proceed towards south for a half an hour drive to reach Belum Caves. The 2.5 km long underground natural cave formations at different lenghths, mini water reservoirs are supposed to be oldest, deepest if one compare with the Borra Caves of Araku Valley in Vizag Dt. Tourism Dept has provided fecilities like rest houses and restaurants for refreshments. After the sunset, return to Nandyal and rest.
Day 3
Leave Nandyal by 7am proceed to Srisailam (120 Kms) via Atmakur and Dornala through the dense Nallamala forest. Srisailam a major pilgrimage and tourist centre in the State is one and only place where one can relax in serene sorroundings and unpolluted atmosphere. Srisailam Yatra will begin from Sikhareswaram. Persons coming from Nandyal via Dornala will first stop at this point claimb to the top of one hillock to have a glimse of the Srisailam Temple Sikharam through the Nandi (Bull) statue which will be eight Kms away from this site. From here drive strait to Srisailam Temple amidst enjoying the beauty of dense forest cover on either side. Around the temple area accomdation is not a problem, many guest houses, hotels are there to take careof. Restaurants also plenty. Finish lunch and relax for a while. Then around 4 pm visit the temple of Lord Mallikharjuna and goddesses Bhramaramba in a sprawling complex which houses many temple structures with gopurams on all the four corners. Srisailam temple is one among the twelve Jyorlingas in the country and only one in the State. Similarly Bharmaramba temple is one among the 18 Saktipeetaas in the country. One unique feature of this shiva temple is the devotees can directly perform the pujas to the main diety including a touch. Around 6 pm come out of the temple and proceed towards the Pathalganga bathing ghat where Srisailam Dam's backwaters offer a majestic view of the famous gorge portion of the Nallamala Hill range. Even it offers a ride on the river in the country made Dingy, a round shape boat like structure made out of palm leaves. Now the dam is in its full capacities, with heavy flood flows one has to checkit out before venturing into a dingy for a jolly ride. A ropeway across the river, a new attraction comesup recently there also provides a thrilling experience to the tourists. go to the accomdation and call it a day.

Day 4
Getup early, start the fourthday's trip from the temple area. Visit Paaladhara and Panchadhara, Sakhi Ganapati temples enroute to Hyderabad. From there take a half an hour drive to reach Sunnipenta area where the mighty Srisailam Reservoir (Dam) is situated. A worth seeing Dam structure on river Krishna which stores nearly 300 TMC Ft of water and presently crest gates are lifted and flood water overflowing from a height of 150 feet. Permission has to be obtained from the authorities to visit the Hydel Power Generating Unit and even to go on to the top portion of the Dam. The whole journey from temple area to the dam area is full of curves and passes through Ghats which provides different scenes of river krishna. Start downward journey from the hill range reach the bridge across krishna. Now the flood waters are being released into the river one can really enjoy the beuty of river waters gushing from the dam into the river. Then start again on the same road for the return journey. For allmost 90 kms upto the Mannanur in Mahaboobnagar Dt the 2 hour journey through ghat sections enthralls you, with a wide variety of fauna and flora of the famous Nallamala forest. Another two hour drive from there, you will be in Hyderabad. But don't forget one thing. No night time journey is allowed to and from Srisailam. (Ends)