Belum caves and Gandikota

February 14, 2016 § 1 Comment

The Andhra Pradesh border is about 50-60kms from my house. Yet, I have never really been anywhere in Andhra, except Tirupati and Pulicat lake. Aswath and I have been planning a trip to Gandikota for a couple of years now. And when both us finally found the time(Pongalo-Pongal) we decided to explore the unexplored, the mystical, the late-breakfast eating state of Andhra. We recruited Venkatadri to balance the weight in the car and as a handy bodyguard in case my hindi/telugu/pidgin ended up getting us in trouble. Truth be told, both Aswath and Venkat speak pretty good  passable Hindi, while I will tell you to go inside the bridge(as against under) because it will surely lead you onto the highway to Hogwarts. We didn’t really use much of our rudimentary Telugu- to our surprise almost everyone we encountered seem to know Hindi or generally understand what we were trying to say. Of course, I’m still not sure which language I spoke in- more of a mish-mash of everything I know- for all I know, I might have sung Malare to some unsuspecting cop.

 

The ideal plan is to stay at Gandikota, catch the sunrise, go to Belum and return to Chennai. However, the only resort at Gandikota was full and we decided to stay at Kadapa instead. Not so bad, since Kadapa is about 250kms from Chennai and it was 6:30pm by the time we rolled into town- considering the condition of the road between Kadapa and Gandikota, it wouldn’t have been wise to drive there in the dark anyway. The drive from Chennai to Kadapa takes about 4-4:30hrs. The drive between Reinugunta and Kadapa in the evening was lovely. One thing though- throughout the trip we had to watch out for unmarked big speed-breakers on the highway. At one point Venk even considered buying an helmet. We found a lodging- hotel Ziara through Tripadvisor and after being given the runaround by Google navs through narrow market street, we found our way to it. A charming 8th grade kid, the brother of the owner(I’m guessing) showed us the way to dinner(a certain Meenakshi place) where we had humongous barottas.

 

Somewhere near Rajampetta

A photo posted by Vishesh Unni Raghunathan (@poeticgooner) on

 

The next day, being true Chennai boys, Aswath and Venk, decided we shall start early. Early being seven in the morning. Now, Tamil Nadu is a state which is notoriously early. You will find shops open at five and people generally getting on with their lives, like brushing their teeth while riding a bike, reading paper at the local tea stall or waiting for the first bus at four in the morning. Evidently not in Andhra. The hotel guys were sweet enough to make us some coffee before we left, and that’s all there was till about 8:30am in a random village where we had breakfast.  We changed our plan- there was no point in going to Gandikota first since we had anyway missed the sunrise. Instead we drove to Belum caves. You take the Kadapa-Kurnool four-lane highway for about 36 kms and then have to take a left(there’s a detour involved and google map’s navigation is correct), you drive past Jammalamadugu and take the Tadipatri-Jammalamadugu highway- the road here is mostly decent. There isn’t much of traffic and you pass through a few villages. A highway is under construction, so there are a few diversions along the road.  After 85kms on the road, take a right at Kolimigundla and in about 5kms you will reach Belum caves.

 

A village where we had breakfast on the way to Belum caves.

A photo posted by Vishesh Unni Raghunathan (@poeticgooner) on

Belum caves is the largest cave in the Indian plains, and has those pointy-pointy(Stalagmite and Stalactite) rock formations.  The caves are made of Kadapa stones(black limestone) and carved by random superpower which rules the universe, homo sculperus WATER. Considering we did not have to cross Silk board, TIDEL park or any of those awful signals, we made it in record time-9am- only to find that the place did not open till 10am. But being the bony (first sales) for the day has its advantages- by the time we left the caves, the place was infested filled with tourists. Add to this that the temperature inside is around 33C and humidity at Chennai-summer level, it could turn out to be not-so-pleasant trip. But it is fascinating. To think that water did this over millions of years, is mind-blowing and almost unimaginable( cue a few million years long movie with nothing but water flowing through the caves). Of course, some humans did feel the need to put their name on it and claim it as their work:-

writing on the wall

 

 

After the humbling experience of the caves, we headed out to Gandikota. You head back to Jammalamadugu, go into town and take the Muddanur road. Once you cross the Pennar river, take a right- the road ends at Gandikota. The trip is 60kms long and takes about an hour. The road up to Gandikota is  a winding road, which looked specially lovely in the evening. Having had only a sparse breakfast we dug into some Andhra meals at the Harita resort in Gandikota. The place was teeming with families, bikers and other sorts of humans who had all had the same idea as us. After napping for a while in the car, we finally walked up to the gorge. What a brilliant sight it was! For the second time in the day we were stunned by the power of water. And well, you just feel inconsequential in general- the world has been around for far too long, things have been happening anyway and the big bang happened so long ago, and the universe is still expanding- and just wait for the day we find out the quasars aren’t moving out any faster, but heading back in(okay, highly unlikely a) that will happen b) that will happen now, even if it were to happen).

Anyway, after being humbled beyond origins and meaning of life and what not, we clicked pictures with our fancy-ass camera and mobile, grumbled about the litter, got into the car drove back. (not before I shot this pic) –

On the way back from Gandikota. #gandikota #travel #andhrapradesh #india #eveninglight #evening #sunlight

A photo posted by Vishesh Unni Raghunathan (@poeticgooner) on

 

The 90kms drive from Gandikota to Kadapa is bad. The road till Yerraguntla is terrible- a highway is under construction and majority of the paving was removed. Yerraguntla to Kadapa wasn’t so bad, except for the fact that there are unmarked speed-breakers which you have to wary of and there is a lot of lorry traffic with big blinding headlights. After getting suitable lost in trying to find the place we had dinner the previous night, we found another place to eat. If you are going to stay at Kadapa, I would recommend you stay near the bus stand, although the hotel we stayed at(Hotel Ziara) was good. The city does have KFC, dominos etc for those you who need your does of vapid fast food.

The next day, we found out again that Andhra just isn’t the place for early breakfast- this time at 8am, inside Kadapa city. After a quick grab at a small tea-stall-esque place, we headed back to Chennai. On the way we stopped at Kodandarama temple in Vontimitta- while I managed to get away with it, they don’t allow you to enter the temple if you are wearing shorts. We were also stopped at checkpoints to see if were smuggling red sanders. We weren’t.

Gandikota- click on photo to open album

A couple of skylight photos

June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Well am back from Kodai. And it’s been a while since I shared some photos on my blog. So here goes 🙂

From newcamera3
From newcamera3

To read the full post click here.

Hi. (a post after 20 days!)

April 16, 2010 § 9 Comments

Listen to this while you read 🙂

My last noteworthy post was 20 days ago. And I blame it on Twitter(not entirely). Not that tweets compensate for writing, but when you read a lot of interesting stuff, you end up thinking and end of the day, you don’t know what to write about.

Actually that is not true, it has got more to do with my exams. So another 20 days or so to go, before I write my CA-IPCC(inter) exam. And contrary to common perception, I am not all that tensed. I generally don’t get tensed over exams, because they are certain. You get tensed only when things are uncertain. Of course, you can’t be certain of the result, but well results come after a couple of months and if you have done horribly, you can be prepared for the worse 😛

It is not laziness either, just that whenever I decide to write, I wonder why I want to write about myself. Not that there isn’t enough happening out there, but to write about other things, you need put a lot of thought to the given topic and then type a concise(me, concise?) and engaging post.

I wanted to write about the Tharoor vs Modi case, but then I tweeted enough I guess and besides writing a brilliant piece saying whatever I want to say, isn’t going to change anything, no, it isn’t going to get me additional readers either(I hate it when I sound so pessimistic, actually, that I am not pessimistic, just that I don’t want to start blogging in full swing, again, till my exams are over).

Notice, how I have eaten over 250 words, without saying anything worthwhile? I can be witty, you know. But then again wit is a waste of time, when not many get what I say(lack of wave length I say!). Or maybe I am not witty, just vetti.

Anyway, I think it is time for the Great LOL challenge again(yes, a year has passed and your sense of humour has gotten better, I hope), any volunteers to help me?(includes chatting with me and exchanging mails, lot at that..I can be quite a nag, you are warned).

Since I want to see a lot of comments, on this post, I stop 😛 Leave you guys with a couple of pics,

From photoshopped

Original:-

A rare event..me taking a photo which seems decent :P  on Twitpic

From photoshopped
From photoshopped

Oh! and if I feel confident that I am studying properly, watch this space for a couple of book and movie reviews(seen a few movies actually, just too lazy to review them 🙂 )

P.S:- Sorry, for not replying to comments, I know that is bad ethics..but.. 🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂

Devil’s eyes?(k actually the title should be whatever. Whatever read on)

March 4, 2010 § 14 Comments

From singapore

-Whatever. I wanted to post something. I have a tag pending. I want to do it, but well guess am not in the mood/my cold is irritating me.

-Ha but the title, now why is that we always associate scary eyes with the devil? I like people with cat eyes and such.

-Follow me twitter.

-Going to Trichy tomorrow, be back on Saturday.

-I am studying more, these days.

-A gentle reminder, this is my poetry blog.

– Wait there is something behind you, what is that?

-Hockey has just be replaced my “Breaking News” as the national sport.

-The IPL becomes the film with the biggest budget till date.

-Haven’t played my violin in a long time.

-My English has started to depreciate.

– So this fellow thinks he is thondiraja. Sorry dude. That’s me. Even though I am not fat.

-Why are people so short?

-Why can’t people drive properly?

-You find this way easier to read and comment right?

-There are more women/girls who read and comment in blog, then men. Fact or fiction?

-I want to act in a movie.

-The ultimate solution to India-Pak problems- have a tweet up.

– Bye.

-Good night.

-Sleep dreams.

-Oh! wait, you are reading this in your office?

-Tell your boss, you googled a Client’s name and the above photo popped up as a result.

-If he doesn’t believe it, send him an African Lottery scam mail.

-Oh! btw I love this song. What does it mean? Deepika looks good in the movie, should watch it.

-bye.

P.S:- No no this is not Vimmuuu or his cousin.

rains, NEWS etc

November 9, 2009 § 20 Comments

Its been raining Chennai for the past few days. So no classes blah blah. Of course none of the national NEWS channels would have told you that many have died and many more misplaced and that schools and colleges have been closed etc(that doesn’t stop a few colleges and schools from working). Wrote a poem as well(in my poetry blog).

From newcamera2
From newcamera2

More about the second photo later.

I do wonder why rains in Chennai/TN don’t make it to the NEWS. Someone gets crushed by a bus in Delhi and the media is all over the place, someone sneezes in Mumbai and its hot NEWS. I am just curious that is all. After all people with better discretion run those things, the fourth estate etc etc.

We have had a couple of political fiascos going on as well. MNS, breaking microphones and well even trying to assault another leader in the Maharashtra assembly. Cool. We can forget about peace talks and Gandhigiri with such people around. No wonder others think they can lay claim to pieces of our land.

And of course one poor politician getting caught at it. I am a CA student and well the IT act(well a part of it, for my level) is there in the syllabus and  trust me, it is the most complicated thing I have never read/tried to read. As I commented – why don’t we let the IT department go after terrorists? (as per the act, illegal income is also taxable(correct me wise ones). But we all do know, the reality, if not the truth. Come on , where is 1.5 crores and over 2000 crores?

Farmville- well am jobless enough to afford getting caught up in something for a while. So yes, apart from the NEWS channels, this has kept me going(and tweeting and blogging as well). I get detoxed pretty fast, so am not worried about getting addicted etc(though it did feature in my dream yesterday night, does that count?) .

Anyway its been 20 years since the Berlin wall fell. It showed that people can rise together and get what they want. We can learn a lot from history, but ironically the only people who learn it(you and me) don’t care about it(the least popular subject in schools I think).

Once upon a time, I used to dream of making a world a better place etc, but when everyone hung up on making things bad, you can’t really stop anyone. So anyway, the present gen. will long be gone, it won’t be gen. X or Y it will be another one, but surely a human one(hopefully nature doesn’t watch movies/listen to humans-2012?).

What most of don’t realize is that, it is not the planet which needs saving, it is our race. This rock has been here for aeons, what makes you think, a bunch of petty creatures can destroy it? Human vanity, nothing else. And remember we are part of nature as well. Intelligence does weird things to you,  like making you think you have too heavy head. Just use it, stop trying to praise it too much. *and my comp is usually on for about 12 hours a day 😛 *

Lots more to say, but this post is just a random one, so let me end by remind you of the Great Super Heroes Challenge, just scroll down, you will find it.

 

 

 

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY KRITH :D :D :D

October 14, 2009 § 13 Comments

So somebody is turning 12 today 😀

Happy birthday Darling 🙂

I ♥ you a lot kiddo 😀 😀 😀

P.S:-Will reply to the comments on the previous post tmro 🙂

Nila kaigirathu

October 5, 2009 § 17 Comments

An awesome song 😀

Tried taking a shot of the moon 🙂

From newcamera2

And yes I did write a poem about the moon, about a year back – you can read it here 🙂

An old Tamil(rather Tanglish ) joke:-

Moona paru.

But oneu dhana is there! (Moonu in tamil is three 😀 so.. 😛 )

So which is your fav. moon song?

licence to…

September 20, 2009 § 25 Comments

So I got my driving licence, yay! Of course, getting one is no big deal, except that you are made to wait for ever, let us not go into that.  ” No one cares and has time, you and me are going to talk about, I might write about it, but there it ends”, That was my reply to others like me who were waiting for their licence

. We Indians have refined the art of corruption and bribing. There exists a corruption hierarchy, which apart from the officials includes the driving school people among other. Forget Shaktimaan and Captain Planet, we need a Anti-corruption Man (AC man).

And talking about super heros , I have plans of hosting a blogging contest on super heros/ super stars. You are to create your own super hero/ star , complete with powers etc, what do you think?

In solidarity with the cows; Apparently we love to get offended. Remember how people took offence , when “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE” came out? I bet half the people didn’t watch the movie and I know it is a safe bet because many still feel that the “west” is calling us Slum Dogs, pity. And in this case of the austere Cows(though, they do get their horns painted once a year, during Maatu(cow) Pongal), we should be proud that our herd now includes all the Congress Ministers(and the extra guards).

Navarathri has begun. My mom and sis have come up with a creative gift this time(will put up photos soon) 🙂 There is nothing special for me though, no holidays, even if college gives us off(even if they don’t I bunk, cut about 10 hours last week), I have those CA classes everyday morning. Its been days since I got to read the book(Argumentative India) , it is an amazing book, I am lovi’ it but no time to read.

Went to McDonald’s yesterday and again today. It’s on the way to the place where I went for the rehearsals . The Aloo Tikki Burger tastes really good. The violin rehearsals are bad though. So bad that, even the lazy me , had to prompt for more practice. Playing all the songs once over  is not rehearsal.

I manage to update my poetry blog(yes, I am talking about it again, vanity indeed) about once or twice a week. I want to write 3 posts a week (at least over here), but then my schedule is so irritating , that I feel too sleepy to write about anything. There was a time, when I wrote about 60 posts a month, now I am not able to do 6. But being me, you can expect to writing pretty soon.

And I have to start studying as well. It’s freaky, to see all those weird sums. CA is no joke. You do to be really fast and see beyond the obvious. Lets see what happens. One thing is for sure, I am not going to get to sleep *sigh.

Between , check out this video, awesome, no clue, how he(Jascha Heifetz) does it. I want to learn western one of these days. I love the way, how the music travels and tells its tale without words.

I got a new phone-Nokia 5800. Its got 8GB memory and I have already loaded about 4.2GB of songs. Got lots more in my Comp, but I want to try out new stuff, especially something without lyrics, what would you suggest?

There are many things which I want to write about, the ideas do come and go, but arranging them is the problem. And writing is tough if you are tired-words do come out, they get stuck. There are moments when I wish, I can sit down and write forever..*how I wish..*

Among other things, I think I will be writing about something I have observed- though we talk about equality , a new stratification has started to form in our world, I do wonder, how many of us realize this. I do wonder where this will lead.

And yes, I did shoot a few things, think this is the best of the lot:-

From newcamera2
From newcamera2
From mocha…

The last photo was taken at Mocha. Yes, I almost got choked. Spent 25% of the time closing my nose, another 25% taking photos and the rest talking/trying to breath. But the shot is worth the effort(I guess) 😛 Anyway, hope I find time to post this week. Will try to record the violin programme.

And yes do tell me, what you think about the idea of another contest?

P.S: clarification- that is not me.. I am allergic to smoke 😛

A dead leaf

September 1, 2009 § 23 Comments

He held the dead leaf in his hand. Fallen from its plant, it was left to rot and fuel its own origin.

Or it could be picked by a wind. It can fly away from here, it can sail to the lands the winds choose and finally i might settle in a land of paradise, forever in a new joy or..

..or it might end up in a land as dead as itself. It will then stay there, till something swallows it or lifts it again. But one which is dead?
Dead and free?

When it was alive, it was bound to its plant. It nourished it like its brethren , it was one among all, acting like how all expect it to. But is this what a passing eye feels but never the one held? Maybe it is held thus, because it chooses to?

But doesn’t one dream of the birds in the sky, at least when one is young and can race the clouds? Is it that dreams are meant to be dreamt but never sought in life? Is it just, is it fair to just die? Is this how frail all this is?

Is this a continuum, where the memories are buried and memoirs forgotten, sooner or later?

We strive for living, we fight for survival, we work together, we rebel, there are new beginnings , there are old endings, a fresh burst of air here, more heat there, one for all, all for one, will it be in the end, that we all will come alive, like actors talking a bow as themselves and being applauded for the parts we played?

Is this all a fantasy, these endless possibilities? Is our imagination a tool used to lead us from reality, which might shock the living out of us? What is living, if we are to die a baseless death? But isn’t this what we see and learn? How is this real? Can there be something bigger which we are a part of?

Is it love, that we die for? Is it misery that we live for this long? Do we all wait for the day, when we open our eyes no more? Is it that the quest we go on, offers no more, for the recesses have long outrun the excitement of the path, unbeaten?

Are words capricious fabrications, just to easy the pain of knowing the inevitable ? Is the mind there only to paint a vivid misery when in joy and a blunt happiness when in sorrow? Is the past only to be a seed for a morrow and today a retrospection where we dare to water that seed and tomorrow the day when the leafs do peek again, a visage fresh and innocent that the first brush with the polluted air does font it of earth?

So much for a dead leaf. What beauty can there be in the dead? For once dead all that remains is to rot. But when alive, all that remains is that we die. But when unborn, when a dream, all that remains is to brought alive. Call it optimism, call it human vanity, call it that I try to hide from reality and maybe it is true but I will dream anyway.

I may fail again and again. But I will pick up leaves again and in them see much more than what I need to. It might all be a soothsayer’s words, but at least there is hope of a better morrow. The plant may not remind us of the leaf, but the leaf sure does make you search for a plant.

I believe there are magic flowers, do you? Even if you don’t I do. I can feel them, hear them, see them, one day I will get to them. When I do, I will show them to you, I will not get angry or take pride for how can own that which is already owned, unless it is a meek being or I elude myself by calling it is a gift. When a leaf is plucked another one might grow, but there is more to be given for that to happen.

You can hold water in your palms but can we stop it from evaporating? Only thing left is to put to use while we still hold it.

magicfolwers ;)

What lies beyond my sight?

July 23, 2009 § 15 Comments

From new camera1

The grass seems brighter on this side,
But who knows what lies beyond my sight.

To accept and stay,
Or move and find a way to a distant place?

Am I as good as I believe,
What can I really achieve?

Where does my heart want to lead?
Why is their a need to “succeed”?

Are dreams meant to be left,
And never in reality dwelt?

If only I was sagacious,
I would be more gracious,
Till then I try to be adventurous,
But do not know if I am tenacious or audacious.

The grass seems brighter on this side,
But who knows what lies beyond my sight?

Where Am I?

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