A drive through the Eastern Ghats

About 2000 kms over a weekend- now, that’s a long drive!

The first weekend of April was well spent in the Eastern Ghats. It was a lovely drive through the forest patches and the never ending Ghat roads. There were of course a few river streams, waterfalls and beaches in the mix. This is also my first visit to Araku valley and Vizag. 🙂

The schedule seemed a little too tight; and the itinerary looked a little too uncertain when we began, but it was a fun trip overall.

Sequence of the places we visited:

5th April, 2012
  • Hyderabad – we started here on Thursday, 3.30 pm.
  • Eluru – night halt.
6th April, 2012
  • Rajamundry – had breakfast, checked out the Kovvuru Rajamundry Bridge and set off to the Alluri Sitaramaraju forest.
  • Rompa Rampa Waterfall – We have very less water flow because of the summer heat I guess, but a place we checked out anyway.
  • Maredumilli – Had a very early lunch around 11am as we might not get anything to eat further in the jungle. This is where we tasted the Bamboo chicken.
  • Mothugudem – The Shabari river that acts as a border for Andhra Pradesh.
  • CLAP Waterfall, Polleru – I wonder why they call it CLAP. Water flow was better than Rompa here. We even got into water and had a chilly shower.
  • Chintapally – This is one of the bigger towns in the Agency. We stopped here for evening snacks and inquired about the coolest place nearby.
  • Lambasingi – Apparently, the coolest place in AP where the temperature falls to as low as 2 or 3 deg. C. Google this name and you can also see a TV9 report telecast a month or so ago, available on Youtube.
  • Paderu – Dinner and night halt.
7th April, 2012
  • Araku Valley – After breakfast, straight into the valley. Wow, what a drive! We just drove through the valley – didn’t stop much to cover any traditional tourist places, except for a few photography opportunities.
  • Anantagiri – Another hill station view point and drive through.
  • Borra caves – We got inside the cave, spent an hour exploring, clicked a few photographs.
  • Raju gari Dhaba, Vizag – We inquired about this place and had lunch at this ‘Sea Inn’, a place known for it’s awesome Non-veg menu. It was good. By the way, Raju won an award in a competition between a few South Indian cities’ seafood competition; hence ‘Raju gari Dhaba’.
  • Bheemili beach – Our first beach in the trip.
  • Erra matti dibbalu – For some reason, the route was closed. So, while we technically witnessed a few red ant hills, aka ‘erra matti dibbalu’ at the entrance, we didn’t get to cover the actual scene.
  • RK Beach – The most happening place in Vizag.
  • Lakshmi Paradise hotel – night stay.
8th April, 2012
  • Sri Sairam parlour – Breakfast at the ‘world famous in Vizag’ food joint.
  • Yarada beach – Nice view from the top just before getting down to the beach. Also, felt like the most dangerous one of all the beaches (shallow).
  • Eluru – pit stop
9th April, 2012
  • Hyderabad – 2.30 am. Good night!

View the complete set of pictures here

And, below is the GPS trail of our route.

It occurred to me that I can track my movements on the map only couple of hours into the trip; so this route trail doesn’t start from the beginning. The first couple of “places” were added manually. I actually downloaded this app while resting in back seat, figured out how to use it and here is the result. Am hoping the next trip will be documented a lot better!

Click on it to interact and zoom the map to get more details.

Hampta Pass Trek – Reality Check

Crossing a water stream

Is it easy? Is it suitable for first time trekkers? This is the reality check from the Hampta Pass Trek. My view, my experience and my long time dream come true moment! Quick, top 10 noteworthy points from the trek in The Himalayas.

Ease of the trek:

Many sources we checked with indicated that this is a very easy trek. This list includes a few websites [of the companies] that organize treks, few people who have been on treks before, etc. Either we were too excited to listen to, or may be we were never told so, but the truth is: it’s not an easy trek. Well, easiest of all the treks in The Himalayas, but not an easy one in general.

There were more than few instances when we were thankful that the initially planned 12+ group didn’t make it. For the three of us who could make it, our ego was our strength (Shiva- Well said!). If you have to do it, what other options do you have, other than doing it?? Unless you have that passion for adventure, there are fair chances that you will get pissed off and be mad at everything and everyone around!

If somebody is keeping score: You need prior experience to enjoy this trek. It’s not a cake walk. It’s rock walk!

Images from the Hampta Pass trek

A long planned adventure finally came true in July 2011 – Trekking in The Himalayas!

Bharani is working on the travelogue; stay tuned to experience the magic!

Meanwhile, here are the images from the trip: Hampta Pass Trek images.

Also read: Hampta Pass Trek – Reality Check

Your Guide to Goa – Panaji

Panaji is the capital of Goa, which is also called as Panjim, very prominent place for it is the main city that connects several places. Here is a the main bus terminal, which is the state run transportation and is very affordable! There is an old church in the middle of the Panjim city with several commercial places, tour organizing offices, restaurants and shops found on either sides of the roads as we get into the interior.

For a first time visitor it will be rather confusing to navigate through the town, since most of the roads are one way. And believe me, almost all the roads are clean and tidy! Smoking in public places is prohibited in Goa and so is ghutka. So there is enough breathing spaces left!

A Visit to Dona Paula is recommended as it holds some prominence. There is a story about a woman named Dona [daughter of a Viceroy] who was in love with a local fisherman and wanted to marry him, and threw herself from over the cliff since her dad denied it. So you can feel the sweet pain of love when you visit this place. It has also been quite popular among many indian movies as the location is beautiful with the view into the sea that stretches as far as your eyes can see.  You can spot big steamers and ships in the sea and it’s a bustling place with many local vendors selling everything between eatables and clothes. The water sports are popular at this place. One can try the motor bike ride into the waters.

Always remember, when in group we can bargain on cost. The road to Dona Paula is easy: from the Panjim circle, take left to the main road which goes past the Miramar beach. It’s just about 10 min drive and we can spot many boats on the river Mandovi connecting to Miramar, which take people for a trip into the sea with music and dance performed aboard, where we can have drinks and enjoy the sights and sounds.

As we all know or might have heard that liquor is inexpensive, rather affordable. We can spot many wholesale shops in Panjim and anywhere in Goa. One evening, we were on our way to North Goa where there are two bridges that connect from Panjim to North Goa over the river Mandovi. We stopped at one of the Wines Stores and we guys just wanted to pick a Vodka, but after knowing the price of Smirnoff full bottle, which was for Rs. 350/-, we were astonished and each one started picking something; a Rum, a Scotch and something or the other of our choice. Mahesh and I, the wine lovers, picked a white wine bottle 🙂  We couldn’t wait any longer to open it and started sipping the wine while driving, and we finished the whole bottle on our drive towards Bagga beach, which is about 19 k.m., approx.. We were little cautious of police and at traffic signals but, as long as you are driving safe and normally, no one stops you.

The North and South of Goa are on the Same coastline of the Arabian sea, but are separated by Panjim, Mandovi river and Dabolim airport or the far end of Vasco DA Gama.

Your complete guide to Goa!

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Your Guide to Goa!

There was a good response for the Goa Travelogue I published last month. Few added comments right here, few others shared their excitement in chat and a couple of them called on mobile for intricate details. And, there is of course Ravi Varma, co-author on this blog who shared his own experiences. Well, he now wants to take it one step forward and compile a guide for anyone who wants to visit Goa. Of course, veteran party animals may have their own stories to tell, however, at least this might help someone like me who needs some insight for the first visit. I already received few requests to provide information to plan a Goa trip. Well, this is for you!

So, the series of posts that follow with ‘Your Guide to Goa – xxxx’ as title are all written by Ravi Varma, and edited by me. He actually wrote one big post (8 pages approx. in Microsoft Word!) but you know, I am trying to keep it simple and publish in digests.You can bookmark this post. I am planning to update this one with all the subsequent post links as and when published. It could be useful to you or for any others planning for a vacation in Goa.

The intent of the series? Read the intro: When we talk about Goa, most of the people are in a wrong assumption, they only think of Booze and Beaches! Of course the booze is always there in loads, and the beaches aren’t a miss. However, there are several other places, which are quite popular and worth visiting! One has to spare some love for history and culture too. For when travelling, what I get from that journey is also important!

A tip: Instead of providing dry information like a boring travel book, Ravi includes his experiences as and when possible to give you his perception of the place/ event. This benefits the readers to place yourself there and live the moment. As said, this is only his perception. Everyone might have different ways to look at the same fun events and places in Goa. If you are one of them and like to add more details, you’re welcome!

Update:

Your Guide to Goa – Panaji

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