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Gandikota From Mumbai:

I couldnt find any information for reaching Gandikota from Mumbai, still the train tickets were booked till what looked as the nearest station near Gandikota in the map (Station called Yerraguntla ). I have a knack of finding things , just found the Dark Knight’s prison on my last Jodhpur visit [ Click to read about Dark Knight’s prison] Such a beautiful canyon of India seemed to be of interest only to the nearby peeps of Hyderabad & Bangalore. Its was going to change today. This Mumbaikar was hell bent on reaching it & enjoy the superb sunrise.

How to reach Gandikota from Mumbai

After much research ( asking the locals) this is the proper way by train:

  • Book the train till a station called TadiPatri. We booked the Chennai express ( Rs 500)
  • Share the rickshaw till the Tadipatri Bus station ( Rs 10)
  • Take the bus to Jammalamadugu (Rs 46)
  • Take the bus to Gandikota ( Rs 10)

The bag was packed with the usual stuff for a weekend trip and an additional tent for camping on the banks of river Pennar. This was going to be one adventurous & a budget monsoon trip. This time my friend Pankaj would be joining me.

Day 0:

CHENNAI Express leaves from Dadar at 2030 hrs everyday and reaches Tadipatri on 1230 hrs the next day. No matter how much time you have on your hand as usual there is always a rush in the end to get the train. After lot of huffing and puffing  we did manage to get the train. I love night trains – It means to have dinner and sleep off the train and thus less time to be spent in the train with having  nothing to do.

Gandikota from Mumbai
Waiting to walk at the next station

Day 1:

The Guntakal station arrives by about 1100 hrs the next day where you can get hot Utthapa which makes for a really tasty breakfast. There are other options like the vada, idli, medu vada, dosa etc  to choose from. As a plus point all the stations after Dadar & Kalyan are extremely clean and very well maintained. Since you don’t understand the language and you see such clean stations you almost start to wonder whether you are still in India 🙂

Gandikota from Mumbai
The Tasty Hot Utthapa

Most of the fellow passengers were going to Tirpupati for getting a clean shave 🙂 . Most people i checked with for probable routes didn’t have idea about Gandikota. Till the very end we were wondering whether to get down at TadiPatri or the subsequent station of Yerraguntla. At last we decided on TadiPatri station .

Gandikota from Mumbai
Such a clean station

Let the COMMUNICATION Gap begin:

From here onwards it was a fight to find people speaking Hindi. In the entire trip for the 2 days we met only  TWO people who could speak Hindi. The struggle was real. You can watch my cracking the language barrier in the vlog ( Click here to watch the Gandikota vlog) After  sharing the rickshaw to the TadiPatri bus station, we could see that life moves pretty slowly here. The entire two laned road was empty and the motor cyclist were not going above 30 kmph. Felt strange.

Towards Jammalamadugu:

At the bus stop checking the bus timing seemed to be another problem. No one spoke Hindi, all the signs are in Telugu, all the timings are in telugu. I was perplexed and happy to have taken this trip. This is a whole new ball game. After speaking / gesturing  for atleast 5 minutes with the announcer he gestured that the bus to Jammalamadugu would be stopping at the corner of the bus depot. Lot many buses that  kept  arriving at the spot with the name plates in exotic language added to the confusion. Finally after an eternity of confusion got in the right bus and was set for the next stop- Jammalamadugu.

Gandikota from Mumbai
Not really helpful

Reaching Gandikota

From Jammalamudugu the next bus to Gandikota was after two hours. Not wanting to let the sun set before we reach there we decided to take a rickshaw for Rs 200 directly till Gandikota ( the bus ticket for the same is Rs 10 ). The route is scenic and keeps on getting better and isolated as we reach the destination.

At Gandikota, the fort welcomes you with the majestic walls and the royal entrance.  

Gandikota from Mumbai
Canyon route goes through the fort

Walking through the winding road through the fort and the huge gates we reach the Charminar.

Things to see at Gandikota Charminar
Charminar has a majestic presence

Things to see in Gandikota:

  • The fort itself ( if you have lots of time )
  • Charminar
  • Ranganathaswamy temple
  • Madhavrayaswamy temple
  • Jamia Masjid
  • The beautiful gorge/ canyon
  • Jail, Granary etc

All these places are all clustered around on the way to the canyon. Only one Madhavrayaswamy temple is a bit off the route.Not wanting to miss the sunset ,  just had a glimpse of the Jail, Jamia Masjid, granary & Ragunathaswamy temple beforing heading to the Canyon. The Masjid has a mighty presence.

Things to see at Gandikota Jamia Masjid
Jamia ,Masjid

Stole a glimpse from outside.

Things to see at Gandikota Jamia Masjid
Glimpse

As we moved ahead the canyon started to become visible. All the 20 hrs of travelling and last minute planning started to materialise. 

Things to see at Gandikota grand canyon
Fly away on my zephyr

The beautiful canyon welcomed us in all its glory. Walls of the gorge are multi layered like a cake 😛 . Orangish brown rocks layered represented millions of year of evolution.  The Pennar River had  cut through these tough rocks for an eternity for us to enjoy this view now. I didn’t let its effort go waste and got busy with the camera. I moved from one spot to the another to get the best possible picture. The sunset was divine.

Camping at Gandikota
“Shaam dhalne lagi hai, mujhe jaldi se tent lagana hoga”- Bear Grylls

I spotted the lush green riverbed and wondered how beautiful the sunrise would appear from here. That was the spot where we would be camping for the night

Camping at Gandikota
Fort by the river bed

Camping TENT

From the top of gorge the riverbed appeared quite near by and  it seemed like a good idea to walk  all the way down to camp. The trail that followed the pipeline takes you to  the riverbed . But to my miscalculation the route was pretty long and takes a whole lot of time to reach down. By the time  we reached the sun had long  gone and the darkness had slowly creeped in.

Finding the camping spot

Even being monsoon  the river was quite dry and the riverbed was pretty welcoming for setting up the tent. There were lots of  thorny  shrubs around

Bro Tips for your tents

Take into consideration that water level might rise

Stay clear of the sharp thorns which might tear your costly tent

Avoid areas prone to rock fall

Set up a fire for ego boost

Since we were late and it had start to drizzle we scurried in  search of a proper  place. Reaching here before sun down would have been dope.

Silence is Golden and Frightening

Found a place and quickly set up the tent on the  higher grounds. After the  tent ( CLICK HERE for more about my tent ) was hurriedly put up silence crept in. We could only hear the birds  chirping and the wind whistling. This was going to be one hell of a creepy night.  It was a good thought that i had bought Parathas from Mumbai. Parathas never tasted so scrumptious before.

Camping at Gandikota

As the night seeped in the birds went to sleep and we felt thankful to creators  of Odomos. The silence was made worse by the light wind brushing against the huge  walls of the canyon.  Outer layer of the tent was loosely tied as it felt a bit hot inside the two man’s tent.

After may be an hour or two the wind speed  increased drastically  and almost ripped of the outer layer. At almost midnight it was time for a quick fix as I went in search of some rocks to tie the tent in pitch darkness. Not a single star was visible as the dark clouds had taken over. This is not good.

The tent lines were quickly  tightened against the rocks making the tent rock solid. No sooner  than the  lines were tightened  the rain made headway.Rushing  back in I hoped that the tent would hold against the strong winds, didn’t have any power left now  to go back again  in rain.

Let me remind you that there is a resort outside the fort by APTDC Harita  resort. Make sure you book it online before your reach here. However camping gives you a different high, wilderness is very lively to say the least.

It was a thunderstorm.  Occasional lightning lit the canyon terrifically. The howling rain continued  for the next half an hour. And after that was the pin drop scary silence.

The bullocks seem to be going  past the tent as we could hear the silent steps. Heart skipped  few beats. After  all  this  i felt asleep only to be rudely woken up by pig singing a drunken song.

Here is a vlog from my day 1. Took a lot of efforts to make this video, do watch it.

Day 2

The Morning:

I was glad  that we could make it till the morning. The gorge looked brilliant in the morning light – the sun was hidden in the clouds. The sunrise colours were missed but i was not complaining.

Gandikota Grand Canyon of india
The Natural contrast is very exciting

One look at the top and the Gandikota fort got a completely different perspective from here.

Gandikota fort from the Pennar river bed
Gandikota fort from the Pennar river bed

 There is a cave like opening at some distance from where we got down. Wish i could camp here someday

Camping at river bed at Gandikota cave
Cave at Pennar river

Started the way back  to  the top. The  climb is definitely not a walk in the park. I sweated profusely as i managed my way back to the top. Its time to look at the other wonders of Ganndikota. 

Ragunathaswamy Mandir

Started off with the nearest Ragunathaswamy temple. The temple carved out of red granites  stood out of the  green lawn very aesthetically. The carefully sculpted pillars are sight for sore eyes.

Things to see at Gandikota Ragunathaswamy mandir
Ragunathaswamy mandir

This can also be a very good camping spot if you are in a large number as it can get scary in the dark. The sculpting here is very beautiful and mesmerising. Found this window towards the Canyon of Gandikota

Things to see at Gandikota Ragunathaswamy mandir

Granary

Next up is the granary which didnt interest me enough to go inside

Things to see at Gandikota Granary
Granary

Jamia Masjid:

The huge masjid stands silently. There is hint of peace in the air . The grazing bullocks add to the holiness of this place. After getting glimpses of the Masjid yesterday had enough today time to go inside.

Things to see at Gandikota Jamia Masjid

 

Next stop is the Madhavrayaswamy Temple whose gopuram is visible from  every nook and corner of the fort.

Things to see in Gandikota Madhavrayaswamy temple

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If you fancy my cameras

Waterproof cam 
My DSLR 
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Madhavrayaswamy Temple

There might not be a idol in the temple, but it definitely feels divine. Once you reach near the gopuram, its grandiosity leaves you speechless.

Things to see in Gandikota Madhavrayaswamy temple
Beautiful !!!

This is the perfect peaceful climax for the Gandikota trip. The derelict monument tells us the stories of the lost kingdom and the social aspects centuries ago all preserved in the marvelous granite sculpting.

Things to see in Gandikota Madhavrayaswamy temple

The peace that you feel here is unmatched .  This Hampi-esque temple is definitely worth your time. I wish i had more time to just lie on the cold flooring and think about the bigger problems in life.

Next up is the Belum Caves. The only guy i met who spoke Hindi till now told me that there is a state transport bus at 1000, 1200 & 1600 hrs for Jammalamadugu. We reached outside the fort by 1300 hrs and got a rickshaw after 30 minutes to take us back to Jammalamadugu.

Towards Belum caves.

Gandikota from Mumbai
Two Lotus in the ricksha: Niraj & Pankaj

The second vlog for Gandikota exploration

Click here for the next episode about the underground Belum Caves. Belum caves is the second largest caves system in the Indian subcontinent.

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2 thoughts on “Camping at Gandikota Canyon | 1/2”

  1. Well wrtten article. Snaps and video is excellent. Kudos to you. By the way, Muddanuru railway station may be the closer one, than Tadipatri. It takes another one hour or so to reach Muddanuru from Tadipatri. Gandikota is around 30 kilometers from Muddanuru station.

    1. Thanks George for the input. I had booked chennai express which didnt stop at Muddanuru. Out of the 20 people i asked in train and at TadiPtri station only few of them said something regarding Jammalamadugu. having no clue we decided to take this route. Chalk it up to the language barrier.
      Will try this route next time around 🙂

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