Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

November 15, 2019

Family trip to Gandikota & Belum Caves

Filed under: Travel/Trips,Uncategorized — Suramya @ 12:46 AM

After almost a year of planning we finally did a family road trip to Gandikota. Surabhi and me have been wanting to go for the trip for ages but due to various constraints we haven’t managed to get a time that worked for all of us. This weekend was an extended weekend since 1st was a holiday in Karnataka (Karnataka Rajostava) so we all decided to drive down for the long weekend.

We started early in the morning from our house and drove over to pick up Surabhi, Vinit and the kids. To our surprise they were all ready to start on time ๐Ÿ™‚ which is a minor miracle if you know Vinit and Surabhi well enough. We put the kids to sleep in the backseat of their car the same way our parents used to put me and Surabhi to sleep during their long trips and then both the cars started (we took two cars so that the kids could sleep comfortably in the back and we had space to stretch out) Another notable part of the drive was that we took our driver with us for the first time, otherwise I always drive when we do road-trips (except when we are renting a TT).


Vir and Sara sleeping in the car

The drive was relaxing with good roads for the majority of the way and since we had started early we managed to miss the majority of the traffic and made good time. About 3/4 of the way to Gandikota we stopped for breakfast as we know that the last part of the drive was through some really isolated parts and the only thing to eat would have been plants. I know that we are vegetarians but even then I prefer my food to be cooked and not raw ;). Since it was still early most of the shops were still closed but we found this small shop that was open and they served us piping hot food and the cost of all our food was less than what it would have costed for 1 person’s food in Bangalore. During traveling I have found that the small shops serving local food are the best value for money and consistently provide great food. Keep in mind that you should order the local delicacies and not stuff from other places. e.g. if you are ordering paneer or Chinese food at a small roadside shop in Tamil Nadu then be prepared to get a unique interpretation of how the dish should taste.


Random stop on the way to enjoy the lovely scenery

After breakfast all of us were back on road and we made good time to the location. When we booked the tents the guy had sent us a GPS location and when reached the location there were a few buildings but no sign of a place where we could collect the tents etc. To make things interesting we were not getting a good signal on the phones but after a few mins we managed to make contact with the guy and he guided us to the Resort run by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department. This is pretty much the only place to stay near the fort/gorge except for tents, so if you are traveling there and want to stay in the resort you will need to do an advance booking. Although I would personally recommend that you stay in tents for a much more fun experience.

We got there just in time for lunch which was served in the resort itself. The food was basic but well prepared. So we had lunch and had a lot of time to kill since we were going to get the tents in the evening (around 4-5pm) as it was too hot during the day to stay in tents. Because we were traveling with kids and wanted to have immediate access to a restroom we decided to get a room with an attached bathroom. The resort was booked up but there was a standalone room about 200mts from the resort with an attached bathroom that was available so we got that. It was a great decision as we then had a place (with AC) that we could laze around in during the day till it became cool enough to get the tents and start the camping part of the trip.

All of us except the kids slept for a few hours and while we were sleeping the water-tank above the room starting overflowing creating an open air shower. Vir and Sara immediately took advantage of the fact and took an imprompto shower in the overflowing water. Not sure how clean the water was but since Surabhi made sure they took another bath to clean up I don’t think it was that big a deal and I am sure it was a lot of fun.

In the evening we got the tents allocated, Vinit and Surabhi had taken their own tent and we set them up right at the gorge tip (about 10-15 feet from the edge). The view from the campsite as the sun was setting was just amazing. As I was expecting a clear sky with hardly any artificial light I had taken my telescope with us and as soon as it got dark I set it up and was able to see Jupiter, and some of the other planets. While I was doing that along with Vir and Sara, the rest of the folks got the campfire going and used it to cook Maggie noodles. Vir and Sara (plus Vinit) were super excited to cook on a campfire, me and Jani on the other hand had dinner that was provided by Gandikota Adventure Camp. Once again the food was basic but decently made.


Gandikota Gorge (AKA Grand Canyon of India)

Due to this being a long weekend the campsite was super crowded and it was also the noisiest campsite that I have ever camped in. There were multiple groups playing music and singing along (some of them quite badly) but for the most part people were accommodating and when asked reduced the volume of music. The night was cool but since the rock underneath had absorbed the heat during the day, the tent became quite warm within a few mins of us turning in. As you know I am not a fan of the heat so me and Jani opened the zip and slept off with our heads outside the tent which was surprisingly comfortable and since it was a clear sky we got an amazing view of the heavens to gaze at while we were falling asleep. The only (minor) issue we faced was that the tent was at a slight incline and we both kept rolling to the side of the tent and poor Jani kept getting squished.


Sunset at the Gorge

We all woke up early in the morning to catch the sunrise and in sharp contrast to the noise previous night everyone was quiet and reverent in the morning. As the sun rose the view of the gorge was out of the world and so peaceful that we didn’t feel like moving or doing anything other than just chilling. But all good things end so we had to get our stuff and head back to the room to change/use the bathroom etc. That’s when we found out that right next to our room there were a lot of pay to use toilets/showers available and there was a long queue for them. But we had our own bathroom so we got ready quickly and headed out for breakfast which was served at the resort itself.


View just as the sun was rising

The food was ok, but surprisingly tea/coffee wasn’t included in the breakfast and had to be purchased separately. Since I don’t drink either it wasn’t much difference for me but both Vinit and Jani were annoyed. While we had our food the kids made new friends and enjoyed the play area.

As Surabhi was not well she went back to the room to sleep and the rest of us went to the Gandikota fort to explore and it was worth the effort. The fort itself wasn’t much and there was a functional village within its walls complete with farm animals and chickens, but the view from the view point was phenomenal and worth the effort to walk there in-spite of the heat and sun. We got some amazing pics at the location and spent a while just chilling while the kids explored. By the time we got back Surabhi was awake and feeling a lot better so we made her jealous by showing the pics we had taken and discussed what to do next.


View from inside the fort

Other than the fort there is not much to do around the camp and the guide had suggested that we drive over to Belum caves in the evening. Even though me and Jani had already seen the caves earlier it was worth a second visit so we drove over to the caves. Unfortunately it had been raining the past few days and due to the water draining into the cave complex part of the caves had become filled with mud/slush. When we had come the last time that wasn’t the case and we had walked over the entire complex. This time however it would have meant that we would have to walk through knee deep mud so we decided that we weren’t that eager to see the caves and went down with the agreement that we would only explore the caves till the point they were dry and walk-able (for us and the kids) and if it got muddy we would retreat back to the surface.


Group photo inside Belum caves

We did manage to explore a good portion of the cave before the mud and tired (therefore cranky) kids made us head back to the surface where we fortified ourselves for the drive back with tea, juice and snacks. Vinit, Vir and Sara also got a fish spa done (which was a new addition) but the food options here were still quite sparse. If you are visiting be prepared for very basic (and limited) meal options, else you can carry your own food and have a picnic.


Vir the caveman

The drive back was uneventful and quite lovely. We got back as the sun was setting so we freshened up and immediately headed back to the camp-site. This time there were a lot less tents but a lot more noisy crowd. We had multiple trekking groups in the venue and most of them were playing music and dancing. One group in particular that was fortunately a good distance away from our tent was doing what sounded like a tribal fire dance that they show in the movies about jungle tribes (circling the campfire chanting oga-laga-oga-laga). We enjoyed the night and jsut chatted for a long time. After a while we decided to crash but unfortunately there was a group of guys from AP right next to our tent who were one of the more obnoxious and loud groups that I have ever encountered. We actually had to ask them to keep it down multiple times and finally around 1am Jani walked over and told the guys to shutdown the music. They responded by saying that they would stop it in another hour. When we told them that was unacceptable they finally turned it down and started winding down. Though they were so drunk at this point that their soft voices were still very loud and irritating. Thankfully they finally fell asleep and we got a bit of peace and quiet.

Next morning, these folks tried running away without disposing their trash and when Vinit asked them to cleanup their excuse was that they were attacked by a cow when they started to clean up and that’s why they hadn’t done it. Vinit responded by telling them that there was no cow around right then so they should clean up before it came back. After trying a few other excuses they had no choice but to clean up after themselves.


Jani is not a morning person ๐Ÿ™‚

We freshened up and went for breakfast after which we started back. The drive back was a lot more slower because we were hitting peak traffic and it took us forever to get back to Bangalore. Once we got into Bangalore we hit the lovely Bangalore traffic and got to spend some quality time with the other commuters.

This was the first trip that we had done and will be doing a lot more such trips in the future assuming we can coordinate our schedules.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

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