Weekend getaways from Hyderabad – part 2

In continuation of the last post on the same topic, the following are the tourist spots that can be done from Hyderabad in 2 days:

·         Tirupathi and Srikalahasti: Abodes of Lord Venkateswara and Lord Shiva respectively, they are some 600 KM away from Hyderabad. Srikalahasti is a major shaivite temple, and is located 30 KM from Tirupathi. The best route to reach Tirupathi by road is via Narketpally, Miryalaguda, Addanki, Ongole, Nellore and Nayudupeta. This way you can avoid thick traffic on some parts of Hyderabad-Vijayawada and Vijayawada-Chennai routes. Decent accommodation is available in Tirupathi and Tirumala (hilltop).

 

·         Srisailam: Srisailam is one of Jyothirlingas in India. It is some 250 KM from Hyderabad. Srisailam is also one of the most naturally beautiful locations in Andhra Pradesh. The drive from Hyderabad thru thick forest and hills would be very enjoyable. Apart from the temple, one can also visit the dam (on Krishna River) that abuts a huge Hydel power project.  Decent accommodation is available in Srisailam in private guesthouses or APTDC guesthouse.

 

·         Vijayawada (Kanaka Durga temple) and Mangalagiri (Narasimha Swamy temple) located on banks of river Krishna – 270 KM from Hyderabad. The other sightseeing options available at Vijayawada are – Undavalli caves (built in 420 AD), APTDC resort on Bhavani Island, on River Krishna abutting Vijayawada city. Accommodation for all budgets is available in Vijayawada.

 

·         Amaravati (Shaivite and Buddhist center): Though it is a historically important place, being the capital of Satavahanas who ruled most of south India and Deccan between 2nd century BC and 3rd AD, this place is known more as one of the largest excavation sites of Buddhist heritage in India. Lord Buddha preached at Dharanikota/Dhanyakatakam and conducted Kalachakra ceremony, which takes the antiquity of Amaravati back to 500 BC. Some of the finds from the excavation are preserved a museum here. Amaralingeswara Swamy temple is a major shaivite center. Amaravati is immortalized by a compilation of short stories called Amaravathi Kathalu (that was later made into a Hindi tele-serial) and many Telugu films (most notably Saptapadhi by K.Viswanath). One can reach Amaravathi via Narketpally, Miryalaguda and Guntur. As there are no decent hotels in Amaravathi, one can stay at Guntur (30 KM away) where accommodation for all budgets is available.

 

·         Warangal-Hanamkonda: Warangal was the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty which ruled most of present day Andhra Pradesh from the 12th to the 14th centuries. The Kakatiyas left many monuments, including an impressive fortress, four massive stone gateways, the Swayambhu temple dedicated to Shiva, and the Ramappa temple situated near Ramappa Lake. Warangal is also the home of my alma mater – REC, Warangal (now rechristened as NIT, Warangal) J. The major sights in Warangal are Thousand Pillar Temple (built by Kakatiyas), Bhadrakali Temple (near a huge lake with boating options), the Kakatiya fort, and Ramappa temple near palampet village (77 KM from Warangal). The drive to Warangal from Hyderabad, via Bhongir, is very conveniently short (2.5 Hrs), and decent accommodation is available in hotels in Hanamkonda and Warangal.

 

·         Medak, Pocharam Dam, Nizam Sagar Dam: Medak is a town 100 KM from Hyderabad. The church at Medak is built in Gothic style and is considered to be the largest in Asia. Medak also has a small fort on a hillock. 15 KM from Medak is Pocharam Lake with a dam, and Pocharam Wild life sanctuary which used to be a hunting ground for the Nizam. Nizam Sagar dam, 50 KM from Medak, was constructed across the Manjira River, a tributary of the Godavari River. The site is noted for its splendid scenic beauty. The most outstanding feature of the project is the gigantic masonry dam sprawling across the river for 3 km with a motorable road of 14ft width over it. The nearby Manjira wildlife & bird sanctuary comprises of nine small islands which are home to a number of resident and migratory birds in addition to Marsh Crocodiles and Muggers.

 

·         Suryalanka: This is a beautiful beach that has become popular recently with the weekend crowds from Hyderabad and nearby cities. This flat beach has a gradual slope with a wide shore. APTDC has built a few AC cottages that are just 50 yards from the undulating waves. One can reach Suryalanka via Narketpally-Miryalagua-Guntur-Bapatla. While you are there you may also want to visit vadarevu beach near chirala which is quite beautiful and quiet.

 

·         Faraharabad: It has a wild life resort nestled in Nallamala hills on Hyderabad-Srisailam route. In February 2004 Naxalites had blasted a dozen ethnic cottages with plush interiors and a hanging restaurant that presented a panoramic view of the area and a huge structure here. APTDC has revived the resort with the help of local tribal mean who will oversee the operation of the cottages. The spot is an eco-paradise, rich in flora and fauna, including tiger, neelgai, sambar and spotted deer.

 

      Belum caves and Alampur: Belum Caves is 320 KM from Hyderabad, located on Kurnool-Nadyal road. It is the largest cave system in the plains of India. The underground caves are located on a flat agricultural field, have 3 well like cavities with the centre one being the main entrance to the caves. Stalactite and stalagmite formations are the main attraction apart from the fascinating colour illumination. This bagged the award for the “unique Eco – Tourism Project” by Government of India. There is just an APTDC-operated dormitory in the viscinity and the food available in local canteen is paltry. Hence, one has return to Kurnool for overnight stay, if you are planning to extend this trip by visiting Alampur (near Kurnool) that is home to the very ancient Navabhramma temples dating back to the 7th century. The Nava Bhramma temples were built by the Badami Chalukyas, who ruled for about 200 years from the middle of the sixth century onwards. The Badami Chalukyas built several temples in Karnataka, and the Alampur temples in Andhra Pradesh.

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