February 03, 2015

Because Its There...

The Pennar Gorge, Gandikota Fort, Andhra Pradesh
Roughly 300 Kms from Bangalore, I had never heard or read about this place in the 18 months that I have been here. So many people around with the traveler/rider tag, yet nobody never said a thing. Wonder how! I saw a similar picture <as above> while web-scraping for a weekend getaway, and a weekend later I was there. I could successfully imprint this 'calling' into convincing fellow mates to accompany me there. And I bet they are not complaining. 

Smaller than the size of average IT Park you work in, this place is all but a fort. Spread and perched on one side of the gorge cut by the Pennar river. A scant local population living in the fort premises and a tourist resort (APTDC operated and reasonably decent) inhabit the surroundings. With sparse vegetation, mostly shrubs, adding a tinge of green to the uneven terrain, the place is a sun baked heap of stones and boulders.

The Pennar Gorge
It was a sight I failed to capture well enough with the camera, and I might fail with words as well. The towering reddish-brown 90 degree drop on one side and the fort wall atop the stony-boulder'ed slope on the other, make up this bow shaped gorge. The deep green waters below meandering through this crevice. Watch the morning sun light up this gorge, or a setting sun match its color, or the moon reflected in the water below - and save yourself a journey half-way around the world (read Grand Canyon) for this sight. Exaggeration much? Yes.  So?

Shanky Spotting an Albatross
Pennar taking a U Turn
Bungi and Kingu Meditating irrespective of perspective
Me getting photographed while taking a photograph
Le Sangam Photography
Selfie-ing cause nobody was taking my picture
The Fort
'Gandi' means 'gorge' in telugu. The walls mark the territory. The structure in itself is as formidable as fort should be. Weathered with time, yet majestic in its historic significance.

Bungi thinking about unlimited buffet (because he trekked a tad too much)

The two ends of Pennar have a reservoir each. The Gandikota reservoir at one end and the 'Tatireddy Narsimha Reddy Reservoir' on the other. The driveway through the dam across the latter is another fine experience to be absorbed.

Bungi not sharing the lollipop with anyone

The western horizons adorn a number of windmills. And if you keep following any one of the numerous 'windmill service roads' there, you can reach right upto the foot of one of them (and maybe get inside one of the huge unused wings lying around (subject to absence of authority around).

Bungi measuring the wing span of the windmill blade

Belum Caves
Another (apparently better known) ataraction around are the Belum Caves. Around 60 kms off, one of the longest of its kind, it is a string of underground caves. As long as you can handle your claustrophobia, you can keep going inward and come across several 'halls' with remains of stalactites and stalagmites and an underwater aquifer (pataal-ganga).
It gets hot in there, and bending and crawling through the stony-edgy roofs and pathways, it gets strenuous.
Coupled with a white Budhha statue outside, it lives upto the hype it boasts of.

Another mention-worthy spot is this deserted village (perhaps due to the dam-reservoir development across it). All broken and stony and a touch creepy - yet peaceful in its own respite. And if nothing, you could just play skipping stones on the edge of the reservoir for a while...
..and then get back to being the busy, the tired, the pursuer and the pursued.

Bungi trying to swing it like Wasim Akram
But losing control like Praveen Kumar

Kingu looking for a place to make a reservoir
Me taking one more selfie when no one was watching
Rights to exaggeration and bragging reserved.
Its not how it happened; its how you remember it.
No characterisation intended
Data and information may have been skewed to suit the storyline
Everything is relative to your perspective