Multiple blogs on bloggers timelines had enticed us to visit this place. We were always informed through the blogs that October to February is the ideal time to visit and we had planned for late February as a weekend trip.
This was again a road trip that we were looking forward to and unfortunately our plan got postponed to March. Weather did play a role as it did get a bit exhausting but it didn’t deter us in exploring the place we wanted to visit from a long time.
Gandikota is a famed landscape, relatively unexplored by many travellers though it is gaining popularity and is a canyon that boasts of breathtaking views from incredible heights.
It was indeed these pictures of the canyon from our own country that made us think of this as a weekend trip from Bangalore. One can come from Chennai or Hyderabad too but Bangalore to Gandikota is closer. Even more closer is another destination called Belum caves which were unexplored until a century ago. These caves are underground, dark, yet colourful and make for a completely different experience. Kids might be more thrilled visiting Belum caves than Gandikota.
We decided to visit both destinations in one day and halt at a hotel overnight.
So we left at about 5.45 am and reached Belum Caves by 11am.
We had a stop on the way for breakfast and headed towards Belum Caves in Andhra Pradesh. The roads are good and one can comfortably reach the destination in a span of six to seven hours.
The caves were used as a meditating space by Jain monks and were unknown to the world outside, but a German explorer stumbled upon it and it has come to the limelight with subsequent researchers exploring it. Now under the government’s managerial position, the caves are explored by travellers, bloggers, students and those who don’t mind sweating like a fish in water underground. It is humid, sweaty but the pictures and pathways are interesting.
Artificial lights are used and they do make for an different visual. It is highly recommended that visit Belum caves if you and the kids are fine getting through dark pathways, less oxygen but there are outlets where oxygen and fans are present too. Asthmatic patients could avoid venturing out to this space and so can senior citizens.
( Mums and Stories photograph. Belum caves)
As mentioned children will love this place. When we were there, lots of school children were present and most kids like screaming unnecessarily, exploring through hand held torches and finding out various points that is almost like a maze underground.
Yet we must say that it is quite well maintained, well lit, entry points and exploring the caves, the directions are mentioned clearly and can be done if one is fine with a bit of walking, climbing boulders, stairs. The only concern was that there isn’t much to eat once you step out and it is an irony that hotels, resorts, restaurants aren’t really around. You can get your food or make do with a store nearby that sells aerated beverages and biscuits.
Also public transport is not very efficient and this is in Kadapa district. Train stations are apparently within a accessible distance but we would recommend a road trip if possible.
It takes a good one hour to explore the underground world of caves and you can catch some of the best visuals that will be with you for a lifetime. It is amazing to imagine monks staying in this space and being there perhaps for hours, days, months without much air. One does get the feeling if by exploring the space we intruded their space and thus monks don’t reside there anymore. There is a huge monk statue right outside the caves and we would say explore it and have your experience etched in your minds.
The entry and exit points are the same and you can come out any time you get uncomfortable with the heat. Wear loose cotton clothes, sturdy shoes and do carry water.
(Mums and Stories photograph. Belum caves)
From Belum caves we decided to head out to Gandikota, though it is recommended for sunrise and sunset views. The weather too plays a part and by the time we came out from the caves, we were sweating profusely.
After a half an hour drive on our way to Gandikota we were looking for sunflower fields which we were supposed to visit but never found it. Then close to Gandikota we came across a restaurant in a busy market area and we managed to get a decent meal.
Soon we reached Gandikota , the entrance and the view even in the scorching heat took us by gasps.
(Video by Mums and Stories)
( Stunning views of Gandikota gorge)
There’s a huge fort, an abandoned temple, mosque all within the fort premises and in ruins. Matching the bounders colours these structures look they have withstood multitude of stories that will never be revealed to anyone.
( At the entrance of Gandikota fort). (Photograph by Mums and Stories)
There were a few monkeys prancing around and they seemed harmless. You can obviously be cautious not to leave your main wallet and bag or mobile left unattended. We also noticed there were options for people to stay in tents, primarily for backpackers and adventure lovers.
We climbed a huge boulder( yes do dress up in comfortable trousers and tops and don’t forget caps, hats and sunscreen of course) and sat down watching the gorge for a good two hours. It was hot but we loved the views.
Gandikota doesn’t disappoint you and it is surely worth a visit,
(The rocks we climbed to get our view!)
There are multiple points within the fort to be explored but we preferred sitting in one spot watching the waters and the views. Apparently sunrise and sunset makes the entire space decked with golden hues and that might look even more gorgeous. We were tired by 5.00 pm and decided to head to the resort which was a good 60 kms away from Gandikota.
(Lush green fields, a common sight all along the road trip)
Stay options aren’t many even in Gandikota and there is Haritha resorts which is booked in advance and we stayed at Royal County resorts which is a premium space (for this destination) at Proddatur but there aren’t many options in and around to choose.
Next day we just relaxed at Gandikota before heading out to Pushpagiri, a famous temple that looked good in pictures. Yet when we went it was scorching hot, the river was dry and the temple was closed. Yet it is a structure and temple that is gorgeous by itself.
( The gorgeous temple at Pushpagiri, near Gandikota).
Moving around the temple barefoot made us dance all along the temple premises. It is unbelievably hot and one wishes there would have been river flowing as shown in pictures.
( Photograph by Mums and Stories)
The space reminds of Hampi in Karnataka and Lepakshi which is on the route from Gandikota to Bangalore.
So does Gandikota and Belum caves make for an interesting weekend trip? Yes of course it does but do visit when the weather is a bit more sober.
( Photograph by Mums and Stories)
We also managed to get a glimpse of the sunflower fields which we had somehow missed and it did complete our happiness quotient.
You can plan this as a group outing or family trip or even come out solo. You can comfortably complete seeing Belum caves on Day 1 and Gandikota on Day 2 for sunrise or finish both on same day, like us (though it does get packed) but can be done.
We give this trip a 4 over 5 and recommend this trip to mums and dads who don’t mind varied experiences for themselves and their kids.