Monday, February 5, 2018

Belum caves- Visit To The Second Largest Cave In India.

The second largest cave in India and her neighbor the 'Grand Canyon' of India - Gandikota are the best and thrilling under the radar ultimate weekend getaway destinations.

Finally we visited the elusive Belum caves. These magnificent natural caves were thrown open to the public only in 2003. Such wonderful destinations are perfect justification to the tag 'Incredible India.' It was such an amazing and thrilling experience to explore the massive caves and go gaga over the natural stalactite formations. Kudos to ASI and the government the caves are maintained very well and is almost spotless. The massive passages are well lit and the well laid pathway led us deep into the caves throwing open several beautiful natural rock formations and other attractions.

The complex cave structure takes different forms, the cave starts with massive pathways and the roof towers several feet high as we walked in the massive caves shrunk in size and we had to squeeze ourselves through narrow passages only to be lead to another series of massive caves structures.

The best part about being in the cave was having no clue about our bearings. If not for the directions marked by ASI we would never be able to walk out. This is the point when we realized how challenging and thrilling it would have been for the team that explored and mapped this wonderful cave. They would have not had the luxury of man made ventilator shafts that circulate fresh air, continuous electricity supply that keeps running the lights and of-course the well laid paths and staircases. All of this luxury is provided to us at a very nominal cost of Rs.50 per person.

Be sure to stay in the demarcated pathway and do not wonder off, as inviting as it may seem remember you are on a highway to hell. It is very easy to get lost in here and reliable help for sure would be a distant dream. Guides are available at the entrance however, we chose to explore the caves on our own. Park aside couple of hours to do justice to this wonderful work of Nature.

Either from Bangalore or Hyderabad, Whichever be the origin of the drive or ride, the ideal plan would be to visit the caves in Belum and head to Gandikota and stay overnight at the Harita Nivas Resorts run by APTDC. The NH7 is a road trippers delight and the State highways that run between Belum and Gandikota are in excellent shape too for most parts. Just watch out for the unmarked and well camouflaged speed breakers.

Visit Our Very Own Grand Canyons! Gandikota

Gandikota canyons and gorges are one of the best kept secrets of India. The site is so stunning and gorgeous that one has to see it to believe it. An impregnable fortress built here stands testimony to the fact that the deep gorges are impossible to climb up mighty Penna river.

The views of Gandikota gorges are simply breathtaking and would remain edged in our memories. This place would be an ideal quite spot to watch sunrise and sunset. As beautiful as it is, the threat to life here is very real. By wanting to have exceptionally good selfies do not risk your lives for a few pics. You have one life choose wisely.

Spending morning hours at Gandikota canyon was an idyllic and romantic time spent with nature in absolute solitude. It was amazing to be there and watch birds fly by, the cool breeze whispered in our ears and as hours went by we did not have the heart to leave.

Within the fort complex is Jama Masjid, Madhava temple, a jail and a massive barn. It is a living fort meaning settlements are found both inside and outside. Another exciting feature is the fact that one can drive their vehicle inside the fort. The narrow gateways are just enough to accommodate one vehicle. Any slight miscalculation and our car would have been beautifully decorated by the fort walls and gates.

As we entered the fort complex we were first greeted by Charminar, if you have seen the one in Hyderabad this might not really impress you. Followed by a jail complex and then comes the parking lot and the adjacent building is the pretty Jama Masjid and a massive barn. Next comes the Ranganatha Swamy temple and past all of this awaits the stunning gorges of Gandikota.

Of all the amazing monuments of Gandikota, Madhavaraya temple simply takes the cake away. Standing tall in between the jail complex and Jama masjid tucked away in a small corner, this temple could be reached by couple of minutes walk. The massive gopuram is visible from far off and is such an inviting factor. The carving in this temple are mesmerizing and stand as testimony to the fine craftsmanship of Indians. The other ruins within the temple complex are in pretty bad shape yet strikingly beautiful and begging for attention and care from authorities.

The only stay option here is 'Harita Tourist Resort' run by APTDC. The amazing cottages provide a feel good factor and have a charming aura around it. The spacious sit out and the terrace offers scintillating panoramic views of the fort, masjid and temple. The rooms are spacious but basic. The food too is basic and decent. For a government owned property the service standard is commendable. The rooms are priced at Rs.1251 inclusive of taxes, in our opinion it is a steal deal. Another plus is you could park your vehicle right outside your cottage. It would be wise to have an online booking. Remember to pack some snacks of your choice as there are no good or even basic dining options in Belum or Gandikota.