Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh, fondly being hailed as Kohinoor of India, is replete with beauty. Golden beaches at Vishakhapatnam, one-million-year-old limestone caves at Borra, picturesque Araku Valley, Belum Caves, Horsley Hills resorts, river Godavari racing through a narrow gorge at Papi Kondalu, waterfalls at Ettipotala, and rich bio-diversity at Talakona are some of the natural attractions of the state.
The Godavari, Krishna and Penner river deltas enrich the coastal plains of Andhra Pradesh. It experiences a hot tropical summer (March to June), rainy season (July to September) and a moderate winter. October and November lash the coastal region with cyclonic rain storms.
This state has a good network of roads and railways, connecting all the towns and villages and the state transport has a Guinness record holding fleet of buses. The capital city of Hyderabad has an award winning International Airport to its credit and the state is connected by air through airports at Vishakhapatnam (recently made international), Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and Tirupati.
Local language is Telugu. Urdu and Hindi are also widely spoken.
Food lovers would relish many items from the spicy Andhra cuisine like the Hyderabadi Biryani and many pickles and chutneys unique to this region.
Andhra Pradesh abounds in Hindu pilgrimage sites of which Tirupati and Srisailam are the most popular. In and around the capital city of Hyderabad are many heritage sites and museums of art, cultural and historical interest. For the fun loving tourists, there are excellent picnic spots near Hussainsagar and Osmansagar lakes, gardens and wildlife reserves.

Exploring East Coast – A road trip to Southern states

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I tried to negotiate, suddenly an ambulance came from back, at the same time there was a government vehicle came and took a left turn to our right side road of the T Junction. While I was thinking that I should tail the ambulance, all the villagers ran toward the ambulance to agitate, the government vehicle took left, and in the middle of the chaos, I heard my wife, “Pronil Bhaag yahan se”, and I watched that right is clean and without wasting seconds I took right to tail the government vehicle.

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Exploring AP – Nagarjun – Suryalanka – Vijaywada

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My favorite, never take the route back which you take to reach a destination, thus maximizing the opportunity to explore and know more. There are so many places in AP to Visit, so it was a week long plan to make a trip. I had 3 days in spare and almost 700-800km or budget based on my car’s milage. We were longing for Suryalanka beach from long, its the nearest beach from Hyderabad, not much advised in summer but still a beach is my attraction. We listed down, bora caves, bellum caves, warrangal, vijaywada, srisailam, nagarjun sagar, suryalanka, vishakhapatnam and many more. Finally, friday afternoon I decided for Srisailam, a piligrimage with just 200 odd km away from my home in Hyderabad. So, I texted my wife and my brother in law (he was on a short visit to our place) that pack your bags we are going to “Suryalanka”… that was an inadvertent mistake. Which I did not realize until I reached home from office. I was surprised to know that my family was apparently happy to know that we are going ot Suryalanka. I spoiled their excitement admitting the mistake.

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My experience – Road trip from HYD to NDLS and Back

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Day 2 : Kamptee to Jhansi

Start early morning at 5.00 AM and head toward Chhindwara. This section is mix of good and bad stretches. Reached Chhindwara around 7.00 AM, stopped for a fuel refill and headed toward Narsinghpur. At Chhindwara ask for Narsighpur direction, I remember as soon as we cross the railway crossing within Chhindwara town took Left road and head toward Narsinghpur(a small direction board for Narsinghpur is placed at railway crossing which is not visible). I loved this section after Chhindwara. Like good road even single lane road, ghats section, Jungle, a lot of villages on road side. Be careful at Ghats section as usually people drive fast on these types of  ghats section. Please check out your speed and same time be very careful from vehicle which is coming from other end. Ghats road end before entering Narsinghpur. Road from Narsinghpur to Babina is good. Careful with diversion, cases where need to drive on wrong direction. Full of heavy trucks. Bypass Sagar and Lalitpur. Keep following Jhansi. Road from Babina to Jhansi is horrible, Need to enter Babina town which is really horrible. Road condition is very bad till Jhansi. A lot of local traffic between Babina and Jhansi. Stretch of around 25 KM. Reached Jhansi around 5.30 PM and took night halt. During night while roaming in Jhansi got the route map to exist Jhansi and follow Gwalior.  Total drive time = 12 Hrs.  KM drive = Approx 640 KM, toll around = Rs 200

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Delhi to Hyderabad By Road – Road trip – Part 2 – Final

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Once you cross the MP border and enter Maharashtra, the real pain begins. The border was a stretch of non existent roads with craters  all over it. To add more to misery, there was a RTO checkpost which was checking the trucks and had created a huge Jam at this place.

After crossing the border, roads were bad, though there was tar on top but sudden potholes do surprise you and take a hit on your suspension.

After around 30 Kms from there, 4 lane road started which took me straight to Nagpur byepass. Paid my toll @ Mansar, and drove down the Nagpur byepass. I had initial plan of taking a stoppage at Nagpur and then start afresh from there, but never found any boards inviting me inside Nagpur, and I reached the next toll gate which was outside Nagpur. Now I had covered more than 250 Kms and wanted to have some rest but there were no dhabas or motels available.

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Delhi to Hyderabad By Road – Road trip – Part 1

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The road conditions were really good looked like the same good roads from Krishnagiri to Chennai. Smooth 2 Lane Highway.

There were some minor ghat sections on the way which were super smooth laid and the car was able to do them at 80+

I had initially planned for stay at Sagar, but the roads were inviting and on the Highway I missed the entry into Sagar town, so I thought of stretching the limits and reach the next town which I hit.

It was already 7:30 and it was dark all around, stopped at a roadside Dhaba for my dinner and enquired about the roads ahead and the general safety in the area, once assured, I took a decision to venture ahead and reach Narsinghpur which was another 150 Kms from Sagar.

The Road till Narsinghpur was not complete fully and had a lot of diversions in between with non existent roads. As I had my last petrol filled at Jhansi, and I was planning to start early morning from my stoppage to Nagpur, I had to get the fuel filled so that I have a tank full in the morning. Before Narsingpur I passed a small town of Kairali and found a good petrol pump.

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Lammasingi, Andhra’s Kashmir

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Lammasingi (लम्मसिंगी) or Lambasingi (लम्बसिंगी) as the tribals call it, is a tiny hamlet nestling on a ridge at an altitude of 2600 above sea level in the Eastern Ghats, a little over a 100 kilometres to the west of Vizag. It was an unknown, remote tribal settlement till a discovery was made which stripped the place of its anonymity and earned it the sobriquet of “Andhra Kashmir”. A few years ago, weathermen found that it was the coldest place in Andhra, with night temperatures occasionally dipping to sub-zero levels. This news was broadcast by TV channels and overnight, it became a popular tourist.

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Road Trip – Delhi to Hyderabad – A journey log

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We breezed through to Gwalior and the Road to Jhansi is in very bad condition. In fact, there is no road but a mud path and some small stretches of intermittent roads. We avoided the bypass to Lalitpur in Jhansi and we found it wise. We came out of Jhansi and once we are on Lalitpur Road we had our so called lunch and proceeded further to Lalitpur. The Road to Lalitpur is a good single road upto 60 km and later it a smooth 4 lane road to Sagar. One has to be on constant alert for sleeping cows on Lalitpur- Sagar ghat section. It’s a pleasure to drive on this highway.    It was 5.00 pm by the time we reached Sagar. As we were advised by Hotel personnel at Nasimhapur that the Sagar – Narsimhapur is a 4 lane road except for a few patches of diversions, we decided to move further to Narsimhapur and stay there overnight.

This we found to be good in a way and bad in another way. Good in the way because, had it rained, it could have been totally impossible to go forward as we found it later. Just before Sagar there is a signage for diversion to Narsimhapur on the Highway. When we took the road and after going some distance, I had an inconvenient feeling that we are heading a wrong direction, so we stopped and asked a villager who is going on a bike, whether that road goes to Narsimhapur. He told us as that we are heading a wrong direction, and the Highway is closed as for construction of a bridge, we should go into Sagar town and at Makronia Chowk we should take left turn to go to Nasimhapur. We entered Sagar and the people are very helpful in giving proper directions and putting us on the right road to Narsimhapur. It was just getting dark as we headed towards Nasimhapur and our Nightmarish Journey started.  From Sagar outskirts to Narasimhapur Highway, t

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Sankaram and Kotturu

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Andhra was a bastion of Buddhism for at least a thousand years. It was a centre of learning and Buddhism spread out to Sri Lanka and South East Asia through its ports. The stupas and monasteries provided the architectural models for the more famous Buddhist shrines in the rest of the world like the famous Borobodur in Indonesia. The Buddhist phase lasted for nearly a thousand years till the rise of Shaivism in the 7th century CE obliterated Buddhism from this region. It is sad that while these places attract visitors from all over the Buddhist world, Indians are not aware of the existence of these places.In this series, I am retracing the footsteps of those distant ancestors of mine.

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Hilltop monasteries on the seaside

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What Jawaharlal Nehru had said about India is equally applicable to my hometown, Visakhapatnam, better known as Vizag. It is a young city with a history that goes back to the prehistoric period. In this series, I shall revisit the footprints left on the sands of time in and around Vizag by the early Buddhists.

I shall start at Thotlakonda, a 130 metre high hillock overlooking the famed beaches of Vizag. The Buddhist settlement was accidentally discovered in 1988 by Naval personnel were carrying out an aerial survey for setting up some facility.

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