Exploring AP – Nagarjun – Suryalanka – Vijaywada

Its been a long time that I have shared my experience of being ghumakkar with you all. Indeed, it was been a long pause to my passion to explore mother earth on a driving wheel. After the mesmerizing experience of Himachal, Leh and other places in north, three years back I settled down in Hyderabad with a motive to explore south. Well, given all odds, finally, this may I could revive my Driving spree. With a small overnight camping in ananthgiri hills just 70km away from my home, I could break free to re-start. This time back again with a 900km in 36hrs of experience exploring south.

On The Way to Nagarjuna

On The Way to Nagarjuna

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. Well Saturday came, we were still evaluating throughout the day that where to go. Then, i googled, what is the route to Suryalanka and the KM. Google gave me two routes one via Nagarjun sagar and one via Vijaywada both approximately 400km. Rest is the story, how we chalked a route for the trip.

Hope for Monsoon First Glimpse of Nagarjuna Sagar

Hope for Monsoon First Glimpse of Nagarjuna Sagar

Morning 6:15am we started from Hyderabad, got up to Outer ring road, exit 11 to Nalagonda. Nalagonda had some cut where we had to ask people about Haliya, GV Guda, Ibrahimpeta… any clue for furhther road to Nagarjuna sagar. Finally we picked a road to Haliya for 30km, it was a state highway but very narrow. However, roads of AP are good, that is what I realized in this trip. Even this interior road, where both side it was shurbs for long way. From Haliya we took a left to continue for Nagarjuna sagar. The glimps of the sagar was mesmerizing, we spent a half an hour in APTDC Harita resort campus. The dam gates are closed in this season, people says when it rains and when gates are open it is an awesome view. There is a bridge behind the dam, it was all dry. However I can make out, how beautiful it would look when it is over water. Walking on the damn is banned for security reasons. However, there is a jetty which you can take to nearby island and see the museum. Nagarjun sagar is a weekend trip from Hyderabad good for overnight stay when it is raining. You can even plan to return the same day. It takes hardly three and a half hour from Hyderabad.

Nagarjuna Sagar

Nagarjuna Sagar

The Bridge

The Bridge

The Dam

The Dam

Well we had plans bigger than this, we were half way, we took the route to Machrella. Hardly 10kms from nagarjuna sagar, there was a cut for 3km, Harita falls, ethipothla falls. Must visit during season… we said adieu to the cut and proceeded…. Our map which we took notes from google maps were changing routes from each 30km. Driving was fun, you get to see how much land we have in India, and still we fight for land, you got to see the corn fields of golden grasses, you ought to see red chilli harvest on the way. It tempts to pick some for free which you buy 30rs for 250gm. The AP Villages besides, it soothes the eyes and takes you away from concrete jungle. We kept driving seeing the mirage on the road which tells us that we are safe inside the car with a 18 degree Celsius chilling AC.

Golden grass of Corn field

Golden grass of Corn field

 Red Chili harvest

Red Chili harvest

We did pack our brunch from home, some paratha’s and sabzi which my wife cooked at 4am. It was almost 3pm now and we were staying on snacks, hoping to stop at some good place to unpack our brunch. But as the roads proceed through village, there’s no proper food joint or good place to halt… we proceeded for perela from where bapatla is 10km and Suryalanka is 10km from bapatla. We stopped by an auto rickshaw and asked where’s perela, he replied in telegu, all what i could make out was he was telling us route of cherela. I said “Telegu radu” (i do not know telegu), ke still explained cherela in hindi, we said we are asking perela (according to our map.) Auto driver was keen enough to help us, he said, “Which language, Hindi, English or Telegu”, we negotiated for Hindi. Then we got to know the place we are asking is known as cherela and actual name is “Cherela-Perela”. Well does not matter, we reached perela, i mean, cherela and took left to Bapatla. Bapatla is a town and you can see nice churches around. Sunday summer afternoon all doors closed. We finally stopped at a place to have our lunch and feed my 20 month old baby too. Though I was insisting its hardly 10kms lets reach suralanka checkin to some hotel and then have our lunch (if I can name it lunch at 4pm).

Backwaters

Backwaters

 What's that

What’s that

Backwaters painting

Backwaters painting

Sunset

Sunset

The first glimpse of Sea after such a long years, had just taken away all the travel tiredness. There’s only one resort, the Harita beach resort on the beach. Which was full and they need online booking. If you love the noise of sea disturb you over night but stay in a nice looking cottages, get an advance booking. We thought to have tea, but Harita’s tea did not arrive, they asked us if we can wait an hr for a cup of tea. The Beach was not that clean, lot of local public, however, our focus was just the sea… not even the small crabs on the beach who were digging into the sand and poking in and out.

We needed a room to stay, we moved back to Bapatla, there were three hotels, Seattle, Sai and Kona. We checked into Sai, it was looking somewhat newly built, fine for our budget and clean. We helped our back to straighten.

Back to suryalanka beach to spend our evening, sunset was just behind us, not on the sea, unlike in pacific. I was watching the furious bay of Bengal the gray water for the first time here. Right side of the beach was restricted by Air force station. We could stand there and see the blinking light of a light house. Towards left lot of abandoned boats were there looked like a good route to walk but hardly anyone were going there. We did not as it was getting dark and with family I did not want to do any experiment. However, when I googled later, there is a delta. Its just one and a half km walk and should see it if you are stay there, it should be surrounded by water all around. Another thing which I could zoom later from Google and see few pics were, beach in Cherela-Perela, the Vadarevu. We missed that too. All thanks to the wonderful local feedback, that there’s nothing. Later they accepted that yah that is there but nothing to mention about everyone knows about them!! Wow, why then one seek advise then. Well we missed that the next morning when we went again to watch sun rise. It was happening to left, where the delta is. I am sure there you might be able to see the sun rising from water, no harm trying that. We satisfied ourselves with changing color of sea with the rays of sun, we were happy to see my baby, how we was quietly sitting on the edge of abandoned boat and watching the sea for the first time in his life. Watching and giggling seeing children running around and playing in water. A lot there to rejuvenate your energy within.

Bay of Bengal

Bay of Bengal

Sunrise

Sunrise

Mangalgiri

Mangalgiri

We came back to the hotel, me and my brother in law cleaned the car, while my wife and baby got dressed up. Next we got ready. Off to Vijaywada. Must have breakfast is “Idli” 4 piece for Rs10. and wonderful coffee. We proceeded to Guntur then Vijaywada. Just 11km before vijaywada, we stopped at Mangalgiri. We went into the Temple at Mangalgiri, we bought some pine, it was sold there all over. From Mangalgiri, once we explored the mangalgiri sarees too, we proceeded for Undhavli Caves. This is just 6-7km from Vijaywada. Caves are more than 300years old and there is a 9km tunnel leading to Mangalgiri, locked for security reasons. From Undhavli caves, amrawati is 40km, another place to visit if you plan to stay in Vijaywada. By 1pm we moved from Undhavali, crossed Prakash barrage on Krishna river to take left towards Hyderabad. Stopped at the bank of Krishna river, where devotees get bath before climbing to Kanak Durga temple just opposite to the river. There is again an island museum in the river. We spent a while there before proceeding for Hyderabad. Vijawada Hyderabad, 285km, and more than Rs250 of toll but worth it. The Road is just awesome. We stopped at a place 136km away from Hyderabd to have our Lunch.

Undhavali Caves

Undhavali Caves

Caves interior

Caves interior

Prakash Barrage on River Krishna

Prakash Barrage on River Krishna

On the way back, we were crossing Ramoji Film city, it wouldn’t have been a complete trip if we did not halt there to buy some memento. 60km from Ramoji, we are back home at 7pm. Right after 37hrs exploring 900km of AP.

Quiet rejuvenating, but all can’t do it, pick pieces of it and visit one place at a time :)

7 Comments

  • Hi Pronil,

    The Journey with you was so smooth and I enjoyed it very much. Your narration of the story is really impressive. The Photographs are awesome. However, you could have gone more into details and given us more charm of your journey.

    Thanks for sharing and hope to read more of you in future too.

  • Vivek Kumar Srivastava says:

    Awesome post Pronil……photos are really good.

  • Venkat says:

    Truly a whirlwind trip, Pronil. Your quest for a beach nearest to Hyderabad brought us stories of not too frequented areas east of Nagarjuna Sagar ie Suryalanka beach, Mangalagiri temple and Vijayawada. 900 kms in a less than 2 days is really not everyone’s cup of tea. It needs a special Ghumakkar spirit to complete such visits. Thanks, Pronil for a beautiful post.

  • Pronil says:

    Thank you Anupam, Vivek and Venkat for your wonderful comments. Glad that you liked the post. You may choose to read my other posts too.

    Anupam, point taken, I knew while I was writing it I was running faster than the speed of my car. There’s lot elaboration on how we made our own maps, the km and duration log, expenses, and lot….

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Go slow Pronil but go often and write often. :-)

    You have given credit to AP govt for roads which is good. I guess a good road infra boosts a lot of things. Never heard of ‘Suryalanka’, seems like a good weekend hangout place. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nirdesh Singh says:

    Hi Pronil,

    Enjoyed your post on the wonderful destinations in AP. I specially liked the beautiful photos.

    I have been lucky to recently visit Guntur and I also visited Mangalgiri and Undhavali Caves along with the mighty stup at Amravati. Of course, no visit to Coastal AP is complete without beaches but we went to Machalipatnam and also saw the Dutch Fort there!

    I have fond memories of Kakinada. looking forward to a post on Kakinada.

    Keep writing!

  • Pronil says:

    @ Nirdesh,

    To read about Kakinada would be facinating. My recent visit is Vizag, planning to write a post on it.

    Its a 1826km drive for 4 days ex HYD. 670km one streach drive…. varied experiences. would share.

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