Short Road Trips from Hyderabad

Despite February being the shortest month in the year, you can make every weekend count when it comes to your travel goals. This month, we’re recommending gorgeous getaways a few hours’ drive from your city. This means you can have a mini vacation and head back to the city within a day! Think time constraints are throwing in the spanner for your travel plans? Think again! If you’re in Hyderabad, rent a car and visit the Yadadri temple at Yadagirigutta, soak in the views in Anantagiri Hills, spend a day in Ramoji Film City or revisit history in Medak.

Yadagirigutta

Yadagirigutta is predominantly known for the ‘Yadadri’ temple, dedicated to Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is situated on a hillock in the Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district in Telangana. According to legend, a sage named Yadarishi did penance inside a cave on this hill. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Narasimha appeared before him in five forms. The sage requested Him to remain in the temple for all to worship. The five forms manifested themselves into five sculptures, which came to be known as ‘Pancha Narasimha Khetram’ and are worshipped in the temple even today. In addition to Yadagirigutta, one can also visit Pushkarini Sri Anjaneya Swamy Temple, Sri Ramalingeshwara Swamy Temple, and Sri Ramalayam, nearby. Yadagirigutta is located about 62km from Hyderabad and can be reached in 1.5 hours. This trip can be done within one day and you can book a cab from Hyderabad to Yadagirigutta.

Anantagiri Hills

Boasting of lush green forests, magnificent views and various trekking points, Anantagiri hills provide a beautiful getaway from Hyderabad. These hills are located at Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district of Telangana. This area is most famous as the birthplace of Musi river, which flows through Hyderabad. In addition to its flora and fauna, the forests in Ananthagiri have also been explored for medicinal herbs. Anantha Padmabha Swamy Temple is another major attraction in this area. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is depicted in this temple as reclining on ‘Anantha’, the snake which floats on the cosmic waters of Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu’s abode. For the trekking enthusiasts, there are two well known trails through the forests, one of which starts from the temple. Ananthagiri Hills are located about 80km from Hyderabad and the distance can be covered in a little over 2 hours by booking a cab in Hyderabad.

Ramoji Film City

The closest tourist destination to Hyderabad on this list, Ramoji Film City is located barely 25 km away from the capital city. It is the world’s largest integrated film studio complex, and is spread over 2500 acres of area. It is the preferred destination for many tourists to spend a full day, as it has a number of rides and recreational activities. Some of the major attractions of the Film City include Sun Fountain, Japanese Garden, Angel’s Fountain, Jail, Princess Street, Eureka and the Airport. This is the best option for a one day trip, since you can get there in under half an hour travelling via Hyderabad to Ramoji Film City cabsThe city of Nizams is surrounded by many such gems. Maintaining the work and fun balance in important, so a getaway to one of these interesting destinations is definitely a must for residents of Hyderabad and tourists alike!

Medak
The town of Medak in Telangana is rich with cultural history, monuments and food. The town of Medak has one of the largest dioceses in Asia, and the Medak Cathedral is a gorgeous Gothic Revival style church that is a must-visit for tourists. Built by Kakatiya rulers in the 12th century, Medak Fort is another popular spot that you should visit. For wildlife enthusiasts, Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary is a short distance from Medak and has a gorgeous lake from where you can watch herons, egrets and openbill storks.

Short Road Trips from Bangalore

Despite February being the shortest month in the year, you can make every weekend count when it comes to your travel goals. This month, we’re recommending gorgeous getaways a few hours’ drive from your city. This means you can have a mini vacation and head back to the city within a day! Think time constraints are throwing in the spanner for your travel plans? Think again! If you’re in Bangalore, rent a car and head to Bandipur National Park, Shivanasamudra waterfall, go rock climbing in Ramanagara or visit the temple in Lepakshi.

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur plays host to over 30 tigers, 3,000 asian elephants and has an area of over 874 square kilometers. Having cities like Bangalore (215km), Ooty (70km) and Mysore (80km) in its proximity, Bandipur National Park is one of the most well preserved and efficiently run natural reserves in the country. Situated between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, this reserve is separated by Nagarhole national park near the Kabini Reservoir. The most picturesque way to travel to this region and this world-famous national park is by either hiring cabs from Mysore to Bandipur or finding some car rentals that allow for a more leisure journey. The best time to visit the park is around the months of November to February, this ensures the monsoons have passed and the weather clears up during the winter months which allow for a better opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.

Shivanasamudra

A scenic region located slightly off the Mysore Highway, Shivanasamudra is teeming with trekking trails and waterfalls. The main attraction here is the Shivanasamudra Falls, which is said to have a detoxing effect not only on your body, but also on your soul. The waterfalls have been included among the 100 best waterfalls in the world, and are surrounded by the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. Water cascades from a height of around 200 feet on to the islands of Shivanasamudra. It around 130km from the city, but the easy availability of cabs from Bangalore to Shivanasamudra have made things very convenient.

Ramanagara

If you’re looking for one-day trips near Bangalore with a bit of relaxation, adventure and sport, head to Ramanagara near Bangalore for a quick weekend getaway. If you’re looking for a longer visit, the town has some nice resorts you can stay at too!

With adventure sport like rock climbing, rappelling and chimney climbing. If you’re looking for a quiet time in the outdoors, there are a number of places you can go to camp overnight, kayak and trek in the wilderness. And since Ramanagara is a short distance from Bangalore, you can easily make it a pit stop before heading off to Mysore, Coorg and other destinations on the route.

If you’re planning on staying in Ramanagara for the night, you could book a room at Shilhaandara Resort. If you’re looking for a quick visit or organised group activities, you can book an activity with Adventure Nest and Skydream Adventure Services.

Lepakshi

Situated about 120 kilometres from Bangalore, Lepakshi is home to a temple built between the 12th and 15th century. The temple is known for its hanging pillar, gorgeous murals on the ceiling and intricate carvings on its walls and pillars. The nearby monolithic Nandi is considered the biggest Nandi carved from a single stone in India. Though the temple is not a live one anymore, it continues to draw crowds of tourists and history buffs alike.

Rajahmundry: The cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh

Rajahmundry, a beautiful city with a rich history, is situated on the banks of River Godavari in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The town was established in the 11th century, perhaps even before as per some recent archaeological data. Rajahmundry is known as the cultural capital of Andhra with accolades such as being the birthplace of first Telugu poet Nannayya and being the most prominent Southern Indian city in the uprising during the British Era. To get around this cultural capital, we highly recommend you book a cab.

Godavari Bridge. Image source: Wikipedia

Right from ancient temples to state-of-the-art science societies, Rajahmundry offers a range of experience to the tourists. One of the major tourist attractions is the Iskcon temple situated on the Gowthami Ghat. With an area of close to two acres, it is the second largest Iskcon temples in southern India after the Iskcon temple of Bengaluru. Cruising in a boat on the Godavari River is an enchanting experience that should not be missed.

Kotilingeswara Temple dates back to the 10th century and is a renowned tourist attraction in Rajahmundry. Various bathing ghats surround this temple attracting several tourists and devotees. It is believed that King Ravana offered prayer to Lord Shiva at this temple site. This site is considered holy, and a dip in the river is highly recommended.

Image source: Wikipedia

Draksharamam temple is situated about 40 km from Rajahmundry and dedicated to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. In this temple building, one can see several inscriptions carved including edicts from sculptural traditions of Chalukyan and Chola dynasties. Close to the temple, one can also see a Sapta Godavari Kundam representing Seven River Ponds which attract tourist as well as devotees. Kadiyapulanka located about 8 km from Rajahmundry is renowned for its flower show held in the month of January every year. Nature lovers frequent this place for beautiful gardens of roses, jasmine and other flowers.

The museums and science societies are another fascinating part of this city. Rallabandi Subbarao Government Museum was established about 50 years ago as a cultural heritage centre of the state of Andhra Pradesh to preserve the collection of pottery items and rare coins. Exhibits at the museum also include rare vintage palm-leaf inscriptions and manuscripts.

Image source: Panoramio

Aryabhatta Science and Technology Society is a knowledge centre and museum constructed by the Society’s president P. Satyanarayana Murthy in 2005. Some antique creations of Indian origin, as well as artefacts imported from Italy and China, are preserved in this museum. Exhibits at the museum also include warships, helicopter and submarines apart from models of historical monuments. Preserved reptiles and snakes including a 10 feet Python are also among the attractions. This is a dream destination for science aficionados.

Rajahmundry is renowned for its Hyderabad Biryani as well as Andhra Thali. The focus is on spicy and hot rice preparations. The other delicacies of the region include mango pickles, mirch bhaji from street vendors, Pootarekulu (sweet rolls), Rasaalu Mango, Chakkerakeli, banana and Kothapalli Kobbari mango. If your taste buds are not tuned to hot chillies and strong spices, sample some before you decide to order.

The summers are sweltering in Rajahmundry, so the best time to visit is between the months of October to March when the climate is comparatively pleasant. The renowned the ‘Chalukya Festival’ takes place in the month of February. Located at Madhurapudi, Rajahmundry airport is connected via service planes from Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore. So, if you are visiting from other cities, you will have to first fly into any of these cities.

Rajahmundry railway station sits on the Howrah Chennai main line, and several trains have stoppages at this station. The city is well-linked via road networks to other nearby cities. APSRTC Buses along with several private bus operators ensure decent road connectivity. If you’re planning on exploring the city by road, we recommend you book a taxi from Visakhapatnam or nearby cities. Interestingly, you can also reach Rajahmundry from Bhadrachallam via boat. Happy Vacationing!

Five Beaches South of the Vindhyas You Should Visit as Soon as Summer Ends

Come June, summer will start to make way for cooler temperatures, gloomy weather and rains. And many of us will want to head to the only place where we get the sun, sand and surf – the beach! But what happens when everyone else is there as well? Do you want to enjoy your sliver of the sun and some quiet moments with that special someone? Or a quiet, relaxing getaway with your friends without having to jostle for space with a hundred others? Here is a list of some less known beaches you are sure to enjoy in south India!

Dhanushkodi, Rameshwaram

Dhanushkodi

Number one on our list is the ethereal Dhanushkodi beach located in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was declared a ghost town by the Government of Tamil Nadu after a massive cyclone hit in 1964. But it remains a tourist’s paradise with many attractions!

The Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park offers a breath-taking visual of the myriad of flora and fauna. Pamban island which is barely 20km away, can keep you occupied with many activities. And one cannot miss the awe-inspiring Adam’s Bridge which is a naturally formed bridge between India and Srilanka!

How to get there: If one is looking for a cheaper option, many Govt and Private buses ply from Rameshwaram to Dhanushkodi. One can also get down at Rameswaram railway station and take a cab. Multiple cabs ply, even directly from Chennai. Flying in? Madurai Airport is the nearest.

Mahe beach, Puducherry

Mahe

Mahe was originally a French colony and now forms a municipality in Mahe district (which forms part of the union territory of Puducherry). It is surrounded by the state of Kerala on all sides.

The pristine waters and palm fringed shorelines offer an enchanting getaway for all those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Enjoy a quiet stroll along the beach while taking in the quaint fishing hamlets dotted along the shore. Or what about a glorious sunset while taking a dip?

How to get there: As few trains stop at Mahe railway station, the best option is to drive down. Roads from major destinations like Bangalore and Kochi are well-maintained and many buses ply from all nearby towns. The Calicut International airport is the nearest airport with many flights operating from different parts of the country.

Mararikulam beach, Mararikulam

Mararikulam

The fishing village of Mararikulam is situated in Alappuzha district in Kerala. This is a must visit for adventure seekers with a ton of activities like parasailing, water skiing and sea surfing. There is much in store for nature lovers as well. One can contact a naturalist to take you on a guided tour and fall in love with nature at its best. With swaying coconut trees and beautiful skies, this is a haven for a stress-free holiday.

Oh, and dare we mention the amazing resorts and food?

How to get there: Easily accessible by road, with cabs readily available from Cochin. Cochin International airport is also nearby from where one can take a cab and Mararikulam has its own railway station, but better check since only few trains stop.

Malpe beach, Karnataka

Malpe

Just 6km from Udupi, this idyllic, neat beach is irresistible for busy city dwellers. Many attractions are dotted around or near the beach. Few of them being St Mary’s island, the Fort of Daria-Bahadurgad and the temple of Balarama. But, a hit with beach lovers has been the Free WiFi!

How to get there: The best way to get there is by road, as the route from Mangalore to Malpe is considered one of the most beautiful. One can get down at Udupi railway station if traveling by rail or fly into Bajpe Airport.

Yarada Beach, Andhra Pradesh

Yarada Beach

Located around 15km from the busy city of Visakhapatnam, this hidden treasure is located on the west coast of the Bay of Bengal. It offers panoramic views of the skyline and crystal clear waters. A favourite with lovers wanting some quality time, the beach provides peace and quiet. Want a stress-free weekend? Head to Yarada!

How to get there: Availability of cabs is many from Hyderabad to Yarada beach with some operators offering a full day cab in Visakhapatnam as well. Both the nearest railway station and airport are located in Visakhapatnam.

 Did we miss out on your favourite beach in south India? Tell us in the comments below!

#60DaysOfSummer – Birdwatching in Pulicat Bird Sanctuary

Pulicat Bird Sanctuary

How about going on a holiday to a bird sanctuary that’s in the middle of large lake? Does it help that the lake is at the edge of the Bay of Bengal? We thought it might. Head to Pulicat Bird Sanctuary near Chennai for an exquisite bird watching experience.

To get to the tiny island that houses the bird sanctuary, you need to get on the bridge that connects Kudiri village to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. And if that’s not cool enough, you can just drive down to beaches in either Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu depending on the rest of your itinerary.

This salt water lake has a couple of hotels along the bank where you can stay if you choose to stay near the lake a little longer.

HOW TO GET THERE

Book a cab from Chennai to Pulicat Bird Sanctuary. It’s a day-long trip and you can easily head to Pulicat and back in one day.