Eluru and Bapatla - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Eluru and Bapatla

#1 Jun 2nd, 2009, 17:42
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  • alouise is offline
#1
Hi everyone, I didn't find anything written so far on these two places. Has anyone been to Guntupalli and stayed at Eluru? With Eluru a station on the Howrah mail line and other trains, there doesn't seem to be any problem getting there, and I see there's one place to stay, the Manya Guestline hotel. If anyone has stayed there or elsewhere in Eluru, would you have any recommendations?

Bapatla, is on a major railway line too, though being not too far from Vijayawada and Guntur I suppose there would be buses. I read somewhere that there might even be a bus straight from Hyderabad?
The beach is 7 km from the station, is that correct? It's supposed to be a good beach too, and there are some beach bungalows. Does anyone know anything about this accommodation or anything else about Bapatla? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
#2 Jun 2nd, 2009, 17:54
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#2
Hello again Alouise
I too wanted some information about Guntupalli last year, here is the link. Not sure if it is of any use to you but take a look anyway.
http://www.indiamike.com/india/andhr...t-site-t53606/
Travelpod / Flickr


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#3 Jun 2nd, 2009, 19:37
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#3
http://hotelsuryaresidency.com/
There is one moire option Hotel Valentino

The Baptala beach is 7 kms from the station.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ch-resort.html is a link which would be useful
#4 Jun 3rd, 2009, 16:59
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#4
You like the Buddhist monastery sites too, synonymous! Thank you for the link, I'd overlooked your thread. The architectural style does look earlier than the inland Maharastran caves, with that arch doorway reminiscent of the Barabar caves in Bihar. Must see!

And also a thank you for your reply rajared. Funny, that was the same link that sparked my curiosity about Surylanka beach. It looks like a fairly low key beach, which is just what I'm looking for. The waves in the photos look lovely and safe. Have you been there?
#5 Jun 3rd, 2009, 19:15
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#5
No I have not been there.
#6 Oct 18th, 2009, 22:23
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#6
I've just arrived back in Oz after visiting Andhra Pradesh, including these two destinations. I thought I'd write the trip report straight way while the memories were still fresh. But unfortunately that didn't save. So here's the outline.

Guntupalli is well worth visiting as one of the oldest Buddhist sites in India, dated to 3rd c BC. Some of the caves are still well preserved and similar to the reputedly oldest Buddhist caves in Bihar, the Rishi Lomas caves in the Barabar hills. If you don't fancy a police escort to visit the Barabar caves, as Lonely Planet recommends (because it is Naxalite country) then you can see caves of the same antiquity at Guntupalli. While this is also Naxalite country, the situation isn't as heavy as in Bihar. A fact of life in India is that 14 out of 26 states are Naxalite strongholds, so if you're going off the tourist beaten track you're bound to head into one of these venues for India's civil war. But some venues are less risky for foreign tourists than others.

But if you chose Eluru as your base to visit these caves, then nobody will likely understand where Guntupalli is. The local Telegu name is Jilarrakarraggudem, which is best pronounced rapidly if you want to make sure you get there. The Telegu ear seems accustomed to at least 5 multisyllabic words (ie. 6-8 syllables) delivered per second. Anything slower and you may draw blank looks. English is not widely spoken in these parts. My English pronunciation of Telegu was generally a waste of time,so few understood.

I stayed at Hotel Surya Residency in Eluru. The hotel looked great from the website. It is the best hotel in town, Rs 850 AC double room. Problem is, the reality doesn't match the website.
The restaurant isn't open. The travel desk is there, but it helps if you speak Telegu. Wall to wall cockroach infestation in the room. But the bathroom was very clean! I walked over a km that night trying to find anywhere for a meal. I ended up paying about 10c for a chapati, raw onion and a tablespoon of curry. The floor was mud, the "restaurant" staff wore brown clothing that was possibly off white when last washed a week ago. It was not a clean place, but it was the only place near the hotel.


The taxi to the caves cost Rs 1500 for 40 km return. I saw a bus stop at the base of the caves, presumably coming from Eluru bus station. That would be the safer option if you have the time. My driver and a few locals nearly made off with my camera and USBs, until I was able to enlist some English speaking students from Eluru there at the site to come to my aid. The heated altercation which ensued lasted about an hour,and I was advised by the English speaking students to leave quickly.

Bapatla was similar in terms of underdevelopment, no fine dining establishments to write about. And I wouldn't want to have to try for a hotel stay. By comparison, the APTDC Haritha resort at Suryalanka beach 7 km away is palatial. Set right smack on a really pretty beach these spacious bungalows (Rs 1250) could accommodated 6- 8 people, each with enough room for a few extra beds. There are three rooms in each bungalow, a large bedroom and living area, a dressing room with wardrobe and fluorescent lighting over the mirror, and a large clean bathroom. Plus, there's a large balcony with banana chair for watching the beach about 10m away. The rooms come with cable TV and AC units, but power cuts make these comforts next to useless. It was a bit spooky at night during the power cuts... no candles, couldn't find the bathroom and didn't know what to make of the noises outside.. a whistle being blown and someone hitting a stick against the bungalow. Perhaps it was security patrolling?

Swimming was very good. The water was warm, about 23-25 degrees, and there were no rips. This is a very safe beach with a gentle incline and only small breakers. Not quite surfing waves, but you can still manage a body surf. I had a swimming costume but chose fully clothed, to fit in with the Indian tourists. Don't be turned off by the slightly brownish green colour of the waves. The water is clean, it's just that this is not a quartz sandy beach and the brown colour comes from some clay soil sediment.

If you're looking for a remote coastline, this is it. There's nothing around except the resort and the Indian airforce base next door. Suryalanka would be ideal for a simple back to nature stay and could be quite a romantic setting for couples.

But it's not Goa. Suryalanka is definitely not geared to gori tourism. Alcohol is not available (go to a liquor shop in Bapatla for that) and there are no multicuisine restaurants dotted along the beach. In fact, there's only one restaurant and most items on the menu were not available. There seemed to be one veg option, rice and a vegetable curry of the day, plus curd. For breakfast there were idlis and coconut chutney... but no sambhar. But if you love Nature then the accommodation price is worth it. Otherwise it's overpriced because most of the time there's no electricity powering the luxury appliances that you're paying for, and the limited food options are fairly dismal..... a good venue for a fast.


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