Weekend getaway from hyderabad - mantralayam - mahanandi - belum caves

#1 Jan 1st, 2011, 12:50
Join Date:
Jan 2011
  • MARGADARSI is offline
Cars: Maruti Wagon R and Chevrolet Spark
Total Distance Covered: 910 KM
Duration: 2 Days
Group: 10 Persons of which 5 know driving.

Fuel Filling: Rs. 1500 at Shamshabad
Rs. 1000 at Kodumur - On way to Kurnool from Mantralayam.
Rs. 1400 at Banaganepalle - On way to Belum Caves.

Cost Per Head: Rs.1300 For those who could not form a team but would like to travel, a similar package is available on http://aptdc.in/tourpack/hyderabad.php

Average Speed: 80 KMPH
Top Speed: 140 KMPH
Average Mileage: 14 KMPL WITH 80% AC

Road Conditions:
Hyderabad - Kurnool 4 Way- NH - 214 KM. Excellent Road. The best stretch of road where even APSRTC Palle Velugu buses also hit 100 KMPH. Drivers should be cautiously look for road blocks placed by police to control speed and there are no indicators or sign boards for this.

Kurnool - Mantralayam - 94 KM. The road is good but look for occassional pot holes on the road.
Kurnool - Nandyal - 2 Way - NH - 65 KM. The road is good but look for occassional pot holes on the road.
Nandyal - Mahanandi - 20 KM. The road is good.
Nandyal - Belum via Panyam, Banaganepalle - 80 KM. The road is good but for some sections where new road is being laid(around 2 or 3 Km).
Banaganepalle - Kurnool Via Bethamcherla - 65 KM. The road is good but look for occassional pot holes on the road.

We started from Hyderabad at 12:30 AM on December 4 (Friday Night). Our plan was to cover Mantralayam, Mahanandi ,Belum Caves and Alampur Temples.

The night drive was a pleasure and we steadily maintained the speed of 100 KM till Kurnool which we reached at 4:00 AM which included a 30 mim Tea break at road side stall. We did not prefer the route via Raichur as I have read earlier in the travel blogs that the route is damaged due to Krishna River floods in 2009 October. There are 3 Toll Gates in between Hyderabad and Kurnool and toll at each gate is Rs.45, Rs.53 and Rs.55 respectively.

From Kurnool we have taken the route via Kodumur and Yemmiganur and hoped to reach Mantralayam by 5:30 AM but there was a thick fog in the early morning which forced us to stop our vehicles for nearly 30 min and we slowly started in the fog at max speed of 20 KMPH. Finally we are able to reach Mantralayam by 7:00 AM

At Mantralayam a parking fee of Rs.10 is charged by Mantralayam Mutt. We checked in to a Hotel for Rs.500 after bargaining that we are going to vacate by afternoon. Some of my colleagues purchased dhotis. It is a custom in Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt to provide a VIP darshan for those wearing the traditional attire. We had a quick darshan and consecrated rice is offered by priests as prasad. This rice is taken home and used in meals preparation by some devotees. Please refer http://srscharithra.blogspot.com/200...as-manroe.html
Free meal coupons were also provided by the Math. It was 10:30 AM by the time we had darshan and we went to the Annapoorna Complex where food is served. The food is served from 11:00 AM. In the complex they do no provide water glasses, so better purchase one outside or one can take a steel glass by depositing Rs.10 inside the food complex. The food served is excellent. Better than I had earlier tasted in once at Tirumala.

We checked out from our hotel at 1:00 PM and started to Nandyal which is around 160 KM from there. We reached Nandyal by 4:30 PM. We did not stopped by proceeded straight towards Mahanandi. When going towards Mahanandi we have taken left at the Water Tank instead of right, so again did a U turn and reached Mahanandi which is around 30 KM from Nandyal by 5:30 PM. The water pool inside the Mahanandi Temple is lukewarm and we all enjoyed the holy dip for nearly an hour. We had darshan by 7:30 PM and taken accomodation at a hotel for night stay on the outskirts of mahanandi on the Nandyal Road for Rs.600. The food is delicious. I had a good sleep though some of my colleagues spent time playing cards till early morning 5:00 AM. A toll fee of Rs.30 is charged by Mahanandi devasthanam.

Our initial plan was to start to Belum caves by 7:30 AM but could not start till 10:00 AM. We had taken photo at the huge concrete nandi, which we could not take previous day due to bad light and started to Belum Caves via Nandyal, Panyam, Banaganeplle, Owk. We reached Belum Caves around 1:00 PM, stopping in between in Sunflower fields for photographs and also at the Owk Reservoir. The Belum Caves opening is around a distance of 1 KM from the entrance. Near the entrance is the APTDC Dormitory and Restaurant. We purchased entry tickets which is Rs.40 per adult. The caves are a beauty, sculpted by nature, the stalactites and stalagmites leaves you wondering. It takes around 2 Hours to fully explore the caves. We reached the restaurant at 3:30 PM and had our lunch. We started for Hyderabad at 4:30PM. At Banaganepalle there was a display board indicating Yaganti is 12 KM from there.

We wondered how we could have overlooked the signboard earlier. Otherwise we would have made a visit to Yaganti also. Yaganti has cave temples. In one of the Cave Temples, the Nostradamus of the East, Swami Potuluri Veerabrahmam has written Kala Jyanam (future prophecies). The Shiva temple built by Vijayanagar Empire founder Bukka Raya and the Stone Nandi which is believed to be growing in size at approximately 1 mm per 8 years as per Archeological Survey of India.

We reached Kurnool at 7:00 PM and we started on the national highway cruising at speed of 120 KMPH, even reached 140KMPH sometimes. We stopped at dhaba after near Jadcharla for dinner and reached Hyderabad at 11:00 PM.

Carry cash with you as at many fuel stations and dhabas they are not accepting credit cards. We could not cover Alampur Temples as it was already night.

Sticking to a planned schedule could have enabled us cover Yaganti and Alampur Temples also, but there are deviations off itinerary which we enjoyed like taking photographs in sunflower fields, stopping at the Owk reservoir, plucking tamarinds from road side trees. I wonder if it is a payoff one needs to decide enjoyment vs coverage?
#2 Jan 10th, 2011, 10:56
Join Date:
May 2005
  • vsp27759 is offline
Originally Posted by MARGADARSI View Post It takes around 2 Hours to fully explore the caves. We reached the restaurant at 3:30 PM and had our lunch. We started for Hyderabad at 4:30PM.We reached Kurnool at 7:00 PM
##Were you able to see the Ghat Section between Bethamcherla and Banaganapalli?

##Last year, myself and my friend did a similar trip in Maruti-800. I don't know driving. We left HYB at about 14.00hrs; Night stay in Kurnool. Left for Belum Caves next day morning via Bethamcharla, Banaganapalli, Owk and Kolimigundla. But when we reached Belum Caves, we were told that it will open at 10.00 hrs. Hence, we went to Tadipatri (**L&T Cement Plant - from outside only) and came back to Caves. After a visit to Caves, we straightaway proceeded to Ahobilam; from Ahobilam, we went to Mahanandi; and from Mahanandi we returned to Kurnool via Nandyal.Again Night stay in Kurnool.

The day we visited Nandyal WAS next day to Mahasivaratri!!

##Next day, morning, we went to Alampur. After visiting Alampur, we returned to Hyderabad by 13.00 hrs.
#3 Jan 10th, 2011, 11:08
Join Date:
May 2005
  • vsp27759 is offline
A few days back, we both visited Srisailam. But in the outward journey, the route WAS Kurnool, Atmakur and Dornala and we returned to Hyderabad via Atchampet (**bypass), Dindi Reservoir, Kalwakurthi (**bypass) and Amangal. We planned this trip, because I wanted to see the Atmakur Forest, which is nearly 25Kms. long, and which starts immediately after Atmakur. My friend wanted to visit Srisailam and drive through Srisalam Forest!!!

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