So, here I am back with another experience to share after a long time. And this time it's about a place like I have never been to before. Not a beach, not a fall or even a hill. This time I went to Gandikota and Belam caves in Andhra Pradesh. It was in the month of August and monsoon was at its peak. The place is almost 300 km from Bangalore and yes this time also my trip was with adventuresome.
The first day our stop was Belum Caves. These are natural Caves and quite different from other Caves and these are the longest I have visited yet. The total length of Cave is 3 km but we can only go up to 1.5 km as the rest is closed. Its entrance is almost 30 feet below the surface and solid stairs are there to reach it followed by a circular oculus that lets a circular beam of sunlight enter that area of the cave. And it's the only spot where sunlight can enter. Rest of it is void of any natural light. The path is lit by electric lights that are installed inside for visitors but still, it's very confusing and one can get lost if not careful. Here the guidance of Ajay and Prashant came handy as they were familiar with the entire path. With Prashant in lead and Ajay at the end, we covered the entire length. Caves are wide enough for everyone to comfortably walk around. It was quite humid and hot inside. Thanks to the fans installed inside at every few meters we were able to complete it and it was worth it. There were also some fountains inside to help with the heat. Inside I also saw few stalagmites and stalactite formations, formed due to dripping water from above and it was the first time I saw these. The quite and the resonating clear sounds gave a spooky feeling and everyone had fun scaring each other. As the map to the cave mentioned, at the end of the cave we saw a Shivling that must have been really old. The spot is called Pathala Ganga. After clicking a few pictures we headed back the way we came from. The whole cave took about 3 hours. After that, we started for our main destination, Gandikota.
Upon reaching there we had a nice traditional Andhra style dinner arranged by Prashant's local contacts. After dinning, we camped for the night at a Temple in the village. We set up our tents around the bonfire lit by Ajay and as always we played some games to know each which is almost like a fun tradition if you are going with adventuresome. Everyone had a nice time under the stars laughing and living the moments to its full. Gandikota is, as everyone calls it, the Grand Canyon of India. Most of you know about America's famous Grand Canyon right? Well, Gandikota is place similar to that but of course smaller in size. Full of huge brown boulders and great canyons with the view of Penar river cutting through the canyon like a huge green snak . The place was a true work of nature and the serenity of it just added to the experience.
Prashant and Ajay had been there many times before and made contacts with the local community for assistance during the trip. I should also mention that Gandikota is actually a Fort. According to the villagers, the whole Fort has a perimeter of around 8km and its recognized by 30 feet high walls that cover the entire perimeter. The place is a perfect combination of nature's work and the work of 14th-century architecture. Beyond the wall, there is a clear drop of 50 meters that line along the river Penar. Walking on the boulders and taking in the scenic beauty with our eyes and also with our cameras, we tried to capture as much as we could. Prashant knew every photogenic spot and our group surely took our time clicking everywhere. Apart from scenic beauty, Gandikota also has historical sites to offer like a 13th-century prison that the king used at that time, few temples, also a mosque that was built later when Mughals captured it. All in all, I think it is justified to call Gandikota a 2nd Hampi of India. The whole trip was a delight and I would really recommend anyone who wants to have the experience to go there and preferably with adventuresome as I can guarantee the fun and management of the trip through personal experience.