One of the least explored places in South India; there are many reasons though why is it so – I will brief that later. Let me start with a WOW…Unbelievable…powerful mother nature has proven it again for us to believe. Wow – coz the cave is such a big one that hundreds of people can go inside at once and has a grand hall inside where ~300 people can stand at once. Cave that is long enough and has branches spreaded in several kilometres. Accessible areas can be covered in 1hr because the routes are well defined and marked inside with proper lighting and oxygen supplies – kudos to govt. Several crores of rupees have spent already to make and maintain this place with number of staff to manage.
How to plan this trip from Bangalore (Bengaluru) ? If you plan this well; one can return possibly the same day. There were a lot of confusions on how to go when I travelled therefore we could not finish in one day and took wrong routes many times – in-spite of having maps&gps.
BANGALORE-> Chik Ballapur (New Airport Road or Hyd Road)->Penukonda->Anantapur->Peravali->Tadipatri->Bugga->Belum Caves. ~300KMs/~5Hrs to drive.
- Entry to caves is allowed from 10AM.
- Govt charges 50 rupees per head. Guide is provided on your request and is free – as all other places they would ask for some money at the end of the tour.
- Non a/c Accommodations is available in Haritha (AP Tourism’s Hotel Network) in the same locality charging ~800/head. Since we could not bear heat; we decided to stay in A/C hotel and could find one easily at “Tadipatri” which is ~30KMs away from the cave.
- There are no good restaurants nearby therefore be comfortable to eat what you get. A decent restaurant outside of the campus had variety of food for both breakfast and lunch but not much neat.
- It takes ~hour to walk inside cave and to see the places. Reaching “Pataal Ganga” was a great experience. This is 150ft down inside the cave where there’s still a water body.
- Carry headlight or some sort of lighting to take a glimpse thru non-lighted areas.
- AP tourism has provided enough lighting and dozens of night-vision security cameras and music for a family to wander.
- Look thru the sign-boards kept inside the cave to not to get detoured; coz once detoured it’s difficult to navigate and get back.
- Carry enough fresh water to drink as there is no fresh water supplied inside the cave and it is not allowed to carry food/plastics inside the cave.
- Do not attempt to see all the places inside with small kids and elderly people as they may experience breathing difficulties.
Belum Caves to Gandikota Grand Canyon:
Belum Caves->Kolimigundla->Dalmia Cement Factory->Jammalamadugu->Cross Penna River and take right to Gandikota Road->~10KMs you will see Haritha Hotel on the left->500Mtrs away is the fort->Drive thru the fort and maze and park car at the dead-end of that narrow road. Canyon could be seen at 5mins away from here by walk. You will be walking on the side-ways of fort, masjid and temple.
- Entry to caves is allowed throughout the day. Prefer to go there before sunset coz the roads are very lonely.
- No entry fee, nor any visiting time mentioned anywhere.
- The canyon could be seen by going to the edge of the rocks. No guards or safety measures in that area – therefore careful with kids and elders.
- I couldn’t believe that INDIA has such a great canyon and that is much alike Grand Canyon in Arizona USA (I’ve been there).
- River that flows thru the valley of canyon makes awesome views with greens and blues around water body.
- Do not attempt to walk down-hill to reach river as it may not be as easy to climb up.
- Carry water and food; again no place to eat nearby except ‘Haritha Hotel’ that I mentioned earlier (~500mtrs).
- Although Haritha Hotel looks great and provides food and accommodation; we could not anything other than fried-rice and omelet. Rooms here are very spacious and A/C. They charge ~1200 per room (double occupancy) that is independent villas. They do not take booking over phone or online; one could easily get accommodation here coz they have 8 such villas.
- It would take ~1hr to watch canyon and fort.
Gandikota Grand Canyon to Bangalore (Bengaluru):
Gandikota Canyon -> Jammalamadugu -> Dalmia Cement Factory -> Bugga -> Tadipatri -> Peravali -> Ananthpur -> Penukonda -> Devanahalli -> Bangalore.
- This route has 3 tolls summing ~300INR one side for car.
- Most of the people including the ones who manages Haritha Hotel does not speak Hindi or English however you could make them understand as a tourist.
- This place is famous for it’s granite-like stones commonly named ‘Kadappa Stones’ and you will see lots of factories, wastes dumped on roadsides, windmills, cement factories in Tadipatri to Belum caves road. You will see how the people uses these stones for almost everything – including complete house, chairs, walls, roads, floors etc.
- Lots of vegetation including grapes could be seen around Chik Ballapur area on the highways. Summer is their season btw. Vegetations as in ‘Musk melon, lemon, supporta, mangoes’ etc could be seen in Ananthpur area.
- Tadipatri is the town in between these 2 places. We could find almost everything here.
- Me and my friend ‘Naveen Richard’ whom I know from Microsoft days and GS have planned this tour on Friday night and started on Saturday morning without any plan therefore lots of good experiences 🙂 Sorry that I forgot to carry my DSLR this time.