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    Thread: Gandikota and Belum Caves

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      Gandikota and Belum Caves

      This is a short ride did last weekend to Gandikota and Belum caves. Was planning to these places for quite some time, but nothing materialized. But this time made sure it had to be done, come what may. Had planned to do it solo till the evening of Friday till Bharath confirmed his presence. the ride was not that eventful except for super crazy cross winds and rains. This log will be more like more of Pics than textual content, not finding time to pen it down.

      Route Taken: Bangalore-Bagepalli-Kadiri-Pulivendula-Muddanur-Jammalamadugu-Gandikota-Jammalamadugu-Kolimigundla-Belum Caves-Tadipatri-Ananthpur-Dharmavaram-Bangalore.

      Gandikota aka "The grand Canyon" of India.

      A brief history about the place:
      Gandikota was founded in 1123 by Kapa Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. The town played a significant role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods. The fort was made more impregnable by Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu. The fort was under the control of Pemmasani Nayaks for over 300 years.
      The fort of Gandikota acquired its name due to the 'gorge' (in Telugu it is called 'gandi'), formed between the Erramala range of hills, also known as Gandikota hills and the river Pennar that flows at its foot, reducing its width to a mere 300 ft (see the river image below). Situated amidst beautiful landscape and wild forests, it is endowed with vast natural resources.
      Surrounded by a deep valley and impassable hills, with massive boulders of red granite and the river Pennar that flows about 300 ft. below on the west and northern sides, its location affords strong natural defence to the occupants of the Fort. The exploits of Pemmasani Nayaks, Gothram : Musunulla, Rulers of Gandikota and Commanders in Vijayanagar army to protect the honour of Telugu land are well known.
      Vemana, the famous Telugu poet, native of Kadapa district and believed to have lived in Gandikota area for a short period.

      The area within is full of the debris of ages and many ancient structures in varying stages of decay. The fort has a Masjid, a large granary and a temple. The Jamia Masjid has two adjacent minarets. The large granary, with a vaulted roof, is now used as the traveller's bungalow. Within the fort are two ancient temples, dedicated to Madhava and Raghunatha. The other structures within the fort, include another large granary, a magazine, a graceful 'pigeon tower' with fretted windows and an extensive palace built by bricks with some plastered decorations and some wells. There is an old cannon still lying in the fort.

      There is also the 'Rayalacheruvu' with its perennial springs irrigating some lime and plantain gardens. It is said that this 'Cheruvu' was connected to a fountain in Jamia Masjid by pipes, traces of which can still be seen. There were other gardens and springs. There is an undated inscription on a boulder, near the 'Nagajhari' outside the fort, recording the gift of two gardens at the place to the temple. There was also a garden called 'Parebagh' with a waterfall at the foot of the hills, on the bank of the Penneru.

      Efforts are being put to give Gandikota a world heritage status.
      Source: Wikipedia

      First batch of Pics for

      Somewhere Close to Kadiri

      Approaching Gandikota


      These Stone walls stopped us from taking the bikes down to the river


      View from Raghunatha Swamy Temple


      Penna Gorge, the whole point why we were there









      Raghunatha Swamy Temple









      Dark Clouds getting Closer and closer. View from Raghunatha Swamy Temple


      The old Horses


      Madhavaraya temple


      Walkways of the temple




      Jama Masjid, Very Photogenic








      Collage work on the Granary wall














      Charminar


      Outside our room


      To be Continued ..........
      Last edited by phanikar; 15th Jul 2014 at 12:09.
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      bala_321's Avatar
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      Fantastic place, awesome views, Brilliant photos...Keep them coming.

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      Awesome man. This is one place which I am planning from almost 4 years I guess.
      Try walking into YOUR car rather than crawling. For me walking is always best ---GURU SHISHIR

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      Quote Originally Posted by bala_321 View Post
      Fantastic place, awesome views, Brilliant photos...Keep them coming.
      Thanks Bala

      Quote Originally Posted by shishirbn View Post
      Awesome man. This is one place which I am planning from almost 4 years I guess.
      Thanks Shishir Mee too was in the same situation so far.

      After a very hesitant start for the day, courtesy the awesome weather we made sure we started rolling towards Belum Caves which was about 65-70 kms from Gandikota. The day was not in our favour for a various reasons. While we were having breakfast, saw the news that some political unrest in Jammalamadugu and we weren't sure weather we would be allowed to pass through or not. unfortunately we weren't . All our efforts to convince the Helmet and armour clad policemen went in vain. Even locals who were supposed to get to their farms or people from nearby villages who had get inside the town in order to buy some essential commodities were also not allowed to pass though.

      After about 20-30 mins, we figured out that things are not gonna work as planned, so caught hold of a locallite to ask for an alternate route. One of the guys told there is one pathway, through a marshy riverbed which can take us past the town of Jammalamadugu. This was going to interesting, after about 25-30min we finally found asphalt, close to Dalmia Cement Factory. All thanks to the many villagers who helped us the route from there was a sail, passing through paddy fields getting ready for sowing. As we get close to Kolimigundla, the convoy of tractors ferrying stone slabs from Quarrys start testing your patience. They just dump the left overs by the side of the road which is very dangerous. The Quality of Tarmac also starts deteriorating. In that confusion we took a wrong route and had to add some extra 20Kms to the odo.

      Reach Belum Caves by about half past noon. The caves are very well maintained by the authorities. Some useful Information about Belum caves:

      Belum Caves is the second largest cave in Indian subcontinent and the longest caves in plains of Indian Subcontinent, known for its stalactite and stalagmite formations. Belum Caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. It is a natural underground cave formed by the constant flow of underground water. The caves reach its deepest point (150 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga. Belum Caves derive their name from "Bilum" Sanskrit word for caves. In Telugu language, it is called Belum Guhalu. Belum Caves has a length of 3229 metres, making it the second largest natural caves in Indian Subcontinent.
      It was brought to scientific attention in 1884 by a British surveyor Robert Bruce Foote, later in 1982-84, a team of German speleologists headed by H Daniel Gebauer conducted a detailed exploration of the caves. Thereafter in 1988, the state government declared them protected, and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) developed the caves as a tourist attraction in February 2002. Today, 3.5 km of the cave has been successfully explored, though only 1.5 km is open to tourists. There are 16 different pathways, including the main entrance and there are deposits of Quartz in the caves. The caves are formed in Black Limestone.

      Belum Caves are geologically and historically important caves. There are indications that Jains and Buddhists monks occupied these caves centuries ago. Many Buddhists relics were found inside the caves. These relics are now housed in Museum at Ananthapur.

      Main attractions of the cave
      Pillidwaram — Pillidwaram means cats gate. It is a natural arch of stalactites formed in the shape of a lion’s head;
      Kotilingalu Chamber - This section contains stalactite formations which are akin to shiva lingams. This section has thousands of such stalactite giving it a surrealistic look. It has one huge pillar formed due to stalactite and stalagmite joining together.
      Patalaganga - It is a small perennial stream which disappears into the depths of the earth. This stream flows from the southeast to northwest. It disappears and is believed to be heading towards a well at the Belum village, located 2 km away from the caves.
      Saptasvarala Guha or Musical Chamber - Saptasvarala Guha means chamber of seven notes. The stalactite formations in this chamber reproduce musical sounds when these are struck with a wooden stick or knuckles.
      Thousand Hoods - This section has amazing stalactite formations shaped like hood of Cobra. The stalactite formations on the ceiling looks as if thousands of cobras have opened their hoods.Dhyan Mandir or Meditation Hall - This section is near to the entrance. An interesting formation at Meditation hall looks like a bed with pillow to recline. The local legend has it that in ancient times many sages used to live here. This section was used by Buddhist Monks. Many relics of Buddhist period were found here which are now housed in museum at Ananthapur.
      Banyan Tree Hall - This section has a huge pillar with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. This gives a look of Banyan Tree with its aerial roots when seen from below. The locals call it "Voodalamari" since it looks like a Banyan Tree with its aerial roots hanging from the branches.
      Mandapam - This is a huge area inside the cave with magnificent stalactite structures on the sides giving it a look of a hall with pillars.
      Source : Wiki

      Few Pics from the location:

      Hope you guys can Notice the Sand drums and barb wire fencing(In Blue)



      This is where the stone slabs in your house comes from



      Few Pics from the location:
      The Entrance


      Gebauer Hall




















      Colorful Lighting makes this place look even better




      Cave Explorer for a day




























      Symbol of Peace


      The return ride was a story to tell. Heavy rains, dangerous cross winds made sure we reach Bangalore an hour or two behind schedule clocking close to 700kms on the odo.
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      These caves are awesome..

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      Quote Originally Posted by bala_321 View Post
      These caves are awesome..
      Yeah they truly are, neatly maintained by APTDC too.
      Life is too short for traffic, take the highway .......
      Work life balance is like Air-Fuel mixture.

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      Great ride and beautiful pictures. The cave picture are too good
      ----------------------
      Robz

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      Quote Originally Posted by robertdj77 View Post
      Great ride and beautiful pictures. The cave picture are too good
      Thank You Robert

      Last set of Pics, taken by bharath :



























      Life is too short for traffic, take the highway .......
      Work life balance is like Air-Fuel mixture.

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      Dev11's Avatar
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      Belum caves are on radar since last 3 years. I have done Hampi-Bellary-Anantpur stretch three years back but dropped this place due to somewhat tight schedule. Just few days back discussed about doing this - Pune-Vijapur- . . . -Belum-Dandikota. But not yet planned as such!


      Not yet told my son about this place. Love to give him surprise.


      Well, are these caves remain open in monsoon or when there is are heavy rains? And if we plan for Aug end this year!

      BTW, nice "short but to the point" worded TL and absolutely wonderful shots, as usual!
      Last edited by Dev11; 23rd Jul 2014 at 10:47.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dev11 View Post
      Belum caves are on radar since last 3 years. I have done Hampi-Bellary-Anantpur stretch three years back but dropped this place due to somewhat tight schedule. Just few days back discussed about doing this - Pune-Vijapur- . . . -Belum-Dandikota. But not yet planned as such!

      Well, are these caves remain open in monsoon or when there is are heavy rains?


      BTW, nice "short but to the point" worded TL and absolutely wonderful shots, as usual!
      Thank You Yes there open during rains too. but as we were told, only the Pathalaganga region of the caves can be accessed during heavy rains.
      Life is too short for traffic, take the highway .......
      Work life balance is like Air-Fuel mixture.

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