I was waiting at my pickup point holding my umbrella all excited about my weekend trip. As it started to rain heavily all my excitement started to fade away slowly, the bus is an hour late already, and on the other hand my friends have missed the bus and the driver is not picking up the call, I stood there wondering whether I have missed the bus or is it stuck somewhere in Bangalore traffic, this is how the Gandikota trip started.
Sleepy Town Jammalamadugu:
Jammalamadugu Bus Stop, Source
Finally, my bus reached my pickup point and I reached Jammalamadugu at around 4.30am having no idea what to do next, my two friends who had missed the bus took KSRTC to Anantapur.
Jammalamadugu is a small town in Kadapa district, there is nothing like the main bus stop, the bus will drop you at the circle and I stood there wondering which direction to go constantly trying to call my friends.
I was standing by the roadside watching all tea shop owners just getting started for the day and all the rickshaw wallah’s running towards the passengers who had got down from the bus I came from, in no time everyone left the circle in all the directions.
Finally, my friends called back and told me that they are at Tadipatri and asked me to come to Tadipatri, I got into bus around 6 am and reached to Tadipatri around 7.30am.
How to reach:
There is a direct bus to Jammalamadugu from Bangalore and Gandikota is around 15kms from Jammalamadugu, Belum caves is around 40kms away, if you’re taking an overnight bus you will reach Jammalamadugu by 3.30am or max by 4.30am, you can find auto rickshaw which can take you to your hotel, it would be really difficult if you had not made any advance booking for your stay.
The other option is to reach Tadipatri and Gandikota is around 30kms away.
There is also a train to Jammalamadugu from Bangalore.
Gandikota is famous for backpackers and bikers, you can also plan for a road trip to Gandikota from Bangalore.
Where to stay:
If you like to stay in Gandikota, the only option available is APTDC Haritha hotel, this is the only place to stay close to the canyon, the rooms are also available on sharing basis, Doms are available for larger groups, it has in-house restaurant, we had tea/coffee and some snacks here, the food is average.
though we tried booking weeks earlier we couldn’t get the rooms, if you’re planning for the weekend trip you should try booking min 3-4 weeks prior to getting a room here.
We stayed at AR paradise in Tadipatri, considering that it’s difficult to find hotels anywhere near to Gandikota AR Paradise was pretty good.
Rooms were clean, 24hrs check-in and staff were friendly, there is no in-house restaurant.
AR Paradise lodging and Boarding Hotel
Places to visit:
Start early and cover Belum caves in the first half and try to visit Canyon in the second so you get to see a beautiful sunset.
Belum is the longest and largest cave open to the public in India. this natural cave was formed over the course of years by the constant flow of underground water.
There is a guide available, I highly recommend taking a guide, the guides are of free of cost but they do expect you to pay some money as a tip. Since its the largest cave and has around 16 paths, it’s better to explore with the experts that way you’re not lost in between.
The cave is open from 10 am to 5 pm. It took us around 1 hour to explore the cave.
After visiting the cave we headed towards Gandikota, on the way we stooped for few minutes to see the Maylavaram dam. It’s not a tourist attraction, you can easily skip this place if you don’t have much time.
Gandikota is a village in the Kadapa district of Andra Pradesh which houses a grand canyon of India, other attractions include Gandikota fort, Jama Masjid, Ragunatha Temple.
This grand canyon is formed by river penna that cuts through the Erramala hills.
Where to eat:
There is very limited option for food, we stayed in Tadipatri and there are no restaurants, you will find only small tea shops.
we had our lunch at Belum caves, there is a small cafe, you can have your lunch here else you have wait until you reach Gandikota. At this cafe, there was a very limited option but the quality was good.
Once you reach Gandikota there is a restaurant at Harita hotel, you should be able to manage with the food quality here as considering this is the only option available.
There are no any snacks shops or anything available around Gandikota fort or Canyon so carry your own snacks and water bottles.