Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kanakai Waterfalls, Adilabad District, AndhraPradesh

This post is in continuation to my earlier post on Gayatri waterfalls, Adilabad District.
Link : Gayatri Waterfalls, Adilabad District, AndhraPradesh

About Kanakai Waterfalls
Kanakai waterfall is located in Adilabad district near a small village called Girnoor of Bazarhatnoor Mandal. Kanakai waterfall is also called as Kanakadurga waterfalls. The place has significant importance in the ancient history. People from nearby villages come here to the temple of Goddess kanakaDurga. The other things to see here are Bandrev waterfalls, Golusula madugu and cheekati gundam.

How to reach?
Ichoda is 272Kms from Hyderabad on the way to adilabad on National Highway 7. From ichoda we need to go towards bazarhatnoor via adegaon khurd, pipri and girnur villages. After driving for 1 Km from girnur there will be a sign board pointing towards a dirt road on the left that leads to temple and waterfalls. One can go by vehicle only till here. From here we need to go on foot to reach waterfalls. You can stop at Girnur village and ask for a guide.  Make sure you are accompanied by a villager, else you might get lost.
Ichoda to Baazarhatnoor
Route from Ichoda to Baazarhatnoor
In continuation to the trip report of Day 1:
Last night we decided to wake up by 7 am and pack up everything before 8 am as the school will start by 9 ‘o clock. We woke up early at 6 ‘o clock. By the time we came out of tent it was all mist around. Because of heavy dew the outer layer of tent was completely drenched and was dripping water as if it had just rained. Thanks to my Quechua T3 tent. Not even a single drop seeped inside and moreover kept us warm all night.
Misty Morning
Misty Morning and my Quechua Tent....
We tried to shake off the water from the outer layer of tent, but our efforts didn’t pay well. Later finished folding the tent as it was in the same condition and stuffed inside the sack with great difficulty. We dumped the entire luggage inside car and went inside village to have some hot Tea. Along with Patel few other villagers are already there who started asking our whereabouts, what we do and how did we come to know about their Gayatri gundam etc. While having Tea we got to know few more things about the village and local conditions like schools, medical facilities, crops they cultivate etc. Meanwhile rajanna also joined us and ready to leave with us for kanakai gundam. 
@ Tarnam Khurd
@ Tarnam Khurd
We thanked Patel and villagers who were very nice to us. I was very much impressed with the way they treated us like guests when couple of people came to us last night and asked whether we are comfortable or not and asked if we need anything. Feeling happy being around in such a village environment after long time, we started walking towards our car with another task of exploring kanakai gundam ahead of us.
With Wagon-R
With our Wagon-R
Soon we are back on Highway towards Ichoda. Ichoda is just 11Kms from Tarnam khurd. We had breakfast at Ichoda and bought some biscuits and banana. We took a left turn from Ichoda that leads to bazarhatnoor. We crossed adegaon and pipri villages. When enquired the villagers of girnur about the waterfalls, they told us to check for the sign board indicating direction towards kanaka durga temple. 
Tamarind Tree
Comments Plz...

After driving 1 km from girnur we came across sign board to our left with an arrow indicating to go left. The condition of road from Ichoda was pathetic with many patholes. We parked our car under shade of a tree besides the road and started walking on the dirt trail which was motorable only if one can risk their car and was just ok for a 2 wheeler.
Sign Board
The Sign Board.....
All we can see around is complete greenery of grasslands and fields with lots of varieties of birds. We walked for about 2Kms and when asked rajanna about the route he simply told us that he never came this way. With the information I had gathered and the homework I have done on the route, I was sure that we are very near to the destination but has to find the correct path.  We walked further ahead and asked a farmer for direction to kanakai gundam. He told us to turn right from here and go straight till we see gundam. We walked in that direction for about half kilometer through the soya fields. And now we can see the river flowing down through the gorges of rock formations on both sides. We found our way down near water. The river flow here is very still which means the depth could be more. Standing besides the river in a gorge, I felt like I am in a mini canyon. After moving few steps ahead we saw a utensil kept on stones ready to cook on firewood. Thought It might be the cooking setup of someone who came to work for firewood. I felt like having nice river view lunch and camping. We went ahead further and three people with baskets, fishing nets and fish were coming towards us. When asked a person about waterfalls, he told that right now we are in Cheekati gundam, next comes is Golusula Madugu and later will be kanakai gundam.
Dinesh @ Cheekati Gundam
Dinesh @ Cheekati Gundam

Birds of cheekati gundam
Spotted many birds here.......
We thanked him and started walking slowly by the side of water enjoying the surroundings. We walked at the pace of tortoise clicking pictures and spotting different birds for quiet sometime. We simply sat down at few places along waterside where ever we felt like relaxing. Moving further ahead we came across a Y fork of the stream where the right diversion of the stream is completely dry with rocks all over.  We walked in that path for almost half an hour till we reached a point where it is turning right and it’s no more a dry stream, but filled up from here onwards. Now we got off the stream and started walking towards right across the trees only to find another branch of dry stream with rocks on the other side.

Relax on the Rocks...
Relax on the Rocks...
By now I understood that we are lost, but still I am enjoying getting lost in this trek. None of us was actually in a mood of tracing out the route. In fact Dinesh and arif are also enjoying the trek to the fuller, least bothered about the route. May be it because of the belief they had in me or even they might not have noticed yet, that we are lost. Only thing we were doing is walk, relax, click, go where the path leads to and simply taking a Left or Right when some obstacle comes on the way. As I had looked at the Google maps of these places the day before we started, I had chosen to keep on right side every time.
Rock 'N' Roll Trek.. :)
After moving ahead crossing the rocks and now along the side of water we came to a dead end where we are left with no option but to climb the steep slope towards top.  The stream had become narrow here and it was shady, covered by trees on both sides of the banks. We climbed up to top with little difficulty as it was all loose soil with tiny rolling rocks. Now we are on one side of the canyon and we walked along the side of the canyon. We heard the sound of a waterfall which was increasing as we are nearing it. In no time we are standing in front of Bandrev waterfall. This is a slopy waterfall with number of branches flowing down the rock face. We settled down under a tree with a nice view of waterfall. Had bananas and biscuits here and captured video of waterfall along with some nice pictures. After spending half an hour at Bandrev waterfall, we started again expecting Kanakai waterfalls in the next few minutes. 
Bandrev Waterfalls
Bandrev Waterfalls
Fun Time @ Kanakai waterfall:
Arif with Rajanna @ Kanakai Waterfalls
Arif with Rajanna @ Kanakai Waterfalls
In less than 15 minutes we reached Kanakai waterfalls. This waterfall looks similar to Bandrev waterfall with almost same height and pattern where as bandrev is wider than Kanakai with less water flow compared to Kanakai. Here again we found a nice shady place under trees with a nice view of waterfall. It was very pleasant under the tree with nice cool breeze often passing by us. Meanwhile I checked if I can get down through rocks and go near waterfall. Later decided not to take risk there and went ahead in search of safe way down. We descended down making our way through thick thorny bushes and slipping rocks. I decided to get into water and have my share of fun in this natural pool. Me along with dinesh got into water and slowly moved forward to check the depth with a stick in our hand. It was kind of stepped pool with flat rock under water. Dinesh swam inside to check the depth and told the maximum depth could be 8 ft and better for me not get to into that part of pool as I do not know swimming. I slowly moved towards the waterfall by the side of pool at safer depth. I dipped number of times and done floating on water as much time as I can and of course made a successful attempt to swim for few feet distance which is definitely a morale booster for a beginner like me :P. With my self confidence boosted up a lot now I started climbing against the water flow to the top.  The water was pushing me away with enormous force. Sat there for quiet sometime and enjoyed a much relieving body massage with Jacuzzi bath.
Kanakai waterfalls
Its me @ Kanakai waterfalls
Arif who was sitting on the safe Bank till now got ready to finally get into water and has got a nice snap of mine before he packed up his camera. I reached top portion of the falls and had great time in the gushing waters and the mini pools. We spent almost 2 hours of time In Kanakai gundam. Unwilling to leave the place soon we finally started walking back to the road at around 3 o’clock imbibed with loads of positive energies from the amazing and pristine nature spread all around us.

Walk Back to the Car:
Where ever you go... U will see a waterbody....
Where ever you go... U will find a water stream
We walked along the canyon for few minutes before we could see the river flowing on one side and the paddy fields on other side of our path. The vehicles moving on the road are clearly visible from here but in order to avoid going through the fields we tried couple of paths that ended into bushes again.  Crossed couple of small agricultural canals and walked on the narrow edges between paddy fields and often through unavoidable mud patches on the way. We reached our car at 0430 pm. Thus ends our two days of waterfall hunt well lived in the pristine nature away from the hustle and bustle of running life of the city.

We dropped Rajanna on our way back at Tarnam and decided to go as far as we can before sunset without any break. But we couldn’t resist stopping at kortikal waterfalls which we missed the day before.

Kortikal Waterfalls
Kortikal Waterfalls....
Bird FLock
Clicked it Besides Kortikal Falls


Clicked few pics here as well and started off soon. We just passed by an interesting thing on our way which gave me another excuse to stop by. A person was transporting a big iron almirah on his TVS Excel Moped. As we have already crossed him we stopped by ahead of him and waited till he came. Cool and funny snap that couldn't be missed.
Funny Pic
Funny Pic... :)
Old Bridge
An Old Bridge on othe Way

Our Transporter.........
Had spent few more minutes to see an old bridge and took sunset pictures on the way.  We reached Hyderabad by 10 ‘o clock and while Arif got down at SR nagar, Dinesh dropped me at my room. Thanked Dinesh and his Wagon-R, for being our much needed Transporter throughout the trip and left for the room with my brain busy while memorizing every minute and moment that we spent on these two days.
Happy Travelling.... Folks..... :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gayatri Waterfalls, Adilabad District, AndhraPradesh

The only waterfalls I know in adilabad were Kuntala and Pochera Waterfalls until I came across the website a year ago.  It is through this website I came to know about Gayatri waterfalls, Kanakai waterfalls and other interesting places in adilabad district.

Nirmal city website was launched by Mr. Praveen Indoori, who was born and brought up in this small town of Nirmal, a great land of art and crafts. Inspired by art at every step of his life and with a burning desire of giving back something to art and art related made him start to bring forth the grandeur of Nirmal toys, paintings and tourist attractions in front of the world.

About Gayatri WaterFalls

Gayatri Gundam
Gayatri Gundam
                 Gayatri waterfalls, a very less known waterfall is on Kadem River, a tributary of Godavari River. It is located at a very secluded place inside deep forest and at a distance of approximately 5KM from Tarnam Khurd, a village near Neredigonda in Adilabad district. Gayatri waterfall is also called as Gadidha Gundam or Mukdi Gundam by villagers. It Is a wonderful sight to see this waterfall plunging down 100ft into the valley to create this magnificent beauty.

How to Reach?
Neredigonda is 257Kms from Hyderabad on the way to adilabad on National Highway 7. Kupti village comes after 6Kms where you will find sign board for Tarnam village on the right side. Turn right from here and drive for 2Kms on dirt road to reach Tarnam Khurd village.

View Larger Map

One can go by vehicle only till Tarnam. From here we need to go on foot for 5 Kms to reach waterfalls. You can ask for a guide in the village.  Make sure you are accompanied by a villager, else you might get lost in jungle.

Ever since I came to know about the beautiful Gayatri waterfalls I was planning to visit the place on my Bike but ended up with change of plans due to bad weather and some other reasons on couple of occasions. With the end of Monsoon by start of October, I thought I have to wait one more year till next monsoon to visit the waterfalls. With heavy rainfall in the second half of October all over Andhrapradesh, I have decided do visit both kanakai and Gayatri waterfalls in last week. I planned it for a 2 days trip. I have called Praveen Indoori for guidance and he gave us few pointers that helped us in this trip. Dinesh and Arif also joined me and we decided to leave by Dinesh’s car on 29th early morning 4 AM.
our team
Dinesh.... Myself ... Arif

Drive on NH7:
We started an hour late and Dinesh picked me and arif from my room and soon we are on our way to Adilabad. Since we are travelling by car we didn’t mind carrying extra luggage. We dumped the entire luggage in dicky including my Quechua T3 tent, couple of tarpaulin sheets, sleeping bags and our bags. It was very cool and pleasant weather early in the morning. Once we crossed city the environment gradually changed a lot and now it’s only the mist that we can see around. It simply looked like we are speeding through the clouds. The scene became even more beautiful with the first rays of SUN spreading all over with gentle warmth. Everything seems glittering like gold and reflecting. We stopped for breakfast at a highway restaurant named ZYKA restaurant and tried idly, wada and Dosa. It’s neatly maintained and the breakfast was also tasty. Within half an hour we are back on wheels again.

Some interesting places that attracted us on our way were couple of ruined forts by the side of highway and some hills which looked like a huge heap of rocks put at a place. We decided to explore those places on our next visit which will be a bike ride. As soon as we crossed nirmal I started looking out for kortikal waterfalls which was mentioned in the website. We saw small waterfall by the side of highway to our left after crossing kortikal B village. We stopped at Neredigonda to buy water bottles and some snacks. We had paid 260Rs for Toll alone at four toll gates till we reached Tarnam. We stopped at Kupti village and asked a person for direction to Tarnam. Luckily he too has to go to Tarnam. We gave him lift and told him that we came to visit waterfalls and need a villager to accompany us. As soon as we reached village he introduced us to their Patel. We asked him for a villager to show us waterfalls. He told Rajanna to go with us and show the way to waterfalls and asked us to pay him at the end of day.

Our trek to waterfalls: 
We parked our car near Patels shop. Quickly picked my camera and water bottles to carry in a small bag and followed Rajanna. From here we have to go by foot. After walking for few minutes we came across a water stream. It is one of the rivulets of Kadem River. We crossed the stream with not much difficulty. From here onwards it was a plain walk of almost half an hour on a trail cutting through cotton and soya fields. The next half an hour was through the jungle crossing couple of small streams.
Kadem River
Kadem river that we crossed
Dirt Trail
Dirt Trail leading into dense forest
Trail through the fields
Trail formed by bullock carts
Beautiful grasslands on the way
Beautiful grasslands on our way
Entering into jungle
Entering into jungle after the fields
Descent through water trail
Descent through rocky water trail into Gayatri gundam
At one point Rajanna told us he will take us to the bottom of the waterfalls first and top view later. We started descending down carefully on the rocks which is actually a water trail. The rocks were slippery and rajanna was prompting to be careful all the time.
Gayatri Waterfalls
@ Gayatri Waterfalls

After a good amount of decent we found ourself in a deep valley surrounded by hills on all directions. And here we are standing infront of Gayatri waterfalls with a huge pool under it. It was an amazing sight to see. We can feel the drizzle of waterfall from the place we stood. We clicked many pics here. I took a stick of about 7 feet and tried to check the depth between two rocks that were submerged. It had gone almost 6ft inside water. Someone might get stuck between rocks or get injured if they try to swim and it was too slippery on those submerged rocks. As the depth is very unpredictable we didn’t dare to go near waterfalls. By now it was almost 1:30 pm and the rocks were heated up like anything. Meanwhile Dinesh started climbing the rock patches next to the waterfalls and sat there for a while before he started feeling the heat of rock. He was exhausted by the time he got down and his palms turned red because of burning rocks. We spent almost an hour and half here taking pictures and relaxing under shade.
vertical panaroma view of Gayatri Waterfalls
Vertical panaroma view of Gayatri Waterfalls

Cute elevated Hut besides waterfalls
Cute elevated Hut besides waterfalls
Top portions of water stream before it plunges into Gundam
Top portions of water stream before it plunges into Gundam

At around 2:30 we started climbing back to the top. Rajanna took us through a shortcut to the top and we entered a cotton field. There is a small elevated hut at one corner of the field which looked so cute. For a moment I felt jealous of those who are living in such a beautiful environment right besides a waterfall. After crossing the field we saw the stream that was flowing down. I decided to have a dip here. We found a shady place and decided to relax for some time and later enjoy the Jacuzzi in water. While Arif and dinesh settled down I went further ahead to see the side view of the waterfalls. I had to go till a slopy edge of the rock to get full view of waterfalls. With some difficulty I hung there for few minutes and I had captured video and a vertical panaroma of waterfall from top to bottom. The climb back was tough because of burning rocks and the afternoon heat. I was completely exhausted by the time I came back and collapsed under the tree. We slept for more than half an hour here. We had a nice Jacuzzi bath in the stream. Inspite of burning sun, the water in the stream was cold and we spent an hour in the water before we started back for village. On our way back we captured some nice pics of the fields and grasslands which were glowing during the golden hour of Sunset.

Flowing at full pace
Flowing at full pace

Just for FUN
Just for FUN :)

Glittering Golden Hour of Sunset
Glittering Golden Hour of Sunset

Glittering Grasslands
Glittering Grasslands
Night Camping in the Village:
Our Tent Lighted up under Stars.....
Our Tent Lighted up under Stars.....
It was around 6 in the evening by the time we are back in the village. By now we were very hungry as we didn’t have lunch in the afternoon. We asked Patel about any place where we can have dinner. He told us that there is a dhaba on highway before ichoda which serves tasty food. He also told us that we can camp in the school compound. We told him about our next day’s plan of visiting kanakai waterfalls and he suggested taking rajanna with us as he could be helpful. We said we will meet him next day morning and left for dhaba. We had roti, fried rice and curd rice for dinner. The food was just average and didn’t met our expectations. By the time we are back in the village almost half of the village was asleep and there is hardly any one seen outside. We pitched our tent in the middle of the ground. Arif had setup his camera for capturing star trails with our illuminated tent in the foreground. We did star gazing while dinesh explained about few stars with an App in his mobile. After sometime we went inside tent as we felt very sleepy and dozed off in no time. In the middle of the night it turned very cold because of heavy dew outside. I sneeked into my sleeping which gave me enough warmth for a sound sleep besides the snoaring sounds of Dinesh.

Please find below link of our next day trek to Kanakai waterfalls.....
Link : Day2 : Our Trek to Kanakai waterfalls


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sahasrakund Waterfalls, Nanded District, Maharashtra.

I heard about Sahasrakund waterfalls almost an year ago and wanted to plan for this in monsoon along with any other places nearby. On couple of occasions we had to cancel the plans at last moment due to some reasons. Finally Myself, along with my friend Krishna Srivatsa decided to visit this place on October 2nd as it was a holiday for both of us

Sahasrakund Waterfalls is near isalpur village in Nanded district of Maharashtra. Islapur village is on Bhokar to Kinwat Road. This majestic waterfall on river Banganga is a visual treat for eyes and soul.... 
Panaroma view of complete Waterfalls,
Panaroma view of complete Waterfalls

The sight of Banganga River suddenly falling down from a great height is a sight to behold. We have to simply walk down to the other side of the river by a bridge and roam around to click some good photographs or can just sit back and enjoy nature's tranquility.

How to Reach?
Sahasrakund can be easily reached by train from Hyderabad. We can catch Krishna Express(17405) at 09:00 PM from Secunderabad which reaches Sahastrakund at 4 ‘o clock early morning. The waterfalls is around 6Kms from Railway station. One can wait till morning at station and go by rickshaw to falls or can even start for a nice early morning walk to sahastrakund waterfalls.

To reach sahastrakund by Road, One has to take left from Nirmal onto swarna road and proceed for Islapur. Distance from Nirmal to Sahastrakund is about 60Kms. Very few buses are available from Nirmal to Himayatnagar at regular intervals via Islapur.

Where to Stay?
The nearest towns are Nirmal and Kinwat to find a decent accommodation.

Food options?
Couple of hotels are available on the bank of the river which serve biscuits, cool drinks, breakfast and lunch. One can get few more food options in Islapur.

The Day of Journey:
We booked only onward tickets for Krishna Express from secunderabad to sahastrakund road on the night of 1st October.We reached secunderabad station by 08:30 PM. Got biryani parcels from the famous ALPHA hotel and were on the platform waiting for Krishna Express. The train was on time and we hopped in. To our surprise the reservation compartments are almost empty. The train started and we too started with our usual endless discussions on treks and travel related stuff. Meanwhile ticket collector came for checking and when we asked him why the train is so empty today, he replied that there will be hardly any crowd for this train on any given day. We had Biryani and dozed off for the night with alarms set at 03:30 AM as the scheduled arrival at sahasrakund is around 4 ‘O clock early morning.

Early Morning Walk to Waterfalls:
First glimpse of the single falls on our side
First glimpse of the single falls on our side.

Our train arrived at Sahastrakund around 5’O clock which is almost an hour delay and we are happy to get delayed. It was still dark and no rickshaws were available outside station. As the weather was pleasant we decided to walk to Waterfalls which will be around 6 Kms. The route is very simple, we just need to come out of station walk straight along the road with no deviations that will take you straight to the river. We passed through Islapur which is yet to wake up. We crossed a main road where there is a checkpost. We just re-confirmed the way to waterfalls and headed straight in that direction. The rest of our walk was through fields on both sides of the road and couple of villages on the way. We could hear the sound of waterfalls from some distance.

We reached sahastrakund at around 0730AM. It looks like here River Banganga plunges down from top of a rocky hill. The place is like a canyon with towering rock formation on either side of the river flow. There are temples on both sides of the river. A long elevated platform kind of ramp was constructed to have good views of the waterfalls. We spent some time here looking at the falls and the river, clicking pictures. From the side where we are standing, we couldn’t see the complete waterfalls as the rocky structure in the middle was obstructing the view.

An elevated Ramp of View Points
An elevated Ramp of View Points
The Watch Tower.
The Watch Tower.
It may look like a surf boat for You ... But its his Life Boat - A fisherman set out on his daily routine
It may look like a surf boat for You ... But its his Life Boat - A fisherman set out on his daily routine

There is a watch tower nearby and we climbed on it hoping for a better view of falls in a single frame. Though we were missing a part of waterfalls to be seen even from the watch tower, the aerial view of the surroundings was good. We were there for almost half an hour capturing the views in all directions. There is a bridge at some distance on the river and we decided to cross it to go to the other side of the river.

We had our breakfast at the hotel besides the river and enquired him about bus to Nirmal. He told that there is a bus to Nirmal at 11 ‘O clock that comes from himayatnagar. After breakfast we took the small kutcha path opposite to the hotel to reach the bridge. Its about 15 mins walk to bridge and once you cross bridge it’s a tar road on the other side. The village on the other side is Murli. 
My friend.. Krishna SriVatsa on the way to Bridge.
My friend.. Krishna SriVatsa on the way to Bridge.

We were stunned to see the other side of waterfalls which is huge and amazing. It is like a mini Nayagara waterfalls. We quickly moved on further ahead so that we can get complete waterfall in a single frame. We got off the path and settled on the edge of a rock patch where we are standing straight and opposite to the waterfalls with nice panaroma view.
Me .. Posing before Sahastrakund
Me .. Posing before Sahastrakund

We spent a good 30 mins before we started back. Now its time to go near waterfalls as much as we can.  I sat at a safe distance about a couple of feet distance by the side of the falls. I can feel the furious, roaring waterfall from this point with full intensity. I was spell bound and lost in this amazing act of nature for quiet a few minutes before Vatsa called me to hurry back as we need  to catch 11 ‘O clock bus to Nirmal.  After a short Photo session we were walking back to the bridge. We had to hire an auto for full fare as there are no other passengers to go on share basis.  We waited for half an hour for our bus to arrive. Thankgod....  its an APSRTC express Bus.

Words fall short... U must go, sit there and experience it..
Words fall short... U must go, sit there and experience it..

As we still have a half day left we decided to visit Kuntala waterfalls. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Our Trek to Mahendragiri Peak, Odisha.

I must say that Trek to Mahendragiri peak has always been on top of my list ever since i had to opt out myself from the middle of trek, 2 years ago bowing to those tough testing conditions. Yes it was a tough Trek and I was completely beaten by that hot and humid climate. I was simply waiting for right time and right group to accomplish my long awaited desire of conquering Mahendragiri.

I had chosen peak monsoon for this trek and decided to do it by end of July. Had discussed with Arif, Dinesh, Vamshi and Sridhar on few occasions about this and they too joined me. I planned it for 3 days to spend more time amongst those lush green hills, valleys and water streams. Had done reservations for all of us and eagerly waiting for the day of journey. Let me give a brief about Mahendragiri Peak.

About Mahendragiri:

Mahendragiri is a mountain peak in the Parlakimidi subdivision of Gajapati district, Orissa, India. It is situated amongst the Eastern Ghats at an elevation of 1,501 meters (4,925 ft).It is associated with mythological stories from the Ramayana as Mahendra Parvata (mountain). It is a 'Kula Parvata' along with Malaya, Sahyadri, Parijatra, Shuktiman, Vindhya and Malyavaan. In the Puranas and Mahabharata that Parashurama practiced penance for a long time on the Mahendra Mountain. Legend says that it is the place where lord Parashurama is staying eternally. We can see temples built by Pandavas. Main festival here is Shivaratri, the worship of Shiva as Lord Gokarneswar.
Temples of Mahendragiri
Kunti Temple ........................... Yudhishtar Temple ................ Bheema Temple ....................  Daru Brahma
The Mahendragiri is a place of great scenic beauty. The place is surrounded on three sides by hills and thick growth of wild trees. The view of the surrounding area from the top of the hill is enchanting. The range of hills on the north-west and south succeed one another like huge waves and the passage of clouds from peak to peak produces an ever-changing scene. The clear waters of the sacred Mahendratanaya, the blue sea at a distance and the mountain with its majestic beauty make Mahendragiri a trekker's dream come true. Its 26 km. from the sea and lies exposed to the sea-breeze. The river Mahendratanaya flows down the mountain in the east through Mandasa and joins the Bay of Bengal at Barua which was once an important ancient port.

Routes that can be taken:
We can reach the peak either from Kainpur via parlakemidi (Orissa) or from Singupuram via Mandasa (Orissa).

Kainpur - Burukhata Route: From Palasa there are many buses to parlakemidi from where you can reach Kainpur and to Burukhata, the base village from where the ghat road starts which takes you straight to the yudhishtar temple and Ashram. It will be 8KM on Tar Road from Kainpur to Burukhata and 4KM uphill from Burukhata to Kunti Temple. Or even hire an auto till Burukhata.

Mandasa - Singupuram Route: Only 3 buses runs every day to Singupuram from Palasa or one can reach Mandasa and take an auto till Singupuram which will be the starting point of trek. From Singupuram the trek will be of 23 KMs. One can start through fields passing through couple of streams and get onto mud road leading to GANGABADA village passing through villages and valleys between hills. There is small residential school at Gangabada. From Gangabada the route is a trail along the hill edges. One can easily find the path ahead or ask the villagers for directions till a point on top of a hill where there will be abandoned huts. From the abandoned huts we need to gain altitude making our way through thick grassy slopes till we come across a trail again, and this will lead straight to Kunti Temple.

On The day of Journey:
It was 25th July ’13 and I am all set for the Trek. Took prints of the route maps and terrain maps for reference. Saved an Offline Map of Mandasa -Mahendragiri Peak-Kainpur on my Mobile and left for Office along with my Rucksack at 7 AM. We have to catch Falaknuma Express at 4PM from secunderabad and I left office little early to be at station by 0345PM. Meanwhile Arif and Sridhar are waiting for us at station. Vamshi has got some important work on that weekend and had to drop out. I called up dinesh and he said he is stuck in heavy traffic and said chances are less to be there on time. The train started and I rushed to the door to see if dinesh is anywhere near the platform. Oh No... He missed train. My mind was thinking fast about alternatives for him to catch any other train and join us at Vijayawada. I was calling him but he isn’t picking up. And there he comes … through the next compartment walking with a smile. And yeah we four of US are now on our Way to Mahendragiri…

We were awake till 10 with random discussions of previous and upcoming treks. Checked if the food we are carrying would be enough or not and I just briefed our plans for the next 3 days. Had food and dozed off for the night.

Welcome to Palasa.
We woke up by 0530 and got freshen up. Uncle besides us said that train is running late by 30 mins and I was thinking if we can catch the direct bus to Singupuram village or not. We got down at Palasa Station and walked straight to the bus stand to enquire about bus. Got to know that Singupuram bus is at 8AM. And meanwhile we had Hot Semiya Upma and Vada for breakfast, Bought Enough Water and some biscuits and back to Bus Station. The Redbus is ON time. We jumped into the bus and it took us more than an hour to reach Singupuram.

Trek from Singupuram

From Singupuram
My destination lies far Beyond those hills
We got off at Singupuram and quickly changed to our trek shoe, packed the rucksack well and distributed food & water bottles. With couple of quick enquiries we started OFF the Trek. For a moment I felt lucky to have such an awesome weather. We passed through the fields and mud paths. As I have been half way last time, I was observing the route to make sure we are heading in right direction. And there we are at the water stream.
Water Stream on the way to Mahendragiri
Sridhar, Arif and Dinesh at the stream

A tiny friend on the way to mahendragiri
A tiny friend on our way

We had a good 10 minutes break and had some nice clicks too. Our trek continued and after a while started feeling my rucksack heavy. We reached school very early than we expected and had a break of 20 mins here. Meanwhile I just went to the school master and asked him for directions which could be helpful for us. He simply said that the path all the way leads to Mahendragiri. But it’s not as simple as he said. We had to pass through lots of forks, shortcuts and small villages too.
Gangabada school on the way to mahendragiri
Gangabada School 

Arif at Gangabada school
Exhausted Arif making best use of break
We started off soon from school as we need to reach ashram by evening. It’s a trail running along the ridges connecting the remote villages. It’s not motorable and one has to go on foot. There are lots of short cuts which go straight to the next level of the path avoiding the loops. And it seems only these were being used by villagers because of which the actual trail has vanished at most of the places. We moved on at a good pace looking around saying hi to the villagers who come across and confirming if we are in right direction. I must say we are not rushing and in fact we slowed down a little just trying to feel the forest and its sounds. And here starts the fashion parade of butterflies. I have never seen these many varieties of butterflies till date. They are everywhere and the smallest one I have seen will be probably of half the size of a shirt button. Never knew these many colors of butterflies exist. It was simply a visual treat.

On the way to Mahendragiri

Wrong TURN:
We walked for an hour and passed a village with hardly 4 or 5 huts by the side of the stream. Here we come, a ‘Y’ fork. I and Sridhar were much ahead and we decided to take a path going left simply because it looks more used path and the right side path seems like going into jungle, so we marked the direction to left side for Arif and dinesh and moved ahead. After climbing for some time we met a villager who told us that this path leads to another village and we should have taken the right side path for Mahendragiri. By the time we are coming back Arif and dinesh already climbed half the way. We thanked the villager for the direction and quickly got down. We took the path going to the right and found a small stream. We crossed the stream and decided to have our lunch there. Had some snacks and roti and rested there for half an hour. All of us just sat silent for quite a good time relaxing and lost in nature.

Goat with bamboo bells
We started from there splashing the cool stream water on our face which gave much freshness to our tired souls. From here on the trail looks less used or even never used as it’s all the covered up with bushes, plants and grass. In No time we reached an altitude from where it is a magnificent view of the hills and villages that we crossed. We had captured some panoramic shots here and moved ahead. On the way there was a herd of goat with handmade Bells around their neck made of bamboo. They look even beautiful like ornaments. I must admire the craft skills of the tribes. The villager there told that the hill next to us is Mahendragiri and it was 0430PM by then. Seeing the destination within an hour of distance I thought to go very slow and let them move ahead of me. I walked as if I was in a garden at very slow pace enjoying the cool breeze that’s often hitting on me. Enjoying 360 degrees view with every few steps now and then and often finding myself alone behind. From here on it’s a steep climb uphill with 360 degrees view of forest and hills around me.  We stopped at one point and spent half an hour there clicking pics and amazed at such beautiful place.
Relaxing time enroute mahendragiri
Silent and lost
 All we can see around us is Green, Green and Green. I felt like settling there for rest of my life or at least for that night. But ensuring ourselves to witness even more beautiful things we climbed further.

Abandoned HUTS:
As soon as we climbed to the top from where the peak is just 30 minutes away (our assumption), we saw couple of huts. We thought the ashram should be somewhere nearby these huts. Tried to find any path that leads us to peak. But the path we are on is taking us to the other end. With few attempts to trace path to the ashram we decided to camp there for the night as the light has already started getting low. Here the clouds were often passing through us because of which, often the visibility is gone and we could see only till few feet distance from where we stand. We came back to the hut, cleaned it up quickly, spread the tarp and dumped our rucksacks inside.
In search of route to mahendragiri
In search of Mahendragiri
Now we have a task to do. The roof of the hut is half gone and if it rains in the night we would have been in trouble. I proposed to cover the complete roof with the second tarpaulin sheet to which the rest of the three said NO. As they are very sure that it won’t withstand the wind and will fly off. But I have a plan in my mind. I insisted strongly on what I said and after some serious talks to convince me they finally gave up and agreed to go with my plan.

Abandoned huts enroute Mahendragiri
Our Shelter
Making Of Roof:
I asked everyone to takeoff their shoe laces for tying the tarpaulin sheet at the corners and at some points. Soon we started working on it. We had spread the sheet on roof and tied it tight with the shoe laces we got. It took some time to do it in the dark and I started gathering heavy wooden logs and big stones to keep on the roof as weights to withstand the heavy winds which have already started by now. It’s done and we settled down inside hut. Quickly finished off dinner with whatever biscuits and snacks we had. By now it started raining as expected with heavy winds.

Rainy Night Camp:
We decided to take turns for sentry duty. Sridhar and Arif told that they will be awake till 2 o’clock and dinesh and me has to be awake from then onwards. The temperature has gone down by now and we slowly sneaked into our sleeping bags to keep ourselves warm. We started discussing some interesting and burning topics and after sometime Dinesh and I have dozed off while Arif and Sridhar carried on with discussions. I was kind of half slept and could hear couple of words from their chit chat now and then and of course the roaring sounds of winds too.
Abandoned huts enroute Mahendragiri
Glad ... the roof survived, SO do we :)

I might have slept hardly for an hour before it started raining heavily and the wind was so furious that that no one can stand still when it passes by. By now I understood that we cannot sleep anymore. The wind is hitting hard at us that the hut is trembling often in such a way that at one point I thought, the hut might get uprooted if it goes on like this till morning. We sat at one side of the hut as it raining into hut from one side through the porous walls made of sticks and mud. With in no time the wooden logs and stones put on the roof started slipping down and the tarpaulin sheet is flying like parachute tied with ropes. Every time they fall Sridhar use to go outside and rearrange them and come back. This continued quite often every 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile we started chit chatting at the same time guessing how many logs has fallen, which side... etc, when ever strong wind has blown. Sometimes I use to assist Sridhar in rearranging logs and collecting few more. Time was 2 ‘o clock in the mid night and from now on it’s my turn of sentry duty. I too did arranged logs for couple of times before a solution strike in my mind. I took off the laces from dinesh’s shoe and tied the wood logs with them and put on the roof so that they are hanging on the both sides of ‘ ^ ‘ shaped roof. Made four more sets of logs like this with little small rope I had in my bag from last trek and setup well on the roof. Problem solved and thanks to my brain. The Idea did work well. We spent the rest of the night half slept and half awake hoping rain to stop soon and for an early sunrise.

Misty Morning :
enroute Mahendragiri
 I woke up around 6AM and came out of the hut. It’s all covered with mist or I would rather say that we were in clouds. I could see things only till 10ft distance. I spent some time out there looking at the passing clouds. It’s amazing to see when the cloud passes away the mist clears off and everything goes visible and again in no time it becomes misty when another cloud pass by. It’s a wonderful experience to witness such thing in the middle of forest, on top of a hill far away from home land. I didn’t wake up others as no one had slept well last night. Meanwhile I was waiting for some more sunlight to hit us and the mist to get clear so that we can check out the way to reach the peak. By 8 ‘o clock everyone was awake and ready for the day.

Mission - Path Finding:
We had our own assumption that the hill we are on, itself is Mahendragiri and we have to find way to reach peak. Every one of us has our own theory running in our minds. We left dinesh and Arif at hut and Sridhar and me left for exploring the route. We followed a trail running through the bushes to the other side of the hill. At the other end a water stream was flowing cutting through the ridge of hill and we saw few more huts on the way too. We crossed the stream only to know that there is nothing except deep valley on the other side. Explored few more trails which are ending into thick bushes. All the while I was cursing myself for not carrying camera. From one point I can see water falling down straight deep into the middle of hills along the rock face which is almost 90 degrees vertical. It is an awesome sight to see. After few more tries we came back to the hut. I did second attempt with Arif and went along the other side. We climbed to a point from where the peak of that hill is visible and considering with few other observations I came to conclusion that we are not on Mahendragiri peak and came back to hut in despair. We decided to quickly get back to Singupuram and try other route. Meanwhile I was thinking if I could call Mohit Kharb who has already been to Mahendragiri couple of times and ask for directions but thought to myself there would be no mobile coverage there. Few minutes passed away and Dinesh told me that mobile is working and I can call Mohit. I wasted no time and quickly dialed to Mohit. When I said to Mohit that we are at huts, he said that we are on right path and asked to gain altitude across the bushes where we can find another trail that leads to ashram. I clicked the pics at our location and sent it to Mohit on facebook to which he promptly replied “GO UP”.

Reaching Ashram:
We quickly had some food, packed up everything and started climbing up making way through the bushes and small trails leading somewhere uphill. Bingo….. We came across a trail that Mohit mentioned. According to him from here on it will hardly take an hour to reach ashram and so we followed the path. It was a straight path few with gaining elevation often. At one point we found another trail which is going right into the woods. Sridhar and me left our luggage there with Arif and dinesh and went inside to check out where it’s leading. After walking few meters inside it was plain grasslands spread in vast area. Sridhar told me to tie the cloth to a tree to trace back our path easily. We passed through the grass few more minutes and at one point Sridhar hung his cap to another tree and went ahead further. It was all grass around and the sky was clear now with no trees around us. I moved ahead further and when I saw to my left its my turn to jump in Joy. There we go; I can see a temple structure and a flag above the hill far away from us. It was a magnificent view of the temple from where I stood. Now that I have seen it right in front of me it’s time for me give up all the worries in my mind to accommodate it with more joy. Now I am in a hurry to finish the task. 
yudhishtar temple at mahendragiri
The Green patch of grass behind the temple is from where i saw the temple
We got back to Arif and Dinesh, told them what we had seen and started again on the trail we were already on. We walked straight with no diversions for more than 30 minutes. We reached a point where another trail was cutting through ours. But we went straight in the direction of the temple which I have seen from grassland. With in no time we were there at the Kunti temple and ashram. A person named Suresh welcomed us meanwhile babaji who stays there, also came to us and welcomed us. We jumped in joy as we reached our destination.

Ashram at mahendragiri
We spoke to babaji and Suresh for some time and told about ourselves. Also told that we are friends of Mohit and Arun who has already been to Mahendragiri. He recalled them and names of few others too who has come earlier with them. It’s around 1 pm in the afternoon but the climate is like as if it was early morning because of the clouds that were often passing by us. The place is very pristine and quiet. I wish I could stay here for long time. We asked babaji about the time it will take to visit all the other temples on top for which he replied that it will take 2-3 hours to cover. Babaji offered us lunch for which we told that we will have food that we are left with us and leave for the temples. Babaji prepared hot Tea for us and told that he will also come with us as. He said that he was feeling like visiting the other temples from past two days and now he has got a reason in our form.

Visiting temples of Mahendragiri:

Babaji at Parashuram statue on Mahendragiri
Babaji at Parasuram Statue
We started for the temples accompanied by Babaji and Suresh. Babaji was staying there from many years and Suresh who lives in berhampur often visits ashram and spend some days there. It was again a hike for couple of hours to visit them all. We went to yudishtar temple first which will on one side of the hill. This is the temple that I have seen from the grass lands and the flag is at the parasuram statue near the temple. I have clicked some pics of the grassland from here and of the temple too. Inside temple there is Sivalingam. Babaji told us it is believed that these temples were built by pandavas for worshipping lord shiva and people use to call them after their names. The temple where Kunti worshipped has been called as Kunti temple. Similar is the story with yudishtar, Bheema temples and pandava caves as well. It’s also believed that Lord Parasuram has lived on Mahendragiri. There is a statue of lord parasuram. We moved ahead and after climbing some steps we came across a temple which is cracked. This is Bheema temple. 
Yudhishtar Temple at Mahendragiri
Yudhishtar Temple

An interesting thing about this is that during shivaratri people use to pass through the crack and go for visiting other temples. This is not an easy task to pass through it. Bheema temple is in clouds and from here we can see the beautiful valley behind the hill. All the time I was behind the group either clicking pics or lost in the beauty of surroundings. The way is all the way with boulders and we were passing them with ease. Though it was mid afternoon, regardless the part of the day sometimes it is sunny, sometimes as misty as it can where hardly anything is visible within few feet distance from where we stand and sometimes it drizzles gently. Am completely bowled out by the way nature is showing us the transformations of climate. Never seen anything happening like this in such as short duration.
Bheema temple at Mahendragiri
Bheema Temple
Daru Brahma is the top point and on the way suresh showed us meeting place of pandavas and the rocks they use to sit on. Arjuna cave where Arjuna is believed to do tapasya. A structure of shiva linga with a serpant Hood attracted me a lot in that mist.

Cloud 9 At Mahendragiri
Am on CLOUD 9

At Mahendragiri
Shivalangam under Serpant hood
Dinesh, Soorya, Arif and Sridhar at Mahendragiri

Daru brahma at Mahendragiri
Daru Brahma
We reached DaruBrahma and did pradakshina around it. Babaji said that It is believed that the wood for making of puri jagannath was from this place. We spent some time there. Babaji started back for ashram and asked us to follow him. I wanted to spend some more time there. I asked suresh to stay back with us. Dinesh and I sat there for almost half an hour in peace. We started down to ashram with Suresh through a short cut. On the way back Suresh showed us a place from where the stream Mahendratanaya is originating. Water was oozing from under a rock layer which is transformed into a stream and is flowing down the hills. One can see lots and lots of snails all over the way back to ashram. By the time we went to ashram, babaji has made hot tea for us and offered us some maramaralu or borugulu. Tea was spicy with lot of black pepper which is quiet good for that cold climate.

There is a beauty about Mahendragiri. On a day with clear skies, you can see the shoreline of bay of bengal and kalinga Dal reservoir far away from us yet within  our eyesight which makes an awesome view.

Stay at Ashram:
We were given a huge hut enough to fit in 20 members. We kept our entire luggage inside. A stream flows besides ashram. We decided to have a dip in the stream. Water was freezing cold. It was very refreshing. We had finished our bath and were doing time pass roaming here and there. Babaji asked us if we would like to have rice or roti for dinner. We opted for roti and told that we too wanted to take part in cooking food.

Ashram at mahendragiri
Babajis room and huts for guests
We quickly made few calls as mobile coverage is there. Once everyone is done with their calls and work we went to help babaji in preparing dinner. All of us contributed in making of roti while major part was done by babaji and Suresh. All the while we were having chit chat with Suresh and babaji. Our dinner is roti with dal and we had tummy full of rotis. After dinner we called Mohit and told him that we reached ashram. Babaji also spoke to Mohit.
Ashram at Mahendragiri
Small Nandi between huts
Suresh gave us mattresses and blankets and we arranged our sleeping places. The hut was quiet warm compared to freezing cold outside. Before going to sleep I was asked about the plan of tomorrow as they do every time, to which is simply said lets decide tomorrow. I am no more in a position to strain my brain. We slipped into our sleeping bags and dozed off in no time as we were tired of the day long trek. Soon the room started echoing with the snoring sounds.

The Day Back to Hyderabad:
Group pic at Kunti temple on Mahendragiri
Group pic at Kunti Temple
Having a good sound (snoring) sleep last night in the cozy hut we woke up at 7 ‘o clock. As we have plenty of time we decided not to hurry. We got freshen up and went to visit Kunti temple besides ashram. We had hot Upma in breakfast prepared by babaji and one more round of black pepper Tea. Arif and me got busy for quiet sometime capturing pics of the place. We had a group picture at Kunti temple along with Suresh and babaji. None of us wanted to leave the place so soon, but we have train to catch at 6 PM from Palasa. And we have no idea how much time it would take from Kainpur route. We have to walk till Kainpur to get any transportation to Palasa or Parlakemidi.

We thanked babaji and suresh for their great hospitality and started off by 10 ‘o clock. Babaji and Suresh accompanied us till yudishtar temple for see off. We said Good Bye to Mahendragiri promising ourselves that we will come back soon.
Group at Kunti temple on Mahendragiri
Arif posing at Kunti Temple
Babaji and suresh on Mahendragiri
See Off by Babaji and Suresh
The way down is a jeep trail ghat road. We started very leisurely. This is a kutcha road with regular hair pin bends. Except the road it’s all lush green everywhere. On the way back we have seen many varieties of trees and birds and of course butterflies are the main attraction in Mahendragiri. We have seen water streams often running besides our trail. We found a small waterfall at one hair pin bend. Here we took break for about 15 minutes and I went under the falls and posed for a pic. Arif clicked some nice pictures here. One more interesting thing we noticed is that there are lots and lots of curry leaf plants all the way and at some places the air is filled with the aroma of curry leaves.
Waterfalls at Mahendragiri
Small WaterFalls on the way down
We reached Burukhata by afternoon and started walking towards Kainpur. We can see bikes and Lorries now and then but no sign of any autos or public transport. After walking for a kilometer we are on a tar road and by now the sun is at its peak. We started feeling heat and were sweating a lot due to humid weather.
Village below Mahendragiri
It took us long to reach Kainpur than expected. We reached Kainpur by 03:30 PM. We missed bus to parlakemidi by 10 minutes and the next bus will be in the evening. When enquired about other ways to go to Palasa, a shop keeper suggested us to take an auto till Goppili and from there another auto to Palasa. Arif and I went in search of an auto. We walked till the other end of the village only to find not even a single auto. We went to a shop and asked him where we can get any transport to Goppili. He told us to try our luck and asked us to check if his friend is at home with auto in the next lane near a temple. Another guy showed us way to his house and we are lucky to have him at home. The auto looks new which didn’t even ran 1000 KMs. Soon enough we are in the auto.
Few more friends of Mahendragiri
Sridhar - 3kms before Kainpur
Sridhar 3KM before Kainpur
Picked up dinesh and Sridhar on the way and started for Goppili. It took nearly an hour to reach Goppili. The initial 30 minutes is like descending down the ghat road. There is a diversion on the way which goes to Gandahati waterfalls. We took another auto from Goppili to Palasa and reached station in Time. Falaknuma express is on time and we got into it with loads of wonderful memories and lots of landscapes captured by our eyes forever. Here comes a HAPPY ENDING… what more a trekker would ask for, than these 3 days well spent in Mahendragiri. A perfect Crazy… Adventurous… FUN….

Picture Courtesy :