Friday, March 14, 2008

Biking trip to Srisailam

The fresh air. The cold nip of the morning breeze. Riding in silence and early morning darkness. Jumping over unseen and unheard speed breakers. Letting the throttle go full revs once on the highway. All this is happening to me, and I can't help but smile to myself with content arising out of bliss. Life could not get better.

And thus began another biking trip to Srisailam, a small hilly town around 230 kms from Hyderabad, in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Good roads. Nice weather. Ideal for a weekend drive I would say.

The road we took is more commonly known as the Srisailam highway, going through Kalwakurti, Achampet, Farahabad, Mallelatheertam onto Srisailam.

The tiger outside the Farahabad Tiger Forest Reserve. Going inside was a missed opportunity since none of us six knew how to speak telugu, and the game reserve personnel there could not understand a single word of hindi/ english. Next time I go out in Andhra Pradesh, I vow to at least learn some bit of conversational telugu.

The first glimpse of the Srisailam Dam, and the Krishna river on which it is built. As can be seen from the pictures, the crest gates are closed now. Next trip to this place will have to be during the rainy season, when water is flowing through the gates.

Glimpse of the main entrance to the Srisailam Devesthanam. One of the twelve Shiva jyotirlingams, and houses the idol of Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy. Later we found most pilgrims to the place addressing each other with the term "Swamy", whether they were respectful, or irritable.

And then we went for a boat ride on the dam lake.

We also found the pilgrims in various meditative moods. Most of them seemed to be Shaivites and they were beginning to gather for the Maha Shiv Raatri coming up next week.


We left early on Sunday morning from Srisailam with the intent to visit Mallelatheertam on the way back.

Another view of the Srisailam Dam, from another view point.

Found this strange place. Seemed like there was some coal mines long time ago. Makes for some wonderful backdrop.

And then it was onto Mallelatheertam and its jungles. Yes that is what it has, coupled with a small waterfall.

The unmistakable signboard inviting you to the waterfall. Its around 8 kms inside from the state highway, and is only a dirt track. There is a village inside through which we need to go. Also there is an admission fee for vehicles somewhere midway. Additionally we need to pay a token amount to go down to the waterfall (5 rupees per person). There are some 300+ steps down to the waterfall.

But being in the adventurous way, we decided to roam the jungles, climb trees, fight forest fires and generally monkey around.

And then we found the waterfall. And happily it not being the rainy season, we quite merrily jumped around and lazed too under the waterfall. And have to admit that the falling water was cold, and pinched us like a million needles. All in all, one of the best refreshing baths I have had in a long time. Beats a spa anyday. Add to it that it was all in the open, some of us under near-nude conditions of clothing.
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