The cave maze in Belum and Gandikota- Exploring the indian grand canyon

Belum caves the second longest cave system in India was on my must visit list since couple of years. Lack of time / Company and the distance prevented me from visiting this place. When checking for a two day visit which can be clubbed along with belum, I came across gandikota which has a stone gorge fort and view which resembles the grand canyon in US.

These two places were ideal to be clubbed as the distance between both was less and both could be covered in same day. Srikanth was ready to join me for the trip and we headed to belum on Independence Day,

An early morning start after a sumptuous breakfast saw ur cruising on the Hyderabad Highway till we reached gooty. One needs to take deviation at gooty and proceed towards tadipatri to reach belum. Belum is approx 40 kms from tadipatri.

A short break for snaps of the distance hills an we headed to tadipatri

Hills in the distance

_MG_1517_resizeThe temperature and humidity was soaring by the time we reached tadipatri. Inquring the route we continued to proceed towards the caves. Another hour of driving and we could see belum caves written on the hill. We reached the cave by lunch time and we could already find lot of people there. Parking our car, we collected the tickets and proceeded towards the entrance of the caves

Entrance to belum


The caves are made up of limestone and run quite a long distance underground

Belum Caves



The  cave network is like a maze which runs deep underground. The government has maintained the caves well by providing lighting and marking the route for the visitors.With entry and exit points marked, it is easy for people to explore the caves. Some parts of the caves are still off limits. With humidity in the caves being high we were sweating a lot while exploring.

Roaming around the entire caves took us about an hour or so and we finally reached the main entrance. There was an fan kept at the top and we spent some time underneath it to get some relief from the heat.

With the cave exploration complete we had ample amount of time in our hands. Our next place on the list was gandikota which was around 60 kms from belum. Getting the route from google maps, we headed towards gandikota. The roads were pretty decent and asking for directions we soon reached the gorge fort after couple of hours of driving.

Gandikota is also called the grand canyon of india as it contains a steep gorge. Standing near the edge of the gorge one can experience the view similar to that of the grand canyon in US.

About Gandikota


The gorge also contains a fort built in 13th century. The fort contains ruins of temple and a mosque.

Fort Entrance


Scenes Inside the Fort




The gorge



Couple of mandatory selfies at the gorge and spending close to an hour taking photos and enjoying the scenary we bid adeiu to the place and headed to the car.

Selfie @ India’s grand canyon


Our initial target of reaching ananthpur took a serious hit as we left the gorge only by 5.30. Reworking our schedule we decided to halt at kadiri before heading back to bangalore the next day.

It was night by the time we reached kadiri which is famous for lakshmi narasimha swamy temple. After checking into a hotel we had our dinner and called it a day to give our aching muscles some rest.

It was an early start the next day and we were on our way to bangalore. A short stop for breakfast midway and we reached bangalore by noon after spending an hour in the newly opened decathlon sports store on airport road. I was home by lunch thus ending a long pending trip.

Snaps can be found here

Manyapura – The lost city of the gangas

The gangas were one of the powerful dynasties in karnataka. They had built their capital in kolar before moving it to Manne or manyapura. I came across this place when looking to visit some offbeat places around bangalore. Manne is home to kapileshwara and someshwara temples. There is not much info present about this place. The nelamangala planning authority site has only few lines mentioned about this place.

I decided to visit this place and took some photos of the ruined structures.









Bhairavadurga Fort

Bhairavadurga is part of the 9 durgas or Navadurgas i.e forts surrounding Bangalore. The remaining 8 are as follows : Nandidurga, Savandurga, Channrayanadurga, Devarayanadurga, Huliyurdurga, Huttridurga, Kabbaladurga and Makalidurga. Searching the net on about the place I got the location and headed out to pay a visit to this fort. The plan was decided and Chetana, Vikyath and Teddy joined for the trek.

The route for to reach bhiravadurga is as follows : Bangalore -> NH 48 -> Solur -> Take right -> Kudur -> Travel another km, u’ll get an arch -> Take left and proceed till you reach the base of the fort.

We left bangalore on sat early morning and soon we were cruising on the the mangalore highway. Solur was reached in no time and the journey continued while asking for directions to kudur. A brief stop for couple of photos of the tree covered route and we resumed our journey.

Road to Bhairavadurga

IMG_6305_resizeWe spotted the fort atop the hill and we took the photo of the hill which we were about to takle.

Bhairavadurga fort atop the hill

IMG_6307_resizeWe met two local kids who had been to the top and they agreed to take us to the top. The path is confusing as there is no direct route to the top. The path we took was steep and we had to climb to the top on the rocks while doing a balancing act. The path is strewn with thorns and the long grass makes the path virtually invisible. It was a slow progress and soon we reached a clearing where we could see the countryside. A short stop for couple of photos of the country side and we proceed to climb further

vast serene country side


Climbing little more we reached the first tier of the fort where we could see the crumbled walls. The fort also has a few standing stones and dilaplated ruins of stuctures

Ruins of Bhairavadurga Fort



IMG_6334_resizeWe spent some time roaming around the fort and the kids showed us couple of foot prints which they said belong to lord bhairava. Spending some more time there before heading back.


IMG_6344_resizeDescent was again a tricky affair as we took a different route. The overgrown grass made it difficult to place our feet and there was always a possibility of slipping. An hour and half of descending took us back to the car thus concluding the trek

Snaps can be found here

Rayakottai Fort – Tippu’s forgotten fort across the border

75 kms from Bangalore lies a sleepy town of Rayakottai just off hosur. The place contains a forgotten fort of tippu sultan. The fort is one of ancient structures present in krishnagiri district and is under the protection of ASI. The fort was ruled by Tippu and his father Haider Ali in the 18th century. Major Gowdie captured this fort during the Angl0-Mysore war before it changed hands to the british during the treaty of Srirangapatna.

The fort was chosen for a short trek and myself, chetana and vikyath headed there on sat morning. The early morning sun made the drive pleasant. Navigating the early morning traffic to get out of the city and soon we found ourselves stuck in a big traffic jam at one of the diversions which again made us lose some time. Taking a diversion at hosur we proceeded towards rayakottai while taking a short stop for breakfast.

The sun was up by now and the scenary gradually changed as we proceeded. Couple of photos of nearby hillocks and we reached Rayakottai.

Hillocks near rayakottai


There is a ASI board at the entrance of the fort, however we found the place is vanalized by people with many scribbling their names all over the place. As per ASI board any damage to historical monuments will set the offender back Rs 1,00,000. The trail is pretty well marked and it makes it easier for a first time trekker to find his way to top.

Start of the trek

IMG_6188_resizeThe sun was beating down by the time we started the trek.  One tends to gain a lot of elevation initally, however the trail flattens out as we go higher.  We found lot of markings of religious significance as we climbed higher.

We soon reached the first tier of the fort where one can see a dilapated wall marking the entrance

First tier@fort



IMG_6200_resizeAt half way point the trail splits into two. The left side of the trail leads to a cave where one gets to see a small vaishnava cave and smaller caves where one can rest.

Vaishnava Cave

IMG_6209_resizeTaking few snaps of the cave and fooling around we spent some time relaxing before we headed back on the trail and to the other end of the fort. The scenary changed gradually as we climbed and soon we could see greenary everywhere.

Lush Greenary

IMG_6234_resizeApproaching the second tier of the fort, we found another cave another break was taken along with few snaps. Soon we reached the entrance of the second tier which is predominently marked by a big arch. This is the final tier of the fort and as you go further one can see a big pond and lot of ruined structures which were probably used to store food grains and even ammunition.

Spending some time roaming around the place, we proceeded further for the final climb.

Pond and ruins on the fort


As one nears the top there are small steps which is carved in the steps which helps to get an easy grip. We found more structures as we went towards the top and after a short climb we reached the top.

View from top of rayakottai fort

IMG_6286_resizeIMG_6279_resizeWith a nice breeze blowing we took a good rest at the top for a while before we proceeded the trek back down which took us about 40 min.

Lunch was at A2B on the way back and it was back to the usual chaotic traffic before before reaching home thus ending a day well spent exploring a wonderful fort

Snaps can be found here

Deepambudhi Lake/Marconahalli Dam

A visit to a couple of dam’s, a lake along with a overcast sky is ideal setting to get away from the maddening crowds and the daily city life. Throw in a ruined church and a couple of monuments, it becomes a perfect reciepe to spend the weekend. This is what I was planning to do over the course of the weekend.

Browsing the net in search of places that could be covered in a weekend, I chanced upon a rather deepambudhi lake which is in huliyurdurga and markonhalli dam located on the banks of simsha river in yediur. The lake was in pristine condition . I decided to visit the lake and dam. After checking a few more places that could be visited, I found a ruined church in shettihalli , which attracts hordes of visitors and gorur and yagachi dam’s could be covered in 2 days along with the famous belur and halebid temples.

With the places shortlisted, I decided head out on sat morning. Left bangalore at 7 at reached nelamangala. Refilled at a petrol bunk and reached the nelamangala bypass in a short while as there was less traffic. Took the left turn, to hassan and was cruising along.

Roads are being relaid, across the entire stretch, from nelamangala bypass till hassan, on both sides. Riding for another hour or so, I reached kunigal  by 9.30 and asked for directions from locals. I was told that I had taken the longer route , as there is another route which one can take from magadi road as It leads directly to lake.

I was told to go a little further and take the left at the circle and go another 20kms before taking another right near the Indian Oil petrol bunk. Another 4-5 kms of travel in huliyurdurga state forest would lead me to the lake.

Scenary on the outskirts of kunigal

The roads improve dramatically once we leave kunigal bypass. It was a real joy driving on those roads, as there were no potholes and traffic was sparse.

Beautiful Roads

After a short while I reached the petrol bunk and took the left, at the sign boards and entered huliyurdurga forest. The winding roads gives u a feeling of driving in the ‘GHATS’.

Riding on those twisty roads, I could see the lake in front of me. There is also an arch which goes to marikamba temple. One can park their vechile after taking a left at the arch or at the temple go to the lake.

Deepambudhi Lake

The lake is clean and there is no garbage being thrown, which is suprising. The place is also teaming with a variety of birds and is a ideal place for bird watching.

A few shots of the lake

I spent some time at lake relaxing and taking snaps before leaving the place.

Note: Apart from visiting the lake, one can also visit kunigal stud farm owned by vijay mallya, huliyurdurga state forest or one can trek to huliyurdurga hill which is located closeby.

After finishing my visit to deepambudhi lake, my next place on the list was marconhalli dam.  Reaching kunigal bypass, I again asked for directions.

To reach marconhalli dam, travel 16 kms from kunigal. After 16kms one can see kstdc hotel on the right, take the road going to the left and proceed 5 kms to the dam.

View near the dam

Entry to the dam is restricted and photography inside for security reasons. However one can spend some time taking snaps on the outskirts of the dam, and visiting the climate stattion

There wasnt much to do at the dam, so I headed back, stopped briefly at another spot near the river before heading back to the kstdc hotel

Scenic view near the river

Dark clouds began to gather, as I reached the hotel. To go to shettihalli , I was told to go to chennarayanapatna which is 60kms from the hotel, and ask for directions. With more dark clouds gathering, I decided to head back to bangalore, as the chances of rain was imminent. Reached nelamanagala around 4 and had a late lunch before reaching my house at 5, thus concluding another wonderful trip

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Snaps can be found here


After a amazing ride to somwarpet and madikeri last weekend,I was thinking of a trek this weekend. Makkalidurga a small hill 50 kms from bangalore and 10 kms from doddaballapur was choosen for this weekend’s trek. Kiran agreed to join, and we headed out to doddaballapur on sun.

With roads being empty on sun morning we reached doddaballapur in an hour. Asking for directions we proceeded towards makkalidurga.


Makkalidurga is a small railway station, which has a temple nearby. The peak which stands at 1350 mts can be scaled in an hour. There is an old ruined fort at the top of the hill and a shiva temple which locals visit.The railway track running next to the temple, makes it an ideal spot for photography and also for bird watching

Railway Lines

We started the trek after reaching the base of the temple. The trail starts from behind the temple and goes all the way to the top. There are marking on the stones, indicating the path. By following the markers one can reach the top.  The climb is gradual and it becomes steep as we go higher. We can also get to see a huge lake and other mountains.

Rivers and vast mountains

As the climb gets steeper, we had to climb on the boulders to get to the top. After an hour of climbing, we reached the top of the hill from where we could see the peak. Taking rest for sometime, we headed to the fort.  There is godown, which was once used, and a small shiva temple on top. After spending some time on the top, we headed back.

Inside the fort

Shiva Temple

Another hour of climbing down and we were back to the base of the temple.

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Snaps can be found here

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