The best-laid plans generally dismantle themselves without a hitch. And then the impromptu plan that was the result of a drinking binge falls into place seamlessly. Well this trip to Kuntala Falls was not the result of a drinking binge, but it was planned on Thursday evening, and we went for the trip on Saturday.
Kuntala Falls are the highest falls of AP and are about 250 kms from Hyderabad. There is no proper place nearby to stay, and hence the trip was only one day. Covering almost 500 kms on a bike in one day would have been nothing short of foolhardy, and so we booked a taxi. (Reminder to self: Buy a car soon, so you can frequently go on these aanan-faanan trips) We started early morning, aiming to reach the falls by around 10-11 am. But en-route we saw a huge dam on Godavari – we had heard and surfed about it, Sriram Sagar Project. So we thought of giving it few minutes of our valuable time, and took the turn. It is just 5-6 kms from the highway, and really a great place with amazing breeze, and a huge expanse of water. There were just a few specks of land at the horizon to belie that this was not a sea. The ‘few minutes’ turned into almost an hour and half, and after that we resumed our journey to Kuntala Falls.
Rakesh had informed us about the scarcity of food near the Kuntala Falls, and hence we bought fruits before turning off the highway (NH-7: the Nagpur route). Actually after leaving Nirmal (the closest town to the falls, 40 kms away), we hardly met any civilization till a kilometer to the turn. 15 kms more, and we could hear the sound of the fall. And then the rain decides to drop in. For a few minutes our march to the fall was stalled, but not for long. After descending more then 1000 steps, the beautiful Kuntala Falls greeted us. The greenery around refused to let us have a peek at the falls while descending, and only when we were at the foot of the falls, were we able to see the falls. Unluckily four JNTU students had drowned in the falls few days back, and hence there was tight security. We were not even allowed to touch the water, although after seeing the force of the waterfall bulls would have been needed to pull me to the waterfall. Due to the incessant rains, the water was very muddy and so the steady water was also not inviting enough. Anyways just getting close to the water is an arduous task – proper hiking was needed just to get near the water. By the time we started the climb up to the place where the car was parked, we were exhausted, and famished, and parched – all water and food had been consumed long back, and a mere 1000+ stairs removed the replenishments. Somehow made it to the top, and went straight for water. The water has never tasted sweeter.
We started our journey back and stopped at Reliance A1-Dhaba for lunch. While the lunch was not much to write about (except the dal-fry), the location was amazing. Just as the ghat ended, Reliance A1-Dhaba was visible. We had lunch while seeing the clouds slowly descend the mountains, and soon the showers started. On the way back we again stopped at the Sriram Sagar Project, as it still was light. We hoped to catch the sunset, but the heavy cloud cover impeded our view. After that, barring a small break for tea, it was just a long drive back to Hyderabad with the rains accompanying us throughout.