It all started with as usual a lot of planning for over two months, and as it the destiny of such trips a hasty cancellation followed. So instead of a long 4 day holiday to Kerala that we were planning we settled for a short two day drive to Srisailam and back.
Day-1, morning 6:30 am. Even after 3 alarms, it took Adi’s phone call to wake us up and spur into action for the 230 km drive. Four of us got into Adi’s spanking i10, and we were away. We had been already told that the destination is ok, but the journey to the place is awesome. Considering this we were all ready to have as many pit stops as we would want. First pit-stop was for refueling, not for the car, but for its occupants. After that we stopped at a small hillock surrounded by fields on all sides, next stop was the Dindy Reservoir, and in the intermediate drive I touched the max speed I have ever driven at – 120 kmph.
Next stop was the best part of the trip – Mallelatheertham Waterfalls. These falls are about 50-60 kms before Srisailam and only a board announces that you need to take a left and drive for around 8-9 kms on a kachcha road to reach the Mallela Theertham Waterfalls. The back-breaking 8 km drive and the ~350 steps descent is totally worth the effort. Without a doubt these are one of the best falls I’ve seen in a long time, and the best part is that if you want, you can easily go underneath the waterfalls, and enjoy the cold stinging water :)
We spent 2-3 hours here and then resumed the journey. By this time, we were famished and there were no dhabas in sight. We almost reached Srisailam before we found an okayish place to eat. Srisailam greeted us and so did around 100 more cars. I have always hated religious places, and with reason. They are always crowded, and I am a big misfit generally at those places. People would be wearing Dhoti, Kurta Pajama, would have applied tilak on their foreheads, and there would be me – clad in a T-shirt and short, with generally unkempt hair and you can spot the odd man out from a mile away. Anyway for me Srisailam was only the night stop, so the evening was well spent with a game of Poker.
Next day morning we thought that at least we should roam around in Srisailam and check if there is anything of interest. Big mistake! We had heard a lot about a ropeway to Patalganga. Going till there was no big issue, the coming back resulted in waiting in a line for around 45 minutes, lots of pushing, and a small fight. The place was getting hotter by the minute and there was nothing that would keep us back, so we left the place back for Hyderabad.
My colleague who had already visited the place had told me about a Jungle Safari in the Nallamala Forests that we need to cross to reach Srisailam. We made optimal use of the time we had and went for the safari. Now this was just a 20 km, and an hour long drive. So I was not expecting to spot anything apart from a Cheetal or two, that too would have been difficult as it was a hilly terrain. Well we managed to spot a pair of Cheetal, but the most shocking part was that we were able to spot a Bear and its cub walking on the road. In my many wildlife excursions, I have spotted even tigers, but a bear had always eluded me. I had just had a glimpse of about 2-3 seconds once before in Kanha. So this sighting made my trip!
Only a short stop for lunch, and one for tea and we were back in Hyderabad. All in all, a good short trip with the highlights being Mallelatheertham Waterfalls, and the jungle safari – they take you to a viewpoint that had been attacked by Naxals 4 years back, but is now considered safe – Farhabad view point.