Saturday, July 09, 2005

Travelogue: Ride to Nagarjuna Sagar

Who : Hari, Prasad, Sudhan (Colleague @Progress) and myself
Distance : 320 km in total
Started : 7.30 a.m, 2-July-2005
Back in Hyd : 8.00 p.m same day
Places to visit: Dam, Boating to Nagarjuna Konda and Ettipotala.

Had been very busy with work for the past one month. So really needed some
means of relaxation. Initially Sudhan suggested we go to Belum Caves (Kurnool),
but keeping in mind the distance (~ 320 km each side), declined it and instead
decided to go to Nagarjuna Sagar. Our ever-enthusiastic guys Hari and Prasad too
jumped in. I wasn't expecting much from this trip...but it turned out to be a
worthy ride.
Started at 7.30 a.m from our flat at Somajiguda. Hari piggybacking on Prasad's
bike and myself on Sudhan's. It was cloudy and wind was blowing at good speed.
The climate ideally suits a ride. With little difficulty we were out of the
city. Stopped at one of the irani cafe's to quell our hunger. Couldn't expect
for better eateries along the route. But he served us stale food...probably
remnants of previous night's stuff.
We were going at tremendous speed as the road was good and it being early hours
of the day there weren't many vehicles. 100 kmph was a norm and occasionally
touched 120 kmph. Pulsar seems to be wonderful for long distance journeys. I was
sitting at the back and hadn't put a helmet. The thrust of the wind was enormous
and it was difficult to keep my eyes open. It changed my haistyle completely.
Whenever we were going past a heavy vehicle (coming in the opposite direction),
the bike would gently oscillate because of the force. We stopped every 40-50 km
by a road-side tea-stall for a sip. Close to Sagar, we saw a board saying
"Crocodiles here. It is not safe to swim here"...We looked all around and
could only find rocks but no water :-). By 10.30 we were at the Dam. There was
plenty of water in the valley and it was blackish...but still it wasn't reaching
the crest-gates. I was surprised to find considerably big waves reaching the
banks of the river.
Just at the left bank of the dam there was a fleet of steps running down to the
river bed...constructed during the Krishna puskaraalu time. We went down there,
drenched our feet in the water for some time and took some snaps. People were
bathing there. We too should have taken a bath :-(. Prasad had thought of it
earlier and came prepared for taking bath...but donno why didn't get into water.
We had to catch the launch which would start from the other bank of the dam so..
we rode on the dam and went to the other bank. Took some pics on the dam...and
here our Prasad suggested we take photos in different angles. He had a nice
digital camera.
FYI, the dam is constructed on Krishna river and was built in the late 50s and
supposed to be one of the earlier dams built during Nehru's reign. There's
a statue of Nehru and the plaque besides it showcased the belief of Nehru that
dams are the temples of modern India. The road on the dam was quite a long one.
One bank of the dam lies in Nalgonda and the other in Guntur. There are a total
of 26 canals, 13 each in the two districts. It seems that the crest-gates of
the dam weren't opened since 1999. So those of whom are waiting to visit the
place during the time when the gates will be opened, can drop that idea.
It was 11.30, We rushed to the launch (boat) and boarded it. It took us to an
island called Nagarjuna Konda which is about 1/2 an hour from the Dam. Nagarjuna
Konda is quite a good place, the main attraction being the Museum which hosts
ancient monuments (mainly related to Buddism) from 3rd-4th century A.D. Actually
the site was found in the valley in around 1930s and the initial excavation was
done then. The site would have been submerged because of the dam if they had
not moved it onto the island. There were stupas and other buddist structures on
the island which we couldn't see as we were running short of time. 1 hour to see
the complete island wasn't enough. The boating experience is nice. As an aside,
we were the last set of people to both board and alight the launch. We kept the
other people waiting for us.
By 1.30 p.m we were back at the dam. It had become sunny by then. Had food at
some hotel. The food was great (part of the reason being we were too hungry).
From there we went to the much hyped "Ettipotala Falls", which is around 17 km
from the Dam. We had good expectations on this...but it disappointed. There
wasn't much water. But I guess it's good enough for Andhra Pradesh.
Started on our return journey from there. Didn't have enough enthu and
energy to drive at high speed. Stopped every ~50 km for a tea. By 8.00 p.m we
were back in the city.

Find the pics here:-
(Courtesy Prasad)
2. Sagar with gates open