Friday, September 29, 2017

QUIT 2017 - Day 1

Last year we went on a road trip from Chennai - Gujarat and named it grandly as QUIT - Quarter India trip. The idea was to cover one region of  India in a road trip. We started on this year's trip today. Me, wife and son.

We have taken him on 2 day trips earlier, but this is the first time on such a long trip. He wouldn't let us go without him. So gave in, hoping for the best.

Started from home early morning and drove to Kailasa Kona water falls via NH 32 and Tirupathi road. There was much less lorry traffic than I expected, must be because of Ayudha Pooja celebrations in Tamil Nadu today. There was some early morning drizzle and the sky was overcast with clouds. Made driving a much pleasant experience.

Farm lands near Thandalam
The Tirupathi road was full of uneven top surface and pot holes, especially after crossing into Andhra Pradesh. It was slow going but we were in no hurry and stopped for photographs on the way. Reached Kailasa Kona waterfalls by 8.00 AM. Though internet said the entrance will be opened at 9.00 AM, they were open by 8.00. It is a two kilometer detour off the  main road, 10 kms before Puttur.

Kailasa Kona waterfalls
It is a narrow waterfall that falls from 40 ft height. At first sight it is underwhelming, especially with plastic waste strewn around (which is a bane of most tourist spots in India). But once you stand under the waterfalls, all that vanishes. It was much refreshing after a 2.5 hour drive. We were one of the first visitors and came back before the crowd started arriving.

By now we were hungry and stopped at a small restaurant before Puttur for breakfast. The hotel had an impressive display board with n number of Dosas and other items listed. As we started ordering the owner/server replied impassively 'Only Dosa, Idly, Vada'. So it was  Kaara Dosa (Dosai smeared inside with tomato chutney) for breakfast.

Nagari Nose near Tirupathi

Next stop was Gudimallam Parasurameshwara Temple, which houses the oldest extant Shiva Lingam in India (3rd century BC) according to ASI. We took NH 716 and NH 565 and then a small village road for the last 5 kms to Gudimallam temple. It is a small temple maintained by ASI. Was maintained neatly and there wasn't much crowd. The ASI board informed us of various kings from  Pallavas to Cholas who had donated to the upkeep of the temple.

The lingam is 5 ft tall , much taller than what you normally find in Shiva temples. Floral decorations hid the unique shape of the lingam, not sure whether it was only for today or it is always like that.

Entrance to Gudimallam temple

After some time at the temple, went back to NH 565 and took the Gudur road to Nellore. The drive was pretty uneventful with hardly any cars on the road, except for occasional lorries. Effect of good monsoon was visible with increased agricultural activities.

Lunch was at the first restaurant we saw off the Highway, a RR Family dhaba. They had some eyebrow raising items on the menu - Ramba Chicken (apparently with leg piece) and Kounju curry (means Quail in Telugu I learned). Settled for innocuous Phulka and Egg curry.

Some innovative items on the menu
After lunch was non stop drive all the way to Guntur. While driving me and wife were discussing about one of our friends, "Is he right wing or left?" Son  popped up and asked what do you mean by that. So spent some time explaining to him the principles of Socialism and Capitalism. That was his learning for today, along with some history and myths.

Dinner was at a hotel near Amaravathi Road in Guntur. Where I ordered a portion of plain rice and was served with enough rice to feed my family and neighbours. These Andhra people do love their rice.

Total distance travelled : 524 kms

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