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Thread: Exploring the Nallamalla forest range, and trekking at Ahobilam

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    Default Exploring the Nallamalla forest range, and trekking at Ahobilam

    This ride is one of the memorable rides for me, in that I rode alone the entire Nallamalla forest for 500 kms, after trekking 500-meter cliff for 5 hours. Rode through the Srisailam forest area at night alone, and it was the scariest ride of mine too.

    After Araku trip last year via the less-known route, Ahobilam, the route between Nandyal and Giddalur, and the picturesque Nemaligundam located in Nallamalla forest are in my top list to ride. Last week on Friday, suddenly Adithya, another member, called me and asked me how about a ride to Ahobilam. Adithya has been away from riding since the Leh trip in 2010. I was delighted that he want to ride again, and that too to a place that’s in my list of riding. I immediately accepted and we discussed about the possible dates to ride. As Ahobilam is 360 kms away from Hyderabad I told him we need to stay overnight to explore the place properly, and I also suggested taking the return ride through the Nandyal-Giddalur route, Nemaligundam, and then Srisailm and Hyderabad. The return ride is completely via the entire range of Nallamalla forest from Ahobilam to Srisailam.

    The route map…


    The Nallamalla forest is an extension of Eastern Ghats that stretches from Srisailam on the top and ends at Tirupathi down. It has one of the thickest forests in India and is a protected Tiger reserve. The height of hills averages at 550 meters sea level and the peak height at 1150 meters. Ahobilam, Mahanandi, Nemaligundam, Srisailam, and Tirumala are the most famous pilgrimage centres located in the Nallamalla ghats.

    Finally, the dates are decided to be July 9th and 10th. Got ZMR as my ride, thanks to Rakesh. Adithya rides a black Karizma R.


    Day One:

    Route: Hyderabad – Kurnool – Nandyal – Allagadda – Ahobilam = 370 kms

    The previous night got ZMR from Rakesh, and did not check anything about bike as the bike was serviced very recently. Reached Gachibowli by 6 a.m. and waited for Adithya before the flyover. 10 minutes later Adithya arrived and we started at 6:15 a.m. Took the service road of the ORR and entered Banglore highway by 6:45 a.m. The NH7 is a beautiful four-lane road and we started cruising at 90-100 kmph constantly. The climate was cloudy and seems it just rained the night before. Though the soil was wet, no farming was started yet, due to lack of rains since the onset of monsoons; the fields were just ploughed.

    Got opportunity for the first time to spend some good time with ZMR on highways. No doubt, it’s a tourer’s delight with the same character as Karizma. The clipon handlebars are nice and riding posture is a little aggressive than its sibling.

    The beautiful four-lane highway to Banglore




    We reached Zadcharla soon and stopped for breakfast at a restaurant. I was having difficulty on the highway as the right RVM of ZMR is broken (the RVM was not available anywhere in Hyderabad). I decided to go inside Kurnool and search and see if one is available. The breakfast was better than expected and we were on road again by 8:30 p.m. As we were getting late, we started to ride at 100 kmph. Soon, I started to get bored of the four-lane highway as my brain was becoming passive due to less activity on the road. I asked Adithya to stop at BP petrol bunk before Kurnool to fill fuel. Adithya stopped a few kilometres before BP petrol bunk, took a pee break. He wanted to ride the ZMR, and we exchanged our bikes. We started and Adithya was leading me, and a few kilometres after I spotted the BP petrol bunk, and I saw Adithya zooming ahead of it without stopping there. So, I couldn’t fill the fuel. We reached Kurnool by 9:30 a.m. and stopped at Hero showroom for the RVM. We got negative reply and was shown another service center. We enquired there too in vain, but the person there called some other service center there and, unexpectedly, the RVM was available there. We had to ride back again to the NH7 and got the RVM to much of our delight.

    Adithya and me got separated in the Kurnool town for a while and we both met after Kurnool towards Nandyal route. We were shocked to learn that we spent almost 1.5 hours in Kurnool town searching for the RVM. It was 11:30 a.m. already and we need to cover another 140 kms to reach Ahobilam. I was expecting a nice scenic ride on this two-lane highway, but I was disappointed to see the road being widened to four lanes. Construction was going on and the ride became a little difficult. Adding to it, though cloudy, the climate became very hot and humid, and the lands on either side of the road was very dry due to lack of rains. We stopped just before Nandyal and it was already 1 p.m. I started to dislike the ride slowly. Adithya told me that the trekking at Ahobilam not possible in the evening and so suggested that we take Giddalur route and cover the Nemaligundam and stay at Giddalur for the night. Start early morning and reach Ahobilam for the trekking. I agreed to that and started again towards Nandyal. I found chain of Karizma to be loose and making lots of noise. We stopped just at the junction of Giddalur route to fix the RVM and to tighten the chain. We enquired with the mechanic there and he said we could do the trekking at Ahobilam in 3-4 hours by evening. So, again we decided to ride to Ahobilam, which we later found to be wrong. At Allagadda, we missed the bypass to Ahobilam, and rode through the little town. The road was a single lane with little uneven patches. The climate was hot and humid and we were a little uncomfortable, adding to that we were hungry too. We took a break just before the Ahobilam, ,and the roads started to become a little scenic.




    The lands were dry due to lack of rains even in mid of July.


    As we were nearing the Ahobilam, we entered the forest and slowly the climate became very cool all of a sudden. I felt a little happy for that, and soon we reached Diguva Ahobilam, the place at the foot hills, by 2:10 p.m. We quickly had dinner and started enquiring the trekking routes. We found there were 9 temples to visit, out of which two temples are in Diguva Ahobilam, and the remaining 7 temples are in deep forest in ‘Eguva Ahobilam’ which is 8 kms away. It was already 3 p.m., and we were suggested by locals there not to go for trekking now as it takes as it takes at least 5 hours to trek one part of the Eguva Ahobilam. We also found one temple to be in deep forest 22 kms away and that we could take a Jeep for a charge of 1850 rupees. We were totally confused as we did not understand the areas there. Finally, it was 4 p.m. and we decided to visit three temples in Diguva Ahobilam n the evening, stay at the night, and then do trekking early morning. I was disappointed a bit, as it was hectic day without much relaxation in nature. We put our luggage at Haritha resorts and started to visit the three temples down there.

    I somehow was disappointed and told Adithya that we just ride till the Eguva Ahobilam first and then come back to visit the temples. As we did not fill fuel at Kurnool, the ZMR’s tank is nearing empty. Checked the tank and found petrol to be sufficient for another 50 kms. We slowly started riding into the forests and soon the climate became more cool and forest became more deeper. Finally, I started to enjoy the climate and forgot all about the confusion and frustration I faced. Soon, I was immersed in the beauty of the forest and there came a smile on my face again.

    The thick forest…




    Soon, we reached ‘Eguva Ahobilam’ and it was the end of the road. We need to trek from there.


    We rode back to Diguva Ahobilam and visited two of the 9 temples, Chatravata Narasimhaswamy and Yogananda Narasimha Swamy.




    Later we visited the main temple in Diguva Ahobilam, the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, built by Sri Krishnadevaraya. I was surprized to see the beautiful sculptures and carvings on the pillars of the temple. We were amazed at the expert craftsmanship in those old days without much technology, and I am sure nobody in this modern world could replicate them. We were deeply immersed and spent quite a bit of time visiting the temple. The vedic mantras took us in to enchanting world. Me and Adithya after the darshan, had a nice chat about the Telugu language and the history. I was really happy to end the day like it finally.

    The main temple front view




    Felt sad to see these beautiful sculptures in neglected state…


    The ‘Vijaya Stambham’ erected by Krishna Devaraya.


    The temple view from the back


    Beautiful sculptures.




    Mr. Monkey testing the new RVM on ZMR.


    We came out of the temple at around 7 p.m., and just before I wished for the rain. As if the Lord Narasimhaswamy blessed us, it started to rain. It took us sometime to decide where to stay for the night, and we finally took a room at TTD guest house. Though the room was not good, its okay for bachelors for a price of 155 rupees a day. The rain became very heavy and we had to use umbrella to go out for the dinner. I was worried about bikes’ safety as we parked them outside. Luckily, the supervisor there allowed our bikes to park inside. After the dinner, the rain became more heavy and we were worried about the trekking tomorrow, as the heavy rain may disrupt our plans.

    Finally we retired to bed unknowing of what would be our trek and ride back home the next day.

    Day Two will continue…
    Last edited by ravi@17bhp; 07-17-2012 at 11:15 AM.
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    One unique ride you got there. Waiting for day 2 log and pics. Congrats on the great ride .

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    Day Two

    Route: Ahobilam – Narsapuram – Gajulapalle – Giddalur – Nemaligundam – Cumbum – Markapur – Dornala – Srisailam – Hyderabad –Kukatpally = 495 kms

    I never knew today was going to be a memorable day for me, in terms or riding, and trekking too. Adithya woke up early by 4:45 a.m., and got ready by 5:15 a.m. and woke me up. We were ready by 5:45 a.m. and came out of the guest house. It was still a little dark with thick clouds. We packed water and some biscuits and Umbrella in a backpack and left the rest of the luggage.

    Our bikes parked inside the guest house; seems they too were excited about the ride.


    Adithya righaway took the ZMR and left the Karizma to me. I had to kick it for 8 times to bring it back to life. We paid 24 rupees for six bananas and started riding towards Eguva Ahobilam. It rained heavily overnight and the climate is very cool with chilly winds. The fresh oxygen from the forest was filling our lungs, and the chilly wind through our hair got us some goose bumps. Clicked some pictures on the way.








    Reached Eguva Ahobilam soon and hired a guide for 400 rupees with a promise of guiding us to the Ugra Stambham, a 6-km trekking approximately. The guide name was Narasimha and he told he was a Christian. We both were given two strong bamboo sticks for a rent of 2 rupees. Initially it amused us, but later we came to know they were our guides for the trek and made the trekking easier, and in a way life-savers too. We started trekking at around 7 a.m.


    These are found in abundant numbers in this forest. You need to be careful with your belongings; they come all of a sudden and snatch whatever you have in the hand. Saw two incidents like this.


    At the start of the trek. The person at the back was our guide. It’s really strange to see myself with those canes, like an old man.


    At the start of the Eguva Ahobilam is the main temple of all the 9 rupas of Lord Narasimha. The lord is a Swayambhu (self-manifested). Ahobilam is the place where Lord Vishnu came in Narasimha (half lion and half human) form and killed Hiranyakasipu and saved Prahlada. After killing the Hiranyakasipu, lord Narasimha roamed around these forests and appeared in 9 forms at different places. The main temple in Eguva Ahobilam is where lord Narasimha found in Ugra roopam. As the temple will be open only after 8 p.m., we planned to directly trek to the Ugra Stambham and visit temples while climbing down.

    The surprise came in immediately after we started walking into those thick woods; the guide took us through the stream in the between the hills with huge rocks everywhere, and we walked like this for a kilometre.









    You can see lots of snapped cheppals, particularly ladies, all around the rocks.



    We were told by the guide that these mini bridges were built by TVS, and we found them to not vibrating much while walking on them.


    We were exhausted after walking for around half-an-hour and took a break at this place. We were sweating like pigs even in this cool climate and fresh air.








    We were shown a cliff from the stream by the guide, and this was our destination. :O Though this appeared a daunting task for us, we were excited too to see the beautiful surroundings.


    From the bridge, it was time for us to climb some stairs. We climbed more than 250 steps and took at least two breaks in between and finally reached a narrow path on the side of a steep hill.

    The steep steps.


    That’s me, sweating profusely and trying to catch a breath. My weight was 84 kilos and lifting the body up was a little difficult initially.


    After walking on plane narrow path for some time we reached a temple ‘Jwalamukha Narasimha Swami temple. The path to this temple is a narrow way carved in a hill. There was fresh water from the rocks above and we washed our face and hands. The water was so cool and fresh, it was like heaven. We drank the water and it was very sweet and cool.




    We decided to visit the Ugra Stambham first and then visit the temple while return. The guide showed us the path in the below picture and asked us to start climb. We were like shocked for a moment. I asked him are you sure that we need to climb this and he confirmed it. And he also confirmed that we need to climb like that for 2 more kms. :O


    We started climbing that in disbelief and we now understood why we were given those bamboo sticks. It was huge task for us and there was tremendous pressure on our legs, particularly thighs. We took many breaks on the way to catch our breath. Though it was difficult, it excited us a lot. Though physically strained, mentally we were getting charged.

    You can see the narrow path below (near the hand), from where we started climbing.


    Took a break soon at this place




    The sweat was too much that my phone in the pocket got droplets of moisture on it. :O

    The steep climbing. Actually its more steeper than that appears in this picture. We had to use our stick, and another hand to climb it.




    “I am done” expression on my face.


    Finally after an hour of steep climbing we conquered the 500-meter cliff and its very very narrow. Its full of big stones and to reach the Ugra Stambham we need to climb a little down the rocks, which was a daunting task with deep valley just side by.

    We need to climb down till the holy flags




    We left our shoes there and started climbing down. We soon were just by the side of huge valley, and I am sure its not for everyone to come to this place. Those with phobia of heights need to avoid this.

    We finally conquered it, and you can see the joy in our faces.








    Literally we were on the edge of the cliff, and one step takes you down the valley in one jump. The view from the place was amazing and we were awestruck. It was very calm and we offered prayers there and meditated for some 10 minutes. Its like we found our new selves.




    See the bridge below. Its from where we climbed this cliff.





    [IMG/https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-3doekXH0SfM/T__y6Td7FDI/AAAAAAAAI24/PEsGRqXYfEo/s800/DSCN2804_edit.jpg[/IMG]



    We climbed back to the top of the cliff where we left our shoes and had some biscuits and bananas that we got.


    We found this rock buildings everywhere on the hill. We were told that people who wish to build house do this.


    We almost spent close to 40 minutes on the top and started climbing by around 9 a.m. The climbing down was a little easier in that you don’t need to lift your body up. But, its very dangerous in that, one slip would roll you down on the stones. The bamboo stick was very handy in climbing down. I started to get spasms of the thigh muscles due to extensive pulling of muscles while climbing down. Stopped for quite a while in between.
















    Finally, we reached back to Jwalamukhi temple place, and drank lots of water and took almost bath under the water from the rocks. It was the most refreshing bath I ever had.






    At the end of this path, lies the temple.




    The Jwalamuhi temple in a cave. One of the important temple here, and this is where Lord Narasimha killed Hiranyakasipu. We offered prayer for a few minutes and started climbing down.


    Rakthagundam (raktam = blood, gundam = pool) the pool where lord washed his blood-stained hands in this pool after killing.


    We started climbing down the stairs. We were tired of the never-ending stairs, but got inspiration from lot of 60-year olds climbing of the stairs to visit the temple there. On the way, we saw people carrying old people up to the temple. They charge 1800 per person it seems.


    After the stairs are over, the guide led us towards a different route to reach ‘Malola Narasamhaswami temple and Bhargava Narasimhaswami temple. He told us it would be another 2-kilometer trek that takes easily 2 hours. I was ready but, Adithya was not ready for it and asked me to cancel this and ride back as the time was running out. It was already 11 a.m. by that time. After some conversation I agreed to that and skipped visiting those two temples. Already we missed the Pavana Narasimha swamy temple which is 7-km trekking in deep hills one way. I decided to visit this place again and complete the remaining trekking.

    We turned back from there and started trekking down through the stream.


    Finally we reached the Ugra Narasimha Swami temple and offered prayers. Paid the money to the guide, and also paid the rent for the bamboo stick of 6 rupees for three.

    We rode down to Diguva Ahobilam and had upma as lunch was not yet prepared by that time. While having breakfast, we discussed about return ride and finally Adithya decided to ride back in the same route that we came to reach home faster. I was not interested in riding back the same route and decided to take the detour and ride via Giddalur-nemaligundam-Doranala-Srisailam-Hyderabad. I was sceptical a little as the route would be new to me and its already 12 noon. I would need to cover almost 500 kms by night to reach home. Finally I wanted to take the plunge and decided to ride alone in those forest areas.

    First half of the day was adventurous and thoroughly enjoyed, though we were very tired. Now, I need to ride for 500 kms via unknown routes and forests in the remaining half of the day.

    The riding part will come soon…
    Last edited by ravi@17bhp; 07-17-2012 at 04:08 PM.
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    Nice pictures...., Waiting for more........
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    jeez! when did you make this trip?
    i envy you

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    Awesome,I hate the walking and trekking part in any ride.

    Saw SheshaAditya riding after long time

    Looks you guys had some great adventure,keep rocking

    Cheers
    Biru

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    Quote Originally Posted by blizarder View Post
    One unique ride you got there. Waiting for day 2 log and pics. Congrats on the great ride .
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by itsmevini123 View Post
    Nice pictures...., Waiting for more........
    You will get final set of pics soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by murlidhar View Post
    jeez! when did you make this trip?
    i envy you
    Murali, we did this trip last week, on Monday and Tuesday.

    Quote Originally Posted by beruoist View Post
    Awesome,I hate the walking and trekking part in any ride.

    Saw SheshaAditya riding after long time

    Looks you guys had some great adventure,keep rocking

    Cheers
    Biru
    I love trekking. In fact Seshadithya was commenting that we get Boo and you do this trekking.

    Yeah! This was the first ride of Seshadithya after the Leh ride. It took him two years to come out of shell and ride.

    And, I am glad you liked the pictures.
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    Two ZMAs, 9 Days in Western Ghats

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    Well well, It seems that you are having a great time off late. If I am not wrong this is your 3rd TLog in this month, right? Anyway, loved the pics and the story. Waiting for the next set of pics.
    Keep riding mate and ride safe.

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    Loved it man... these type of adventurous trips are always remembered Loved it very much.

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