Exploring Gandikota and Belum Caves without Guide
You can visit Belum caves and Gandikota on a weekend if you plan you travelling properly by opting for an overnight train and managing your transport.
- the best mode of transport
I planned to go in March when I had 3 days of leave. I was accompanied by my friend (Nikhil Bagul) who is a freelance photographer. We started by boarding the train from Mumbai CST to Tadipatri in Chennai express 12163 at 20:30 pm and we reached Tadipatri by 11:30 am the next day.
We hopped in the general compartment and the ticket was for Rs. 250 per person.
Once when we reached Tadipatri, we planned to explore Belum caves and the grand canyon and set our tents there.
How to reach Belum caves from Tadipatri:
Once you reach Tadipatri station, you can get sharing rickshaw to the Tadipatri bus stop for Rs. 10. From here you need to board any bus going towards Banagana Bali which will drop you to Belum caves which are 30 km far and the ticket is Rs. 23 only (3 km after Kollimigundulu). Once you enter the premises of it, you will see a giant bright white Buddha statue to your right.
- buddha statue while entering belum caves
Belum caves are the second highest caves in India, formed due to water flow, they are carved out of limestone deposits in the Erramalai region, discovered by a British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote in 1884.
Information Of Belum Caves:
They have explored around 3.5 km from which only 1.5 km is accessible to the public. Jains and Buddhists monks occupied these caves centuries ago. You need 2 hours to explore these caves. Dhyan Mandir is a section in the caves which is a stone formation looking like Shiva linga and Patal Ganga.
Once we were done with Belum caves we refilled our water bottles, outside the Belum caves from a water purifier and headed towards Kollimegundulu bus from outside of Belum caves’ gate.
Tip: Always refill drinking water as and when available, while you are travelling.
Timing Of Belum Caves:
10 am to 5:30 pm | Open All Weekdays
Tadipatri to Belum Caves In Public transport:
Once we reached Kollimegundulu, we boarded a Jamalmadugu bus and from there we got a bus to Gandikota (the last bus is at 6:30 pm). I got some 20 hikoos in Rs. 10 from the market for dinner. For a clear view and pricing of the tour, you can check the details in the end. I have given a summary of it in the end.
We reached the entrance of the Gandikota fort which is the stop of the bus from here its 15 to 20 minutes’ walk to the temples of the fort where we installed our tent on a flat land after looking around the area for any insects or any harm. We were all set to have our dinner – Chikoos, oranges, Theplas, dry snacks and water. Nikhil clicked pics of Milky Way where the visibility was not that good but he tried getting a good shot.
Food arrangement during the travel:
To experience a real low budget travel, I carried with myself methi Theplas, sauce and pickle which sufficed me for 2 days. Refilling drinking water wherever possible is a written rule for every backpacker and traveller.
Wake up call in morning 6 am. We got freshen up by 7 am and started moving towards the only grand canyon of India and when I saw the view was mesmerizing with penna river flowing between the canyon. We got to see the sunrise at the grand canyon for it I went a little ahead on the canyon and Nikhil went to another point from where he got a great shot.
I met two girls from Mumbai and 3 bikers from Pune, ttravellers as well. I shared our traveling experience with them till then Nikhil had finished clicking photos of the grand canyon. We badly wanted a bath after traveling in general boggie for around 14 hrs and 3 bus journey till gandikota.
So we asked some local people about it and managed to a place from where the whole village takes water for drinking purpose and other chores work but we didn’t had any vessel to fetch the water out so I asked a local person for a vessel which he agreed to lend me and I promised him that we will return him in 20 minutes we were done in 15min only.
Food at Gandikota:
when I returned the vessel the local person offered me to have breakfast at his home. His name was Guru. We had murmuregud (murmura made like poha) at his home,
also met his whole family because that day there was a jaatra in the village which was a religious event for the whole village and I shared our further plan with him on which he suggested us to stay that evening in the village only and wanted us to leave next morning because there was a big occasion in the village called yallamaa jaatra celebrated only once in a year. So I thought we should give it a shot and we stayed back in the village to watch the festival. I clicked some pictures with guru’s family.
The festival is combined by all the nearby villages and this is mostly for the betterment of the village. Around 100 goats are cut through their head where every house has a goat of their own. After the festival everyone takes the goat to their homes and prepare mutton for their whole family.
Last Day At Gandikota with Locals:
This night we slept on the terrace of guru’s house, next morning we woke up by 5 am and got ready by 5:30 am because we had our first bus from gandikota fort at 6 am.
We met for the last time to guru and thanks him for all he did for us. Soon we were waiting for the first bus to arrive at the fort entrance. The bus was late by some reason so we hopped in a school bus which dropped us at Jamalmadgu (10 rs). From here we got a direct bus to Tadipatri ticket was Rs. 48 (If you are planning to visit Gooty fort then you have to drop at Bhuugaa and from there you can head to Gooty fort.)
Tadipatri bus stop to tadipatri railway station is 10rs and I purchased some fruits to eat (100rs).
From tadipatri, we had our train to mumbai at 13:10pm (same chennai express 12164.)
back to mumbai at 0600. Journey ends well.
To sum it up all the expense:
Dadar station – Tadipatri (indian railway) – 250rs (unreserved ticket)
Tadipatri railway station to tadipatri bus stop(rickshaw) -10rs
tadipatri Bus stop to belum caves (30km 1hr frequency 20 min/bus) – 23rs
Belum – kolimigula (3km/bus) – 6rs
Kolimigula to Jamalmadgu (40km/bus) – 29rs
Jamalmadgu to Gandikota (20km/bus) – 13rs
Gandikota to Jamalmadgu (school bus) – 10rs
Jamalmadgu to tadipatri bus stop(bus) – 48rs
Fruit – 100rs
Rickshaw – 10rs
Tadipatri – Dadar station (indian railway) – 465 rs (reserved ticket)
Total expense is 964rs.
- tour ends in budget
TIPS/HACKS/SUGGESTION: I bet without this you won’t Go for an Outing
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