Gandikota is a hidden gem, also known as Grand Canyon of India. Gandikota is a small village on the banks of river Pennar in Andhra Pradesh.
Planned 1N/2D road trip from Bangalore to Gandikota and Belum caves. Gandikota is around 292 Km and it’s NH 44 i.e. highway to Hyderabad.
The roads are awesome, it’s a 4-lane highway and state highway after Kodur with quite less traffic.
Outer ring road from home till Hebbal Junction and merged into NH 44.
Bangalore – Kodur – Muddalakuntapalli – Sunnampalle – Mukkandlavarikothapalle – Kadiri – Kutagulla – Kanampalli – Venkatpuram – Rachumarripalle – Muddanur – Ananthagiri - Gandikota
There are toll on this road. The state highway is also in good condition with occasional bad patches.
If you love to drive fast, then you will fall in love with this highway (please don’t drive fast you will save few minutes but will be risking your and others life’s).
We started around 6.00 AM from our place, it took 1 hour to cross the airport toll from out place. There are good options for B/F few kilometers after the toll. We stopped at Indian Paratha Company.
Heard a lot about Indian Paratha Company from friends and were thinking to visit this place from long. Finally, we got a chance and made our first stop here.
It’s quite good option to have heavy B/F with large glass of tea. They have 2 sitting options few tables inside and then outside. It’s quite nice to sit outside in the morning as there is less traffic, less noise and pollution.
Taste was good, they serve parathas with achar, curd & chutney. As it was early morning time, we had ginger tea which they served in a big glass. Tea was priced heavily around Rs 60, but taste was good. Toilets are not that clean and small toilets.
After having heavy B/F we stopped one more time as washroom break then directly to the hotel in Gandikota. We reached around 1 PM and after checking in directly came for lunch.
There is only one place to stay in Gandikota and that is Haritha Hotel which is run by APTDC i.e. Andhra Pradesh Tourism. There are limited rooms available here and can only be booked through APTDC website.
Do carry print out of booking confirmation.
Rooms are air conditioned and cost very nominal i.e. Rs 1500/night on weekdays and Rs 2000/night on weekend. Nothing is included in the price but the food here is quite cheap.
There is no other restaurant near by as this is located right next to Gandikota Fort, which is far from nearby towns.
One of the speciality of this hotel is you can drive your car right up to your room and park it there itself.
Nearest towns are namely Tadipatri, Gooty and Guntakal. The road after the highway to the hotel is single lane road but in good shape. You might be able to see Tatireddy Narasimha Reddy Dam at a distance and Pennar river on the right.
It’s a decent property with big room and small washroom. Room was nice decently cleaned and doesn’t smell foul. They do have TV and set top box. There is option to stay in tents, as this is a government property, they have lots of open space.
For full review of this property please check my TripAdvisor.
Food was OK here, mostly they have limited options. Taste was OK, and price was low we paid around Rs 770 for 4 meals and evening snack for 2 persons.
Best thing about this hotel is the view and is located right next to fort. They do have some outdoor activities at additional cost like kayaking which is organized by some other organization. For it you have to track down to Penna river which takes around 40 min.
After lunch, went to relax for some time. After freshen up head out to visit the main attraction – Grand Canyon of India. It is called Grand Canyon because a spectacular gorge formed by river Pennar which goes through the Erramala hills.
You can take you car inside the fort and park it near the Mosque. From there walk/climb/jump/balance to reach the point where you will be mesmerized by the beauty of the gorge and river Pennar.
As it’s full of rocks so please do wear comfortable shoes and relaxed bottom wear.
Sunrise/Sunset view must be amazing here. We couldn’t witness the sunset as it was all cloudy that evening and we had rains in the night.
After enjoying the evening at the gorge came back had some snacks with a cup of tea and then went to room to relax.
There is one positive point about this place is there is no or very limited cellular n/w, so you can totally enjoy the time with friends and family.
But has one drawback Google map won’t work so download the map of this region in advance.
After dinner we slept early, had a good night sleep and then woke up early. Went to the terrace of our room (one unique thing about this place is each room has its own terrace). The morning view was simply amazing. Click some pics and then went down to get ready to leave.
After B/F we checked out and head to Belum caves, it’s around 61 KM 1.30-hour drive. It’s a state highway and nice road with traffic as you have to cross towns.
There is ample parking space and the entry ticket costs Rs 50 -60 for Adult and Rs 30 for child.
The caves are largest caves in India. We visited after the rainy season and major part of the caves was closed as it was filled with water and mud.
There are lights and large fans installed to keep pumping fresh air so that one won’t feel suffocated. If full cave is operational then it is advisable to take a guide.
Belum caves are natural caves formed by underground water. The entrance looks like we are going in a pit and only after entering that pit you will be amazed to see the hug and amazing caves.
It will be humid and hot inside the caves; cloth selection should be accordingly. Walking path inside the cave is nicely laid so you can take stroller, but it will be bumpy. Our daughter was small, so we carried her in her carrier.
We spent around 1 hour in the caves and came back, if it was fully open then one can spend around 2-3 hours exploring the caves.
Coming back to Bangalore from Belum it was different route –
Belum – Bugga – Tadipatri – Anantapur – Rapthdu – Kodur – Bangalore
From Rapthdu you will merge on NH 44 till Bangalore. Kilometer wise it is few KM more around 10-15 KM. One can plan a trip the other way as well i.e.
Bangalore – Belum – Gandikota – Bangalore
On our way back, we took lunch at NH 7 Refuel which will come after Indian Paratha Company. You must take ‘U’ turn which is little ahead but not too far.
Food was Ok here it was based on Punjabi theme so major food item was non-veg and we are pure veg. so after digging in the menu we finally settled for Makki ki roti sarso ka sag and chole bhature.
Makki ki roti and sag was good but they didn’t serve any gud (jaggery). Chole bhature taste wise were nice but bhatura was too oily. Service was kind of slow and less staff.
It is a huge place with 2 sitting option out of which one is inside in the main hall and other is upstairs in open with a view of highway and landscape.
Over all it was amazing experience exploring the huge natural caves for the first time and the view of Gandikota and Panna river.
Note - All the pictures are from our trip taken by us.