Post Ganesh chathurthi, as a kid, I used to wait for Navratri – the nine day long festival to worship Goddess Durga – to begin. Not for the worship part as much as the garba and sweets that mom used to make for prasad.
This is the time of the year where the goddess is treated as a daughter returning home and pampered with food, entertainment and joy before she returns to her husband’s house on the tenth day of Dusshera.Mom being very religious used to visit temple and offer ‘auti’ – a combination of rice, turmeric, kumkum, coconut and a new blouse piece to the goddess. Occasionally we used to travel to my native place near Akola and Amravati for Navratri festival.
This year, mom and dad are visiting for Navratri and we planned to visit Srisailam – a temple town for Shiva and Goddess Parvati devotees. Mom especially was thrilled about visiting a temple during Navratri. We were thrilled for the scenic drive through Nallamalla forest.
We started around 9:30 am after breakfast. After leaving the rocky terrain around Hyderabad, we drove through scruffy brush before ending up in beautiful countryside of mainly cotton and bajra farms, cow and goat herds and finally the lush vegetation and misty forest around Srisailam. We saw waterfalls, monkeys, ant hills and even wild hyena!
Around Munnanaur we took a chai and restroom break. The ginger tea in the cold drizzling morning was perfect. Varun was fascinated by the large pot of milk being boiled over wood fire and people sitting around the wood stove to stay warm. He squatted on the floor right next to them for a couple of mins before he was distracted by the monkeys.
The last 50 kms or so as we climbed up the ghats, temperatures dropped, the road twisted and turned and finally crossed over the Krishna river bridge to reach the APTDC Haritha resort.
The resort is strictly basic, with no room service and a onsite restaurant that serves buffet style meals. We had lunch at the restaurant before going up to the rooms for an afternoon nap. around 4:30 ish, we drove about 1/2 km to Rope Way that took us down to the banks of Krishna river.
We then took a half a hour boat ride on the reservoir and up to the dam and back.
It was a peaceful evening with pilgrims taking a bath in the river before visiting the temple.
Fishermen in round boats waited around to give joy rides or make a catch.
Later we drove to the temple which was beautifully lit.
Like most temples, there is a special VIP darshan line with a ticket of INR 100. It saved us time waiting in the line for the darshan. After darshan we strolled around in the main market area outside the temple. Then we went to Sahasra Bhojanalaya for dinner – a clean-ish place with fairly decent food.
After dinner, we walked back to our resort and slept.
Next morning, after breakfast, which was complimentary, we drove back home. En-route we stopped at various vista points to take in the dam and the river views, the bathing ghats, the gorge that leads back up from the river and the rocky terrain.
It rained earlier in the morning and the ‘mitti ki kshuboo’ with jungle scent was refreshing.
We had planned to go to Akkamahadevi caves 10 kms upstream on river Krishna – but were told that the boat route was stopped due to a Supreme Court ban. The other plan was to go to Mallela Theertham falls but the road didn’t look too good. Also mom was not up to the challenge of climbing 350 odd steps down to the falls and backup.
We reached home around 2:30 pm after buying sackful of custard apples.
It was a lovely trip through beautiful scenery. It could easily be planned as a day trip- but the un-hurried pace made up appreciate the scenery, herds, farms etc even more.