Ok, I am back with our Bhadrachalam tour details. We had a very lovely trip.
Started from Hyd on 25th DEC night in Machilipatnam express and reached Bhadrachalam Road (Kothagudem) on 26th morning 4:30 AM.
It was very cold there. The train was on time, as we were 20 people it took us 20 mins to come out of the station, and we missed the bus. Even though the bus was empty it left as the bus stays at station for only 15 mins. APSRTC has 3 buses at that time and all three come at the same time and leave on time. :-)
As it is only 1 hour journey from BHM Road to BHM there are lots of share autos. But we took normal auto and reached Bus stand. APSRTC has buses to BHM for every 30mins. We caught one and reached BHM by 6:30.
We have contacted a person called “Sekhar” who arranges rooms for visitors on commission basis (50/- per room). He booked 8 rooms for us. Otherwise visitors have to go to “Rama Sadanam” first and book the rooms from there. There are two guest houses one is “Rama Nilayam” and another is “Sita Nilayam”. The room rent there is 150/- Non AC and 350/- AC. Rooms are OK. Not that great. Maintenance is very poor. I think Devastanam can improve on this.
There is no hot water facility inside the rooms, but there are lots of people who supply hot water. They charge 10/- per bucket and they will give you nice hot water if your room is in ground floor. There are 3 floors in the guest house, people in 3rd floor and second floor has to either bring water on their own or accompany the supplier until they reach the room. :-)
Godavari is next to these two guest houses. People can go and take a dip there. Water is very clean. The sands are filled with plastic as usual :-(. Governament has arranged some sweepers to clean the area. But I don’t think that will help. Change has to come from people.
2 sets in our batch wanted to perform Kalyanam. So they left immediately after taking bath. Devashanam allows 2 more people on one ticket on Kalyanam ticket (750/-). There are three types of Darshans. Free, 10/- and 100/-. For 100/- you can stand in front of main statue for 15mins and the Pujari does “Ashtotharam”. It is good. After Darshan, we went near Godavari and kids had a nice bath. We had lunch at a hotel called Geethanjali, which has north Indian, South Indian and Chinese food. Prices and tastes are OK.
In the evening at 3 Pm we have started to “Parnasala”. This is where Rama, Sita and Laksmana stayed in a thatched hut. We can see the renovated hut there. It is one and a half hour journey from BHM. There are RTC buses and Qualis fellows charge 1800/- per trip. They show you Parnasala and Narachiralu (Where Gogess Sita washed her clothes). We are back to BHM by 7:30PM. Evening we had dinner at Venkateswara Gardens. This place is also OK.
Next day morning at 7:30 we started from BHM and reached “Sriramagiri” by 9 AM. There are lots of launches in the place. We caught hold of the person who sold tickets to us and found our launch. It is better to ask the ticket seller about the name of the launch then our task becomes easy. The deck was almost full. We kept our entire luggage inside the launch and sat on the deck. They have covered the deck with a green mesh.
The launch started from Sriramagiri at about 9:45 AM. Immediately after start crew provided us nice breakfast (Upma and mysore Bujji with chutney). Then hot tea. Now set to see the scenary. It was extremely beautiful. You can see the phots and videos of Godavari and Papikondalu here.
One must enjoy the beauty. I dont think anyone can explain about it. The journey is 9 hours but you dont feel like you are tired. If you love nature, go alone. Otherwise go as a group. The launch will stop at two places. One is “Perantalapalli”, where you need to climb 20 to 30 steps and walk for 10 mins and you can see “Ramakrishna Math’s Siva temple and a small waterfall. The water is so fresh and cool. You can drink it as is.
Then lunch on the deck. This is also very nice. They have given Pulav, Kurma, Dondli subji, Tomato dal, Sambar, sweet (Ravakesari) and curd.
Some people slept on the deck after lunch and some slept inside the launch.
After 15 to 20 mins of travel, the crew announced that we are entering “Papikondalu”. The hills are same as other hills. Only difference is the river is narrow there and it is very deep. The water is still. It is 20 mins journey to cross Popikondalu. You can watch the videos here.
Then again river widens and normal godavari with sand and fields on either side. The other place where we had a break is “Pochamma temple”. We have not visited the temple but stayed on the banks to enjoy the river. The sand there is not good to go inside so we stood on the banks.
Crew has supplied tea at 4 PM and hot onion pakodi at 5 PM. We reached Rajamandri “Launchila Revu” by 6:30 PM. The launchi will not stop at “Patteseema” which is very close to Rajhamandri. This place has a very nice Shiva temple. But if you want to ghet down, you can ask the crew. They will drop you there and will proceed. You can see the temple and reach RJM by bus. It takes 30 mins to reach RJM by bus from Patteseema. But by launch it is 2 and half hours. So it is your choice. But you need to inform about this to the crew before it reached Patteseema.
That is all.