My post this year delayed by over a month. Last couple of years, I stuck to self made resolution for at least a quarter before breaking it. I credit myself for having done this despite my stories from Bali, Goa and Bangkok trip was hovering in head waiting to find a quick spot on my blog. There is no pride in procrastinating, yet shamefully admit the fact.
Scouting the Southeast region of the country in Andhra Pradesh came easily and unanticipated, as part of a project assigned at Vizag(Vishakapatnam) . I took advantage of this trip and became accustomed with localities around whilst using public transport.
With a couple of days at my leisure, best use was self mandate. This because I don’t see a reason to return for work purpose in near future. Despite the fact that Araku Valley was firmly fixed on my head with Greener pastures surfacing often. I was adamant about a bike ride through the valley, which can’t be the case for now. Options of rail and road were convenient to nearby attractions yet, for some reason the usual me did not decide as quickly as I did.
Amidst the discussion, Badrachalam, famous for Shri Rama Temple caught my attention. I had an ardent desire to visit the shrine ever since a Telugu movie introduced this place to me. Without wasting much time, I did my homework and decided to see Lord Shri Rama. A periodical spiritual awakening is mandate for self realization.
Upon my research, I learnt that the first leg of my travel was to Rajamahendravaram (popularly known as Rajamundry), via bus followed by boat service to Badrachalam. Alternatively, one can take a bus without being ferried. I was excited about the boat trip, for I did day dream of me waving to the villagers on the banks, to the passing boats. Getting a confirmed train ticket is out of question, hence unwillingly chose bus service. Now that I nearly perfected the art of packing light, the burden of packing was never felt arduous and I was all set to leave Vizag for a\n solo adventure.
My bus from City complex was at 11:00 and supposed to drop me off at 4 am at Rajamundry. However, on duty enquiry officer confirmed that OSRTC bus going to Vijayawada via Rajamundry, usually is an hour late. My expectation from OSRTC was similar to that of APSRTC, because of my past experience. On the contrary, it turned out to be a real nightmare, at midnight waiting endlessly…phew. You see Aries don’t like waiting nor do keep others waiting, unless there have been unusual occurrence of situation out of ones control.
Nevertheless, to my surprise I was dropped off by 4:30 am at the bus station and had another 2 hours to kill before the vehicle that would transport me to the boat arrived.
Drowsy and tired, I decided to stay half awake guarding my mini luggage, specially after repeated warning of theft. Then came the pick up van near Kothipalli bus station, to drop all of us waiting to a larger bus. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared for a bumpy road trip. Yet this was the only way to reach Singanapally to board the boat.
My first naked eye view of Godavari in the morning was magnificent. The town was slightly covered with mist, traditional boats parked waiting for the owner to begin the day, the bridge over the river almost disappeared at the other with vehicles plying over it…….The driver was kind enough offer to photograph me with the bridge at the background. Soon we started the journey to Singanapally, which as the journey began I knew was via the famous Polavaram Irrigation Project. The bus ride through out uneven roads reminded me of first offroading with IBC to Penukonda. For an hour in the journey river Godavari was alongside us with a clear view before entering the dam site, that is expected take at least over 5 years to complete. The ride to Singanapally was a real bumpy one. As the destination approached, contrary to my imagination, there is no harbor or proper place where the boats anchor. Rather, a parking space nowhere the mountain side.
My first sight as I stepped off the bus was this boy around 12 years, who had a live traditional cooking in the open. Flame was on, supplemented by the scorching Sun, the boy seemed to be an expert in cooking chicken in bamboo and targeting potential buyers who are set for the boat ride. Since the package included breakfast, lunch and evening tea; I decided not to spend on any additional stuff but enjoy the view of unfolding stretch of mountains.
The host, who is a young man around 24 years kept all of us entertained. Idly & vada was served for breakfast and typical Andhra meals for lunch. The speakers were too loud and I chose to escape and moved to the air conditioned lower deck. Yet the noise managed to follow me though the intensity lowered. Families were merrily dancing and singing to the local numbers. I knew a few of them, not a movie buff you see……
My OnePlus 6 did a good job for the surroundings were simply stunning. The stretch reminded me the drawing I did as a kid, those of mountains and rivers with Sun peeping from behind. From about 10:30 am until 4:00 pm, I was amidst mountain and our boat Jalasri was sailing in straight line equidistant from the banks. I spotted tiny villages that lived on solar system completely, with a mere population of approximately 25. Eco living was permitted to tourist upon early reservation, as there were only about 6-7 tents/huts. The demand was huge for this rustic experience.
The route via Papikondalu was breath taking as the boat swiftly pushed clear waters. Such landscape is for sure a one-time experience, unsure of its life owing to climate change caused by human intervention. On the other hand, it was devastating to see people littering with plastic covers and beer bottles. Furthermore, there was no awareness signboards from AP tourism. Before alighting, lecture to boatman was not missed and I had my peace of mind.
At around 4:00pm, we were dropped at Pocharam, the last point. A Tata vehicle, that was poorly maintained but with an entertaining driver, who apparently identified me being a “Hyderabadi”,(probably with the accent) dropped us off to Badrachalam which was 2 hours if driving.