What is life, if you do not find a reason to pause and ponder? Orvakal, a small mandal 20km from Kurnool with its picturesque rock formations may just be that perfect reason. Orvakal boasts of long stretches of natural rock formation of quartz and silica spread over thousand acres in myriad shapes and sizes.
Of this, around 200 acres in under the Andhra Pradesh Tourism that has developed a rock garden on 5 acres of this land. A walking trail around the rocks and a scenic lake, cottages nestled cozily amidst rock and thoughtfully done landscaping that does in no way disturb the natural formations, play area for kids, a rustic-looking walk-in restaurant and an air-conditioned coffee shop make for the Orvakal Rock Garden Resort. A must visit for nature lovers, and a guaranteed stress buster for the peace loving city-zens.
Here’s the itinerary in case you are game for a total and real break from routine – Stash your car with anything you would like to eat other than the regular meals and some yummy Rayalaseema specialities that will be served at the resort; if you are a book lover, throw in some of your favourite titles; stay mindful of children, who will need a lot of stuff to keep themselves busy and out of your way and then head off on a road trip or just contact APTDC who shall take care of your travel.
In case you are driving down from Hyderabad – after you cross Kurnool, head a few kilometers in the direction of Kadapa (enroute Tirupati), and Orvakal announces itself as you see the rock formations on either side of the road. Keep looking to your right and you shall see the gateway to peace – APTDC’s Rock Garden Resort.
The restaurants are what you see of the resort first as these eateries see a lot of flowing travellers and tourists. And here’s where you will be served among other things, the specilaities of the region, the yummy combination of ragi mudda and naatukodi koora and pappu for the vegetarians, jonna rotte and palli chutney. The region is also famous for Ogganibajji (a breakfast dish made of flat rice – atukulu and served with a mirchi bajji) that is mostly and surely available at road-side bandis.
Each of the cottages at the resort are spaced out comfortably from each other is good enough for a small family with a couple of extra beds. The tastefully done, yet simple interiors is just the minimalistic look that you need for the kind of retreat this one promises to be.
Take your time, relax, refresh and have your food before heading off on the rocky trail. And if there is time, you can squeeze in a quick trip – an 18 km drive through some nondescript villages that takes you to Kethavaram rock paintings that belong to Paleolithic era. Here, the rare drawings may look faded, yet they continue to hold the intrigue of the tourists. And here’s where you get the first real glimpse of the rocks – the beauty of nature that only gets better and even more awe-inspiring once you get back to Orvakal.
In addition to the sightseeing we got to taste the freshly plucked groundnuts courtesy a local lad, and goose berries (regi pallu) that our driver discovered on the way which added to the fun.
A pleasant evening walk amidst the rock formations – small, big, grotesque, intriguing, imaginative, picturesque, overwhelming – a complete world onto themselves – is the perfect recipe for serenity. The rocks seem to shut out the nonsense and stress of the world that you knew and all you experience is peace and serenity. You can walk around, climb up the rocks and soak in the scenery, take as many pictures as you want or simply sit and do nothing – and by the time you say you are done, you would have easily spent a couple of hours and are by now filled with contentment. Do not forget to catch the sunset and sunrise and if time permits, do trek around the lake as well.
The routine touristy stuff – the amphitheatre with its sculptures made out of scrap, the various locations that are identified by the film that was shot there are all there. By the way, the latest and the most discussed film ‘Baahubali’ was shot here. As the day light fades giving way to the exotic night sky minus the sounds of the daytime tourists – the Rock Garden Resort gets a magical hue and it is all for the in-house guests to soak and revel in this world that only nature can create. Soon enough, APTDC is introducing a formal trekking ground and rock climbing facility here that will surely add to the fun.
Orvakal is also famous for the Hazarat Syed Mahamood Sha Khadri dargah. One can make Ornakal a standalone trip when time is a constraint or stop over on the Hyderabad to Tirumala route or when doing the temple circuit of Ahobilam, Mahanandi and Mantralayam.
On the way back, a visit to Belum caves and a small detour to Yaganti and a quick sight-seeing at Kurnool are a possibility that you can consider. If in Kurnool, do visit the Kondareddy burju and the Pullareddy Sweets Shop (the first sweet shop that laid the foundation for the legendary brand) and try their Khoa Bun (which is also the famous street food of the town).
Kurnool is mostly unexplored district full of surprises that go beyond the famous temples – be it the cuisine or the fascinating sights untouched by commercial tourism.
Orvakal Haritha Rock Garden Resort,
A/C Cottages Rs 1400/-
for bookings log on to www.aptdc.in
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