Thursday, November 5, 2015

Orvakallu Rock Gardens - Grand Canyon of India

I remember going to a place called Tapola which is beyond Mahabaleshwar called Little Kashmir. It was nothing like Kashmir - big or little. It was hotter than a Hyderabadi summer, the lake was being dug up and the mud was red.
Check out the mean looking eyes of the demon!
Similarly there is nothing like Grand Canyon at Orvakallu (20 kms off Kurnool) unless one stretches the imagination many times over.
And again - this one looks more like a raging bull
But the idea of a rock garden in these fine rock formations (slate?) is good and Orvakallu's Rock Gardens (nothing like Nek Chand's rock gardens in Chandigarh - this is purely natural stuff) is worth a visit for those rock formations and the fine little pond/lake that lies tranquilly alongside giving it the canyon look. I found no activity in the pond or on the rocks. All quiet.
Or this lion cub like formation with its mouth open guarding the lake
APTDC has cottages too, canteens and enough amenities to stay there. Must be a terrific sight on a full moon night. Beside the rocks one could see signs of other activities - beer bottles, a whisky bottle cover.
Grand Canyon of Orvakallu
Going by the pictures on the net it appears that Orvakallu is a popular adventure spot. I saw pictures of youngsters trying to climb the rocks hanging by their fingertips at impossible angles. Why do they do that?
Pretty cottage

Get to Kurnool, take the Nandyal road and turn off towards Orvakallu. the ride is some 20 kms from Kurnool and the road is pretty decent. We passed by the Pulla Reddy group of colleges, Engineering and Medical. There's an interesting temple like structure at the top of a hill - a road seemingly crawling up the spine of the hill. The rocks start showing up as we get close to the spot - layered and weather beaten into odd shapes. The rock garden comes by on the right. Lots of parking space.
Enjoying the rocks
As in most touristy places we had no clue where to buy tickets and went back and forth for them. Not much in terms of information either. We just walked right on and found the rocks, the cottages and steps leading up the rocks. Our motto always has been this - when you see steps, climb. The look around the rock gardens takes half and hour unless you wish to capture the place from several angles or do some adventure stuff. If you wish to walk all around the lake and hit the huge banyan tree at the far end it may take a couple of hours. We just breezed through.
There's something about the skies there - they appear bluer than most in pictures. The rocks are shaped. I thought I spotted a lion cub and a mean bull (pics above). And an alien space ship. Or perhaps I was just tired.
This one looks like an alien spaceship

Some interesting formations. This one's off the list. Lots of monkeys too. The watchman was shooing them off. A few strays dogs. I guess that should do.
View from the top - it's not as high as it looks really
Would love to see the temples at Yaganti and Mahanandi next. They are not too far away from this place.

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