Road trip to Yaganti Caves, Belum Caves, Aug 27-28

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We have successfully completed the Andhra Caves Exploration Biking Expedition. It was one helluva ride. Two days 1044km is not a joke. It tested all our endurance and our machine's. The routes are unimaginably serene and beauty. I think subsequent photos will speak themselves. Finally I dare to repeat.

Cave Exploration Summary...

Starting from Chennai at 5:00AM after heavy spell of torrential rain-several bikes submerged @ Kaththipara Junction-started from nathan cafe after refreshing tea in mild drizzle-before reaching NH-5 one bike got engine trouble and left the biking expedition-passed Godur - took break fast- reached udayagiri-heading to unknown[you can check any where in google there is no name for this place even locals don't have, they simply call it Konde]forest off-road mountain trail. this part of off road was excellent-stopped for tea in remote village-heading to yeganthi via abandon mountain train tracks passing ghat road-the towering pillars once upon time hold the rails are majestic[it remembers me Need for Speed and Dirt gaming racing routes]-reached some place not marked in map and took dinner-we passed through nanthiyal and reached banganapalle-reached yeganthi just before midnight-morning visited yeganthi temple caves-visited unknown untouched virgin cave-took bath in owk reservoir canal-stopped in owk reservoir view point-Belum tourist caves-scared hell out in Power failure-heading back to Chennai- reached home monday 9:00AM.

I took few clicks only guys please share your pictures and view. please use this thread for all future photo sharing and views sharing.

Sudha Meiyappan's Write up.

Exploring Caves: EAC Bike ride

It was a drizzly early morning on Saturday, August 27th when the biking team gathered at Koyembedu.  Kannan, the organizer, briefed the team, we then gulped down warm cups of tea and off we were to Andhra.  A little behind the scheduled departure, but no abatement in excitement.   A bunch of guys and two ladies, some new and some familiar faces, in all we were 12 of us. 

Nellore was the destination for breakfast and regroup.   Leaving Chennai felt good, it was National Highway all the way to Nellore.  With river Penna gracing Nellore and hills surrounding the place, the weather of looming rain was just perfect to make our way for Udayagiri through a scenic route.

We were at the foothills of Udayagiri hills in the afternoon with the fort sitting majestically on the top.   The path leading to the fort looked irresistible, but alas, lacking in time, we bade it farewell without climbing.

The ride following, on the way to Yeganti was close to surreal.  Passed through smallest of hamlets on the way and climbed over a hill which did not have a path or road.  We very well could be one the first of the visitors as the road was laid.  Name of the hill? No idea.  How was it? Serene and beautiful.

There was always the fear of nature causing malfunction to the bikes.  It was however too kind and let us enjoy her beauty with no mechanical failure.   It is amazing to think how terrible the roads on the hill, how scenic it was and how not a burst tire with all the gravel and stones.   It was sure a photographers’ bounty.  With a ton of budding photographers and their professional cameras, every tree, leaf, flower, road (or the lack of it) and insect was captured beautifully.

After what seemed like an endless ride, reached Yeganti temple close to midnight and we crashed in a shed for visitors to sleep.  Monkeys woke us up on the morning.  The temple looked peaceful, clean, welcoming and dignified.

The main deity of Umamaheshwaran adorned the main temple.  There were caves adjacent to the temple of sage Agastya, Lord Venkateshwara and Lord Shankara.  Some team members crawled though a part of Shankara cave and found a passage way to the Agastya cave.  Can go into details on the beauty and lore of the temple, but that will call for a post by itself, so will save it for now.

While collecting our bags from a shop and making plans to leave, Kannan stuck up a conversation with a boy at the shop who suggested we visit caves at the hills beyond the temple.  There apparently was a bike path close to the top of hills, we then had to make our way through foot for almost 30 mins down the other side of the hill to reach the caves.   No one refused to explore, everyone was more than eager to go.

By far this became to highlight of the trip.  With the boy from the shop acting as our guide, the bikes were left at the hill top and we made the descent to the caves.  What a descent it was.  There was no path, we just made one.  It was all downhill, bushes, trees, rocks and limestone slabs.  Amazing and amazing was the hike down to the Yerrajwala caves.  Google this name and can bet nothing would come up, that’s because it’s local knowledge and hasn’t made it to the world wide web.  

We went as deep and far into the dark, bat populated and unexplored caves as possible.  Photographers had whale of a time shooting the bats and cave in all darkness and its natural glory untouched by anything artificial or man made.

Completely satisfied and flush with the high from exploring the caves we left towards Belum caves.  These caves probably looked very much like the Yerrajwala caves before the AP government decided to make it a tourist destination. 

‘Exploring’ wasn’t just the expression but the embodiment of the trip.  Following natural instincts, curiosity and sense of adventure was all blended smoothly.  On such a challenging and almost 1000 km bike ride as this, wrong company make any scene place unbearably painful.  But the camaraderie was a perfect compliment and was more of the highlight of the trip than the caves themselves.

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