Well, to go to Chittoor again, a busy town in the state of Andhra Pradesh - South India- was a long time wish as I had spent my child hood days here. The roaming around the hills, forests, going around the lovely Greamspet lake are still fresh in my memory though over three decades have passed by. My dad was a bank Manager here those days. We have even scaled the round shaped “Bodi Konda “which is at the town entrance. This is a massive sized rock mountain and at the top is a fresh water pond; I had climbed along with friends somewhere during the summer holidays of 1975! When i see this now I feel amazed as to how i made it to the top ! This was quite close to my house as we were in Mittoor and it was a dream for long to go to the top of this rocky massive mountain.
I love this small town so much and sometimes get lost in the good old days of my child hood and creafree wandering in the rocky hills and around the lake. Plenty of mangoes during season and vast places to roam around.
Coming back to the trip, we left on 30 th Dec 2006 from Chennai .Drove down to this tiny and beautiful hill resort located in the district of Chittoor, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, South India. It is at a height of 4,200 ft above sea level. 43 km from Madanapalli railway station in Chittoor district. Horsley Hills is well connected by road and there are frequent buses from Madanapalli and Chittoor. The total time taken is around 5.30 hours.
We set off on a Friday morning had our breakfast on the way the route from Chennai was through the Poonamallee high road, Thiruvallur, Walajabad,Ranipet , Chittoor, Madanapallee and then to Horsley hills. It was the first long trip in my new Maruti Swift car and it was a superb drive as the roads were too good.
We visited the famous Kanipakkam and the Mugaleeswar temple on the way both ancient temples of Lord Ganesh and Shiva. During my school days I used to go by cycle to these temples with friends during holidays and it was indeed fantastic.
The journey to Horsley Hills is exciting as one gets to see various species
of plants and birds. We did stop over on the way to enjoy the lovely village scenes, green meadows, huge tamarind trees, small brooks and hillocks. Covering the entire stretch of narrow road is the dense growth of Eucalyptus, Jacaranda, Gulmohar and many other species of trees.
Named after W.D. Horsley, Collector of Cuddapah district that made it his summer residence, this famous hill resort is popular for its clean, pure and healthy air suitable for recovering from illness. Approaching the Hills surrounded by forest area, one gets to see trees of Bay leaves, Sandalwood, Red sanders, Blue gum, Mahogany and Bamboo. One also if lucky can see the Chenchu tribes who live here with their famous Pungannur cows who eat less fodder but yield more milk. While we almost headed to the foot hill we saw some tribes though scared we just passed through them and there was no problem.
We had booked in advance from Chennai at the Punnami lodge of the Andhra Pradesh State Tourism and the room was good enough. It was almost dark when we reached and I do remember having given a lift to two school kids who were waiting for the
bus to go up the hill and as it was getting dark, we picked them and dropped them at the top. One staff was allotted to us who gave his mobile number to us to call as and when required as there were no phones in the room!
The lodge was an independent cottage overlooking a valley and a breathtaking view of the surrounding hills and plains. The night was pretty cold and we had to use the rugs and blankets provided. After the driving for 5-6 hours I was feeling tired and we hit the sack a bit early after dinner at the restaurant.
It was a freezing morning when we woke up to the whistling of birds and the high speed winds. It was like a hail storm and we were really scared to open the windows. I could barely see my car in the midst of fog and was worried it shouldn't carry away the car and drop in the valley! I dialed for the restaurant for hot coffee and some tea for kids. The staff promptly delivered and it was really refreshing in the chill weather. He told us breakfast will
be served by 8.30 am but we were able to move out. At last only by 9.30 we could see the sunlight and found that the mist has reduced and the cold winds had calmed down.
It was now we opened the doors to go out. Some snaps were clicked and the view of the valley was breathtaking with dotted houses here and there in between the meadows.
We went around the place though there is not too much to see .We started with the small Zoo which further opens up to a rocky mountain. After going around the mini zoo we trekked up the rocky area to reach the top by now the sun was direct on to the head and we started to feel the heat.
We came down and went to the Governor’s bungalow which is the oldest building here and also climbed to the view point to have a total aerial view of the mountains and valley down below. The kids were thrilled and we came down to see the 150 year old Eucalyptus tree which is an attraction at Horsley Hills .This tree which has a record girth measuring 4.60 meters was and
planted by Horsley himself in 1859.
Then we walked down to the other side of our cottage to take a glimpse of the area .The number of tourists were not many ,some college girls and boys from the nearby cottage were playing cricket on the road and we walked down. It was here we saw the vast expanse of rocky floor and the wind erosion effects on the rocks .The high speed wind have made the rocks wither away over the years and have become hollow which was really surprising to watch. This spot is called the “Gali Konda” the wind mountain in Telugu the local language and the language of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
By now all of us were tired and also hungry as you normally feel this more in cold weather and added to that we were walking around a lot. We came back to the café and had our lunch. The hotel also has a massage centre, swimming pool, a bar and children pay area. Swimming was ruled out though I was tempted. The water was freezing cold and we just felt by dipping our hands. At the entrance of the hotel is
a grave of George Horsley one day old son of the Collector which many people miss to see it is it was on 31 st May 1864 around 143 years back.
Went back to the cottage for some rest and the evening was lovely the green lush scenery, pleasant & cool breeze, wild flowers added to the beauty. We played with the kids on the green pastures and it was soon dark and we had to return to the cottage.
We got up a bit early to have the feel of the chill morning weather and after our break fast went to the nearby local tribe temple “ Yenugu Mallamma “the ancient temple of this little town. We also went to the nearby park and after this I can say we have covered the entire town it is such a small town one full round of the cottages, restaurant, the rocky hills and you are done.
We started our way back after lunch and on the way visited the famous Rishi Valley residential school a place we were often speaking of admitting my daughter in but we never decided on this for the reason
that she will be away from us . I was more in particular not very keen on this. We strolled down the school office, play ground and spoke to some kids there and also on the admission procedures but finally came out as if we visited a museum!
We were sure we carried back a memorable visit to this tiny hill resort .The pollution free atmosphere, the sweet smell of eucalyptus in the air, the fun of watching a variety of birds and animals makes Horsley Hills an ideal and unique tourist spot!
You can plan a week end trip from Chennai and i bet you will enjoy the trip.
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