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February 12th 2015
Published: February 16th 2015
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Vijayavada to Rajahmundry

Red chilliRed chilliRed chilli

An early visit to the Undavalli cave temples was a highlight, carved from solid rock by Buddhists in the second century and adapted in the 7th by the Hindus the third level has a wonderful carved figure of a reclining Vishnu.

The next hour or two was through rural countryside to the archeological site at Amaravathi where the remains of India's largest Buddhist stupa built at the orders of Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Much of the carved stone that decorated the stupa are now in the British museum but a few pieces remain in the onsite museum. In the trees nearby was a fruit bat colony and some nesting birds.

We traveled further north west to the Buddhist site at Nagarjunakonda which sits on an island in a lake created by the damming of the mighty Krishna river, the sites here were moved stone by stone before the valley was flooded and reconstructed on the island. We arrived minutes before the departure of the boat so I was lucky enough to get aboard. The journey took about thirty minutes and I spent much of that time being photographed with just about everyone on the boat.

On arriving at the island I went to the museum first which had some nice pieces before going to look at the universities and other buildings. I was stalked and cornered by another large group of students this time they were videoing me. I managed to escape my feigning the need to go to the toilet. By then it was time to return to the boat where both groups were surrounding me.

On return to the landing I booked in to the only hotel, again no luxuries such as toilet paper and hot water. As the sun set I sat out the back with the driver Mani and had a beer before having my first Indian meal of the trip. The rice was good until I put the tomato sauce on which scolded my tongue, this was followed by a dish of egg and tomato, kind of scrambled together which looked great until my first bite melted my teeth.

Friday morning we got an early start on the road to Hyderabad stopping only briefly for snacks along the way, after 3 hours I checked in to what is easily the best hotel yet. Then headed out to see some
Reclining VishnuReclining VishnuReclining Vishnu

Undavalli cave temple
of the city's Islamic architecture, the Charminar built in 1591 and the massive Mecca Masjid which spewed force thousands of worshippers as I arrived, bad timing that.

Early start after a wonderful hot shower, first stop the massive Golconda Fort, I arrived at opening time so the crowds were initially minuscule which I was deeply satisfying. The fort has an outer wall 11km long and is large enough to contain a golf course. The fortress itself sits on top of a 120 metre granite out crop which is inturn surrounded by a massive inner wall. I spent a good two hours exploring the place my only disappointment being the graffiti and rubbish strewn about.

A short distance away are the Qutb Shahi Tombs, I was expecting one or two but found a bakers dozen some in poor repair but others fully restored. Other highlights here include the mortuary baths and a restored step well. A quick trip to Mcdonalds for breakfast/lunch around midday was followed by a call to the wife and a few hours watching Australia's opening World Cup victory over England.

After dark I visited the Charminar and went to photograph the big statue of the Buddha, the barge that was delivering the statue sunk and it remained on the lakes bottom for a number of years before being raised and installed on its island.

Time to move on again India is depressingly ugly when you travel this way, I have started taking naps to avoid looking at it all the time. From Hyderabad we travelled north east to Wanangal where I booked in to my hotel before visiting the 1000 Pillared Temple which unfortunately was draped in lights and other crap before driving 65km through at times almost attractive countryside to the Ramappa Temple and its short tailed macaque colony. The temple built by the Kakatiya empire appears to be influenced by the Hoysala temples. On the return journey we spotted a man harvesting palm sap from the top of a tree to be made into a booze called todi.

My final site of the day was the ruined Wanangal fort which contained the remains of a temple and an interesting building called the Kush Mahal.

Monday was spent mainly in the car traveling bad and dangerous roads, dealing with corrupt officials and dangerous drivers, around three we crossed Asia's third longest bridge across the Govindra

Additional photos below
Photos: 42, Displayed: 25


Fruit batsFruit bats
Fruit bats


Nagarjuna Sagar

Nagarjuna Sagar
Buddhist ruinsBuddhist ruins
Buddhist ruins



That is fishyThat is fishy
That is fishy

The curtain wallThe curtain wall
The curtain wall

Golconda fort
Ornamental entranceOrnamental entrance
Ornamental entrance

Golconda fort
Ibrahim Quli mosqueIbrahim Quli mosque
Ibrahim Quli mosque

Golconda fort
The rampartsThe ramparts
The ramparts

Golconda fort
Darber HallDarber Hall
Darber Hall

Golconda fort
Fort entryFort entry
Fort entry

Golconda fort

19th February 2015

When you scolded your tongue, was it suitably chastised?? : )
19th February 2015

ancient monuments
I will chastise you soon lol
22nd February 2015

The fields of red chills are beautiful. Truly low end accommodations when they don't have warm water and toilet paper. I'm past those kind of accommodations at this point in life. I don't mind basic but I want some basics. When you have to take naps to avoid looking at a country it might be time for a new country. The architecture is beautiful but I'm not sure you are enjoying the overall experience. Maybe I'm mistaken.
22nd February 2015

Hey I agree if my wife was with me I would be staying better where possible - still most are fine

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