Posts Tagged With: GHAC

Places to visit near Hyderabad.

An attempt from my side ūüôā


  • Pocharam dam reservoir, Medak: 110 km. from Hyderabad, 15 kms from medak town on the medak-yellareddy road. A nice drive (car/bike) of 100 km on the Hyderabad – Narsapur – Medak road takes you to medak town.15 km from medak is the Pocharam lake. A nice place to have a picnic as well as camping. You can go play in the water also, but it will be muddy or thorny at some places.

    pic :Akshay Mani Agarwal, “the lungi dance theme”

  • Manjeera reservoir¬†: 90 km on the Mumbai highway you will find this on your right. This place is a crocodile sanctuary,And believe me a view of hundreds of crocodiles bathing in the winter sun is really worth. Also this is the place half of Hyderabad gets water.
  • Singur Dam :¬†120 km from Hyderabad, after manjeera reservoir¬† comes this huge dam
  • Laknavaram lake¬†: About 70 km from warangal, totaling 220 km from Hyderabad, another amazing lake.

    pic : mohit Kharb

  • Pakhal lake¬†: 60 km from warangal and about 200 km from Hyderabad¬† this lake is among the 12 most beautiful lakes in the world on a blog. Check out¬†

    pic: Alosh Bennett

  • Nagarjuna sagar :¬†165 km from Hyderabad, a quite popular place among everyone.
  • Srisailam Dam :¬†Best time to visit it is when the gates are open. the place is majestic.

    pic : Rohet Padyal

  • The Koil sagar reservoir¬†stretches across the Peddavagu, a minor tributary of the Krishna River. The western stretch of this picturesque reservoir is surrounded by high hills, making it a beautiful spot and is a treat for sore eyes during sunrise and sunset. 133 km from Hyderabad on the Bengaluru highway.
  • Orvakkal rock gardens¬†: 230 km from¬†Hyderabad¬† on the kurnool-kadapa highway. these rock formations will blow your mind away. A lake is the middle of these rock formations and completes the picture for a perfect scene.

    pic : Oindrilla Dey

  • Chandrampally dam¬†:150 km, near the chincholi village in Gulbarga district of Karnataka lies this small yet beautiful reservoir. A nice place to trek around/camp/picnic.

    pic : Rakesh Aavula


  • Kuntala falls:¬†Kuntala Waterfalls¬†is claimed to be the highest waterfall of Andhra Pradesh. Kuntala Waterfall, set amid the Sahayadri mountain range in Andhra Pradesh, presents a wonderful vista with its gushing waters.¬†Through the dense forests, River Kadam flows and tumbles gushing at Kuntala from the height of 45 meters, creating the astounding waterfall.

    Pic : GHAC team, october 2011

  • Pochera falls :¬†Pochera waterfall¬†is unique and is varied from other waterfalls. Situated interiorly amidst dense forests this waterfall offers an exhilarated experience to the visitor.
  • Mallelateertham falls:¬†Literally meaning a ‘Shower of Jasmines’, Mallelateertham is a waterfall showering from a height of about 110 ft just about 180 km away from Hyderabad on the route to Srisailam¬† ¬†From the entry gate a descend of about 500-600 ft takes you to the spot which seems like a spring burst out of the seams of the heavens.

    Pic : Pradeep Partamshetty

  • Ethipotala falls¬†:¬†Another popular spot, near Nagarjuna sagar dam, Ethipotala falls is a 70 ft high river cascade, on the chandravanka river.¬†The course of the chandravanka river after the falls is also very beautiful flowing through an amazing canyon. The base if the falls is a crocodile breeding centre so obviously you cant get into water.

    It took a lot of time, courage and effort reaching there, in the land of crocs.


  • Suryalanka Beach¬†is located in Guntur district is a well known beach with a wide and spacious shore. The waters of the Bay of Bengal are crystal blue and offer a soothing calmness in this area. This beach is widely known as it is the nearest beach from Hyderabad. Frequent buses are available from Guntur to Bapatla where this beach is situated.
  • Chirala beach :¬†¬†the beach adjacent to Suryalanka beach, equally scenic and less crowded.

Forts :

  • Bidar fort¬†:¬†130 Kilometers from Hyderabad.¬†The¬†Bidar Fort in Karnataka¬†is a beautiful creation from red rock of the then ruler of Karnataka which is surrounded by a triple-moated wall.

    PIc: Ponguti Sairam

  • Bhongir fort: Bhuvanagiri/Bhongir a town 48 km from Hyderabad. Bhongir is famous for its fort, which became prominent during the rule of the Kakatiyas.¬†The Fort was built on an isolated monolithic rock.
  • Rachakonda fort¬†: 70 kms from Hyderabad,¬†Rachakonda Fort It is a place of tourist importance. The ‘Dasavatara’ sculptures in a cave near Pattabhigutta and the five temples in the town are excellent specimens of Kakatiya art and architecture. Situated among hill ranges, Rachakonda is a place of considerable archaeological interest
  • Devarkonda fort:¬†Devarakonda fort in Nalgonda District was a formidable stronghold of the¬†Recherla velama Kings, this fort now stands amidst ruins. A place worth visiting by antiquity lovers. The fort is surrounded by seven hills with some great rocks and boulder and few patches of dry deciduous forest.
    Distance from Hyderabad: 115 KM. The best part of it is the exotic location of the water body in the fort.

    Pic : Gouse Ahmed Shaik

  • Medak fort¬†is a¬†citadel built on a hillock that provided as a vantage point for the Kakatiyan rulers in ancient India. Its right in medak town about 100 kms from hyderabad. Also the church at Medak is built in Gothic style and is considered to be the largest diocese in Asia.


  • Ananthagiri forest¬†:¬†Anantagiri often referred to ‘Ooty of Andhra Pradesh’ is the place where Musi river originates. Its about 100 kms on hyderabad – vikarabad-tandur route. There is an APTDC haritha resort for accommodation and food facilities
  • Srisailam forest¬†: Largest tiger reserve in India and only in AP State. The only accommodation facility in near the Srisailam temple.

These places do not include the core trekking areas so anybody and everybody can go there and have fun. The only thing to take care while travelling nearby is the heat, avoid going these places in summers.
Also I have not included the in city options of resorts and all.

Data source : Great Hyderabad Adventure Club.
  • For detailed inquiry feel free to reach out to me at “”. I am always happy to help.
  • If you want to add more additions to the list, post in the comments ūüôā
  • I have not listed the trekking places in this post :P,
  • As¬†promised¬†this post is written “with jyos inspiration..”¬†.
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“Bhaag Kharbu Bhaag”

Yeah, I admit¬†Bollywood¬†movie ‚ÄúBhaag milkha bhaag‚ÄĚ was indeed inspiring, so I took some inspiration, atleast for the title¬†:)

Coming to the point, as I did my first half marathon(13.1 mi /21.125 kms), I would love to share my experiences and learning. Of course  I need to boast about it, I ran for my life today and might have screwed next few days/weeks for it. :P

Although I was into sports from my childhood I never could run more than 200 meters in a stretch, the area around my diaphragm used to hurt badly and total distance in a run never exceeded 1 kms. The 1 km ones were were irregular, one in two months or so, that too my 12th standard. Could never run during my, not even 100 mts race.

My first experience of long distance race was a 50 km walkathon organized by Hyderabad Runners in October’12. I don’t know why I suddenly had a rush to go do a 50 km morning walk without any reason. Or there might be a reason:
‚ÄúI am a group leader with GHAC for one year and have recently trekked in Ladakh with altitudes ranging from 3500¬†mt¬†to 6100¬†mt¬† with freezing rivers, high passes, glaciers, snow, sand everything in the way. I need to¬†prove to myself that I can do it, no matter I had a ligament tear in march‚ÄĚ
The event was beautifully organized by Hyderabad runners and the turnover was quite amazing. I did the 50 km in 10 hours 30 mins, was the last guy to finish and some guys did the same 3 hours before me, without a meter of running. I realized my fitness level and my preference for fitness increased.As I had a knee ligament tear my running was always questionable and so I again moved into trekking, travelling and the regular GHAC stuff.

This year when Airtel Hyderabad Marathon was announced, I decided nobody is going to stop me from running in it, hell yeah and I will run the full marathon (#like-a-boss).Yes  I would run a 42.25 km run without a single experience of a long distance race, not even 5 kilometers and that too in 3 months of practice, with all my MS work, GHAC treks and all other random things I do. If you think I am one crazy fellow you stand corrected, I am one tough crazy guy.

Okay so everything was decided and it was time to train hard. I went to the physio, got the check-ups done and prescriptions ready. All I need to do then was to run. But that first run I did in early July, no clue why. But these runs were very surprising to me as I used to do 5K runs without stopping or even walking in between. It was my determination and will power that made me those 5K rounds in half an hour easily, all I needed to do was run, no stopping or walking. As you all now that I am a very busy guy and getting time for these run was a big job for me. Although my speed was good, I didn’t gave much time for training. Also it were the golden months July and august for any trekker/traveler of  monsoon, almost all of my weekends were spent in trekking, biking or travelling here or there, And I was left with 5 weekdays to train for marathon in which 1 was rest, 1 spent in the trek day, 1 day lost in randomness. adding them up I was left with 2-3 days per week to run and that too maximum of 10K which I did only twice. I was doing a little bit of strength exercises for lower body and core but I hardly did them for 5 days.

When everybody had almost completed ¬†there training program by 11th August. I was in one of my most craziest trek till date and I returned injured all over my legs and hands. At this point the marathon dream seemed a bit doubtful, but for me to quit on anything I need bigger reasons. Till 15th August I had no experience of running on a road and slopes as all my¬†practice¬†was on flat college grounds., that gave me a brilliant Idea, ‚Äúlets run a half marathon 8 days prior to the final marathon and see how am i placed‚ÄĚ. As I was my own trainer and even this was my first time for any run, I¬†didn‚Äôt¬†bothered a pinch to see the tips on the net ‚Äėcoz it seems I know¬†everything¬†:D.

The only homework I did was set the route on Google maps, the prior night. Morning instead of waking up at 7 in the morning I set myself on the run, no breakfast, no water, only me, phone and the earphones. “Hell yeah, here I go, 24 km is nothing at all“. The route was to start from my hostel, run on the ISB road till wipro circle, take a right, run till gopalanpally, take a left, run till outer ring road, run along outer ring road till financial district exit and then run back to IIIT on the same road. The first phase till wipro circle went fine as it was decline and then the whole route back to IIIT made me realize what is meant by 24 kilometers and what not to do on the marathon day, everything I did that day. Surprisingly I had the timing of 2 hours 32 minutes for the whole stretch.

This confirmed my participation in the half marathon and I registered for it. After some time I realized that the ligament tear I had last year has resurfaced in my¬†valiant effort. ¬†‚ÄĚOkay, so ¬†now I have one week‚Äôs time to recover my injury‚Äú, that took 2 months the last year.

And now it was all on my last week’s preparation, that will decide my marathon result. As this became very crucial for me now to prepare as per the experts and not follow my intuition, so I joined the various fb groups, searched for various tips for last weeks tapering for the race. The pre-race interaction over Facebook  helped a lot and I realized what preparation means, I asked Ajendra Samal for his expert advice and told him my situation. First thing he told was I should have not run more than 15 km in the last two weeks before the marathon. The points of action were to take a lot of sleep, have a very good diet, and do not do more than 2 runs Tuesday (5 km) and Thursday (sprints 100 mt X 4) . I did the same, did proper stretching. Also doing my knee strengthening exercises side by side.  Thursday evening was perfect, did 5 100 mt sprints along with stretches to loosen all the muscles.

The muscles got loose so well that next morning I woke up to find myself suffering from cold and weakness all over my body, a little fever also, I was not able to get up from my bed till  2 pm in the noon, that too I got up to take the medicines and food and then again on the bed till 7 pm.  This was a big setback to me as the race was the day after and I cant even get up from the bed. Everything began to fade in front of me and I could not do anything. I took the medication and decided if by Saturday morning I am able to walk a bit i would surely be running for my life on the marathon day. And I thank Farzaan Merchant for his motivation to Faisal (he was also in my state) which motivated me also, and I quote :

‚ÄúIf u run then so will the fever run away too. Just go n run dont worry keep hydrating. I have given a 10 hour nonstop black belt exam once with a fever of 103 n full body aches. Strengthen your will n ur body will respond.‚ÄĚ

Hopefully Saturday morning I felt a bit better, so I went for rappelling event of GHAC for having a good time in the rocks and some hill walking, followed by 4 hours at the ahm expo, all was well and I still had cold and cough and a lot of weakness throughout my body. As I said earlier these reasons were way too less for me to opt out of it. Determination levels were too high to do the 21.1 kms at any cost, only one thought running through my mind.

Will it be easy? Nope!
Will it be worth it? ABSOLUTELY!‚ÄĚ

So the race day finally came, like said I woke up three hours before the race had my light breakfast ‚Äď peanut butter, bread and a banana. Packed up everything and I was all set for the marathon. We reached the start point by 5.20 and it was like a huge festival at peoples plaza with runners all around¬†warming¬†up for the half marathon, the full marathon and relay marathon guys already started. I was so amazed to see this much turn up for the event and again I respect the people of¬†Hyderabad for their fitness levels. ¬†So now was the race time, I had to stick to 2:15 pacer ‚Äúshiv kosagi‚ÄĚ in order to complete the race within 2 hours 15 minutes.

As the race was flagged off, it seemed like a heard of sheep is¬†released¬†and they all run in a single direction, My pacer was running in the starting, I caught up with him in first kilometer( the end of khairatabad flyover) and then ran with him till the end of panjagutta flyover, after which I realized ‚Äúthis shit is tough‚ÄĚ and i started getting exhausted, people were overtaking me like anything and I felt really miserable at that moment. I looked ahead and there were infinite number of people running in front and maybe double of them behind. ¬†I then had a small walk break combined with runs, I had some electrolyte at every water point and kept on running and walking in between, no pacer, no strategy, only one motive run forward and drink¬†Gatorade¬†at every point available, I also took one bottle lying on he road left over by someone and that helped a lot¬†seriously, I also could meet a IIIT aluminus (2008 passout) who approached me seeing IIIT T-shirt I was wearing, We had a nice chat along the run and then I again got tired and reduced my pace and he went ahead. I got to know why ‚Äúhyderabad marathon‚ÄĚ is the toughest city marathon, the whole route is up-down-up down-up-up-up. After reaching madhapur, things eased a bit and the finish was sure for me even if ¬†I walked the whole way. ¬†So another 40 minutes of running and i was there at the finishing line in gachibowli stadium, finishing it in 2 hours 18 minutes. And that feeling of completing a marathon cant be described by reading/writing this blog.¬†‚ÄúYou got to run¬†at least¬†one marathon in your life‚ÄĚ.

Half marathon over.

I did

Team GHAC (few members missing)

I am very grateful to the almighty that nothing serious happened during the run and I did it in decent time, The after effects of the marathon are the same cough, cold, weakness, body pains, leg muscles jammed up, not able to walk/move easily, Lets see what comes over next few days, whatever it may be, it can’t beat the experience I got. I am short of words for describing my feelings and do not know what to write more.

Anyways its about 24 straight hours without sleep for me now, on one side I am afraid of sleeping as the pain will increase tomorrow morning after I get up. But on the other side too tired now that I need some good sleep, hope that it comes and my health¬†doesn’t¬†deteriorate¬†from here.


P.S. :

  1. Thanks a ton to Hyderabad Runners for organizing such a big event with so much perfection. They had already won my heart for their organizing skills last year and today they just increased my respect towards them. Thanks Prashant Sir, Anirudha, Sarita and all those unknown powerhouses for HR.
  2. To the IIIT alumni who met me in the race, if you read this someday: I am very sorry sir I didn’t asked your name and left you behind a kilometer or so before the finish, will surely meet sometime on a GHAC meetup.
  3. For all the marathon aspirants, please do prepare for a marathon under an expert guidance and do not do bullshit things like me, I am one crazy jerk. Proper training does helps and improves your race experience.
  4. 2:15 pacer ‚ÄúShiv kosagi‚ÄĚ : Sorry ¬†I¬†couldn‚Äôt¬†keep up the pace with you, next time I ll come with more¬†preparation.
  5. Anybody please remind me tomorrow (26th august morning) that its my naani’s birthday and I need to wish her. She is the cutest lady on this planet and I love her a lot. Just remind me as its most probable I will forget it in my pains tomorrow :D


the final pose ;)

the final pose ūüėČ

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Monsoon madness : Rajgad to torna trek

Monsoon madness : Rajgad to torna trek

Another travelogue on the best monsoon trek till date for me.

Place rajgad fort, near pune, Maharashtra.

Date : August 2012.

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Where the going gets tough, we get going – Venkatagiri Durgam

One more team from Great Hyderabad Adventure Club GHAC scales the pinnacle of Venkatagiri Durgam.

“Venkatagiri Durgam”, ¬†as the name suggests is a place not so easily¬†accessible as a normal 800¬†mt¬† mountain. The 200¬†mt¬† pinnacle is up straight in the middle of a thick thorn forest after a maze of ways from the base village of Palem kota.

The view of the mountain from the starting point.

The view of the mountain from the starting point.

Palem kota is a village 10 kms from  venkatagiri town. Venkatagiri is a small town in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Its 50 km from Tirupati and about 40 km from Gudur. From Hyderabad one can take a direct train to venkatagiri or can go till Gudur in train and take a public bus from there. From Bangalore one can come to Tirupati and from Tirupati direct bus to venkatagiri.

After all the research and hard work in getting a tatkaal tickets from IRCTC the team from Great Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) was there in Palem kota in front of this pinnacle, all set to conquer the heights.

All I knew at that point was we have to go straight through the forest and the pinnacle has to be climbed from left side covering almost all the circumference and then up from the right side. I had a map of the trail followed by the last team lead by Goutham to the pinnacle but was not able to load it on my GPS that I was carrying for worse conditions.

The group!

The group!

This was my team Raman, Madhur, Rajashekar, Jatin, me, Puneet, Hardik, Nirmala and Ismat (left to right), everybody in high spirits all set to test their toughness against the toughness of the nature.

The leader and his bagpack!

The leader and his backpack!

Not only the thick forest and navigation was the problem, the weight of the backpack was itself a thing. My backpack had 5 liters of water, 1 T2 tent, I sleeping bag, First Aid kit, pair of extra clothes, 10 cuppa noodles packet, rain coat and a fleece rounding up to some 15 kg  Similar was the case with most of us about 10 kg would be the weight. Then we started walking straight on the trail towards the pinnacle and then started the maze of the trails, each trail leading to ways in all the directions just like the old cities, still we tried to go straight, however small the trail may be. Due to that many times we found ourselves in the dense thorns all around us and all we could do was to fight with all those bushes and get bruised up. After all sorts of crawling, tangling, crushing the thorns we found ourselves in a dried stream and decided to take that up to the highest point it takes us, as it was the only way to save ourselves from the fight with the thorns.

the thorn forest!

The thorn forest!

Everybody had covered the maximum part of the body they could to protect from the thorns. There were many situations where I and Puneet had to search for a possible way ahead, meanwhile everybody had rest and clicked the pictures. But except from the stream there was no way ahead for all of us to go with those heavy bags at our backs. Our lunch was also in one such break.

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

All tired up we decided we will follow the stream to the highest point it takes us, as we had no other option and time was running out. By 4 pm we were at the top most point of the stream after which also was the same forest and no clue of the pinnacle. Then we struggled out way through the forest to an open space and found that the pinnacle is still to out right and a lot of distance still left to cover. It came as a shocker and took some time to digest. The light was going to get off in a couple of hours and a lot still left to cover, there was no place to camp and summit was questionable.

The only thing I could make out then was to go straight to the pinnacle and see for the way to the top or camp at some possible place. I told the team that it were the last 2 hours to struggle our way and push ourselves to the edge of our capacity. The team was really awesome and kept the pace and in about half an hour we were at the base of the pinnacle, the thorns were gone by the time and we felt alive again. Adding to the fortune, we found a trail that seemed to be the correct one. After that there was no turning back and the clock was also ticking, we had to make most of the time we had left. We kept following the trail and in some time I was able to spot the plastic wrappers and covers on the way that confirmed that people come on this trail frequently. This time littering gave me so much happiness that you cant imagine. We walked 3/4 of the circumference of the pinnacle and clock showed 5.30. No altitude gained and only half an hour of light left. Then the trails started to gain altitude but on the adjacent hill and we were again going away from the pinnacle but there was no other option as the camp was to be set up at some higher ground.

The sunset.

The sunset.

The accent was steep though took us to the middle of the peaks and was the base for the pinnacle. This was the camping spot for the day and Puneet was getting everybody up as I and Jatin went to see the way ahead to the top. The light went away as we closed in to the pinnacle and the final steep was there. There was surely a way to the top somewhere there but not visible. I gave it a break for the day and went back to setup the camp for the day there.

The camp was set up amid long grass patch, it was way better than the thick thorn forest down.

The camping spot.

The camping spot.

The grass was crushed, ground leveled and the tents and tarp were laid and the whole camp was set.

The camp.

The camp.

Then dinner was made after 40 minutes of struggle to light fire using all techniques. After all the amazing food and story telling everybody went to sleep as next day was a long day.

5 am the camp woke up, got set for the day and packed everything and we were set for the days trek at 6 am. we left all our luggage over there and went to summit. We went straight to the pinnacle and after some struggle found the trail that led us to the stairs kind of structure and then going to the top seemed easy compared to last days’s hard work. Still we were walking on the steep edges and a little carelessness could be deadly at that moment.

The stairs on the way up

The stairs on the way up.

It took half an hour then to get to the top which was again a surreal place, completely out of the world. Clouds rushing directly into us after striking the mountain, then we finally reached the top of the place and had some fun moments.

Yess, I am there.

Yess, I am there.

The sun and its reflection.. the only things to be seen from the top.

The sun and its reflection.. the only things to be seen from the top.

The making of the video - "at the top of venkatagiri"

The making of the video – “at the top of venkatagiri”

The team that conquered Venkatagiri Durgam. Photo - Raman Gugnani

The team that conquered Venkatagiri Durgam. Photo – Raman Gugnani

The complete team atop.

The complete team atop.

While on the return to the base we took a unwilling detour and found ourselves at a water source and the problem of water was solved for the day. Returning back was not a problem as there was a single track to follow. A trek becomes a lot more simpler it you are on a track, same is the case when the life is on track.

The night camp(blue tarp) as seen from the top.

The night camp(blue tarp) as seen from the top.

Returning to the base camp was an easy yet very careful walk of half an hour on the steep slopes of the pinnacle. Then we had a fab breakfast followed by 4 hours of downhill trek on a downhill trail through the same thick forest. It was a monotonous walk but accompanied by all sorts of snacks as everybody was trying to loose the weight form their bags.  After 4 hours we were there at the base of the mountain but a 5 km stretch of sparse thorns and the trail maze was waiting for us to get lost in it. Everywhere around was looking the same in all the directions but all we had to do was head east, now nobody was in condition to get into the thorns, so we thought of following the trails and after 1 hour we realized that we are lost somewhere. There the GPS came into action and I saw the point where I marked the starting point of our trek, after confirming with the localities there we again started and reached palem kota by 3 pm. The bus from venkatagiri was at 7.30 pm and we seriously wanted to have a dip somewhere or the other. There was a lake just there and was the perfect opportunity for a bath/swim.

A swim at last.

A swim at last.

No matter how hard trek you do, but when it is followed by a dip in the water everything comes to life again and you feel full energized. The swim was followed by the lunch which was cup noodles and tasted damn good. this marked the end of our trek and we returned to venkatagiri.

The trek was indeed one of my tough treks and made to look easier by the enthusiasm and coordination of the group. Everybody was indeed tough and never made a complain about the trek and did whatever I said.

Puneet, my organizing partner was responsible for all the tasty food that we had all through the trek the tasty palak paneer, paneer butter masala, yummy maggie and everything else.

And they were the two organizers.

And they were the two leaders!

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