Chilling out in the Midst of the Clouds!!!
It’s been some time now since we went on a family tour. So mom initiated the topic with a wonderful proposal of the place as well. A short 3 days extended-weekend trip to Horsley hills. Things were planned and mom booked the rooms at the resort and the next weekend we were there.
We reached Madanapalle at around 4 in the evening. Madanapalle is the nearest base to the hill station. From there we took a taxi and it was a 29 km ride which includes 20 km on the ground and 9 km on ghat road. The curvy ride on the hair-pin bends was an experience, experienced after years together. When we almost reached the resort at the top of the hills at around 5 pm, it started raining. Only then did I realize the stupidity of not getting an umbrella. It should have been the basic common sense – at the top of the hill, where the clouds graze the soil, of course it would rain often. Ha, my stupidities aside! The temperature was falling steadily right from the hill base. At the top, when it was raining, the temperature would have been 5 to 10 degree celicius. Oooohh!!! Well, guess am cold blooded. I needed that chillness badly. And I was enjoying every moment thoroughly.
My mom had booked the ‘Wild Winds’ resort of the ‘Haritha – Andhra Pradesh Tourism Dept’. It was a beautiful building. As such the resort has several buildings to serve clients of different group no.s and budgets, starting from Dorms, then Cottages, Wild Winds, Wind Whistle, right till the heritage building called Governer’s Banglow.
We went to the room and changed and freshened up and came out of the room at around 6 pm. I had never ever seen such a dark, chill and eerie 6 pm so far in my life. See the pic above, believe me - it was taken at 6 pm!!! We just walked around till 7 or so and had dinner and retired for the day.
Next day as usual mom woke up first and pulled me out of the bed and dad wouldn’t nudge a bit. Well, the plan was ‘to do nothing at horsley hills’. So we left him and went for a nice refreshing morning walk. The pic above was at 7 am.
The place had several Eucalyptus trees, that were taller than the rest of the trees and they blew violently. My dad got seriously scared that we were gonna be stranded at Horsley. Reason – Cyclone was crossing the shores of North Andhra and we were at South!!!
Once I and mom came out and took a stroll we realized, since the Eucalyptus trees were too tall they only shook violently and the rest were peaceful. I enquired at the Reception if I could get a guided trek and hell fell on my head. He said that it’s been dropped recently due to the fear of - Tigers!!! Now, I didn’t want to come face to face with any hungry tiger!!! We walked about in the resort and I found this person called Badhri with his equipements. Hmmmmmmm. Na na na... This is a surprise!!! Wait for the next post to know about him and his equipments!!!
There is a little ISCKON temple atop and we took off to it. The temple is not a big or old one. Just a small dome with a single Lord Krishna statue built in 1956.
But the route to reach it was a trek indeed. And as I reached there, thanks to the height the wind was blowing so wildly.
The video atop is not edited or kept at 2x speed. The grass is blowing in the wind. Would you believe the fierceness of the wind that blows here!!! This point is the highest point in Andhra Pradesh at 3845 yards. Even higher than Tirupathi Balaji Temple!
Later by noon, we took off to a good trek on the ghat roads (note: not in the forest!!!). We got down the ghat road by 2.5 km to reach Gangothri - An amazing scenic water point. But more serene than Gangothri was the route to reach it.
The curvy roads with shying away from sunlight, with tall trees on either sides, it was amazing. I was seeing images of lifetime in front of my eyes. Enroute, was a micro-mini waterfalls.
It’s actually a little water originating region that falls as a little water fall and flows as a mini river. I couldn’t resist my temptation to drink it. It’s actually far more healthier than any water as it was just coming out of the earth and the taste was heavenly. Never have I tasted water so pure and pristine.
The whole 5 km up and down trek was so fulfilling to heart and opposite to the stomach. As such walking in ghat road has its own pressure. Walking up the hill, we were working against gravitational pull and it needs more energy. When we reached the resort at 2:30 pm we were really hungry. A typical Andhra Meals (read – spicy) was heavenly and I was off to noon nap.
At 5:30, we started off again to Gali Banda to watch sunset. Gali Banda is a rocky terrain (Yes, you need good shoes to hold grip onto the downwards slope of the rocks). The valley view to too good here and to watch the sun set here is so so amazing and tranquil. This place is a haven for drunkards and it is quite evident here. The whole terrain is filled with broken glasses of alcoholic beverages. Now, dare not venture to Gali Banda with bad footwear, unless you want some ‘Povoma Oorgolam’ Kushboo effect! (Ahem, for those who don’t relate to it, it’s a scene from a Tamizh movie where the heroine Kushboo walks on broken glasses).
A good North Indian meals and I was off to a deep slumber. Next day we didn’t have much to do. We walked about. This place was earlier called the Enugu Mallamma Hills, with the presence of the little temple to Enugu Mallamma. After the advent of the English, this place was re-christened as Horsley Hills after the collector’s name, Mr. W.H.Horsley.
We walked upto the Valley View Point above the Governer’s Banglow. Again a breathtaking view.
Also there was another viewpoint near the Green Meadows, a resort building. We went there and sat there for I dunno how many hours. It was the most pleasing family moment since quite some time I guess.
On the way to the Green Meadows is a small zoo that has the local animals, a coffee plantation,and some amazing marvels of nature. One was a Fusion Tree. It’s actually 2 trees that had fused into one in halfway! There is also a 150 yrs old Eucalyptus Tree that had won the Mahavriksha Puraskar!
There was another tree that had an inward groove throughout. A nature study centre aka museum is here which was under renovation and we couldn’t see it. Among the houses in Green Meadows is also a house in which Horsley himself lived. A specimen of a tile made in the year 1865 is also seen here.
Coming soon with that surprise as said above!!! Wait and watch!!!
TO GET THERE:
From Chennai: 250 km via Vellore, Chittoor, Palamaner, Punganur
From Bangalore: 150 km via Haskote, Kolar, Srinivasapur, Gownipalli, Rayalpadu
From Hyderabad: 550 km via Kurnool, Nandyal, Mydukur, Cudappah, Rayachoti
To Horsley Hills:
From Madanapalle: 29 km. (20 on ground and 9 on ghat roads).
The last lap requires a local bus or car at around Rs.400.
Rs. 15 in auto from Madanapalle Bus Stand to Taxi Stand.
Ph. No. of Chandu – a taxi driver at Madanapalle: 09703465593
Ph. No. of Horsley Hills Resort: 08571-279323,24
Ph. No. of APTDC at Chennai: +91 44-24353373.
Ph. No. of APTDC at Bangalore: +91 80-22385513
Ph. No. of APTDC at Hyderabad: +91 9848540371
Ph. No. of APTDC at New Delhi: +91 11-23381293
Reservation of rooms is necessary as the total no.of rooms available is only 34.
Rent at different rooms and no.s available:
Dorm (30): Rs.100
Wind Falls (4): Rs.2200
Wild Winds (8): Rs.1200
Whispering Winds (8): Rs 800
Cottage: Double(4): Rs.1200, Single(4):700
Governer’s Bangalow (5): Rs.1800
Governer's Suite (1): Rs.2000
Dedicated to Mom & Pop