When it comes to the rainy season, it’s the time I spend in my balcony with hot tea and pakoras that I love the most. On the flipside though, it makes me lazy and keeps me indoors. After a long spell of rains for two weeks, I was itching to go somewhere and wanted a quick break for about half a day. The first place that came to my mind was Ananthagiri Hills, a small hill station 81 kms, little beyond Vikarabad.
The weather forecast was heavy rains but we decided to take our chance and set out early morning at 4 am in my friend Raju’s car. There is no bigger joy for a driving enthusiast than to slowly drive on a winding hill road with the windows of your car rolled down, cool breeze kissing your forehead and songs of the wild brooks humming in your ears. Hidden by dense foliage, you may not see these wild brooks, but you can certainly hear them.
On the way, we passed by Chevella and could see different vegetables being grown in vast stretches. A lot of vegetables in the city are brought from here. As we passed, the air was suddenly filled with the smell of fresh dhania. Over the many years I have been travelling, I have realised that we not only enjoy what we see, but also what we smell.
We could hear a lot of peacocks calling and were surprised to see a row of at least 10 of them on the way. Never in my life, have I seen so many peacocks in one place. I assumed that the farmers here protect the peacocks. After a beautiful ride, we reached Ananthagiri.
Untouched by commercialisation
The landmark of the village is the beautiful temple of Anantha Padmanabham Swamy. We reached early so we decided to walk around the forest to kill time. Ananthagiri is one of those places with a distinct non-touristy vibe about it. Here, you realise that you are the only one for miles, not counting the green bee-eater perched high on a branch who is watching your every move. Lush greenery greeted us everywhere, the scenes reminded me of the monsoon treks I used to do in Maharashtra, in fact there was one stretch which looked very similar to the Kaas plateau, the valley of flowers. We went to the sunset point and climbed down the steep hill with some difficulty. There was a flat stretch of meadow, from where the view was breathtaking.
A couple of hours later, we went to the Anantha Padmanabham Swamy temple. There were hardly any visitors and the priest was doing his morning chores going to every small deity in the temple and reciting mantras.
The temple is in a cave form though most of it is covered by brick and mortar. After a quick prayer, we came out and went to the temple pond below. It was surrounded by forest on all sides. Soon it was time head home and lucky for us, it started drizzling as we got into the car.
I thanked the universe for being kind to us and allowing us enough time to look around.
Birding – A lot of my birding enthusiast friends come here regularly due to the rich biodiversity of the place.
Trekking- Groups like GHAC organise trekking, and rock climbing adventure trips to Ananthagiri regularly. The Hyderabad Bicycling Club has also organised biking trips to the place.
How to reach:
Ananthagiri is just 81 kms from Hyderabad. There are buses from Hyderabad. But it is better if you take your own vehicle.
Haritha hotel run by the Telangana tourism is the best place to stay. There is also a Forest Rest House with basic cottages.
If you are going there during the monsoon, do carry an umbrella / raincoat and wear good shoes. If you want to go trekking, the surface can get very slippery, so wear appropriate footwear.