Oh yes, there is a canyon in India. Surely not as grandeur as the one in Arizona but deceptively big enough.
I was surprised to come across it in somebody’s instagram feed and searched about it online to find very little information. I finally had to contact the guy on Instagram itself. The remote village of Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh is cut off from public transport and hard to find ways to reach it.
The closest railway stations are Muddanur or Tadipatri. Close by is a massive underground limestone caves in Belum, located on the highway with a rare bus that stops by but for one who is not a native Telugu speaker, I wouldn’t recommend trying to reach Belum by bus.
Both Belum and Gandikota can be covered in a day, provided you don’t want to trek down the canyon and climb up. Nearby there are other places you could see- Adoni Fort, KurnoolFort, lankamalla sanctuary.
How to reach-
Tadipatri and Muddanur are the closest stations near to the sites, depending on which you’d like to do first.
Most people go by road, though I’d do it by train sometime, for a solo trip. If by public transport, reaching by train to either of the destinations (Muddanur – finish Gandikota first and then Belum caves and board train at Tadipatri for return (which is closer to Belum caves)
Once you reach Tadipatri or Muddanur- a local taxi is best. I didn’t see a single Auto or bus go by in either of the locations.
Stay and Food-
I heard that there are few options for food and stay in these places but actually there are NO options. It is only the AP tourism’s Haritha Resorts. We called them for a booking and they kept diverting us to book it online. The hotel at Gandikota was not listed in AP tourism’s website and we just checked in on spot. They are empty but decently kept for a remote location. Food options are zilch except for what is available in the AP tourism’s hotels’ and a digestive system made of steel is recommended or survive on juices and bananas ‘coz the places are hot enough to get dehydrated.
We ate at Jammalamadugu, a town which is nearer to Gandikota- the next best place to stay and dine. Food was passable- simple fare of rotis, rice and curry.
Between the AP tourism hotel at Belum and the one at Gandikota, I suppose the one in Gandikota would fare better ’cause it was themed to look like a fort- and seemed bigger. We had just crashed at Belum. It was just two huge dorms shared by everyone. It was 600 for an entire dorm that could accommodate 6 people. I managed to convince the caretaker to give me an entire dorm for myself being the only lady there for an extra 150rs.
Another option would be to camp overnight at the Gandikota canyon if you want to catch sunrise from over the canyon.
Teacher’s note on the board, MOP Vaishnav College, Chennai