Monday, 26 June 2017

Nagarjuna Sagar- A Getaway from Hyderabad

End of summer, Ghumakkad resumes the joy of exploration. 
A close getaway from Hyderabad with just an overnight stay. Destination- Nagarjunasagar 175 kms away, a cool 3 hours drive.
 The route we took by road.

Who were the co-travellers with Ghumakkad?

Did you know that 'Mall' is the name of a village in Chintapally mandal of Nalgonda district-- even before Malls came up for shopping and entertainment? See the picture below where we halted for breakfast.

The real pleasure of cross country driving in India comes from the agricultural fields all over.

With two breaks in between, we reached Nagarjunasagar after four hours. We had booked our accommodation on-line in Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation's Haritha resort at Vijay Vihar. Deluxe AC room on weekends costs Rs 3400/- including all taxes. B/F is complimentary. Other veg meals in the region of Rs 175/- per head. Pictures:

Here is a short video showing the Buddha Park in Vijay Vihar resort.

The view from Vijay Vihar resort is simply breathtaking. Even though the water level was 80 feet lower than the full tank level (FTL) of 590 feet, the reservoir looked enormous.

Here is a short 40 second video view of the reservoir from Vijay Vihar resort.

Nagarjunasagar is a dam on river Krishna. Some interesting facts about the dam:
·         .                             Khosla Committee to decide on dam site, refused to visit as there was no motorable road
·         Local ruler at his own cost and with volunteer villagers from 25 villages help built a road in one week
·         It took 12 years to construct the dam: 1955-67.
·         150 meters tall and 1.6 kms wide, it is the tallest masonry dam in the world. 5 km total length.
·         26 crest gates each 13 meters (W) x 14 meters (H)
·         Cost 104 lakh rupees (1955 prices) out of which the Raja gave 50% along with several thousand acres of ancestral land
·         Originally an irrigation-cum-hydropower project
·         Later 200km long water supply scheme to Hyderabad city implemented which lifts the water 1600 ft
·         Boundary between Telangana (Nalgonda district) and Andhra Pradesh (Guntur district) passes through the dam.

Here are a few pictures depicting various stages of the construction of the dam. These are displayed in Vijay Vihar reception lobby.

The  Dam as it looks now downstream.

      There have been many issues concerning the environmental impact of the project. Readers may browse Wikipedia for a summary.

On Day-1 as we drove past the dam, the setting sun cast a different picture.

Ancient Buddhist sites were located and excavated in 1923 near Vijay Nagar East. Artefacts were thereafter dug up and shifted to Nagarjunakonda- an island now in Nagarjunasagar reservoir. Few pieces dating back to 3rd century AD were relocated to nearby village Anupu.  Ghumakkad will take you to Nagarjunakonda in the next story. Preview shot:

Thanks for browsing.

   -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 26th June 2017

Saturday, 24 June 2017

River and Rocks- PQs

Few days back our daughter Akanksha (Ashi to family and friends) had gone on an all-women hike in Zion Narrows, Utah USA. It is hailed as one of the top-5 adventure hikes by NatGeo. She shared some pictures wading through the river. A river finds its way whether in the plains or rocks or hills.
This story is an outcome of the rocks shown in her pictures. Ghumakkad got reminded of Bhedaghat near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh India- where the river Narmada cuts through marble rocks. Similarly, Sahasradhara near Dehradun has a short hike where you go up a stream into a cave in flowing water. Next memory which flashed was of Narsing Temple near Bidar in Karnataka India, where you wade through chest high water in a 600-foot long cave for darshan of Lord Narsing. You may browse the full story Bidar-Brimming with History. 

All the above sites got created because water found its way. Not because of its force but its persistence. This is precisely what Jim Watkins had said. Here is a PQ- picturesque quote- for you superimposed on famous marble rocks of Jabalpur.

A companion quote on steadfastness of the rocks follows. This time the picture is courtesy Ashi taken at Zion Narrows USA and the quotation by Thomas Jefferson.

Another quote that comes to mind is by John Muir who had said that Rivers flow not past but through us! You may browse the earlier PQ here.
More pictures of Nagarjunasagar and Zion Narrows will follow. 

Thanks for browsing

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Neeta Bhargava/ 24th June 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Flying with a River Tern

Ever flown alongside a River Tern? Well, Ghumakkad almost did!
This is a real 'flight' story.
River Tern or Indian River Tern is a slender and sleek bird-- grey and white in colour with a distinct yellow beak and forked tail. Ghumakkad had shared many pictures of the Tern earlier. But these pictures invariably showed the River Tern perched on a rock or stationary near a river or canal-- like the picture below taken at Ranganathittu bird sanctuary in Karnataka, India.

To browse the full story on Ranganathittu and its rich variety of birds, click on the story 'Ranganathittu- Paradise for Bird watchers'.

Recently, while on a boat ride from Nagarjunasagar (a dam and reservoir n Krishna river Telangana) to Nagarjunakonda (name of the island), few River Terns decided to fly alongside the boat. These pictures were all taken from a moving motor boat and a 50mm lens. The pictures have not been photo-shopped, just cropped to flow with the story. Feel the low level expertise of River Terns.

 We also captured a short 40 second video of river terns in flight from our boat. However, engine noise has suppressed the commentary. But the terns are clearly visible. After the terns left, a cormorant took over the low level flight!

Hope you enjoyed 'flying' with the river terns.
More on Nagarjunasagar and Nagarjunakonda in next posts.

Thanks for browsing

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 21st June 2017