From childhood through adulthood, we have all looked up at the clouds and imagined them to different things, animals, shapes. Now, how about some imagination on the rocks? Wondering how? Then, follow us to Orvakal, a tiny village 239 kms from Hyderabad and about 20 kms from Kurnool.
NH44 – Our frequent travel partner
On a weekend in July, we decided it was time for some travel action and zeroed in on visiting Orvakal and Alampur, two places we pass close by everytime we make a trip to Kurnool and beyond but put off visits for later, simply because they are within a day trip’s distance from Hyderabad !
So, we were back with our travel partner, NH44 or the Bangalore Highway. Having got used to this highway so much, we were quite surprised to see some new sights, like this scene at Jadcherla. We hadn’t observed hill range near Jadcherla on our previous trips, probably because we usually pass by this town before day break.
This one though, is a very familiar and fascinating structure but we never get a chance to stop and have a better look.
Located on a mound in the middle of the Krishna River in the outskrits of Kurnool, this old fort wall has always held our interest but we only manage to click pictures of it from the speeding car through the windshield. What is this fort wall doing in the middle of the mighty river? Was it a watch post? Should stop by sometime and get a better look.
Orvakal – Nature’s sculpture
There goes a famous song in Telugu that says man enhanced nature’s beauty through his sculpting talent, nature though, seems to have beat man at it by millions of years. That is what Orvakal is all about, natural rock formations that come in so many shapes that make your imagine run wild.
The rock formations of Orvakal are mainly Silica and Quartz rocks, that have been carved into various shapes probably by the wind and a water body nearby. There is not much information on the rocks of Orvakal anywhere on the internet.
To reach Orvakal, one has to take the Nandyal route from Kurnool city. The rock formations are very easy to spot as they stretch along the highway for about 2 kilometers.
The entrance to the rock formations is through AP Tourism’s Haritha Restaurant. A dirt track takes you to the rock formations from where you are free to climb your way up.
We walked a little further and first met up with Mr.Sphinx !
The path then leads to what looks like a sea of rock formations, spread across as far as you can see.
In the excitement of finding a landscape we had never seen before, we climbed every rock we could. Most rocks are easy to climb, unless you want to get very adventurous and climb the dangerous looking ones.
There is some construction activity going on, AP Tourism is trying to build some kind of a resort here.
This could be both a good and a bad idea. It would be lovely to stay here but we cannot guarantee if it keep the natural beauty of the place untouched.
Walking ahead further we came across this rock, we couldn’t decide whether it looked like a puppy or a duck !
This one was very interesting.
All of us agreed unanimously on this – WALL-E !
We trekked along the rocks, crossed a muddy pathway to reach the opposite side which had some more rock formations leading to the water body.
Miniature Grand Canyon
Orvakal is also promoted as a miniature Grand Canyon. Here’s why:
Wind weathered rock formations on either side of a water body, give Orvakal the look and feel of a canyon.
As the afternoon set in, we decided to head back and realized that we had a long way to walk back to the opposite side from where we started. Luckily, we found a spot where the water bed was dry and we walked to other side.
A few kilometers from Orvakal, in a tiny village called Kethavaram, there are rock paintings believed to belong to the Paleolithic Age. There is no information on where the village is or if the paintings are open for public but the fact that the pre-historic rock paintings can be found here means the Orvakal area must have once been a Paleolithic settlement. You will find several rock formations that look like the rock shelters we studied about in history.
On the way back, we spotted this perfect rock shelter !
Imagine people of Pre-historic times taking shelter under these rocks !
Orvakal is one of the most interesting places we have visited, there is a unique beauty in the rugged terrain.
Lunch at Haritha Restaurant
Instead of taking the long route back to the starting point, we climbed down a rocky slope, which was not dangerous but scary if you were not used to such feats !
We were sweating and tired after all the walking but the hot, spicy, delicious food served at Haritha Restaurant refilled our energies. This restaurant is quite popular on this highway as people stop by for a break even if one is not visiting Orvakal rock formations.
Lunch over, we were back on the highway, a glorious cloud filled sky greeted us as we crossed the Thungabhadra River at Kurnool. We couldn’t resist taking a picture, even if it was from the car wind shield and the picture came out with the car accessories reflected too !
Our next destination – Alampur.
– There is no fixed pathway to explore the rock formations. You can walk around as you please as long as you keep track of the way back.
– Most buses plying between Kurnool and Nandyal pass through Orvakal, if you are not taking your own vehicle this is the best mode of transport. You would find cabs/autos from Kurnool too.
– Carry an umbrella as there is very little shade from heat and rain, unless you want to experience the life and times of Pre-historic man and take shelter under the rocks !
– Check locally about the possibility of visiting Kethavaram rock paintings. We did not but they should be very interesting visit.