How long can you go without breaking your daily routine? For us, by the end of 2 weeks, we seem to be itching to go out of the city and get some fresh air, by the 3rd week, we have strong drive/travel cravings and by the 4th week, they turn into serious mental ailments if we do not hit the travel button ! Despite a 5 day joyful trip to our ancestral village, by the 2nd weekend of March, we were desperate to just go somewhere. We think, it was not despite our trip to hometown but because of it. We have severe bout of homesickness every time we return from home, not very wise for people on the wrong side of 35 !
Organic meal at a little known eatery…
92 kms away ! That was our Sunday lunch plan because we couldn’t come up with any other plan, we did not even wake up early to go out on a day trip. So, it was going to be Cafe Ethnic, an organic food restaurant in Zaheerabad, we had read about it on the internet and thought it would be a nice idea for a long drive.
Driving on Hyderabad ORR is always fun, the spring blooms on the road side made it very picturesque.
The pictures in this post may not be too good, most were just random clicks taken on mobile phone through the windshield.
While driving on Hyderabad ORR, remember the speed limit is only 100 km/hr, even 105 km/hr could get you a ticket of Rs.1000, plus tax of Rs.400 ! That’s speaking from experience.
It took us about 2 hours to reach Zaheerabad, an important commercial centre on the Telangana-Karnataka border, a manufacturing unit of Mahindra is located there. As we drove closer to Zaheerabad, we recalled our road trip way back in 2012, when the roads in this region were so bad that it took us 10 hours of driving in the night from Bijapur to Hyderabad via Zaheerabad.
This was the first time we were entering Zaheerabad, the town has decent roads and like many developing urban centres, we could find a lot of activity, hustle and bustle. It did not take us too long to spot Cafe Ethnic, tucked away in a small by-lane.
Cafe Ethnic is run by Deccan Development Society, an organisation working for the development of villages in Medak District. The USP of the restaurant is that they serve organic, millet based food. The millets are sourced from farmers associated with DDS.
The set up of the restaurant is as basic as it can get, nothing fancy, a few huts and dining tables, that is all.
This may not appeal to all, we were happy in a simple setting as this. It was quite hot outside but the thatched huts had a nice cool effect.
We ordered their regular thali and were served this nice meal.
The Jowar roti was perfect. Just a few days earlier, we had tried our hand at making Jowar roti at home with disastrous results, we were in awe of how people manage to make a perfect Jowar roti. The chutney, Pachi Pulusu and the sweet millet kesari were amazing as was their millet khichdi, we ordered an extra plate of khichdi. They do not have too many varieties but this healthy, tasty meal more than makes up for it.
Sylvan bliss – Drive to Gottam Gota
Overall, we were pleased with our long drive for a Sunday lunch. It was only 2.30 PM and we were headed home when we casually checked the internet to find out if there were any other places to see around Zaheerabad and we came up with Gottam Gutta waterfalls some 20 odd kilometres away. Obviously, we did not expect to find any water in mid-March but we just wanted to drive around.
Enroute, we passed by the Mahindra manufacturing unit, the roads leading to the unit are very well maintained, giving Zaheerabad a ‘posh’ look !
Once we left Zaheerabad, the village roads took over and we drove through some very picturesque forest areas, mostly dry as the summer was beginning.
We passed by several tiny villages, it really feels like being transported to a different time period, may be back to the times when people lived as tribes, just a community of 20-30 houses. Here is one such village.
One would simply want to forget a metropolis like Hyderabad just about 100 kms away and settle down to a quite life like this !
Driving through some more hamlets, following Google Maps, we arrived at Gottam Gutta Waterfalls.
As expected, the falls were completely dry, except for a muddy pool where a few birds were taking a dip and flew away the moment we got down from our car. Their chirping was so loud that we were sure, they were abusing us for disturbing them.
The falls reminded us of the Dhaba Dhabhi waterfalls near Yadgir which we visited a few years ago. Not surprising because Zaheerabad, Yadgir are all part of the same region. We doubt if there would be a heavy water flow even in the monsoons. These falls are on the downstream of the Chandrampalli Dam in Karnataka (we had been to that dam a few years ago) and unless that dam overflows, it is unlikely that this waterfall will have any water.
Water or no water, the place is very scenic, the rugged rocks give a feeling that you are on some strange planet, look at our car, does it remind you of a rover exploring a new planet?
We spent about 10 minutes, just listening to the silence. As often as possible, our brains need to hear that silence !
Then, we decided to head back. Instead of driving via Zaheerabad and taking the regular route, we took the less travelled road to Hyderabad.
It turned out to be a wonderful drive, more villages and endless beautiful rural scenes. The entrance to almost every house in every village was brightly painted like this:
Painting the entrance/threshold is considered auspicious in Indian households, it is usually painted yellow but here, we found, of all the colours, blue was the most dominant.
We strictly followed Google Maps, because we were travelling through some very remote areas close to the Telangana-Karnataka border, the roads, though, were amazing, it was a huge surprise.
We crossed the border into Telangana and back to Karnataka and Telangana again, here is our Google Map screenshot.
Unlike the popular highways, there are no Welcome boards, the only way to know in which state you were was to check whether the milestones were in Kannada or Telugu ! At one border point, we could only spot this difference.
This is the point, according to Google Maps, when we were back in Telangana after shuttling between the two states. The trees here were suddenly full of spring leaves in contrast to the dry trees on the other side of the border, looks like “Telangana ku Haritha Haram” (“Green Necklace for Telangana”, a Telangana Government scheme to increase green cover in the state) is working !
From Kohir, probably the only town in this area, we took the route that lead us to Anantagiri near Vikarabad, our regular weekend drive hangout place, 60 kms from Hyderabad. Last year, just after the monsoons, we had been to Anantagiri and the entire hill range was lush green, look at what summer has done to the hills !
For some people like this writer, summer is their favourite season, it would be, if you grew up in Madras where there is just one season all through the year – summer !
From Anantagiri, it was just the usual drive home, we were back home for an early dinner.
If you are as aimless as us on a weekend, try this drive, post monsoons, we are sure it would be a visual treat.
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