Day 2 of our trip began with our friend’s viral fever rebounding from exhaustion of the previous day’s travel. Leaving him to sleep, the remaining two of us went out for breakfast to, you guessed it right, Sankara Vilas ! Who would not, if they were served Pongal that looked as inviting as this !
Followed by Filter Coffee !
For us, Sankara Vilas coffee has become a new standard.
The God who loves Panakam
We checked out from our hotel and drove to Mangalagiri again, this time to visit the Panakala Narasimha Swamy Temple, located on a small hillock adjacent to the Narasimha Swamy Temple at Mangalagiri. A ghat road leads up to the hillock, enroute, you get this breathtaking view of the lofty temple gopuram and Mangalagiri town.
We had visited the Panakala Narasimha Swamy temple way back in 2007, we could still identify a spot where we stopped to click a group photo ! Those were days when mobile phones did not have a camera and the word ‘selfie’ was not part of our vocabulary !
We bought a Special Darshan ticket that allows you into the Sanctum Sanctorum. The interesting feature of this temple is that, Panakam, a sweet drink made of Jaggery, cardamom and black pepper corns, is given as an offering to the idol. The deity gets the name Panakala Narasimha Swamy from his love for the sweet drink.
The story is that, Lord Narasimha killed a demon with fire emanating from his body and to cool himself, he asked devotees to offer sweet drinks in each Yuga, in Kaliyuga’s turn, he asked for Panakam ! Read this mythological story on the temple’s official website.
The Sanctum is actually a small cave, the idol is carved out of a face of rock in the cave. As you reach the Sanctum, you are given Panakam in a vessel and the priest pours it into the mouth of the idol. They say you can hear the water gurgle down, which is believed to be the Lord drinking Panakam but these days with the crowd, pushing and jostling, you barely get a minute before the idol. The priest pours the Panakam into the idol and gives you some of the left overs, you can go out and drink as many glasses from a counter outside. Heavenly Panakam it is ! It was Sri Rama Navami or Lord Rama’s birthday and the tradition in Andhra is to drink Panakam, since we were travelling, we thought we would miss it this time but Lord Narasimha was kind enough to arrange his divine Panakam for us ! He sure knows our love for food and drink !
After our darshan, we went to the handloom shops again for some last minute shopping and from the Krishna delta, we turned our car towards the Godavari region – our destination was Dindi.
Sterling Holiday’s Dindi – By the Godavari
From Mangalagiri, it was going to be a 4 hour drive to Dindi, we chose the route via Gudivada and Bhimavaram. The roads were decent and we got to see the very scenic rural Krishna-Godavari region. Finding decent food options here was an issue, we tried Gudivada, Mudinepalli but found nothing interesting, we managed with a road side eatery that served us oily but tasty dosas for lunch. We reached Dindi around 4 PM.
In August 2016, as part of our Konaseema trip, we spent a short time at AP Tourism’s Coconut Country resort in Dindi but we loved the place so much that when we were planning this trip and thought “from Guntur, where?”, Dindi was the first place that came up to our mind. This time, instead of staying at the AP Tourism resort, we chose to stay at Sterling Holiday’s Dindi – By the Godavari because we managed to get a good deal on Makemytrip.com !
Dindi – By the Godavari like all Sterling Holiday resorts is a luxury resort, so the look and feel, the rates, the hospitality is supposed to be a luxury too ! Our first impressions – lovely ! A pretty lily pond is in the middle of the resort and all rooms are built around it.
We were checked into our rooms facing the lotus pond, the view from our room.
The balcony at the other end of the room, opened to a coconut grove with the Godavari river beyond it. It was pleasant but we immediately had to compare it with the AP Tourism’s resort right next door where, from the balcony one can directly view the river, they surely had a better balcony view.
We relaxed in our rooms for a bit. Our friend was too weak from the strain of the journey and decided he was going to spend the rest of our stay at Dindi, sleeping ! The rest of us went to have some tea. The restaurant has seating overlooking the lily pond, very refreshing to sit by the pond and slowly savour your tea.
A lazy walk around the resort followed.
One can never get tired or bored of greenery.
Dindi is the kind of the place where one will have nothing to do except laze, it is the kind of place where you spend hours together just chilling and talking or just open your book and read or simply gaze at the river.
The silence does wonders to your mind.
The resort has a nice pool surrounded by coconut trees, a view one will enjoy, after sun set, we went for a quick swim because the pool closes by 7 PM. That was followed by dinner, a decent buffet spread.
We dragged our sick friend out for some fresh air, sat under a canopy beside the swimming pool and chatted away till we were yawning. One of the things you do in places like this is, go to bed early.
And as it happens when you are on a holiday, we woke up before day break and the first thing we did was open the door, look at the water lilies and take in the fresh morning air.
As we watched, the sun slowly peeked from behind the coconut trees, the colour of the pond changing according to the sun light.
We might make great advancements in technologies and intelligence but we would never to able to replicate the simple, delicate beauty of nature !
We made some coffee for ourselves, a morning cup of coffee on a vacation is always welcome, even if it is the watery, hardly-tastes-like-coffee, coffee that one gets to make from the coffee makers in hotel rooms !
While our sick friend refused to step out of the room, we went for another round of splashing in the pool, there were not too many people and we had a relaxing swim. That was followed by complimentary buffet breakfast, which could have been much better but we do not complain about food, so we had a leisure breakfast and then some proper coffee sitting by the lawns.
While sipping our coffee, it struck us that we had to check out in another hour and our long weekend was almost over, we had another 8 hour drive back home to Hyderabad. It is unbelievable how time flies when you are on a holiday, even if it is a quiet place like Dindi where there is nothing to do other than whiling away your time.
By 10 AM, we left Dindi and headed back home, we took the National Highway route via Eluru, we stopped for lunch at Vijayawada Innotel Hotel on the highway and later for some nice coffee at the newly opened swanky highway resto “Rajugari Thotha” a little before Suryapet. The food seems good, the washrooms are great and good place to stop over while travelling on the Hyderabad – Vijayawada highway. This one could give some competition to the “world famous in Suryapet” highway resto, Highway 7 !
We reached Hyderabad around 6.30 PM, our friend who slept through the entire journey in the back seat, could barely walk home. He spent the next 4 days in hospital ! The other two of will never let him forget that ! Thus ended our trip to the Krishna – Godavari delta region.
While returning from a trip to Rajamundry a month later in April, we happened to visit this place near Vijayawada.
This place called Pavithra Sangam and is point where a canal from the Godavari has been linked to the Krishna River in recent years for managing water resources. These two rivers are have shaped the history of Andhra and one cannot imagine the culture without these two rivers. Both the rivers run parallel to each other with a distance of more than 200 kms between them and, this is probably the only place where you can capture the two mighty rivers in one frame !
- Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple is open from 7 AM to 3 PM. The temples remains closed after 3 PM for the rest of the day, plan your visit accordingly.
- Dindi is about 180 kms from Vijayawada, via the shortest route on Google Maps. The road is good enough to cover the distance in about 3.5 hours.
- Sterling Holidays’ Dindi By the Godavari is good for a relaxing holiday if you get a good deal on makemytrip or booking.com, the place is a little expensive, if you were to pay the full amount, may not be great value for money.
- Kids do not have a play area here, except for the pool.
- Between Sterling Holiday and AP TOurism’s Coconut Country, we preferred the latter, as it is more economical, better views, closer to the river, more space and play area for children.
- If you are visiting Dindi, make a trip to Antarvedi where the Godavari river meets the Bay of Bengal and also visit the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple.
- Dindi is a nice weekend getaway from Hyderabad. If you are taking a train, Rajamundry, 70 kms away is your nearest railway station. Sterling Holidays arranges for pick up from Rajamundry station. AP Tourism doesn’t have such a facility, you may have to arrange for pick up and drop from Rajamundry. There are various tour operators from Rajamundry arranging Konaseema tours, check the internet.
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