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This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trip to Horsely Hills, Andhra Pradesh

Horsely Hills is a hill station (around 1200 m above MSL) in the south of Andhra Pradesh, rather closer to Bangalore. This was a destination that we somehow did not try to venture in the last 15 years of stay at Hyderabad. Finally, decided to beat the scorching heat of Hyderabad and planned a 2 days stay at Horsely hills.
 The drive to Horsely hills from Hyderabad was a good one – along the Bangalore highway. The roads were beautiful and we reached Anantapur in 5 hours.  Had lunch at a “Reliance A-One” Dhaba near Anantapur and headed off to Madanepalle on the NH 205. The road changed from the 4 lane to a two lane with a lot of incoming heavy vehicles. The progress was slow and we started seeing the “Haritha Hill Resorts” signage boards. Suddenly at one point about 20 kms before Madnapalle there was a signage to take a right U turn to Horsely hills.

We paid a toll tax at the foot of the hills and ascended the ghat roads. It was a good drive with a lot of greenery – spotted some langoors waiting for the passengers of vehicles to feed them. We reached the Haritha Hills Resorts and checked into the Windfalls cottages. It was already evening and we decided to retire to the bed after having dinner at the Haritha Restaurant where the food was average and limited.  The next morning we explored the Horsely hills – primarily it housed the Haritha Hills Resorts, Lake Gangotri, Highview seeing place, Gaalibanda, Forest Department’s Environmental park (with a small zoo) and Governor’s bungalow, one private resort(small one though) Horsley Hills Museum, BSNL office, a police outpost, residential quarters for the staff and a few stalls for tea/milk/general groceries.

The high view seeing place was good with a very panoramic view of the surrounding hills and the constant sound of the winds. However the place was littered with broken glasses (from the wine and liquor bottles thrown by tourists) and one had to be very careful. We spent couple of hours and then decided to drive down to Madanepalle to buy some mangoes and see the place. On the way to Madanepalle, I noticed a board showing “Rishi Valley School” and recalled a conversation with my friend about a bird sanctuary in the same place. Thanks to internet, did a quick search and got the contact of the school. Called them up and enquired about the bird sanctuary and were asked to come and meet the administrative officer. We took a detour and went to Rishi Valley School, its located in pristine surrounding amidst the rural back drop. There I was directed to speak to Mr Shantaram who runs the Institute for Bird studies. He agreed to take us around the campus the next day morning and I was very excited. The rest of the day was spent both at Madanepalle buying mangoes and at Horsely hills enjoying the cool breeze during the hot summer, exploring the place again. The disappointment was that the museum was not open during all these days.

The last day of our stay at Horsely Hills, I woke up in the morning ready to go to Rishi Valley school. My family members decided to stay back and get ready for the long journey back to Hyderabad. Mr Shantaram was there waiting for me and he took me around the campus – a 2 hour journey showing the farms, water conservation, dairy farms, water treatment, and also some birding. Apparently this place is a bird sanctuary and Mr Shantaram also runs a distance education program on bird studies.  It was too cloudy and we spotted around 20 types of birds and the count here was around 200. Satisfied, I thanked Mr Shantaram and agreed to visit again later in the year.
Rushed back to Horsely Hills and after having the breakfast & taking bath we departed for Hyderabad. The return journey was good except for a small hold-up at Anantpur where there was a crowd gathering due to a political leaders visit.

Overall our first trip to Horsely hills was a good one.

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