Sunday, December 19, 2004

Day 3 - Chilakaluripet to Vijayawada

The cellphone has woken me up at 3:35 AM. I quickly pack up - time to vacate the room and get going! I promise my body more rest tomorrow ( a small pain has started on the right shin and the left leg is as bad as yesterday ).

The plan for today is to see Amaravati and Vijaywada. It is around 40 km to Guntur, from there to Amaravati about 35 and then to Vijaywada about 40 again. Not much cycling really, maybe a 100, maybe a bit more!

A tea is enough to get me back on the road. It is pitch dark - I continue with my headlight. The going is smooth and fast. An hour or so later, at about daybreak, I see the office of Eenadu (I has seen a similar building near Nellore also). I want a snap - but the security chap decides to play spoilsport. He just doesn't allow me to shoot a photo! First I plead, then I blast him. My abuse is in english, and the fellow is unmoved - so I realize that he hasn't understood anything! So I repeat the same in hindi. No effect - I admit defeat !

The morning sun attracts me so it is time for a snap. Sometime later, there is a large hospital on the left. A tobacco factory that I see after sometime makes me wonder whether they roll beedies here as well. Nearing Guntur, there are a many cold storage factories. Makes me wonder whether Guntur is town kept in cold storage! Guntur's speciality is soon proclaimed by a billboard, which reads Welcome to Tobacco Town.

I stop for a quick tea - but end up having a mini-breakfast of 2 vadas, a laddu and coffee. The road forks after this, one going to Guntur town and the other being NH5. To reach Amaravati, I have to pass through Guntur. So I have to say bye to NH5, yes, but not for long !
Guntur is a district HQ but I can see boards around appealing for a "Green Guntur".
The road to Amaravati is wide enough for two trucks and a cycle to pass, so I have no problems. I pedal at a steady rate to reach "14th mile", a village. Maybe coz it is 14 miles from Guntur. This place has a few hills. Cotton fields and tobacco are the major crops. I take a hurried break and gobble 3 oranges (bored after 2.5!).

When my odometer reads 10000 KM (yes, that is ten thousand), it is time for a mini-photo session. I reach Amaravati around 10. The temple at Amaravati is famous because it hosts one of the twelve jyotirlingas. The river Krishna flows by the temple. I meet a kannadiga Sunil, and an MBA student. Snacks, a visit to the temple (the shivalinga is more than 2 meters high), some chatting with more people and it is time to go - already 12:30!

Next target - Vijaywada. The road to Vijaywada is a single road - and bad - full of potholes, etc. And guess what, my bag starts troubling me again by deciding to fall time and again. Lots of egg farms along the road. And chilli, onion, suvarnagedde, plantain, rice... An hour later, I reach karkatta cross and that marks the beginning of the good road. The road is still single but is nice and straight. There are fields on the left and right and the river Krishna flows quietly on the left. The road has a slight elevation, and offers a nice all round view. A motorcyclist tells me that it is 20 kms to Prakasam Barrage (Vijaywada). I drink a few tender coconuts on the way to freshen up.

After I reach Prakasam Barrage, I get to know that Undavalli caves is quite nearby. So I turn back, with a fellow cyclist showing me the way. He is a middle aged man, probably a farmer. He asks me at what rate I go. I reply saying 12-15 kms an hour. He boasts that he can do 20 kms an hour and then speeds up so much that I feel like being overtaken by a pulsar! I acknowledge defeat and admire him. He shows me a spot where I get down and then I cross a field and reach Undavalli caves.

Undavalli caves is a nice 4 storey structure - a historical monument. I enjoy the place - the best thing being the big statue of Anantapadmanabha in a sleeping pose (atleast 20 ft long), and the surrounding view. There I meet Mr. V V R K Shastry (hold your breath - Veluri Venkata Rama Krishna Shastry!)- he is a retired engineer and is here for some sightseeing (with his friends and their family). Arthritis may have slowed him down but definitely not his zeal. He appreciates what I am doing and invites me home. I decline his offer for an overnight stay, but suggest I could drop in for breakfast the next morning (He stays in Gannavaram which is on the way to Kolleru lake). I show my mini diary to the appreciating onlookers. An APSRTC conductor is good enough to click a few photos for me.

On the way back, I enjoy the view at the barrage. My plan is to go and see Mogalarajapuram caves, but that does not happen since my search for a lodge has taken longer than expected. I settle down in Sujana lodge (suggested by Sunil) - crappy lodge. Enough said!

A fruit juice (made of mini chikkoos) freshens me up and then I goto the local cyber cafe. Try uploading photos - it is just Win2k and not much I can do about it. So I post a blog message. Have already spent 90+ minutes on this and feel very sleepy. I have been told that the Kanaka Durga temple is open till 10:00 PM, so I decide to finish bhojanam. It is 9:30 by the time I reach the temple and the temple is closed! So I decide to keep the temple for tomorrow morning and return to the lodge. I call up Mr Shashtry and confirm that I will be coming at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning.

A short overview of today:
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Time Odometer Place/Activity
---------------------------------------------------------------------
4:30 AM 9940.7 Chilakaluripeta
6:15 9963.4
6:55-7:20 9970.4 Mini-breakfast
7:35 9973.1 Guntur
8:55-9:05 9990.3 Oranges break!
9:45 10000.0 Yay! 10k celebration!
10:05-12:15 10004.0 Amaravati
1:15 10016.5 Karakatta deviation
2:10 10029.3 break
3:05-4:20 10036.1 Undavalli caves
4:50 10040.2 Vijayawada
5:30 Sujana Lodge

Asleep at 10:00 PM - I have to be in Rajahmundry tomorrow after seeing Kolleru lake to keep up with my schedule! Besides, I gotta mean VVRK Shastry too!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi dude You really doing a great thing pal. And nice to know you from BDT. Way to go pal. Way to go. Best of luck and will include some prayers everyday so as to keep you and your cycle healthy. :).. keep sharing those snaps.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Vinay Krishna said...

Dude,
It's me Vinay Krishna(BDT, BC, Alike junior..remember..huh?).
Superb way 2 njoy maan..
To put it in BC lang(slang?)..Astaste boss..hodi hand..
me waitin' for pics....
Have a great time..Njoy.
Vinay

3:36 PM  
Blogger sHs said...

Hey Shree

Happy Birthday!!!!
I know its quite late there....
nice to know that you are enjoying....
way to go man,

Harsha

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep blogging......
Watching your blog regularly.
-miraj

11:04 AM  
Blogger Prasanna said...

Hi Sreekumar

It is nice to see your journey is moving on nicely. The photo's have come nicely.. Hope to see more photos

Enjoy the trip and have a nice day

4:45 PM  
Blogger Vinod Narippatta said...

hope u have been cycling on as planned...
take care...
vinu...

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shree,
Nice to hear a lotz abt u'r journey. No Photos yaar Can you please load them. Hope you are enjoying a lot there. Where ever you are lotz......... of wishes from me to a very happy and successful journey. Hoping to see you soon..........

ulti.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shree.. good narration maga..
Felt that as if I'm cycling (I know my limits ha ha hahh)..
How are your legs now?
Nitya

2:00 PM  
Blogger Srivathsa S said...

Hi Shree,

Great going maga....
As usual i forgot u'r birthday...
sorry for that...i wish u belated birthday wishes maga...
maga the quote(pain is temporary and quitting is permanent) u mentioned was ultimate maga...one more to add maga, when going gets tough, only tough gets going...
so u r a tough guy and u can keep going maga...so just continue u'r journey, but after some medication to u'r legs :-)

Vathsa

2:42 PM  

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