Lost Our Way On Our Way To Vikarabad - Part 1
It was six in the morning. The alarm rang as usual, but instead of heading straight to the kitchen, I wore my shoes, sat in the car and we were on our way to the countryside. In fact, I had turned into a robot long time ago – waking up to the buzz of an alarm clock; heading straight to the kitchen; cooking, dusting, washing and making those regular trips to the grocery store or vegetable market until I decided to head for the hills. I was dying to travel, explore, discover and have some adventure too.
So, with a backpack on my shoulders and a jacket thrown around me, we were headed for Vikarabad which is two hours’ drive or approximately seventy-five kms from Hyderabad.
Driving through the traffic, pollution, noise, market place and the chaos in general, we finally hit greener pastures. It was not only greener, but also cooler, calmer and definitely more peaceful.
Listening to some soothing music, whistling, breathing fresh air and driving ahead surrounded by trees, bullocks, flowers, fresh vegetable, fruits, warm smiles and hearts full of love, our road trip was nothing short of a series of magical moments as depicted in the pictures below.
Handpicked veggies as would be advertised at our local supermarket
Vegetable being transported to the local market
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Pretty flowers and loads of sunshine
Coffee break at Coffee More
Stay hungry, stay foolish – so goes the saying. Therefore, before our stomachs growled even louder, my husband and I decided to take our first break at Mrugavani Resort and Spa located at Chilkur in Moinabad Mandal of Rangareddy district which is approximately twenty-five kms from Hyderabad – you can reach Hyderabad by plane or train and then take a cab to Chilkur. In the meantime, we grabbed a plate of vegetable sandwich and two mugs of coffee at Coffee More, a café at the resort.
Mrugavani Resort and Spa
This resort is a beautiful weekend getaway. It is situated right opposite Mrugavani National Park, ideal for occasional unwinding and relaxation – a much needed break from the hectic city life.
Pleasing reception and lounge area
After crossing the reception, we were greeted by an idol of Lord Krishna adorned with garland, floral decoration and a beautifully painted wall depicting Him playing the flute.
Lovely cottages at the resort
At the Celestial Spa
Some indoor games
Lazing at the poolside
Reliving childhood memories
Digged into some lip smacking dishes at Golden leaf, a fine dine restaurant. This property offers complimentary breakfast with accommodation as well as safari tours. Poolside dining and spa are additional attractions.
For bookings at this resort, please click on www.mrugavaniresort.in or you can call up +91-8333922933
Mrugavani National Park
Mrugavani National Park is spread over an area of about 850 acres. It was declared a National Park in 1994 with the intention of preserving flora, fauna and wildlife of this place. The landscape is rocky and is covered by trees; shrubs and grasslands. It is mostly tropical dry deciduous forest here. This place is home to wild bores, hares, foxes, jackals, sambars, cheetals, mongooses, porcupines, snakes, monitor lizards, jungle cats and list is literally endless. There are around 350 spotted deer and approximately 100 species of birds like peacocks, ducks, lapwings, partridges, koels and many others. In the forest, there are over 600 species of plants like sandal, teak, bamboo, neem etc.
The park is open on all days of the week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except on Mondays. Entry fee is Rs 10 per person and the cost of safari tour is Rs 50 per head. It is pleasant here most of the time. So, you can visit anytime of the year. This National Park is situation around 20 kms from Chilkur Balaji temple.
The National Park has a museum, library, education centre and an open-air auditorium. It also has a rehabilitation centre for snakes. One can choose between safari rides and nature walks.
Greeted by friendly deer
On our way to the view point
Climbing up the steps to the view point was fun and very satisfying. It gave us a panoramic view of the forest. The Park has a watch tower to watch animals from close quarters.
A small snack bar too in the premises to address your hunger pangs
This popular tourist spot is definitely a lovely break for day trippers who are looking for some adventure in the wild.
Chilkur Balaji Temple
Our next halt was at a unique temple – in fact, one of its kind in India which has also been featured in the television program called Maano Ya Na Maano / Believe It or Not. This astonishing temple is situated on the banks of Osman Sagar lake on the outskirts of Hyderabad and is also called Visa Balaji temple. Obviously, this temple is dedicated to Lord Balaji as the name suggests. Hyderabad, as we know, is growing IT city of India with swelling number of IT professionals chasing the big American dream. A person at the temple told me that somewhere in 1980s some students who faced American visa rejection, came here, prayed and lo behold they were granted visa the next time. Thereafter, this temple has visa attached to its name. There is a procedure which must be followed by the American visa seeker. The candidate has to visit the temple before his visa interview and go round the temple eleven times. On getting the visa, the person has to visit the temple once again and has to go round the temple one hundred and eight times. In fact, when we went inside the temple with flowers, incense sticks and a coconut, all we could see was a stream of people hurriedly going round the temple with pieces of paper in their hands. This helped them to count the number of parikramas or circumbulations completed by each one of them. Surely, nothing comes easy in life. But with American visa in hand, no one is really cribbing. What I really appreciate about this temple is that in spite of its popularity and large number of devotees thronging the place every single day of the week, it has no hundi or donation box nor any VIP entry. All are equal before God, at least here. On reaching the premises, we were greeted by a man who told us that he could guide us to the shrine and led us to the free car park and in return we bought items of worship from his chosen shop.
Bought items of worship from here
The temple is surrounded by colorful kiosks selling puja items, flowers, decorative items for our homes, beautiful bangles, pretty jute bags, kitchen items and fruits too. The loveliest thing experienced here was the beautiful smiles of the vendors which came free with our shopping.
Bright floral garlands
Lost our way to find ourselves
We hopped into our car and were finally on our way to Vikarabad, a very popular tourist destination.
But as luck would have it, we took a wrong turn at the next crossing and while we thought we were on our way to Vikarabad, we had actually lost our way and were heading towards an unknown village.
As our car moved on, I looked out of the window. The green farm looked gorgeous while some fluffy clouds passed by. The air was crisp and fresh with sprinkling of sunshine here and there. Everything seemed old fashioned and simple, yet pure and precious. The fruits, vegetable and even the wild flowers came straight from the farm – there wasn’t any fancy gift wrapping nor a pamphlet nor a hoarding to announce their arrival.
Beautiful smiles and farm fresh veggies
The smiles of the people there, were genuine – came straight from the heart unlike the tutored manners and courtesies of the city dwellers. Being close to nature and satisfied from within, are indeed such huge blessings for these beautiful souls.
It was getting dark; we were still driving; the birds were flying to their nests while the farmers were returning home. As we stopped to breathe in some fresh air, we could hear the men on the fields humming a song while walking barefoot on those muddy lanes. On the other hand, the women were chatting and giggling away to glory. A fruit vendor was listening to some old film songs on his radio.
Suddenly a thought struck me – it’s good to have money to buy all that we want, but I just hope we don’t lose out on the things which money cannot buy like happiness, peace, respect, gratitude, love, relationship and last but not the least, a home which solely thrives on love, quite different from a house which is made of bricks and cement.
We exchanged greetings with the fruit vendor only to realize that we had lost our way.
Now we had to make a U turn and take the other road to reach our destination, Vikarabad. But we weren’t complaining in the least. Guess all the obstacles, troubles and pain enter our lives to teach us a lesson – had we not lost our way, we would have missed these beautiful pictures and some very lovely moments and memories.
The sun finally kissed us goodbye before retiring for the day. In fact, sunset brings in peace while sunrise ushers in hope and as we all know, a sunset is always followed by a sunrise.
Here’s wishing all of you lots of love, luck, happiness and sunshine as we drive along to our respective destinations on this journey called life. See you soon in Vikarabad; until we meet again, goodbye and take care.