Posted/Updated on April 23, 2010

Papikondalu known as Papi Hills is a Heaven on the earth. Papikondalu or Papi Hills or Papidi Kondalu is part of Eastern Ghats through which Godavari pierces and flows in twists and turns towards east. Entire area of Papikondalu is covered by tropical rain forests and deciduous rain forests. Some of the most interesting places in the world like Papikondalu; this place is interesting by virtue of inherent popularity and growing tourism. Coming from a rich historical country like India, there is also no dearth of interesting tourist sites. Papikondalu is an adventures trip.

Papi Kondalu
Papi Kondalu

Papi Kondalu Route Map
Papi Kondalu Route Map


How to Reach Papi Kondalu

The Godavari Vihari cruise begins at about 9 in the morning from Pattiseema. You can reach Pattiseema from nearest bus station Kovvuru, AP by bus or auto-rickshaw. If you reach before time, you may visit the famous Temple of Shiva in Pattiseema.

Pattiseema Temple
Pattiseema Temple

From there the joyful cruise in the Godavari lasts for about 3 hours by the time you reach the Koraturu, the beginning of Papi hill ranges. In between, you get to see popular Elephant hill, a nice little temple built on a rock amidst the Godavari, nice sandy beaches, and local tribal life.

In Koraturu, “Telugu or Andhra bhojanam” is served right in the shadows of mango trees on top of a small hill. It just happened to visit this place in spring season, time for “Ugadi” festival. the place was like garden of mango trees full of mangos, on banks of Godavari. It was good watching beautiful Papi Hills and having lunch served with “appadam” and “perugu" (yogurt) as well!

The cruise resumes for the most exciting and scenic part of the journey, …ride through the narrow passage in Papi hills for about one hour. By then it must be noon, and you will get to see all the water around shining in sunlight, …it’s going to be absolutely amazing experience, transcends language to describe. Finally, you reach in Perantapally, a small village of tribals and the destination of your onward journey. Generally, visitors go to the “Ashram” of Balananda Swami located there on top of a hill. On the way, you get to see different herbs, rare trees, and some water falls.

Defying all your expectations, the return journey is going to be a different experience, all together…by evening time, you get to watch herds of cattle on the banks, birds returning to their nests, sun setting behind the hill ranges, small huts on the banks with glowing lamps, camp fires, locals making preparations for dinner and lot more. The most exciting and beautiful thing is watching the Sun hide-and-seek behind uneven hill ranges as the cruise takes curves along the river, … something you cannot miss to shoot.

On board, you get fresh hot “Pakodi”, “Mirapakaya Bajji”, the local snacks for a bite. Besides good service, cruise attendant-cum-anchor keeps the passengers entertained with her song and dance, on demand. By the time of about 6 in the evening, as a standard practice the artificial fun is cutoff allowing the passengers to enjoy the calmness, chirping sounds of birds, twilight and meditate while the cruise continues. Cut off from the modern day life, you will experience all the peace you ever wanted that will cherish forever, in the calmness of those hills. The round trip ends at about 7 or 8 in the late evening.

Streamer (Lanchi) in River Godavari trip to Papi Kondalu
Streamer (Lanchi) in River Godavari trip to Papi Kondalu

Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)
Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)

Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)
Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)

Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)
Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)

Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)
Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)

Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)
Beauty of Papi Kondalu (Papi Hills)

Excellent Wood arts (Area-Papi Kondalu)
Excellent Wood arts (Area-Papi Kondalu)

Boat on River Godavari - Badrachalam
Boat on River Godavari - Badrachalam

West Godavari Tourism has been organizing this daytime tour. Online ticket booking facility is available. There is a facility to book a cottage at Koraturu to spend a day or two in the scenic Papi hills. The cottages are located in right place with all the necessary facilities, and more importantly, you won’t miss the view of the hills even for a moment.

I recommend this outing delight to all nature lovers. The best time to visit would be the winter season, from october to march. Typically, cruise tickets are priced at about INR 300 (USD 7) per head and the cottages are at INR 400 (USD 9) for a non-AC, and INR 600 (USD 14) for AC. They may vary from time to time and on the season basis, please check with the tourism office for up to date information.


BADRACHALAM

Badrachalam is a holy place in the South Indian state, Andhra Pradesh. It is situated about 161 km from Rajahmundry and 300 km from Hyderabad. There are lots of prehistoric and historic references of this place. This place is famous for the ancient temple dedicated to Sri Seetha Ramachandraswamy. This famous temple can be seen on the beautiful banks of the wonderful river Godavari. The holy annual festival `Kalyana Mahotsava` is very famous in this temple. Approximately three lakh devotees gather in Badrachalam during this time. This festival is the marriage anniversary of Lord Rama and his spouse goddess Sita. It is believed that Badrachalam was the venue of the divine marriage in the `Puranic era`.

According to the legends, it is believed that Lord Rama manifested here long after he had shed mortal coils to save a devotee called `Badhra Maharishi`. He blessed him `Moksha` and thereafter the place came to be known as Badrachalam by the name of the Maharshi. There is another belief that Lord Rama once appeared in the dream of a woman called `Pokala Damakka` and informed her about the idols of the present temple on the Badragiri hills. The lady was surprised to see the idols of the deity on the exact place as she saw in her dream. Then she raised a modest structure and thus the temple was originated.

In the 17th century, the Badrachalam was renovated a tahsildar called Gopanna during the rule of Abdul Hassan Tanashah. He was more known as Ramdas. As he used the revenue money of 6 lakh rupees for the renovation without the permission of the ruler, he was arrested and put behind bars. It is believed that after about 12 years, Lord Rama appeared in the dream of the king and gave a receipt of the due amount in the form of gold coins known as `Ramamada`. Thereafter, the king rushed to the cell of Ramdas and set him free personally. He provided Ramdas with a number of gifts and also his position as the tahsildar. Moreover, the king also declared several grants to the temple built by Ramdas. Even today, some of the jewels presented to the deities here by the ardent devotee Ramdas like the Kalikiturai Pachala Pathakam, Chintaku Pathakam etc can be seen in the temple even today.

The Badrachalam temple can be seen on a hilltop surrounded by 24 smaller shrines. The temple is very tranquil and has very splendid environment. There are total 48 forms of idols of Lord Vishnu in this temple. The tow main festival of the temple are the `Sri Rama Navami`, the birth anniversary of Lord Rama and `Kalyana Mahotsavam` i, e, the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama with goddess Sita.

Rama Temple - Badrachalam
Rama Temple - Badrachalam

Rama Temple - Badrachalam
Ramalayam Temple - Badrachalam

Badrachalam Rama Temple

Badrachalam

Badrachalam Parnasala

Badrachalam

Badrachalam

Rama Dasu
Badrachala Ramadasu

Badrachalam

Badrachalam

How to reach Badrachalam

Bhadrachalam is connected by road and rail network. The nearest railway station is Bhadrachalam Road (station code: BDCR), 40 km from the town. Locally, Bhadrachalam Road Railway Station is more commonly referred to as Kothagudem Railway Station. It takes approximately 50 minutes to travel from Kothagudem Railway Station to Bhadrachalam by bus and the fare is about Rs 20.

Bhadrachalam is: 120 km from district head quarters, Khammam 325 km from the state head quarters, Hyderabad, where the nearest airport is (Shamshabad) By road from Hyderabad follow this route: Hyderabad – Suryapet – Khammam – Kothagudem– Palvancha(This Is Beautiful Town In Khammam District, Kothagudem Thermal Power Station-KTPS Located in Palvancha Town.) - Bhadrachalam. Buses ply from Vijayawada and other major towns in Andhra Pradesh.

If you want to go to Bhadrachalam from Hyderabad by train, you have Machilipatnam/Manuguru express(Train No:7050) at Secunderabad Station every day at 10:15 PM. You should buy a ticket upto Kothagudem (Bhadrachalam Road). The train reaches Kothagudem at 04:45AM. From there you can take a bus to Bhadrachalam. There are lots of buses from just outside Kothagudem station. Bus fare is around Rs 20. You can reach Bhadrachalam Town in 50 minutes. While returning you can take Train No:0340(Link Secunderabad Express) from Kothagudem. It departs from there at 10:15 PM.

If you wish to travel by Road, there are a number of APSRTC busses which ply to the place. It will be around 315 kms from the capital city Hyderabad. The tourism department buses also ply to Bhadrachalam. It will take you non-stop with a break at the Guest House on the Highway near Narketpally. It will be a 7 hours journey from Hyderabad to Bhadrachalam. Suppose if you start from Hyderabad at 10 PM, you will reach by 5 AM the next day.

The courtesy and the behaviour of the temple administration, locals are excellent. You can feel that everyone there are ready to extend cooperation and they talk to you politely. Perhaps it is the manners of Sri Rama embedded into atmosphere.