So I am back from my trip to Papikondalu. Okay i know it is not a very popular place and many of you might not even know that such a place even exists. It is a very scenic place in the east Godavari River surrounded by Papi hills (Kondalu means hills in Telugu) from all sides. Though not much popular, most of the time this place is crowded by the local people. This trip started for me as a very dull and not so exciting. Might be because i had to travel immediately after my office. Till the last moment i was willing to call it off giving some silly excuse. We were a group of eight people. We had our train from Secunderabad at 11:30 pm and we reached Bhadrachalam in the early morning. From Bhadrachalam we went to the boat docking point.
The trip that started very dull ended becoming a memorable one. The scenery was so mesmerising that i just wanted to sit in front of those majestic mountains kissed by the waves of Godavari River at the base and stare at those passing clouds. I had a very good time. Two days far from the bustling city life with no network, no mobile and no television, only with few good friends spending time in the wilderness of nature in bamboo huts. Food was not a problem here, as the arrangement was taken care by the organisers and we got breakfast, lunch and dinner (snacks included) in typical Andra style.
From the boat docking point to the island, its approx. 1 hr boat ride. During the journey one can see numerous villages scattered on the banks of Godavari and the beautiful landscapes made by the river due to rise in water level. We met with the people there, interacted with them about their life and ways of making living. There are so many small villages with only few families staying in and people in these villages only use boats as their way of commutation. The people here stay in houses made of bamboos. Every family has a small area with a boundary made out of bamboos. Inside the boundary they have their bamboo house and at a little distance, small sheds for the cattle and chickens. The main occupation of these people includes fishing, cattle breeding, poultry and tourism. Every family here keep animals which can be cows, buffaloes, goats, and in rare cases pigs. All of them have roosters and hens in chicken coops. Here you can find a special chicken recipe which is prepared by inserting chicken pieces dipped in spices inside bamboo and cooking it on open fire. They sell this special food to the tourists to earn money. Every house here has a solar panel attached to their roofs. There are no direct lines for electricity here. They use the energy from these solar panels to light their houses in the night using zero bulbs. After 10:30 pm all the lights are switched off and the only source of light is the moon in the sky. These people use the water from Godavari for their daily day to day activities. They do not have any filters to purify the water before use. Instead they use potash alum to make the dust particles settle down in the bottom, before using this water. During our small trek to explore the village, we found a place where the river was hitting many huge rocks and making a sound like a waterfall. It looked little dangerous and speed of river was more. Initially we were reluctant to go down into the river, but then we gave up and went inside water and spend almost 3 hrs inside water. While returning back from the island in boat, we sat outside in the front portion of the boat to see the scenery and interacted with the person navigating the boat. He narrated us so many tales from these villages. He showed us a huge snake floating in the water. And this you are not going to believe, but we saw a dead body floating in the river. This person knows all the villages and was explaining us all about those villages and recently happened incidents in those villages.
There were few people in the boat who were throwing paper cups, plastic packets and bottles into the river (these people included few of my friends), even though there were dustbins provided in the boat. And when i asked them to throw the waste inside the bins they said they are paying tax to the Govt. for ‘Swatch Bharat’. This really annoys when educated people like us behaves like this. It is you who complains about hygiene and cleanliness in India and compare it with other nations, but not ready to adopt habits to maintain it. Government is doing what it can do. Govt. cannot come and hold your hands and make you drop the garbage inside the dustbins. I just wonder what these people going to teach their coming generations?
Everything was good about the trip except for two things:
- My Nikon camera stopped working. I used my mobile for taking all the pictures. I took out my camera on the second day of the trip, clicked few pictures of mountains covered with fog and then it stopped working.
- I got some skin infection due to insect bites. There were no mosquitoes, but some very minute insects, which when sit on skin gave an itching sensation. I got skin rashes on the exposed areas in my hands and legs. The portion looks like mosquitoes bite and was itchy. By the time i reached back home, my both hands and legs were turned red with small boils due to scratching.
For the past two days i tried almost all possible home remedies to cure it. I took off for a day from work to visit a dermatologist who was not available on all the occasions i visited him during the day. Finally the apple cider vinegar trick along with aloe vera working for me. My redness has reduced and itchy sensation is less. It will take some time to go off completely but now i can control my urge to scratch.
Few things to keep in mind, while planning for such trips:
- Check the weather details during the time of your visit. We got wrong information that it will be very chill. So we carried our warm clothes with us which added to our luggage. And when we visited it was all sunny and hot. First day in rained a few times and second day it was all cloudy. But it was not cold. If you are planning to visit the place during winter then warm clothes are mandate.
- Do carry mosquito repellent cream with you and check that your skin is not allergic to it. Or you will end up like me with rashes all over your exposed body parts.
- Wear loose comfortable clothes to help you breath freely. Do not go for light colour clothes and wear comfortable flip flops or shoes, as you will have to remove them very often to walk in the sand.
- Carry portable mobile chargers with you, as there is no other means to charge your electronic devices. Though you cannot make calls and use wifi, you will need your devices for clicking pictures and listing to longs and watching videos offline (If you cannot survive without these).
- Carry enough plastic covers with you to keep your wet cloths if you are planning to get inside water. Also keep spare polythene to dump all your used bottle, paper cups, chips packets covers, etc; not to throw them where ever you wish. Keep your used plates in the place allotted; least you should invite the grazing animals near your huts.