20.30 hrs – I reached Anantapur (120 kms) after a well-spent evening at Lepakshi. Bilal – a brother, is going to join me from here. We reserved our rooms in the nearby SRS Regency Hotel, which is clean and neat enough with spacious rooms. We ventured out looking for a good restaurant to have our dinner and ended up at the Hotel Masineni Grand, a three star hotel. As it was a Saturday and there is this habit of having tiffin on Saturday evenings in Andhra Pradesh, a special tiffin buffet was arranged in their restaurant. The buffet had various delicacies like the famous Rava Dosa, Onion Dosa, Idli, Button Idli, Chole Batura, Rava Upma along with some vegetable noodles and sweetcorn soup. They served some freshly prepared grape juice too. Try this restaurant for sure!!
After a hearty meal, we headed to the Ganga Gowri Gayathri Movie Complex to watch a Telugu movie ‘Yekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada‘. It is all together another different experience for me as the theater has got some old cushioned seats which are not push-back kind and is running on fans and air-coolers, which we forgot long back :). Though I complained first, later I started enjoying the movie. It was at 23.50 hrs we reached our hotel.
Anantapur lies at the westernmost part of Andhra Pradesh. It is located along the NH7. The town of Anantapur has embraced modernity, but has not forgotten its historical past. The town is home to many ancient temples, monuments and forts that give a glimpse into the rich historical past of the region. At every corner of Anantapur and its surroundings, there is something to stop and admire.
Some of the major attractions in Anantapur and its surroundings are the beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Lepakshi, the birthplace of Sri Satya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi, the ancient and massive banyan tree (Thimmamma Marri Maanu) at Gutibayalu. This region is also well-known for its booming silk and cotton weaving industry – Dharmavaram (silk sarees) and Hindupur (Cotton sarees). The ancient religious legacies left behind are visible in Penna Ahobilam, Gugudu and Alurkona.
06.00 hrs – Start of the day! 07.00 hrs – We walked down the streets to find a restaurant to have our breakfast and it was the choice of Bilal. While he ordered a plain dosa, I ordered an Onion Dosa. It wasn’t that great. 07.30 hrs – We checked out and headed to the Bus station from where we have to get a bus to Dharmavaram. We got into a bus and occupied two seats. The day was pleasant and bus was not too crowded. Bilal started explaining me about the erection of wind-mills which can be seen through out the way and the difficulties faced by them in the sites.
One can see the Sri Krishnadevaraya University situated on the way and some other education institutions established by Sri Satya Sai Trust. The vast stretches of land filled with rocks and a little vegetation here and there. If there is irrigation facility, the farmers are growing vegetables like Brinjals, Tomatoes and Tapioca (Sago).