Continued from previous post, we reached Horsley Hills by about 2pm, checked into our rooms, had buffet lunch at APTDC Restaurant and had a nap.
Evening time, Ram was the first to set out on Horsley Hills exploration. I was next and others followed suit.
Above: A Scorpio venturing further into rocky terrain while all other vehicles were parked behind. Below: Ram doing his photography, commando style… Right, view from top of watch tower behind Governor’s Bungalow.
What is there in Horsley Hills?
Horsley Hills is a hill top converted into a tourist facility. Almost similar to Nandi Hills, Bangalore. A bit larger in area. It has multiple attractions to keep everyone occupied. A swimming pool, (Rs 100 per hour, from 8AM to 6PM) kids play area, tiny adventures like rope walking, a crocodile bank with 2-3 crocs, an enclosure housing few birds and other animals, a tiny water body, generously named as Manasa Sarovara, Garden, a wide-open rock ideal for evening sit outs, a watch tower and some massive rocks.
Above: Manasa Sarovara at Horsley Hills. Right: A building wall with markings which reminded me of Rifle Target practice zones. Below: A tortoise resting on a stone in Manasa Sarovara & staff quarters.
Weather was cooler, but certainly not chilling. That’s fine, because it was far better than superhot Chennai. Option for food are limited to 3-4 restaurants/eating joints. After one round of explorations and dinner and walk we retired for the day. I played cards after a very long time-may be decades and needless to say lost out first.
Morning began calmly. We went out to explore the nearby Manasa Sarovara and some rocks beyond that. AP Foest department guest house campus has another view point, nice flowers in their garden and an age old tractor, declared Prabhutva Vahanamu (Telugu for: Govt Vehicle)
Our original plan to start early and visit few other locations like Chandragiri fort and then return to Chennai. We came back from rock exploration, got ready, checked out and got into the car, only to find that it would not start. After a complete rest of about 20 hours, the already “poorly maintained” engine had caught cold and wouldn’t start. Pushing it down hill, pushing it further, attempts by others, check by few other drivers, all proved futile. (here’s a detailed discussion on team-bhp about Indica’s cold start problems)
All my 4 years of studying Mechanical engineering was of no use, because they never thought us how to fix a problematic diesel engine. This is the first time I faced some problem with self drive rented cars. May be I should not rent them in the first place if I don’t feel good about the car while taking delivery. Nevertheless, now that our far wouldn’t start and local people and other drivers couldn’t help, he had to seek external help. We had 2 options-get a mechanic from nearby town, get it fixed and proceed, or leave the car (let the agency take care of it) and return to Chennai in a bus. The day being Sunday, Tata motors service centers were closed and we managed to get the number of a mechanic from nearby town who offered to come. He promised to arrive within 1 hour and our forced stay in Horsley hills pursued. Having checked out of the rooms, we killed time in the gardens. Even after full 4 hours, there was no sign of our mechanic. With each telephonic call, he would offer a new excuse (“Sir, I’ve come to pickup the tools”, “Sir, diesel is over in my vehicle, have to get it”, “I’m on my way” and few other ones) Fed-up, we almost decided on abandoning the car and returning by bus, as all of us had to attend offices next day. We decided to try one last time, and surprisingly it roared to life as Rajesh held the pedal to the ground for few mins. Thick black smoke from exhaust ensured that we had everyone’s attention and with new found joy, we took off.
Drive back was uneventful. Heavy rains near Palmaner welcomed us and with a bit of night driving we reached city by night.
Also read Ram's travelogue on the trip...
How to go to Horsley Hills?
From Chennai-NH4- Ranipet-Chittoor-Palmaner-Madanapalli-Horsley Hills (About 280kms, roads are good)
From Bangalore: Kolar-Palmaner-Madanapalli-Horsley Hills (about 190kms)
Verdict: Not a must visit, but very decent place, can surely be visited once from Bangalore or Chennai. Ideal destination to stopover or add to your Tirupati itinerary. Do remember to get advance booking at AP Tourism’s Haritha Resort