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From Bangalore to Mantraalaya:
Mantraalaya is geographically located in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, about 425 km North-East of Bangalore. The route we (or rather the KSRTC bus) followed was: Bangalore –> Chickballapur –> Anantapura –> Gooty –> Adoni –> Mantraalaya.
We had booked tickets on a KSRTC super-deluxe Mayura bus. The bus departed from the Majestic bus terminal at 20:00 sharp and arrived in Mantraalaya around 06:00. For 279 rupees, you get air-conditioning, half a litre of mineral water, and a neatly packed face tissue. As a bonus, you also get to watch a Kannada movie. However, the Video CD that we got to watch was probably very badly scratched, which meant that the television screen looked more like a giant kaleidoscope. The seats are comfortable and of the push-back variety. So, you can catch a good night’s sleep.
On the way, the bus stopped at Hotel Soumya Sagar – in Chickballapur – for dinner. This hotel looks like an outpost for a nuclear weapons factory. The Chapattis that you order here can also be used for self-defense. Thankfully, my sister had the forethought to pack some delicious home-made Methi Parathas. The US intelligence services sure got their co-ordinates wrong when they hunted for WMDs!
Arriving in Mantraalaya, you can find numerous lodges that fit all kinds of budgets. The moment you step down from the bus you are hounded by youngsters who double up as agents for the local lodges. Accommodation starts from 200 rupees for a very basic room to 600 rupees for an air-conditioned room. Don’t forget to negotiate though. The room that we were in cost us 400 rupees and had a two-person bed, cable TV, hot water, and a decent toilet (both Indian and Western types).
Freshening up, we were ready to head for the temple.
|We stayed in Room #7 at this lodge.||Predictable? The backside of the lodge.|
End of part one.
Yet to come:
Part II: In and around Mantraalaya
Part III: From Mantraalaya to Bangalore
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