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Nagarjuna Sagar

Two powerpuff women, one car and a back-hatch full pick-me-up food. No, it wasn't mission Feed Somalia.

For that fun-starved migrant IT junta in Hyderabad, weekends have long spelt Nagarjuna Sagar and close vicinities. Oh, and being Venusians doesn't earn you brownie points here. But if you can tide over occasional ogles, you just did yourself good.

By experience, you don't need a lot of field work before the trip. Just get out and head towards Begumpet, preferably in your personal vehicle. Stop as many times as it takes for you to get the routes right along the way. From a frustrated witness' perspective, the max you'd need to do this is possibly three to five times - that is, if you score in negatives on the DQ (Duffer Quotient).

Alternatively, take the straight road from Secunderabad railway station to the Uppal crossroads. Drive straight past Kamineni Hospital and reach the Ring Road junction, and continue on the road marked towards Srisailam. You'll need to take a left turn ahead, and the rest of your journey is one straight stretch of tar-coaled beauty.

If placid waters and a rising sun is what you lust for, the author suggests you get out in the wee hours of the morning, and I bet you'll stop at the first sight of the water body on your right. The morning mist drapes it like honey-laced milk. Only, it is water I talk about, and I am not sure it is potable as is. Your urban lungs will reel in gratitude, but I vouch it is as short-lived as your morning caffeine shot.

Nagarjuna Sagar is a place of contrasts. The water gushes from one end and growls at you like a monster with a toothache. The other side wears a tranquil shade of green and earthen yellow. The tarred Mercedes bends divide the two worlds. And if you road rage, the curves are all for you to explore. Oh, and don't miss the Hollywood spoof side of the dam wall. It reads - Nagarjuna Sagar Left Earth Dam. I think they just tossed in "Left" and "Earth" to keep the moron in me guessing. Still at it.

Only bikers are allowed to drive over the dam wall - cars and other vehicles stay put. You could walk the stretch and feel the wind on your face. Personal experience says you'll lose ground at least once, irrespective of your weight claims.

Once you get to Nagarjuna Sagar, there's not much to keep you busy yet. An easy miss is the View Point... unless you are interested in looking at the parched dam wall through a labyrinth of cables.

Head to the Ettipotala falls (about 15-odd kms) from Nagarjuna Sagar, and you'll find picture perfect frames to fit into. For a start, there are more than one ways of experiencing it. If you belong to the salon visits and manicure-me-perfect breed, or you are traveling with your family and toddlers, the APTDC has roped in some area of the forest and made it eye-candy for the masses and families at large. They even organize a light show at night. By all means, pose pretty or macho, slurp an ice-cream from the APTDC stall, and if you got some time on you, feed the monkeys.

If you are a little adventurous, talk to a local, agree on a tip, and get him/her to take you to the seldom explored side of the falls.

And if you didn't belong to either clan above, you are the one of us people, and it ain't rocket science to get to the foot of the waterfall, where it leaves a murky water pool. Take a dip, splash it around or swig it at your own risk. A word of advice here - watch your foot! It's either slippery ground or blame it all on the stray cattle.

Enroute to the Nagarjuna Sagar dam, you'd have driven past Punnami Vijay Vihar, the A P Tourism run hotel. While one can imagine I recommend it for food and stay, the lesser-known angle is the view from their lawns. The bougainvillea-laden railings look out to vast expanses of the calm Krishna waters. This is your borrowed space to recline and muse, and you take my word on that.
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