LAMBASINGI The Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh

A. Harini Prasad

With its grand mountains, rolling hills and stunning valleys, the castle-packed hill station of Lambasingi is an amazing drive-through for any tourist who loves adventure.

It is a tapestry of jungles with very long and thick trees through which the day light peeps onto the road once in a while.

Often referred to as the ‘Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh’, Lambasingi is a small village located near Chintapalli in Vishakha agency of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Lammasingi, this hill station, located 1000 metres above sea level, sees a downfall of temperature to about zero degrees in the winters.

For a family that is fond of road trips, this summer vacay was a completely different experience. Our journey from Hyderabad to Bhadrachalam, a village in Telangana known for a popular temple, was not much of an adventure. But what came later was breathtakingly unbelievable. We did read about Lambasingi on the internet but the experience we had there was far more adventurous than the Google predicted.

Seeta Ramaswamy temple of Bhadrachalam. Bhadrachalam is a town in the state of Telangana, about 310 km from Hyderabad.

We started from Bhadrachalam at 10 am, assuming we would reach Lambasingi, which is about 220 km away, at 2 pm. We took a route that went via a dense forest, touching the Chhattisgarh border and Rajahmundry. As we headed into this majestic landscape, our phone signals vanished and were not back till we reached a town called Narsipatnam, at 8 in the evening. The chances of getting phone signal are roughly the same as spotting a restaurant in this jungle.

The information on the internet said that there were decent roads that would lead us to this tourist spot where the government had already set up hotels in areas nearby, to make it easier for travelers.

However, as we traveled through more than 25 hills, we realised that this was not the real picture. These agency areas kept us hungry as there was not one tiny hotel that could provide us some food.

Nature is a treasure, Lambasinghi is the proof.

These agency areas were situated in the lofty valleys, about 30-40 km away from each other, making it tough for the Tribals and other villagers to travel even for basic necessities. They have settled in groups of about 120-160 people. Most of them live in areas that is a km away from the periphery of the dense forests. They cultivate vegetables including carrot, potatoes, cabbage and fruits such as pineapple. Most of this produce is consumed and sold in areas close by, while some part of it is sent to big towns like Kakinada and Tuni. They also use firewood from the forests for other needs.

Before we reached the really thick jungle, we crossed a long bridge that was built on the backwaters of river Godavari, which flowed to Rajahmundry via Lambasinghi.

The bridge built over river Godavari.

Not very surprisingly, we were the only ones on the bridge and in fact, the only tourist driving via that route. The credit for this doesn’t definitely go to the internet but the phone signal. Due to lack of signals and thus lack of internet, we drove our way through, collecting information on the route in bits and pieces from the villagers and trucks that came from Odisha and Jharkhand.

“We’re originally from Odisha. My husband and I shifted here after our marriage. We visit our hometown once in a year. We sell the vegetables cultivated and also sell petrol in bottles for people like you. This is our only source of income,” said a tribal woman, who didn’t want to be named.

For medical needs and education, they travel almost 20 km on way in the share autos that some of the villagers themselves have taken up as their occupation.

The cliffs, waterfalls and ancient yet fresh forests are more than a feast to the eyes.

For adventures in this place, all you need is time, enough petrol and love for the nature. Enough petrol because there is not one petrol bunk in 140 km. However, there are houses that sell petrol in bottles, for a much higher cost than the market price though.

Layers of beauty

All that seemed challenging to us was the road that was damaged dute to heavy rains during the Hudhud cyclone that hit Vizag in 2015. When we think of this trip, we always consider ourselves lucky to have had that adventure before the state government commercialised it under the name of ‘tourism’.

It is a tapestry of jungles with very long and thick trees through which the day light peeps onto the road once in a while.

Along slippery trails, we spotted Jackfruit trees that stood tall among tiny bushes, cowered amid tree roots. As we stopped by to take some home, tiny insects whir past our heads like helicopters.

It is an enduring attraction that not just offers relief from the heat of the plains, but Jackfruits and Pineapples too.
Say Cheese! :)
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Harini Prasad

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