Yaganti: A temple enclosed by hills

A good option for a day trip from Bengaluru or Hyderabad. Just carry some food and water for the journey

Yaganti temple exterior
The entrance to the Shiva temple

One of the places to visit near Bengaluru is Yaganti (ya-gaan-tee) in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is known for an ancient Shiva temple. It is about 340 kilometres away and is a good option for a day trip, either by four-wheeler or two-wheeler.

Backdrop of Yaganti temple
The temple is small and simple

The temple is surrounded by small hills on three sides.  There is an interesting story about the deity. The temple was meant for Lord Vishnu. However, the idol was damaged, rendering it unsuitable for consecration. Eventually, Lord Shiva took his place. The damaged statue has been placed in a cave near the temple. There are two more caves nearby.

The temple itself is simple and small. Besides the three caves, an interesting feature is a small pond.

The pond in the temple
The pond in the temple. Nobody knows where the water comes from
Entry to the pond
Devotees are not allowed to go near the pond. Right too! Indians have a reputation of dirtying everything they can get their hands on

Visiting the caves is an adventure. The steps are smooth, narrow and steep. You will encounter water dripping from the roof, which makes the steps slippery. You can take the help of a metal railing, but the water drips on the path adjoining the railing. This is not for everyone, but that’s what turns this small journey into an adventure.

The path leading to the three caves
The path leading to the three caves, which you must visit if you are the adventurous type

How to get there

Drive from Bengaluru to Gooty. After another 20 kilometres is a turn that takes you to the Chennekothapalli Road. After a kilometre, turn left into the Peapully-Yaganti-Banaganapalle Road. Another 45 kilometres to Patapadu where you take a left.

The route is scenic
The route is scenic. Best time to drive is after monsoon, and up to January. I would advise against driving in the middle of the day; could get very hot as early as 8 am.

Once you are on the Peapully-Yaganti-Banaganapalle Road, you will pass several small villages. No eatery on the way, but plenty of small shops offer tea.

I would advise carrying food and water. A few kilometres before Patapadu is a reservoir. After visiting the temple, you can stop by, find a shady tree and sit down to enjoy the food you packed.

Camping

The temple is in a secluded location that can be attractive for camping overnight. You have toilets. While they are not pristine, they can be used. Torch lights are essential if you are planning to camp overnight.

The only way in
There is only one way to approach the temple, which is otherwise surrounded by mountains

You can get water near the temple, but bring your own food. The closest village Patapadu is 2 kilometres away. You can get basic groceries for an overnight stay. Did not see any eatery, but that is understandable because the village is small. No one is likely to be eating outside.

The temple
The temple complex

The Nandi

Like in any temple of Lord Shiva, Nandi is sitting outside the sanctum sanctorum. The interesting part is the size of the statue. The bull is huge, and devotees believe it is growing with each passing day.

Good spot for a picnic
After visiting the temple, head to the reservoir. Find a tree. Sit under the shade and open your picnic basket. When leaving, please keep the place as clean as it was before you arrived

Watch out for

The factory of KIA Motors in India is located in Penukonda in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The unit is about 150 kilometres north of Bengaluru, on the right hand side. The premises is pretty big. Very neat and clean. No clutter inside, or even outside. The trucks to ferry the new cars are parked neatly a few kilometres away from the factory.