Trip to Dindi Resorts (Sterling Palavelli) and Antharvedi


         From restricted gatherings to frequently sanitizing hands, covid has forced many protocols. The same restrictions gave a big blow to the tourism industry. Travelers chose confining to homes over the wonderful experiences a relaxed vacation can offer. I try to go on a trip covering popular destinations at least once a year. I planned a trip to Ladakh in 2020, Covid first wave washed it away. I planned it again in 2021, this time Covid second wave squashed it. Now, with covid cases at all time low in India, I dared to go on a vacation. I have been hearing about a pleasant atmosphere Dindi resorts have been offering from 3-4 years. We chose that place as the number of days one of my friends could spare for a trip is only two. After thorough research, I booked Sterling Palavelli Godavari located on the banks of river Godavari in Elamanchili Lanka, West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. They charged us around Rs.5000 per room per one night.

There are many options to reach Dindi resorts, taking a train to either Rajahmundry or Palakollu or Narsapur or Kakinada. The distance by road to the resorts from Rajahmundry is 77 kms, from Palakollu it is 15 kms, from Kakinada it is 92 kms and from Narsapur it is 18 kms. There are also options available to take a bus to any of the above locations. We chose to travel by train to Rajahmundry and go by road from there. Two days before the travel I searched on Google and booked a car through a travels company Rajahmundry Car Travels. Our train is scheduled to reach Rajahmundry at 4.30 AM and the check-in at Sterling Palavelli is at 12 Noon, so we had to look out for a place to stay and fresh up during that break time. Being very confident about OYO Rooms, I booked two rooms at Sri Ratna Lodge through OYO App for the same purpose.

As scheduled, we reached Rajahmundry at 4.30 AM and took an auto to Sri Ratna Logde. Opening the lock to the lodge room made our trip start with a very bad note. My confidence on OYO came down crashing with my decision to book that lodge. The room was pathetic, with cigarette smell all over. The washrooms made us change our mind about bathing there. That experience hastened our plans to start to the resort. One of my friends suggested not to miss having breakfast at RK Tiffins in Ravulapalem village. Luckily, we must cross RK Tiffins enroute to our resort. We found a board at RK Tiffins which says, “Unlimited Breakfast at Rs.90”. I never found anyone offering unlimited breakfast at as low as 90 rupees in Hyderabad. The breakfast menu has Aviri Kudumu (big Idly), Pottikallu (Idly wrapped in leaves), Pesarattu, Wada, Pesara Punugulu and Dibbarotte along with six kinds of chutneys. Every item in the menu offered the best possible taste. We were glad that my friend suggested that tiffin centre. If you are around Ravulapalem, never ever miss visiting this place. 


Post breakfast we continued on the highway for around 5 kilometers after which we had to take a left turn. Calling it a road would be shameful to all the other quality roads, I have to call it a way paved with potholes. It is not just for a kilometer or two, the condition is so for almost 20-30 kms. Once we got used to the wobbling journey, we started enjoying the scenic drive covering lakes and coconut trees which personify the beauty of Godavari districts. We were welcomed by a resort which has its look and feel elevated by the thousands of coconut trees surrounding it. The word scenic was dwarfed by the amazing atmosphere of Sterling Palavelli. We were provided rooms in a Manduva house. The rooms were spacious and very well maintained. After bathing, we went to have lunch at the restaurant in the resort premises. Lunch buffet was priced at Rs.700 for vegetarians, which we felt was very costly. We chose to go for a-la-carte. Food was just fine; the restaurant ambience needs some improvement. 
Manduva at Sterling Palavelli
            
         Sterling Palavelli offers a boat ride in Godavari, but that was cancelled till the previous day due to heavy rains. The staff was unsure if they will resume it on that day as the weather was cloudy. Luck and weather favored us, by afternoon all the clouds disappeared making way for the sun to show its face to the living creatures on earth. We, along with another group of 20 people, requested the staff to allow us for the boat ride. They charge for an hour ride is Rs.500 + Taxes (11%), we opted for it as we were confident of providing a pleasing sight to our eyes. As expected, the boat ride was wonderful. We rode in a river stretch covered with coconut trees all around. After the ride, we spent a couple of hours in the swimming pool, though none of us know how to swim 😊, and proceeded for dinner. To our surprise, dinner was too good. All the items (vegetarian) we ordered were very tasty. 
 
House Boat for the Ride at Sterling Palavelli
 
           
             Next day in the morning, we opted to go out for breakfast after knowing the buffet breakfast price at the resort. None of us were ready to do justice for Rs.450 for one breakfast. We had breakfast in a small tiffin centre in Palakollu. Any trip to the Godavari districts won’t end without tasting the local made but very well-known sweets. Anand Sai Sweet Shop in Palakollu is the name suggested by the reviewers on Google. We tasted the mouth-watering Pala Kova and Kaju Kova in the store. 
 
We started to Antharvedi temple after checking out from the resort. The temple was like any other temples, we wondered how such a small temple has become famous. While coming out of the temple, a guy has inquired us if we are interested in taking a ride in Godavari. We were not ready for it, as we had such a ride while we are at the resort. Then he sold us the fact that they will take us to the place where Godavari meets Bay of Bengal, a place known as “Anna Chellella Gattu”. This raised curiosity in us and made us go for the second boat ride of the trip. During the ride we could feel the affect of the sea waves as we get close to the river and sea meeting point. They charged us Rs.2200 for a boat to take six of us. We felt it is worth spending as we might not get another chance to see such meeting points. Once the ride is completed, we walked towards the “Anna Chellella Gattu” to have a closer look at the meeting point. 

Ferry Between Narsapur and Sakinetipalli
We realized that it’s time to reach Narsapur, the place where we had to board our train to Hyderabad. We started to Narsapur without any expectations about the surprise Google Maps is ready to throw at us. After reaching Sakinetipalli, Google Maps had directed us into Godavari River. We were shocked to see no road but just water flowing. After inquiry, we got to know that one shore of the river is Sakinetipalli and the other shore is Narsapur. People travel in boats to reach Narsapur. To skip the boat ride, we must travel 34 kilometers from there. We had to carry all the luggage and take our third boat ride of the trip. The boat is so big, many people boarded it along with their bikes. I watched such journeys only in movies, never imagined I would be part of one. To please our sense of hunger, we looked for a decent place to eat. But the village disappointed us without providing any such options. We proceeded to the railway station with a combination of hunger, and disappointment. After fresh up at the waiting hall, we found a person who was unloading boxes of idly and wada to sell in the station. He seemed to be an incarnation of God for us at a time when hunger was dominating all our logical senses. After pleasing our belly, we boarded the train to Hyderabad.

At a high level, the trip provided us a much-required break, fun and above all some unexpected encounters. I have to give a special mention to our cab driver Sattibabu, he was very well-behaved and cooperative.

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