I’m pretty sure that if you Google the word Gandikota, it will auto-suggest “Gandikota Camping” and that’s because people visit Gandikota for camping. If you’ve been following my blog or me on Instagram, you already know that I was in Gandikota a few weeks ago to spend a weekend camping under the stars. Me and my friend went on a road trip from Hyderabad to Gandikota and spent a night camping. For someone who’s always been more of a city dweller than an adventure seeker, camping in Gandikota was nothing sort of leap into the unknown.
Join me as I recount my recent camping experience in Gandikota, and together, we’ll explore whether this camping experience is one you should consider for yourself
Gandikota – Grand Canyon of India
Situated in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, Gandikota is known as the Grand Canyon of India as it bears a stark resemblance to its American counterpart, the Grand Canyon. Located on the Pennar River, Gandikota boasts of awe-inspiring crimson-hued cliffs that stretch as far as the eyes can see. These rock formations, believed to be a million years old, were carved due to erosion, wind, and the river itself.
Interestingly the name Gandikota is derived by combining two Telugu words “Gandi” (Gorge) and “Kota” (fort) because of the ancient fortress there. It was first discovered by a Chalukyan king in the early 1100s and was a sand fort initially. There’s a Jama Masjid within the fort premises, however during our trip to Gandikota it was only about camping and basking in the natural beauty of the place. But how is the camping at Gandikota? Read on.
Gandikota Camping – All You Need To Know
Camping in the picturesque landscape of Gandikota is a nature lover’s dream come true. Surrounded by the rugged beauty of the cliffs and the soothing flow of the Pennar River, it’s a place where you can truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with the natural world.
There aren’t many options to stay in Gandikota itself except camping. There’s on Haritha Resort by APTDC which is decent enough. Apart from that there are many camping options which you can check on Google while most camping setups in Gandikota have a similar setup. There are options to put up our own tent as well. So if you’re a real adventurer, you might try this too.
Another important thing to note is transportation. You MUST have your own vehicle as there aren’t many local options available to ferry to different places. Most camping sites have ample parking so you can park there.
Types of Tents & Facilities
We stayed with this operator named Gandikota Camping which is located at the cliff, a little further from the fort. They offer two types of tents:
- Regular tents: These are regular tents that you are currently imagining. They will put them up once you confirm your booking with them. These are the most basic types of tents available at the Gandikota camping. In terms of amenities inside the tent, there’s only a foam “mattress” along with a sleeping bag that is provided. Each such tent can house a maximum of two people.
- Luxury tents: These are comparatively feature-loaded tents. And my luxury, I don’t mean Rann Utsav type tents. They have more amenities like beds, Air conditioners, charging points, fans etc. These are proper rooms if I can and are located further away from the cliff.
The most important question you might have would be about the washrooms. Well, there are separate washrooms for ladies and gents that are a little away from the camping site. These looked like shipping containers converted into washrooms. Not one of the best, but just okay. I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be, but if you want to change, you have to carry your clothes as the entire world watches you walk towards the washroom and back :/
Cost of Camping in Gandikota
The regular tent is priced at Rs 1500 per night while the luxury one is priced at Rs 3000 per night. These prices don’t include food and a bonfire. So you can pay for these separately. The food costs Rs 1000 for dinner and breakfast (which is not worth it). You can definitely venture out to some nearby shacks that have something. Of if you’re carrying your own stove and stuff, feel free to make your own meal.
My Honest Gandikota Camping Experience
As I mentioned earlier, this was my first-ever camping experience. So it was the first time I got into a tent that I usually saw at Decathlon. The tent was quite spacious for two people. Or maybe it felt like that since we didn’t have anything with us. Everything was in the car. The “mattress” was rather stiff but much better than sleeping directly on the floor. The sleeping bag, I didn’t use it. Instead, I rolled it and put it under my head as I usually have a couple of pillows.
There was ventilation in the tent, which allowed the air to pass. It was quite windy in the night, but I was sweating because of the humidity. I sweat a lot and I couldn’t bear the humidity. While it was windy outside, I felt quite warm and humid inside. Further, the tents are places so close to each other that you might overhear conversations from the neighbouring tent. There are also a lot of dogs that are wandering so don’t be surprised if you open the tent and see a dog taking a nap. Lastly, the area around the tents wasn’t that clean.
The most annoying thing for me was that almost every other tent had people who were playing loud music until 3 AM! Most of them I believe were also drunk and were yelling stuff that you may not want to hear. I’m not against parting or playing music, but people should be mindful of where they are. Or maybe I’m not made for such places.
I’d rather spend a quiet evening/night under the stars with a bonfire. If I’m alone, I’d listen to music using my headphones, if I’m with someone, I’d just chat. I did shoot some amazing night photos from my Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. Not one of the best, but I loved them. Thanks to these guys not allowing me to sleep, I spent most of the night outside the tent star gazing and just reminiscing about life.
Overall, I think the only good things about my Gandikota camping experience were the company I had, the sky full of stars and the sunrise. Without them, it would have been a mess. For someone like me who enjoys a calm and soothing atmosphere, this is not something I like. There were families as well, and I don’t know how they managed.
If someone asked me if wanted to go camping in Gandikota again, I’d say no. Instead, I’d stay at a hotel somewhere nearby, come to the tenting area for stargazing/sunrise and go back. Not a place where I’d want to spend a night.
Gandikota Camping Tips
Since I spent a night there, I guess I am entitled to share a few tips that will be handy/helpful to you if you’re planning to go camping in Gandikota as well. If you’re a first-time camper, well, these might be a bit more helpful.
- Check the weather: The weather can play an important role here. While the guys there say that these tents can stay fine during rain, you might want to avoid them unless you want to experience that.
- Book in advance: There are multiple camping options in Gandikota, so you can reach out to anyone and probably book once in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.
- Bring Snacks: Make sure you pack some snacks like chips, protein bars etc. since there’s nothing around. And you don’t want to die of hunger, do you?
- Pack essentials: Have a medical kit and mosquito repellent as there are lots of mosquitoes here.
- Water: Have enough of water with you as it might be difficult to find drinking water. Buying a water bottle might not be easy as there’s nothing nearby.
- Tripod for night photography: If you plan to take photos of the night sky, make sure you have a tripod.
- Power bank: The most essential item in today’s time is a power bank. You don’t want to spend a night without any charge on your phone.
Enjoyed Everything But Camping
Gandikota makes for a wonderful weekend getaway, offering a scenic long drive and a chance to spend a night beneath the starry skies. Many people flock here for the camping experience, which, I have to admit, had its moments. Thanks to my dear friend and the mesmerizing night sky, this trip will remain etched in my memory.
That said, my own camping experience might not be the blueprint for everyone. Gandikota is a place you’ll undoubtedly love; its ever-changing colours throughout the day are a sight to behold. However, I’d recommend considering other lodging options to make the most of your visit.
If you’ve been to Gandikota or plan to go soon, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Each traveller’s journey is unique, and your insights can help others explore this beautiful destination in their own way.