We were actually planning for a two day trip to Khammam & Bhadrachalam but for some reasons had to cancel that. Meanwhile, another group of friends were planning for Basara and I joined with them. On 16Nov2013, Saturday we took KCG AK EXP train from Kacheguda at 7:30AM and reached Basara by 12:00PM. From the railway station there are auto rickshaws available to the temple for 10Rs. There are many private lodges available near the temple and we checked into one. There are also lodges available from TTD for meager prices but expect the tidiness of the rooms to be mediocre too. I think there is a Haritha Residency by AP Tourism which might be good too but we found that later. Learned from reception that the temple closes at 2:00PM and thought to get a round of darshan and hurried to the temple after freshening up. We were there by 1:00PM and found that temple closes at 1:00PM instead. But the policemen there allowed us to get in and try to get the darshan. We went in running and were lucky to get the darshan, there was no queue too and that helped. The temple was closed immediately after.
Lunch time, from my earlier visits to Basara I was aware that finding good food is going to be difficult. We enquired with the same policeman who allowed us enter the temple and he suggested three places… Gayathri Hotel (opposite to the temple entrance), a hotel towards your right in the temple, right after entering the premises (can’t remember the name) and Haritha Residency. Went to Haritha but they were only serving curd rice & chapathi which did not excite us and went to Gayathri. Had meals there, it was okay in taste but I think some soda was added to rice & it resulted in heavy & tight stomach. We went back to our room & relaxed for a couple of hours. In the evening, we reached Godavari river ghat at around 4:30PM. There are auto rickshaws available for 5 or 10 Rs from the temple to Godavari ghat. One can walk too; it is just about a kilometer. This is my fourth visit to Basara but never seen Godavari with so much water, thanks to the abundant rain this season. There are boats which take you on a 15 min ride for 20Rs. We also visited Shivalayam on the ghat and returned to the Saraswathi temple at 6:00PM. Went in for another darshan & stayed back for an hour inside the temple taking in the divinity of the place. Be it the psychological beleif or really the divinity of the place, I always feel blessed and strenthened by the divine power on such visits to historical religious shrines. Meanwhile, the evening Harathi of Gnana Sarwasthi started at 7:30PM. All were assembeled in the Mandap and Harathi was performed along with the chants by five Pandits. Once done, we bought prasadam & went back to room after dinner at the same Gayathri Hotel. We fell asleep at 10:00PM with alarm set to 2:00AM.
Next day on 17thNov2013, Sunday, we got up at 2:00AM and reached temple and stood in the line by 3:00AM. We were first in the queue for the Abhishekam tickets, the counter was opened at 4:00AM. Once tickets were issued, we went in and sat in the first row to watch the Abhishekam. I guess, it started at around 5:o0AM & was finished at 7:00AM. It was Kartheeka Pournami that day and I found the alankarana of Godess to be different from the other day. All of us were allowed in a line towards Garbagudi and were given Abhishekam turmeric & kumkum (saffron). As it was Kartheeka Pournami, all the devotees were lighting ghee lamps around the temple decorating it. There was a ceremony in the evening at 6:00PM near Godavari ghat on the occasion of Kartheeka Pournami but due to the fear of the crowd which can cause unavailability of enough buses/trains we had to unwillingly leave at 9:30AM. When we reached the railway station, we got to know that the Devagiri Express which was scheduled to arrive at 10:30AM is delayed and will arrive at 4:00PM in the evening. Then we took a bus to Nizambad and from Nizambad we took another bus to Hyderabad. Reached home at 3:30PM and booked first show tickets for Ramleela. Had lunch, watched movie and the weekend has come to an end. It was a satisfying trip & a good movie.
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