The Reasons Why We Love Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram

Satya Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram was the residence of the notable spiritual leader and teacher late Sathya Sai Baba in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Satya Sai Baba was born in 23 November 1926 and lived till 24 April 2011.

Satya Sai Baba's Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram
Satya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram.

Satya Sai Baba did many miracles to became popular with masses. Producing Vibhthi (holy ash for Hindus), watches, necklace, rings, etc, were some of the materialistic miracles he used to do occasionally, other than healing miraculously, among many other miracles.

Puttaparthi is also home to many educational institutions,hospitals, etc. which are run by the International Sai Organization. This organization has established many hospitals and clinics which caters to the poor, by giving free treatment including free heart surgery. The Satya Sai International Organization also runs schools and drinking water projects among some of its other social activities.

On 20 October 1940, Satya Sai Baba, who was previously known by name Sathyanarayana Raju, proclaimed himself as the reincarnation of the famous spiritual teacher late Sai Baba of Shirdi.

Current ashram at Puttaparthi was constructed in the year 1950. An old mandir was built previously in 1944.

How Do I Go to Satya Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram?

Satya Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram is well connected by roads to all parts of the country. Chennai is at 375 kilometers and Hyderabad at 440 kilometers from Puttaparthi. There are bus services connecting most major cities of nearby states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu,etc.

There is a railway station at Puttaparthi at 8 kilometers distance from the ashram of Satya Sai Baba on the Bangalore – Guntakal route.

There is a small airport at Puttaparthi which is connected to nearby metro cities.

Nagarjunakonda Buddhist Island

Nagarjunakonda Buddhist Island is in the Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh state in India at a distance of 150 kilometers from the capital city, Hyderabad.

Nagarjunakonda Buddhist Island
A spillway gate of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam

Nagarjunakonda  Island  was formed when the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was constructed. The Nagarjunakondahills got submerged in dam waters.

Known as Sri Parvata, Nagarjunakonda Island  is one of richest Buddhist sites in India. The island contains a Buddhist museum where the submerged archaeological sites remains were dug up and transferred. Some other monuments were transferred to the near by mainland. The excavations shows that  the area was the center for Buddhist learning in ancient India. Dalai Lama, the 14th Dalai lama, currently heads Buddhists.

Nagarjunakonda   is named after the Buddhist scholar  Acharya Nagarjuna who lived in the 2nd century.

How to go to Nagarjunakonda Buddhist Island?

Macherla is the nearest railway station at around 30 kilometers distance. There are ferry services to the island from the main land.

Nagarjunakonda Buddhist Island Town is well connected to Hyderabad by state highway.

Hyderabad International airport at 150 kilometers is the nearest airport to Nagarjunakonda island.

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) as it is known officially, is near to Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is on the hill top at a height of 853 meters above sea level.

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Gopurams of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy temple at Tirumala, is  the most famous temple in the world and is the most visited religious place in the world.

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is comprised of seven peaks which symbolizes the seven heads of  ‘Adisesha’ and is hence called ‘Seshachalam’.

Tirupati Tirumala lord Venkateswara temple is also called ‘Temple of Seven Hills’ and is having excellent facilities for ttd darshan (visit temple and the deity), pilgrim lodging, food and snacks delivery etc. Food and snacks are given free of cost to pilgrims who are waiting to see the Lord Balaji in the queue. Temple Services can be availed online online by clicking the link ‘Online Services’ at TTD Website, http://www.tirumala.org/.

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple Andhra pradesh is the second most richest temple in the world after Sree PadmanabhaSwamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram, in the capital city of Kerala State in India.

Lord Venkateswara also known as Lord Balaji; a form of Lord Vishnu; is the presiding deity at Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.

Head tonsuring and offering ones hair to Lord Balaji is famous offering among pilgrims to this temple; Tirupati Tirumala Balaji temple Andhra pradesh.

How Do I Go to Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple?

Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is situated on top of some of the steepest hills, I have ever seen in South India. Looking those hills from down, is really frightening. Steep red colored hills! It may be the only hill station in India to have separate  roads to go up and come down. Kudos to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation Bus drivers who drives those buses effortlessly, which ply between Tiupathi and Tirumalai! While coming downhill, one can only hear the brake sound and it seems like those sharp hair pen bents on the roads are like roses to these expert drivers!

Devotees can either climb the hills by walking the 9 kilometers plus pathway using the stairs or go by vehicle through the road. I have once taken the stairs and climbed the hills by walking thousands of steps. One will realize the value of Glucose that time! A few grams of Glucose and some water will make all the difference;  Without which it is nearly impossible to climb those stairs! Water is provided free of cost all along stairs side by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the governing body for the Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Venkateswara Swamy temple .

Tirupathi railway station near Renigunta Junction  is the nearest railway station with code TPTY on railway booking website irctc.co.in.

There is a small Airport at Renigunta near to Tirupathi. The nearest major airport is Chennai International Airport.

Tirupathi and Tirumalai are well connected by roads from Tamilnadu and Karnataka, the neighboring states.

Accommodation Near Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

There are thousands of Cottages, Guest houses and dormitories in Tirupathi and Tirumalai, which offer cheap hotel rooms to the pilgrimages. There are also free rooms available for those who can not afford the room rent.

Smocking and consumption of Alcohol is prohibited in this Temple Town.

Pondicherry The French Colony in India

Pondicherry The French Colony in India
Park Monunemt (Aayi Mandapam) in the Government Park of Puducherry, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baptismal font at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puducherry (Pondicherry)
Baptismal font at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Puducherry (Pondicherry), India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pondicherry is spread across the 3 South Indian states of Kerala, TamilNadu, and Andhra Pradesh. It is affectionately called Pondy and officially called Puducherry. Pondicherry The French Colony in India is physicality 4 small pieces of land spread across 3 Indian states.

Pondicherry (Alias Pondy Alias Puducherry) and Karaikal are the other two parts of Pondycherry within Tamilnadu state.

Karaikal is at a distance of 114 kilometers South of Pondicherry within Tamilnadu on the Bay of Bengal Coast.

Mahe is one part of Pondy in northern Kerala on the Arabian Sea coast at a distance of around 625 kilometers West from Pondy.

Yenam Alias Yanaon in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh near to the Bay of Bengal Coast at a distance of 870 kilometers North East of Pondy is the other part of Pondy.

Pondicherry being a Union Territory is a tax heaven; buying high cost items is economical in Pondy.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram  is famous among tourists to Pondy. Auroville is a city developed  near Pondicherry in the neighboring Villupuram district of Tamilnadu, on the vision of Rishi Aurobindo (Rishi means Hindu saint) and the mother, dedicated to human unity where people of all countries can live in peace and harmony. The golden metallic crystal sphere in the town is the largest of such kind in the world.

Pondicherry has lot of French citizens and many Pondy residents live and work in France. Many, including locals, are getting French pension in India.

Which are the Places to Visit in Pondicherry?

Puducherry has many beautiful colonial buildings, temples, churches, statues, beaches, etc, which makes it an ideal tourist location. Streets are well planned French style avenues, making  them look beautiful.

War memorial, Old Light house, Museum exhibiting city’s French connection,   beach opposite the secretariat, etc, are the places commonly visited by tourists.  Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a Gothic architecturally styled church, which is 110 years old.

Promenade Beach is a 1.2 kilometer long beautiful beach starting near the War memorial and ends at Dupleix Park.  War memorial  is on the beach road. Dupleix Park is also on the beach road. It has the statue of erstwhile french ruler, Dupleix.

Are There Any Good Hotels in Pondicherry?

There are many good hotels in Pondicherry. Palais de Mahe, Villa Shanti, Pondicherry Executive Inn Pvt Ltd, Hotel Tamizh Park, Le Pondy, Club Mahindra Puducherry, The Promenade, Windflower Resort, etc, are to name a few good hotels in Pondicherry. You can find a lot of budget hotels near to the Goverment Bus station and in the nearby areas.

Waterfalls Near Chennai – A Guide To Kone Falls or Kailasakona Falls

Kone Falls or Konai falls or kona waterfalls alias Kailasakona falls as is known officially, is a great place for those looking for a Chennai Weekend Getaway destination. This waterfalls near Chennai Andhra border is an ideal one day trip location for residents of Chennai.

Kone falls is also spelled as Kona falls. Its a small perennial water fall situated near to Puthur or Puttur (see the last paragraph for details about this famous place) in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh state, India.

There is no specific Konai falls season time. Unlike many other falls, water is there all around the year, at this falls.

Kone Falls alias Kailasakona falls
Main Kone Falls alias Kailasakona falls.

The main falls is having a height of anywhere between 40 to 60 feet. It is situated at around two kilometers from the main road. There is a Lord Shiva and Parvati temple (on your right side of the picture above), at the foot of the falls. This temple is known as Kailasakona Temple. You need to cross this temple to go to the falls.

A group of 4 or 5 people can bath freely at the main falls simultaneously. The main fall and the temple can be easily accessed by walking around 100 meters or so from the parking lot. Its safe to walk at night, as there are lights on your way to the main falls and the nearby temple. Its advisable to carry an alternate source of light like a torch light or a mobile phone, if you are going to this  falls in the night.

Anybody, irrespective of age, can go to the main falls. The risk factor is least among the falls in south India. Avoid taking family in the night, as its forest area and no houses or shops are there in the night. Those carrying  [amazon_textlink asin=’B079L7YDN9′ text=’tent’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’toursitinindi-21′ marketplace=’IN’ link_id=’a4050c9e-2f55-11e8-869c-d36f4b4c7a68′] with them can put up tents at the parking area.

Kone Falls  is also known as Konai Falls. Kone Falls near Andhra is an ideal tourist location for those interested in going for a day’s picnic from Chennai. Koni falls season time is all through the year.

Occasionally, snakes and scorpions were reportedly seen near the falls. I have seen King Cobras near the temple (on the way to the falls), a few years back. In August 2018, my friends had seen a scorpion sitting on the rock next to, where people bath. A small snake (green in color) was also seen on the same day (around 8 pm). One guy took it with a stick and thrown it away.

How Do I Go to Kone Falls, The Great Chennai Weekend Getaway Destination?

If you are traveling from Chennai to Kone Falls, Kone falls near Chennai can be reached via Red Hills, Periyapalayam, Uthukotai. It is 10 kilometers ahead of Puthur. While coming from Chennai, take left immediately after the sign board which says ‘Puthur 10 KMS’ (sign board is on the right side of the road). Kone falls Chennai distance is around 90 kilometers.

Kailasa Kona alias Kona Falls Entrance on the main road
Kailasa Kona alias Kona Falls Entrance on the main road.

The road to falls is a single lane road and there is a rectangle shaped concrete arch put up by Harita Valley Resort, on the left side of the main road, if you are coming from Chennai via Uttukottai, as seen in the above picture. . (Even though the above picture shows a blue board ‘Toll Gate’, there is no toll gate anywhere on the road to the falls.) If you have missed the road to the falls, take a U-turn when you see the bridge. (The second bridge on your way from Uttukottai to Puthur. The first bridge may be around 20 to 30 feet in length, while the second one is a much lengthier one.)

Kailasakona falls or koney falls is around 100 kilometers from Chennai city and takes around 2.25 hours drive from Chennai. There are buses available up to the main road, from where you may go by a share auto. Kone main falls is at around 2 kilometers from the main bus route and there is good motarable road up to 100 meters from the main falls. The last stretch of 100 meters so, is having well laid pathway with steps numbering around 20 or so.

Puttur railway station with station code “PUT”, is the nearest railway station at around 13 kilometers distance from the falls. Tirupati Airport is the nearest airport at around 44 kilometers distance from KailasaKona falls. Chennai International airport is the nearest major airport to the falls.

Accommodation Near to Kone Falls alias Coney falls or Kailaskona Falls

Konai falls rooms are available close to the falls. A.P. Tourism department hotel is situated very close to the main falls parking area. The first left road takes you to the Kailasnathkona Haritha Hotel (when returning from the Kone main falls parking area). This Kailasanatha Kona resort is situated very close to the parking area; around a quarter kilometers distance from the parking area.

There are quite large number of hotels and restaurants at Puttur or Puthur town, around 10 kilometers from Kone falls.

Do I Need to Take Permit to Visit Kone Falls?

You are not required to get any permit to visit Kone falls in Andhra. You can straight away go to any of the three falls here; Main Falls or the two small falls (mentioned below).

Small Fall-cum-Pond on Half Way to Kone Main Falls

There is a small fall with around 3 feet height and a small pond, at around 1 kilometers ahead of the the main falls on your way to the main falls. You need to go straight at the first major right turn. Park your car here and then walk through the mud road to this falls-cum-pond. Be wary of the rock pieces and stones thrown all around, which falls from the hills atop, during rainy season.

The pond has a depth of only 2 to 4 feet and is very popular among the tourists to Kone falls. The small pool is cool and gets fresh water from the small fall  at one corner of the pool. One can bath or swim inside this pool. Few small fishes will try to bite you. These fishes will not harm you. It may at the most irritate you in the begging, after which you get used to it and don’t bother much. People of all ages; kids to senior citizens; take bath here.

This pond and the  Falls can be accessed by walking around 10 minutes from the main road, which is hardly around 150 meters from the road to the main falls. This small falls can be easily accessed by people of all ages. Its not safe at night as there may be poisonous snakes, on the path to the pond.

Second Falls-cum-Pond Above the Previously Mentioned Fall, KailasaNatha Kone Falls

Those who are adventurous can go for trekking to the top of a nearby small hill, situated close to the above mentioned pond. Another falls called KailasaNatha Kone Falls and a pond exists here also. Overflowing water from this pond forms the first falls (and the pond) mentioned in previous paragraph, which is about 15 feet below the top pond.

Is There Any Shops on the Road to Kone Falls?

There is a building with a shop cum hotel at around 0.75 kilometers distance from the main road towards the falls. You can buy oil, soap, shampoo, cigarettes, water bottle, biscuits, etc, from this shop. There are a couple of petty shops near to the parking lot, selling cigarettes, juices, etc.

Kone Falls Hotels

There are not much  hotels near the falls. The only  hotel on the road to the falls is the shop mentioned in the above paragraph. You will also get  vegetarian food and non-vegetarian food, provided you order it in advance. There are quite a few hotels on the main road (Uttukottai – Puttur -Tirupathi state highway)

Other Falls Near to Kone Falls

Tada Falls alias Kambakam falls or Ubbalamadugu falls is a nearby beautiful fall at around 12 kilometers distance from Varadaiahpalem town. Talakona waterfalls is another nearby major falls at around 49 kilometers from the temple town, Tirupati. Apart from the above mentioned falls, there are a number of other falls, which are not so famous, in around 50 kilometers radial distance of Kone Falls.

Famous Temples Near to Kone Falls, Great Chennai Weekend Getaway Places

Famous Kalahasti Shiva temple which was originally built by the great Pallava kings and later renovated by the Great Chola Kings Kulothunga Cholan I, II & III in the 11th century, is very close to Kone falls; near to Uthukottai. Kalahasti Temple is the World’s only temple which is open on Solar and Lunar Eclipses. The world famous Tirupathi Lord Venkateshwara temple is also close to Kone Falls. Varadaiahpalem Oneness Temple is another famous temple nearby, which is having the largest meditation hall in Asia without pillars.

Puttur or Puthur Kettu Near Kone Falls

Puttur is very famous for ‘Puthur Kettu’, equivalent of Orthopedic plastering / surgery, which is very popular in the neighboring regions of Tamilnadu, AndhraPradesh and Karnataka states. Hundreds of people go to Puthur everyday to get their fracture set right.

2018 Update

2018 January Update

I have traveled to Kone falls on  21st January 2018 and found that the roads to kone falls from Uttukottai in Andhra Pradesh state are severally damaged. It may be due the floods last year. Up-to the border in Uthukottai, the roads are good. Once you cross the Tamilnadu border, the roads are too bad. Encroachments near the Uthukottai junction were being demolished, when I went on that day.

2018 May update – Kone falls current status

The road from Uttukottai to Kone falls are now re-laid and is in good condition. I have visited Kone main falls and the small fall cum pond on the 20th of May, 2018.  Water is there in both the falls.