Situated 3,500 feet above sea level and unexplored so far by regular tourists and trekkers, the Venkatagiri Durgam near Venkatagiri town in Nellore district provides a challenging trek and a fest to the eye as the historic fort and the way to it are endowed with natural beauty.
This was the experience of a team from State branch of Youth Hostel Association of India which made a pilot trek to the fort a few days ago to explore the possibility of making it a permanent trek in its calendar.
Chairman of the YHAI State branch Ch. Sreenivasa Prasad, chairman of the AP Adventure Promotion Committee K. Ranga Rao and others who had gone to Venkatagiri Durgam spoke about their experiences at a press conference here on Tuesday. State secretary N. Nageswara Rao, treasurer A. Pundarikaksha, and Mahesh and Rajendra who participated in the trek were also present.
The fort was built in 1775 AD and its front portion, called Indra Mahal, was built in 1883 AD. It was surrounded by dense forests extending up to Tirupati hills and the hill is located 50 km from the famous shrine.
The path to the Durgam was flat at some places and steep, almost 80 degrees. There are waterfalls, deep valleys on one side and hill touching the sky on the other, said the trekkers.
The fort though in disuse has its own charm and one would wonder how such a huge structure was built on an inaccessible hill top.
Temperature drops drastically during the night and fog envelopes the hill and fort till a few hours after sunrise.
There is Malleswara Kona, a natural beauty spot with a waterfall, a 300-year-old Sivalingam and Pilla Durgam that can be covered by trekking.
YHAI planned an adventure trek but did not conduct it due to reasons like the participants not confirming in time or submitting a medical certificate, which is necessary considering the strain one undergoes while trekking.
“We are planning to conduct the trek after monsoon since that is the ideal time. Only those above 17 years of age will be allowed and every one has to produce a medical certificate certifying their fitness. Those with chest problems should not attempt such a trek. We also need permission for trekking and engage local guides”, said Mr. Prasad and Mr. Ranga Rao.
YHAI wants to make this trek a regular feature in its calendar.
The State unit is also planning to introduce rafting on the Godavari near Yanam; rock climbing near Kondapalli (Vijayawada); parasailing in Viakhapatnam and trekking on Seshachalam near Tirupati.
The State unit to its credit also conducted a trek on the Seshachalam hill which earned nine world records like having a lady among the trekkers, youngest boy, youngest girl, etc.