21-Aug-2004 -- It was a few weeks since we attempted and reached 6 confluences on a 3 day trip into south India. We started planning this weekend trip a week ago and decided to try and reach 15N77E, 15N76E and 16N76E. We seem to have been to almost all the confluences near Bangalore, so we would have to drive much longer to reach these three. I was looking forward to this trip for a couple of different reasons; I would get an opportunity to check out my new SUV and I would get a chance to test out a GPS unit that I had access to in my organization!
The team comprised of my uncles Jagan and Anand, Mohan and I. I picked up Mohan and Jagan at 0600 and set out on NH#7 (National Highway #7) traveling north from Bangalore. The three confluences we were going to attempt were to the north and north-west of Bangalore. The GPS indicated that this one (15N77E) was about 260 kilometers from my home. That meant we had a long drive to reach it. Our plan was to attempt two confluences today (15N77E & 15N76E). This time, we were armed with two GPS’ and it was fun seeing both of them tracking to the confluence.
We stopped at 0740 hrs in Chikballapur for breakfast and then continued north on NH#7 towards the town of Ananthapur. Our route would take us through Ananthapur and then off NH#7 towards Bellary. We passed through the towns of Kuderu and Urvakonda and headed towards the town of Rupinagudi. We found the road forking to the left before Rupinagudi. This looked like a good bet as the GPS was indicating that we were getting closer. As we drove down this road, the GPS indicated that the point was left of us. We were about 4.5 kilometers away. We finally found a road going left and we turned onto it. We were closing in and at about 3.5 kilometers from the point, the road began to turn away. In the distance, to our right we could see a huge factory and the GPS was indicating that the confluence was in its general direction.
Now, the road was deteriorating and we were losing time. After about 10 minutes of navigating between the monster pot-holes on the road, we came upon a small track that seemed to head temptingly towards the confluence. The GPS began to count down and true to the earlier indications, it looked like we would wind up very close to the huge factory. We asked a cyclist how to reach the factory and he pointed us towards a paved road a few kilometers away from which we could move towards the factory. We were about 1.5 kilometers away.
We turned onto the road leading to the factory and found the GPS counting down pretty rapidly. At 500 meters, the road turned away. But we immediately found a set of tracks leading off the road in the direction of the confluence. The only problem was that we started encountering big bushes with menacing thorns! Situation normal for us! We stopped 300 meters from the confluence and it took us just a few more minutes to walk to 15N77E. It was 1310 hrs and the altitude recorded was 437 meters.
We took the mandatory photographs and quickly piled into the car and back-tracked to the paved road. Our first priority was to find a gas station as we were running low on fuel. We were directed towards a gas station by a gentleman waiting for a bus. We asked the station attendant about the factory and he told us that it was a steel mill called Sathavahana Ispat Limited. He also gave us directions to Rayadurg as this was the town we would have to drive through to reach the next confluence; 15N76E. He gave us directions and we headed in the direction of Rayadurg in our quest for 15N76E.