01 November, 2020

Where’s The Exit Sign?

A drive down NH-18 taking in the sights ...and the burning Telangana debate

Where’s The Exit Sign?

Narrow Lane Ahead

  • NH-18 connects three districts of Rayalaseema: Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool. The fourth district is Anantapur, but it’s not on NH-18.
  • In 2008-09, YSR decided to extend NH-18 from Nandyal to Koduru (Nellore district) and even sanctioned funds for this. Work stopped when he died suddenly.
  • The Chittoor-Kadapa drive is fairly smooth, but then on to Kurnool is tedious, thanks to highway works and diversions.
  • Kadapa’s Pedda dargah is one of south India’s most popular religious destinations, with even Hindu devotees flocking there.


The wayside dhaba is usually the place where most Indian road movies begin to unravel. The baddies and cops slug it out amid the clatter of vessels and echo of gunshots. My journey unfolds near a serene mango orchard just off Chittoor on NH-18. There’s a sharp screech of tyre on tarmac  as a police jeep swerves in front of a tractor carrying an illegal stash of red sanders. The SI...



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