I remember visiting Ramoji Film City over 20 years ago. It was a novelty then – new swanky restaurants and all the movie sets were a great pull. Over the years, the charm has faded a little bit, but in times of local travels, we thought, why not take a weekend break here. At least the green spaces around will be a welcome change.
We booked ourselves for a night at Sitara. We were informed that many of the usual attractions like the adventure park and butterfly garden were closed post-COVID lockdown. One tour was available that covered the garden areas, the bird park, and the highlight of the City at the moment – the Bahubali set.
Things to do at Ramoji Film City
Private vehicles are not allowed to drive on the premises. We had to park our car at the hotel parking bay. Instead, you need to book an in-house tour bus tour or just walk around.
They have two tours – one in the afternoon and another in the evening. We took the afternoon tour. The bus was a regular old metal box, and in the afternoon humidity, it got pretty warm, although the breeze was pleasant. Carry water bottles – you’ll need it.
It was a hop on-hop off tour, which meant we could alight at a few chosen spots for pictures. Most of the places are undergoing renovations. The tour guide will be more than happy to rattle off the movies and songs shot at these locations. The places we did stop at were good backdrops for pictures but could’ve done with a better cleaning job.
The Bahubali set was undoubtedly the most popular and had collected quite a raucous crowd. Some of the pieces were quite impressive, like the chariot and the horses. Others were in various stages of disrepair.
Our final stop was the bird park. It was disappointing to see gorgeous exotic birds in small cages with just a fake tree branch in the name of habitat. Their shrieking voices conveyed their displeasure. The ‘free range’ aviary was slightly better, with an array of smaller birds in bright colours fluttering around. The ostrich enclosure was not big enough either to house one, let alone three large birds.
As of now, there are not many day trips allowed inside. Tours are organised only for people staying overnight or day-trippers that come in larger groups.
Where to stay at Ramoji Film City
We had stayed at Hotel Sitara, which is one of their oldest hotels and the premium one. There are other options for various budgets as well.
The floor we were assigned was under renovation expect for our rooms. Thankfully, all noisy work ceased while we were there. We had booked the theme rooms. The Mughal room was tastefully done. The Cleopatra room was nice and colourful. However, considering that this is a very old property that hasn’t been updated, the room did not feel worth the price.
There’s no full day dining options but there’s a room service menu. The buffet lunch was not great and was overpriced. Our dinner at Galaxy restaurant was a much better experience.
The hotel had also organised some games for kids in the evening by the pool. A bouncy castle, archery point, and pottery ensured kids could run around and play with each other.
Things to do near Ramoji Film City
There was not much to do the next day, so after checkout at 10 we wanted to explore some spots nearby.
Indira Sagar Pond
Just a few minutes drive away is a small pond, but if you go further into the village lanes (drivable) you’ll find yourself at a larger pond named Indira Sagar. There’s not much in terms of facilities, but it’s a nice place to take a breath amongst paddy fields and un-commercialised nature.
This beautiful structure is visible on a hill top from Ramoji as well. The pristine white Sanghi Temple is identifiable from far away. You could park at the entrance and walk up the small hill or just pay the entry fee and drive up all the way.
As soon as you reach the top, you’ll be greeting by gangs of monkeys. They scavenge through bags and compartments on parked motorcycles, and look for any opening in car windows. Beware. Avoid giving them food because they will come back for more.
The temple complex is beautiful and offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding areas. If the monkeys let you, then find a nice place to sit and enjoy the breeze and view.
This waterfall is also within drivable distance but requires a bit of a trek to get to the main falls. We were not up for walking in the sun and decided to skip it for now.
There are a few small roadside eateries before you hit the ORR, but we didn’t try any and headed straight home.
Ramoji Film City is a nice place if you have never visited before, especially if you love movies. As more attractions open up, the crowds will build up so this is a good time to go and stock up on your Instagram photos.