Bhongir Fort - A quick day outing from Hyderabad
Traveling just around 50 kilometers away from the hustle bustle of Hyderabad, India and with just Rs. 5 entrance ticket, what one gets is a wonderful vista of the biggest monolithic rock one would have ever seen. Bhongir fort, often called as Bhuvanagiri, is located in a small town located in the Nalgonda district on Warangal-Hyderabad highway, in Telangana state of India. While the roads leading to Bhongir fort provide a much needed respite for Hyderabad city dwellers, the rock as such makes for wonderful climb and gives great views of the surrounding areas. It is a great destination for day outing from Hyderabad and here we provide our experience of visiting Bhongir fort.
We planned to visit Bhongir fort on one fine weekend in June. The clouds had taken over and we were desperate to get out after staying indoors most of the harsh summer. Without any second thoughts, our hearts called out for a bike trip and short distance to Bhongir made it the ideal place to go. We started off early from Hyderabad around 6:30 AM on 3 bikes to avoid the traffic. But as one might know Hyderabad these days rarely lets you escape the traffic, we too took much more time to get out of the city than expected. Traveling around some 20 kms away to reach outskirts of the city, we stopped for breakfast on the Warangal-Hyderabad highway. The roads from here were in pretty good condition and with amazing cloudy weather it did not take much time to reach Bhuvangiri town.
Bhongir fort is in the middle of the town and the massive rock on which it stands can be spotted right from the highway. We quickly parked our vehicles, bought the entrance tickets and got ready for the trek. A big gate protects the main entrance which is supposed to open at 10 AM. Right at the bottom of the Hill, a statue of Sardar Sarvai Panappa, the monarch of Goud community, caught our attention. He was once a ruler of this fort and the surrounding regions. As we ascended further, we saw many fearless goats grazing at the very steep end of the rocks. There weren’t many visitors which made the surroundings more beautiful and peaceful. Even the clouds were caring enough blocking the direct Sun and adding charm to an already lovely weather.
The initial climb to the top wasn’t a herculean task and we enjoyed taking halts and clicking photographs. The fort appeared low from distance but as we went closer, it rapidly raised up into the sky. The hill is more than 500 feet high and is spread about 40 acres. We got amazing view of the town below on ascending a bit further and we kept on pausing every now and then to have a sight of the now tiny town and the vast fields below. We often came across dilapidated historical structures with plants growing on it.
After passing through the rocky steps, we came across a lawn spread across an expansive area. The view from one end of the lawn was spectacular. We were able to see the Hyderabad-Warangal highway cutting through the vast landscape of fields. We also saw a train passing the railway line on the other end. We got busy photographing and lying down for some rest here. Little did we know we had only come half the way! The magnificent fort of Bhongir was visible from here and so were some canons lying around neglected.
The remaining climb involved small bumpy steps with a railing to hold on to. At few places the steps were non-existent and we literally had to walk on the sharp slopes of the slanting rock by holding the railing. After a few steps of climb we saw few reservoirs naturally made by deep cuts in the rocks. We were surprised to see lotuses blooming in one of such large pond like reservoir. Somehow, halting, sweating, panting and motivating each other we reached the top. All the energy drain was worth it as we witnessed the awe-inspiring views. A moat encircles Bhongir fort. The fort is mostly in ruins but we happened to see cannons, underground chambers and trap doors.
Other places to visit as a weekend outing from Hyderabad
According to legend, there once was an underground corridor connecting Bhongir Fort to Golconda Fort. The Fort held its own army against enemies but by the 15th century, the strategic importance of cannons were reduced due to the advent of gunpowder and the army lost to the Bahmani Sultans of Bidar who tried to renovate it, and thus gave it an Islamic style. There are many interesting legends over the origin of the Bhongir fort. During the ancient times a dynamic Hindu king wanted to construct a fort and was in search of a suitable place. A shepherd with whom the King was impressed put up a condition that the fort be named after him and his wife if he is able to find a suitable site to build it and the King agreed. The shepherd had very good knowledge of the hills and forests, terrain, plants and animals as he used to wander in those areas. At this time the rocky hill at Bhongir was completely covered by a very large wild creeper and the rock was not seen from outside. The shepherd promptly cut off the large root of the creeper and soon it dried up. In few days the rocky hill was exposed in all its glory. He king was immensely thrilled at the site and ordered the officials to plan and build a fort covering the rocky hill. It was soon completed and was named after the shepherd couple as Bhonagiri (Bhoniah, the shepherd and his wife Giremma). While most people believe this to be the story, others say that the fort and the town are named after the king named Bhuvanika Malludu who built it in the past. The steep sides of the fort were considered impregnable. It is also said that the fort was built in 12th Century by Chalukya ruler Tribhuvanamalla and thus named Tribhuvanagiri which gradually became Bhuvanagiri and now Bhongir.
A climb through the steep stairs in one of the pillars of the fort took us to the citadel on the top of Bhongir fort which gave us a bird-eyes view of the scenery around. We sat there as a group for a pretty long time chatting and complimenting the views. A government office of TV and communication department with its long tower occupies an area besides the fort. After our heart was content, we started descending the hill slowly and within an hour were back to the parking area and quite eager to eat. Since the town is really small, it was difficult to find a decent place to have lunch and the one we had found based on various recommendations online was also quite shady for our taste. The food was still decent and we were soon on the road again to head back to Hyderabad.
A day well spent under the sky, we would definitely recommend Bhongir fort to all in Hyderabad rather than heading to the nearest mall or watching the latest movie on the next weekend. Especially if the weather is fine, you would definitely enjoy your day much more at Bhongir.
Have you been to Bhongir fort? Do let us know your thoughts on our Bhongir trip. Want to know more such weekend destinations from Hyderabad? Read our travel blogs and you will find many such experiences.