A Weekend in Warangal
Spontaneous travel plans always act like a cherry on a cake. They work like a charm than the trips that are planned long time ahead. It had been raining for few weeks in Hyderabad, India. A spell of good weather over the week prompted us go outdoors. We were craving for the road, desperate to go for a long drive on motorbike during the weekend. We searched for nearby options from Hyderabad for a two day trip and found Warangal to be a suitable option. It is not only the second biggest city in Telangana state of India, Warangal also has some historical significance as well as some hills and lakes making it a suitable destination for a weekend trip. Warangal was also relatively close to us – only about 180 kilometres from our place. Quickly the hotel bookings were done and the bags packed for yet another roadtrip.
We started our trip early on a pleasant Saturday morning on our motorbike and soon reached the outskirts of the Hyderabad to hit the highway. It was a smooth drive from there on. The rocks and mountains offered us a very scenic view now and then and the dark clouds were drifting constantly in front of us. To be frank, the views and the weather were just added bonuses. We were just ecstatic to feel the winds rush through our hair. The true joy came from feeling the raw horsepower of engines beneath us than the usual comfort of lying on bed.
We soon passed one of the biggest monolithic rocks you would ever come across. Bhongir fort built on this rock is a magnificent site from distance. You can read more about Bhongir fort (a good outing destination from Hyderabad) in our previous blog here. It took us around 4 hours to reach Warangal with a few breaks in between for breakfast and rest. Once in Warangal, we right away checked into our hotel to have some rest.
Late afternoon, we quickly made plans and came up with a list of places to visit. Warangal is a small city which once served as the historical capital of ‘Kakatiya dynasty’. during 12th & 13th century AD. The monuments left by the Kakatiyas include fortresses, temples, and stone gateways helping the city to become a significant tourist attraction. Our first destination was Thousand Pillars temple - a name that fascinated us since the moment we heard it. The construction of this temple displays the grandeur of Kakatiyan dynasty architecture. This Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is supported by 1,000 pillars and no walls – hence the name. A unique feature of the temple is that none of the pillars obstructs a person to see the idol. While all of this sounded amusing, it could not live upto the expectations we had as it was destroyed during Tughlaq dynasty - the sultans of Delhi's invasion around 14th century. Due to continuous restoration work by the government, we can see a small temple displaying intricate stonework and heavy granite work that adds to its immense beauty. Majority of the thousand pillars are barricaded by a wall and still undergoing restoration.
Warangal Fort at Warangal
Next, we visited the Warangal fort. We expected a fort like any other forts we have been to, but it was a disappointment. The fort was completely destroyed during the Tughlaq invasion and what now remains are only the assembled pieces of the lost glory laid out in a huge garden. It is like an outdoor museum. In its heyday, the fort consisted of 45 towers along with ornamental gates, arches made of single rocks and housed shrines in a temple. The fort was built in traditional South Indian architectural style. While the remains offer an insight into the fort structure of the Kakatiya era, the highlight of this place is the ornamental entrance gate which we had seen on streets of warangal as well as hyderabad. This entrance gate has been adopted as emblem of Telangana state and is thus quite iconic. Every evening there is a laser show which lights up all the relics and rocks in different colors. We did not attend this laser show though.
Ekashila Lake at Warangal
Once we left Warangal fort, we decided to explore the areas around it. To our surprise, we found Ekashila lake and children's park right next to the fort. We had some time and so we decided to enter and see if there was anything good here. The park might enthrall kids with some swings and slides, but we headed straight to a hill we saw inside the park. The hill gave a magnificent view of Ekashila lake and far off lands. We spent an hour on the hill gazing at distant lands as well as a captivating statue in the middle of the lake.
Bhadrakali Temple at Warangal
We quickly drove to Bhadrakali temple as the sun started setting. It is a beautiful temple with idol of Goddess Kali with 8 hands and each hand having a weapon. What attracted us more was the Bhadrakali Lake behind the temple. The sun had slowly started setting and had decorated the sky with yellowish orange colored hues. A few fishermen were returning in their small country boat after a hard day’s work. Kids were splashing water at each other on the banks of the lake. We did not expect the tiny looking water body in the map to be this massive. We sat here behind the temple till the sun set behind the mountain as we photographed to our heart’s content. Soon we headed for dinner and called it a day.
Pakhal Lake near Warangal
There was just one more destination we were contemplating to cover around Warangal - Pakhal Lake. We were quite unsure about visiting this lake as it would add around 50 kms one way to our journey, ~100 kms in total. It just did not seem worth the pain. But then, if one is not ready to risk some pain, one should as well not travel and sit in comfort of their homes. Next day, we woke up really early in the morning to drive to Pakhal lake. It is a man-made lake in the Pakhal wildlife sanctuary, situated about 50 kilometres from Warangal. The ride to Pakhal Lake was an experience in itself. Weirdly it was full of fog; such that we weren’t even able to identify things a few meters away from us. Hence we drove real slow and cautiously all the time wondering if we should have risked getting here. Oh boy, are we glad to have taken the risk. We cannot offer justice to the description of its beauty. Surrounded by hilly terrain and nested deep inside a dense forest, this lake is spread over 30 kilometres. The terrain is undulated, diverse with rocks, forests, and misty air and holds a scenic beauty that people who haven't seen in the picture beforehand, can hardly believe in. This lake calms you down with its serene atmosphere, a huge hill in the centre, chirps of birds, and few squeaks of monkeys. The lake was so isolated that in a way it almost scared us. Warning signs saying ‘Beware of crocodiles’ made us fear more. There was a kind of silence and seclusion that was peaceful yet frightening. We weren’t able to spend much time at Pakhal lake as we had to return to Warangal and then to Hyderabad; but I am sure we will visit this lake again without a doubt. Some of the pictures we took here are the best pictures from this trip and Pakhal lake was definitely the highlight of our Warangal trip.
We hit the road again to reach Warangal, check out from our hotel and then start our journey back to Hyderabad. The weather remained loyal to us and with some few breaks, by evening we were back in our homes. Warangal is definitely not ideal holiday destination, but with limited options around Hyderabad, it surely is a good weekend spot to explore. It gives you a variety of experiences covering history, temples, hills and lakes. Some of the places we did not cover but can be added to itinerary include a musical garden, Ramappa temple and Laknavaram. Laknavaram is yet another promising destination around 100 kms from Warangal which may require a day and we hope to cover it soon through another trip.
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How did you find our travelogue to Warangal? Do let us know in the comment section below. Looking for hotels here or trying to finalize your itinerary? Feel free to contact us to know the best hotels in the area and great deals for them. Find our other weekend destinations from Hyderabad in our travel blogs.