History beckons at Warangal
As you leave the historical Hyderabad city behind you, the picturesque state highway gives all the signs of wonders you are about to behold in about 3 hours travel time—when you reach the ancient city of Warangal. Well, if you are wondering what’s ancient about it, there’s more to Warangal than just what meets the eye!
Thousands of years ago, the city was once carved in a single rock and hence it was earlier known as Orugallu as 'Oru' means one and 'Kallu' means stone. The great traveller Marco Polo mentioned Warangal and its famous rulers – the Kakatiyas in his travel diaries. Furthermore, Warangal has architectural monuments and temples dating from as far back as 3rd century.
No sooner that one enters Warangal, one is tempted to view the Thousand Pillar Temple given its unique name. An architectural legacy of the Kakatiyas, the Thousand Pillar Temple amply reflects the finesse of the sculptors of those times. Built by Rudra Deva, a Kakatiya ruler in 1163, it adheres to the style of Chalukyan temples with star shape and triple shrine. The monolith of black Nandi and the finely carved sculptures of the deities give a peek into the glorious past.
The other major attraction of Warangal is the impressive fort. It was built in the 13th century by another Kakatiya King —Ganapathi Deva and his daughter, Rani Rudrama. The fort once had three layers of protection including mud wall and granite rock wall which are barely visible today. The stone gateways called Kirti Toranas (Gateways of Glory) of Kakatiyas are still upright and silently reflect the royal aura of the past.
Located on the banks of the Bhadrakali lake is yet another must visit temple—Bhadrakali, which is famous for its stone image of the Goddess Kali. Close to Bhadrakali temple is the Musical Garden and Planetarium. Siddeshwara Temple, dating back to 3rd century, with its entrance from west is another religious place to visit. Regional Science Centre and Van Vigyan Kendra are other attractions for the modern traveller.
While a day is enough to cover all the significant points in Warangal, if time permits, another can be devoted to visiting important places around it. Ramappa Temple, about 70 kms from here is a majestic monument with its origination in 1213. Also known as Ramalingeswara Temple, it reflects the golden period of the Kakatiya kingdom. Close by is the scenic Ramappa Lake which is ideal for a breather.
For the lovers of wildlife, Pakhal Lake, about 50 kms from Warangal offers a natural setting for a quiet picnic by the lake side. Around the shores of the lake is the Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary spread over an area of over 800 sq. kms. If it’s your lucky day, you can sight a tiger, a leopard, and a bear or relatively easily spot a herd of deer grazing in the wild. The sanctuary is also home to other animals including panthers, hyena, wolf, wild dogs, jackals, sloth bear, nilgai, porcupine, and langur. The list of reptiles here includes python, cobra, common krait, monitor lizard and crocodiles.
In between Hyderabad and Warangal, there are interesting places that deserve a quick stopover. The 2,000-years-old Jain Temple at Kolanupaka, dedicated to Lord Mahavira. Kolanupaka, is midway (about 75km) between Warangal and Hyderabad and was once the second capital town of Kalyani Chalukyas during the 11th century.
Gifts and souvenirs to immortalise the trip? Pembarti, about100 km from Hyderabad and 60 kms from Warangal, is famous internationally for statues, carvings and castings made of bronze and brass. The Temple of Yadagirigutta situated at a height of 300 feet on a hill is about 70 kms from Hyderabad. Yadagirigutta region is reputed to be a "Rushi Aradhana Kshetram" or the place of worship for sages. The 12th century old Bhongir Fort built on an isolated gigantic rock completes the itinerary. You can sight the fort from the road if you want to spare yourself a tiring climb and continue on your way back to Hyderabad at a distance of 50 kms from
|How to Reach
Air: There is an airstrip at Mamnoor on the outskirts of Warangal. However, the nearest airport is at Hyderabad, about 160 kms distance.
Rail: Warangal is well connected to every city in India.
Bus: Warangal is connected by state buses from Hyderabad and other districts of AP. Deluxe buses also ply between Warangal and Bangalore, Chennai, Tirupathi, and other Indian cities.
Local Transport: Buses, Taxis, Auto Rickshaws are easily available.
Where to Stay
· Star Hotels in Warangal (STD Code: 08712)
· Hotel Ashoka, Hanamakonda. Phone: 2578491/2
· Hotel Ratna, Warangal. Phone: 2500096, 2500555, 2500645 – 49
· Hotel Shankar, Hanamakonda. Phone: 2579196
· There are many budget hotels and lodges offering decent accommodation within the city limit.
When to Visit
October to March are the best months for visiting Warangal.