Who doesn’t know the Kakatiya Kala Toranam? It is the omnipresent symbol of Telangana Heritage. Incorporated in the emblem of this newly formed state, it is but a rendition of one of the four massive stone gateways that are a legacy of the Kakatiya art and architecture. Warangal is not just the second biggest city in the state but it is also touted and promoted as the Heritage City of Telangana.
This 12th century city’s name has been derived from the Telugu word Orugallu meaning one stone, which is why it is also known as the Ekasila Nagaram. The city which was once capital of the Kakatiyas today comprises of the three towns Warangal, Hanamkonda and Kazipet.
Thousand Pillar Temple
The most popular amongst the heritage spots in Warangal is the Thousand Pillar Temple which is in Hanamkonda. Constructed in 1163 AD by Rudra Deva in the Chalukya style, it has three presiding deities, Vishnu, Shiva and Surya. The most recognisable feature of this temple besides its richly carved pillars is the huge monolithic Nandi of black stone.
A lot of songs and scenes from the Telugu movie Varsham were shot here in Warangal. And it is by far the most stunning take on the Thousand Pillar Temple.
Warangal Fort & Park
If you are using Google Maps to navigate within the city look for Warangal Fort Park and not Warangal Fort for that will take you to where the original fort once stood and which is now just a crumbling structure of stone, overrun in grass.
& yes what is now referred to as the Warangal Fort is just a park with well laid out pieces of sculptures and entry ways from the fort.
Set against a backdrop of water and hills, the Badhrakali temple isn’t just scenic. There something about the place that the experience of darshan in itself is quite powerful.
Ramappa Temple & Lake
Ageless in its magnificence, it is as if the Ramappa Temple is a time capsule. This medieval temple from 1213AD is beautiful beyond words and almost intact.
Did You Know? The bricks used to build the Ramappa Temple were so light that they can actually float on water!
The only temple in the country to be known by the name of its sculptor, its sculptures are truly exquisite and an image of them will probably stay with you forever.
Five minutes from the temple is the Ramappa Lake. Peaceful and serene it is neither crowded nor noisy, even on a weekend. The resort on its banks serving piping hot, spicy Andhra food makes it an ideal location for an overnighter.
The Lakanavaram Lake is beautiful and its waters soothing no doubt, but its popularity is its curse. From its yellow suspension bridge to the mini island resort on the lake, it is so hugely popular as a picnic spot that it gets nearly impossible to even stay a while and wind down here.
Inspite of all that, here is a lake which was formed in the 13th century by closing down three narrow valleys and is actually so well hidden by the surrounding hills that even you wouldn’t be able to see it till you actually reach the bridge.
Distance from Hyderabad: 145 Kilometers
Trip Duration: Weekend
Route: Take NH163 via the Outer Ring Road to reach Warangal in two and a half hours. 70 kilometres from the city of Warangal is the Ramappa Temple and Lake. From here on it is another 29 kilometres to the Laknavaram Lake. The drive from here to Warangal is again 70 kilometres. So, plan your itinerary in a way that it is spread out over the weekend.
Tourist Info: The Warangal Fort Park is a ticketed monument and is open from 10am to 7pm, all days of the week. There is also a sound and light show here every evening after sunset. A portion of the Thousand Pillar Temple is currently under renovation and access to it is restricted.
Stay: Tourism Department’s Haritha Kakatiya Hotel at Warangal or Lake View Haritha Resort at Ramappa Lake. Call on +91 9000282897 for bookings and information.