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This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Kakatiya trail: History, nature and more at Warangal

Thousand Pillar Temple
Often we forget the pleasure of the simple and ordinary while waiting for that great grand event to happen. Same with holiday travel. I’ve been planning and wishing for that big holiday, to a far away place, but for some reason or the other it never took off. So, decided to take time off, to a destination closer home, and we drove down to Warangal, the next big city of Telangana after Hyderabad. This was my third visit to this place of historic interest, earlier ones being with my college friends. 

You know, it’s fun when you revisit the same place with your family, especially after decades when the lapsed time has not only changed the geographical landscape but political one as well. Telangana tourism is just taking off in a big way – and believe me Warangal is particularly promising, being just about 180 Kms from Hyderabad (when you go via the Outer Ring Road (ORR), which adds 30 kms to the other route that is actually 150 Kms).

Thousand Pillar Temple
Warangal has three Haritha hotels (managed by Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation - TSTDC) and the stay and food is not a problem. We stayed at Haritha Kakatiya, located in the heart of Hanumakonda. Landmarks monuments like the Thousand Pillar temple and Warangal fort is just a short drive away from the hotel.

Imagining the fort and its grandeur: the sound and light show

Thoranam, Warangal  Fort
Yes, we can only imagine how magnificent those original structures were and how rich their architecture must have been during the Kakatiyas. The ruins and remnants of the fort are well preserved, surrounded by the four iconic Warangal arches (or thoranams). The place looks more like a museum where you can spend hours admiring the art, sculpture and carvings of the crafts persons.  

Intricate Sculpting
The assembly of those precious pieces of art may look like just another piece of rock from a distance, but just go close to them and you will find that each stone has a story to tell. In fact, most of the intricate carvings seem like filigree in stone – as if the hardness of stone just yielded to the delicate and supple fingers of the sculptor!

Sound & Light Show, Warangal Fort
We enjoyed the sound and light show,  when the entire landscape transformed into a spectacle, giving us a glimpse of the  bygone era with the story of the powerful rulers
Ganapati Deva, Rudrama Devi and Pratapa Rudra being brought to life in captivating voice and narration and visual effects. The outstanding part of the show is the way it has been conceptualized with just the remains of the fort when there is no concrete structure like other big forts of India – well preserved and restored.

The Ramappa temple and lake
Ramappa Temple
Another famous temple, uniquely named after its architect Ramappa was our next destination. This is about 50 Kms away from Warangal and this is another monument which has stood the test of time for more than 800 years.  We could see some restoration work in progress on one side of the gopuram. Enter the temple and you will find uneven floor, shaken up with earthquakes and other vagaries of nature, but still in tact because of their uniqueness. Remember the well known story of the light weight stones that were used for the foundation of the temple. In fact, you get to touch and feel in after watching the sound and light show at the fort.

Ramappa Lake

The lake is just about a kilometer away from the temple, and it has a Haritha hotel nestled in the verdant surroundings.

Laknavaram lake and Pakhal lake
Laknavaram is actually 200 Kms from Hyderabad and makes an interesting outing with the convenience of a Haritha hotel right in the middle of the tiny island.  The suspended bridge connects to the island that has boating facility as well. The walk is on the bridge is quite a thrill as you get to view the beautiful greenery all around. A stay on the island might be even more adventurous and this is definitely on my mind for our next trip.
Suspension Bridge, Laknavaram

While you drive towards Pakhal lake, you will find another Haritha way side restaurant on the way at Incherial. We were lucky to make it on time for freshly prepared hot and spicy lunch – the typical rice, dal, sambar and curry – almost ubiquitous in all Haritha restaurants. The Pakhal lake is more like a river in the middle of a thick forest. We stopped over to admire the panoramic views of the entire stretch. The narrow roads that lead to the lake are covered by huge trees, adding to the wilderness of this place. 
Pakhal Lake

Besides temples and lakes, Warangal on its own was enjoyable with lush green avenues with old trees that make you feel you are driving through a forest. It would be great if the Government of Telangana can improve the parking facilities, especially at the Ramappa temple and improve the connecting road to the Pakhal lake. 

Pembarthy, Brass art
Art Gallery
Two other places to visit during your trip to Warangal are Pembarthy ( located in between Hyderabad and Warangal) known for world famous brass art form practised here for ages, 7-8 handicraft shops dot the highway and we took time off to visit the Vishwakarma Art Gallery perhaps one of the oldest society engaged in this art form. The second one being Cheriyal, known for stylized Nakashi scroll paintings and it needs a detour of  around 50 Kms from Janagaon. Both worth a visit to  discover to distinct art forms of Telangana. 
Warangal is blessed with historical and natural landmarks that has many things to offer for a variety of interests and inclinations. This is definitely a place where the journey can be as thrilling as the destination.

Contributed by Madhuri Dubey
(Photographs are copyrights of Madhuri Dubey)

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