Hyderabad has a few hidden gems for those who love to explore local travel spots. Since we haven’t been travelling for the last two years, we’ve had time to look around and unravel some great spots for day and weekend trips.
Bhongir Fort, about 45km away from Hyderabad, is one such place. Beware though, it’s not for everyone since it involves a fair bit of a climb. The refurbished Yadadri Temple is just 10 km from Bhongir town so combining the two places is a good idea.
The roads are excellent throughout. The weather in early September was pleasant, which combined with smooth roads and greenery all the way to the fort made for an awesome drive.
Bhongir Fort History
The Bhongir Fort was built in the 10th century on an isolated monolithic rock by the Western Chalukya ruler Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya IV. It was named Tribhuvanagiri after him and later renamed Bhuvanagiri. The town is still known as Bhuvanagiri although the fort is now called Bhongir.
The impressive rock is called a Basso Monolith and it is the second-largest in Asia. The formation is spread across 50 acres. It resembles an unusual egg-shaped structure. The fort used to be encircled by a moat with an underground chamber that is believed to connect Golconda Fort located 50 km away.
Get ready to Climb!
It seemed quite an innocuous climb at the beginning. The steps are carved into the stone itself and are at a gradual incline…at the start. The difficulty level increases as you go higher.
In the second stage of the climb, rocks are placed as steps along a narrow passage. They are uneven in height and takes some effort to navigate. My mother needed the help of a branch, used as a walking stick, to help her climb the thicker slabs.
We stopped plenty of times along the way to catch our breaths, to behold the wondrous views, to follow a butterfly or look at a monkey’s antics, or to just take pictures.
The weather was on our side. It wasn’t sunny or rainy. Just a little humid.
Once you cross this stage, there’s a plateau with a good view overlooking the city. You can choose to rest or stop here.
The final stage, over the hump of the rock, is arduous. There is a metal railing to help you navigate this stretch. There are steps carved into the stone, but going around the bend there are none. Traversing this was a little nerve-racking since the stone slopes downwards and you have to rely on the railing for support. The slope is steeper here till the top.
This stretch took us the longest to cover.
The View from Bhongir Fort
If you manage to make it to the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the vast cityscape viewed from the frames of remnants of the rustic fort.
The weather was pleasant and the cool breeze just washed away our weariness. It is a picturesque spot for plenty of Insta-worthy photos.
We rested, snacked, and took plenty of pictures.
Things to carry for the trek
The climb takes about 45 minutes at a slower pace. We took lots of photo breaks (and to catch our breaths). By my step counter, I took around 3000 steps going up, and about the same on the way down.
Once you enter the gates, you’re on your own. Carry a few essentials.
- Good walking shoes are a must. The path was littered with broken slippers and sandals.
- Water in reusable bottles. Carry extra because there are no shops. Please avoid plastic bottles. The whole route was littered because there were no trash bins anywhere except the entrance.
- Healthy snacks. Fruits or granola bars.
- Weather-appropriate clothing. Hats for the sun, raincoats for the rains. I wouldn’t suggest carrying an umbrella while climbing.
- A walking stick if you have someone who might need some support while climbing the steps.
- Sanitiser and wet wipes.
The Bhongir Fort timings are from 10 am to 4:30 pm. Tickets for adults are priced at 10 INR and 5INR for kids below 10. Restrooms are also at the entrance.
There’s a mountain climbing school at the entrance, which is opened on the weekends. We didn’t enquire further into it though.
Go early to avoid crowds, and find a parking spot right next to the entrance. On our way out, around 12:30 is when a lot more people were entering.
Food options around Bhongir Fort
There are a couple of good options for food on the Warangal Highway towards Warangal. Vivera is a larger food court with multiple food options.
We went to a smaller place known for its local food. Ma Palle Ruchulu is a large thatched hut with tables lined up next to each other in long rows. They have a vegetarian buffet and non-vegetarian items on order. The buffet items were not piping hot but tasted delicious. The mutton biryani and curries we ordered were excellent.
Just 10 km from the Bhongir Fort is the well-known Yadagiri Gutta Temple. It is being developed by the state as a temple town to rival the famous Tirupati temple town. The temple is an abode of Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The roads leading up to the temple are superb. There’s a scenic lake-side picnic spot just before the approach road, and then it all melds into chaos. Devotees, construction workers, local residents, and vehicles all scamper around for a foothold. You can park and walk up to the temple, or just drive through as we did.
For those who are interested, there’s Surendrapuri Mythological Theme Park to explore as well.