Warangal, India – Exploring the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty – with kids in tow
In February of 2014, we decided to visit Warangal as a weekend trip from Hyderabad, India. Warangal is close to Hyderabad, however, there are so many places to explore that one day is often not enough to do justice to the city and its surroundings.
Transportation: We took an afternoon train from Hyderabad to Warangal and met up with family once we reached Warangal. We traveled by car within Warangal and returned to Hyderabad by car.
Place to Stay: We stayed at the government run hotel in Warangal for two nights. For dinner we explored a restaurant close to the hotel.
Day 1: As planned, we arrived in Warangal late in the afternoon. Our first destination was the Fort. However, it took us some time to get oriented and we realised that we had a half hour drive to the Warangal Fort. So, instead of going to the hotel, we headed straight to the Warangal Fort. We thought Friday evening traffic was bad in Hyderabad…. But we realised Warangal has similar issues as well. We were a little late reaching the Fort, but managed to catch the second half of the light show that happens there every night. Unfortunately, the show was in Telugu and we could understand only half the words.
Afterwards, we headed to the hotel and settled in. We had a simple dinner at the hotel before calling it a night.
Tip: Bring your own bed sheet(s) and towels with you.
Day 2: The breakfast served at the hotel was hot and delicious. After breakfast, we headed to Ghanpur to check out the group of temples known as Kota Gollu. Although we had to travel through narrow roads, most of the way, the roads were in good condition. There are no clear markers and the locals identify with the name Kota Gollu, so you need to use that name when trying to find the group of temples. Once you find the temple, you are in for a nice treat. We felt like archeologists who just discovered an ancient site. Not many visitors come here, so were able to spend some time peacefully exploring the site.
Next we headed to Ramappa Temple in Palampet. The road was under construction and so it took us longer than anticipated. We shared the road with herds of goats but the scenery was pretty… fields on both sides of the road (can esp. see cotton farms).
Ramappa Temple is a popular destination on the tourist circuit. There are lots of roadside vendors selling items that can be used in the temple inside where pujas are still conducted. We went on a Saturday and the area was bustling with school kids on a school trip to Ramappa. As a result, the employees of the temple were a tad impatient. Keep calm! We went there to see the architecture and it was a treat seeing what influenced the Kakatiya dynasty.
After completing our sightseeing, we headed to Laknavaram Lake. It is well known for the suspension bridge that connects the main land to an island in the lake. To get to the Lake from Ramappa Temple, we had to travel on some pretty bad dirt roads (very, very bumpy). This was in early 2014…. Not sure if the situation has improved. At Laknavaram, we were bombarded by college students. Picking a Saturday was not too bright after all. The kids enjoyed ice cream while we quickly walked in single file to the island. The lake has a lot of potential but as usual, we found some garbage scattered around the island although efforts were being made to keep it clean. We quickly exited and headed back to Warangal.
As we entered Warangal, our driver noticed the Thousand Pillar temple and we decided to stop (even though it was scheduled for the next day). There was still plenty of day light and we figured why not! That was a good call. The atmosphere was peaceful and we were able to explore the temple casually. After watching the sun set, we headed back to the hotel and reached there by dinner time. We headed to a nearby restaurant to have dinner and then called it a night.
Day 3: We started the day by visiting the Bhadrakali Temple. Truly, this was my personal jewel of the trip. It was incredibly peaceful and along with the surroundings, a real treat. After seeing so many Shiva temples, it was exciting to see a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali and the idol was so different from what we had seen earlier in Kolkata. Incredibly peaceful.
We decided to skip the Padmakshi Temple within Warangal and instead headed back to Warangal Fort to explore it during day light. The area is more like an open air museum and the kids enjoyed exploring the area. We also visited the temple across the museum area and then headed back to Hyderabad.
Unfortunately, due to lack of time and interest from other group members, we had to skip Pembarthi, a place which is famous for brass work. I hope to go back some day.
We reached Hyderabad by early evening and declared the trip a success!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Good: Close to Hyderabad with enough interesting places to check out and explore the remnants of the Kakatiya dynasty. Good connectivity to Hyderabad. Good signage within Warangal (once you get oriented) to find the attractions.
The Bad: Simple hotels. You need to set your expectations correctly and it is safer to bring your own linen. The attractions are scattered. Having your own vehicle helps
Roads and traffic – add additional time to your ETA. A lot of school or college groups on the weekend visiting the attractions.
The Ugly: None
Bottom line – We planned this trip on our own and we went pre-Telangana. It is possible the government may have pre-planned trips from Hyderabad that will provide similar itineraries. Please explore that option as well.