A city known for its long history and rich art and architectural heritage; Warangal is considered the Cultural Capital of Telangana. Said to have been built out of a single rock, this place is originally called Orugallu or sometimes, Ekasila Nagaram. The second-largest city in Telangana, Warangal is filled with the remnants of its ancient glory – beautiful forts, temples, stone gateways, and other spectacular monuments dating back to the Kakatiya Kingdom (whose capital was Warangal). Apart from historical monuments and ancient temples, Warangal also has some beautiful lakes, gardens, and a wildlife sanctuary too. Below are the top five places to visit in Warangal.
Warangal Fort was built by the Kakatiyas in the 12th century when the capital of the Kakatiya kingdom was shifted from Hanamkonda to Warangal. Although you can now only see the ruins of this once great fort, this fallen fort still ranks among the best places to visit in Warangal. The complex houses some of the finest architectural pieces such as carved pillars and ornamental stone gates, including the famous Kakatiya Kala Thoranam, which can be found on the official emblem of the Telangana state. There is also a Shambhulingeshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and an Open Air Museum within the complex. Kush Mahal built by the Tughlaq dynasty on the ruins of the ancient palatial complex is another attraction here.
Located 75 km from the city, Ramappa or Ramalingeswara Temple is one of the best places to visit near Warangal. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this temple was built by Recherla Rudra, the general of Ganapati Deva. Interestingly, it was named after its sculptor Ramappa. Probably it is the only such temple in India known by the name of its sculptor. This 13th-century temple withstood the test of the times and today, it serves as an extraordinary example of the Kakatiya art and architecture. The huge temple complex has several smaller shrines, most of which are in ruins. The temple walls and pillars feature fine inscriptions that narrate stories about life in those times, if not referring to mythological themes. An intricately carved sculpture of Nandi situated outside the main temple is one of the highlights of this temple.
Thousand Pillar Temple
Locally known as the Veyi Stambala Gudi, the Thousand Pillar Temple might not be a well-protected structure, but it is worth a visit when you are in Warangal. This ancient temple has a star-shaped design and boasts of one thousand ornate pillars, beautifully carved sculptures, rock-cut elephants, and other icons that depict the magnificence of the Kakatiya architecture. The temple was built by Rudra Deva in the 12th century in the traditional Chalukyan style of temple architecture. It houses three shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu, and Surya Deva. A huge statue of Nandi made up of black basalt rock sits right in front of the temple. There are other old structures too around the temple, which are being renovated.
A scenic artificial lake surrounded by forests and hills, Laknavaram Lake is among the top tourist places to visit near Warangal, especially with family. It is situated at a distance of about 29 km from Ramappa Temple (40-minute drive approximately). The vast lake spreads across 10,000 acres and there lie 13 small islets in the vicinity. Laknavaram Lake still supplies water for irrigation of crops grown on 3,500 acres of land in six nearby villages. The evening is the perfect time to visit this lake to enjoy refreshing boat rides and calming sunset views. Walking through the hanging bridge that runs 160 m across the lake is another popular tourist activity to do here.
Dedicated to Goddess Bhadrakali, a fierce avatar of Supreme Goddess Shakti, Bhadrakali Temple is one of the most important places to visit in Warangal. The temple dates back to the Chalukyan period and is among the oldest temples in the city. The stone image of Goddess Bhadrakali depicts Her with eight arms holding weapons. There are other smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha and other deities. One can also see a Goshala (shelter for cows) near the entrance. Bhadrakali Temple sits atop a hill with a peaceful lake spread on one side. The unique boulder formations in the surroundings add to the mystical aura of this place.
Additionally, Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakhal Lake, Bheemuni Paadam Waterfalls, Kakatiya Rock Garden, Kakatiya Musical Garden, Sri Veeranarayana Temple, and Padmakshi Temple are some of the popular tourist places to visit in and around Warangal.
Warangal is situated 150 km away from Hyderabad and makes for a perfect destination to visit during the weekend. Travelers visiting Hyderabad for a long holiday can also plan a detour to this historical city. For maximum savings on flight tickets to Hyderabad from Los Angeles and other US cities, book with Indian Eagle.