Find out why this hidden gem in Telangana is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country. By Satyaki Sarkar
With an abundance of World Heritage Sites and beautiful lush green landscapes, Warangal, Telangana’s largest city, has long been a tourist haven. The city used to be the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty, and as such abounds with historical monuments and structures, besides its rich biodiversity. The city has selected for the HRIDAY (Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana) scheme by the Government of India and plans are underway to develop an eco-tourism circuit around the city that has so much to offer.
1. Pakhal Lake
This manmade lake is situated in Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary in Warangal, and is one of the many architectural wonders of ancient India. The lake was built in the 13th century, during the reign of the Kakatyan dynasty, and has a diameter of more than 30 square kilometres. The Pakhal Wild Life Sanctuary is located near the shores of the lake, and provides a dense forest shelter that tourists flock to for a chance to catch a glimpse of a tiger, leopard, bear, panthers, and even the famed nilgai, among many more.
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2. World Heritage Sites
As it was the ancient capital of the Kakatiya dynasty, Warangal has a rich heritage and history, which is reflected in the innumerable fortresses, stone gateways, and other structures littered around the city. The chief among them are Warangal Fort, Thousand Pillar Temple, and Ramapaa Temple, which are not just grandiose remnants of the city’s glory, but also recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
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3. Bhadrakali Temple
The Bhadrakali Temple is one of the most revered temples in India, dedicated to the Goddess Bhadrakali. It was constructed on a hilltop between the two cities of Hanamkonda and Warangal, during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty in the eighth century. Heavily influenced by the Chalukya style of architecture, it was built to commemorate the victory of the Chalukyan ruler Pulakeshin II over the Vengi region of Andhra Desham, the story of which is written on the walls of the temple.
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4. Bathukamma festival
Bathukamma is one of the largest and most popular flower festivals in the state of Telangana, and is celebrated every year by Hindu women in the city. Observed during Mahalaya Amavasya in September and October, the festival is a celebration of womanhood, and women dress up in colourful, traditional saris and jewellery to celebrate their elegant beauty. A beautiful flower stack called the Bathukamma, is built, made up of several unique seasonal flowers possessing medicinal values, in seven concentric layers to resemble the temple gopuram.
Photograph: Karun138/Creative Commons
5. Lip-smacking cuisine
Lastly, an important if not the primary reason you need to visit Warangal at least once, is the mouth-watering cuisine the city is famous for. While the primary ingredients in most dishes are peanuts, tamarind, mangoes, sugarcane, and corn, Warangal’s biryani is also a favourite of tourists who keep coming back for more. There’s also Golichina Mamsam (spicy mutton fry), Ooru Kodi Pulusu (country chicken curry), and Karijelu (dumpling dish), all lip-smacking dishes you must try if you ever find yourself in the city.
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