Hyderabad as a city may be a package of offerings like forts, sights, lakes, shopping places and food, good enough to keep you occupied. But the city’s crowd and bustle demands you to take a short tour around the beautiful places located just a few kilometres away. So the next time you have some time to spare, pick any of these places and gift yourself a short vacation.
Pochampally is a weavers’ village, where ‘ikat’ like designs on cotton and silk are painstakingly woven on mechanised and pit looms. You can shop at Pochampally Handloom Park. Pochampally Handloom Weavers Co-op Society and Raj Kumar Handlooms are two of the best options. The latter can also guide you to smaller villages where weavers work on pit looms in clusters of 20–25. There’s also a spartan museum, Chenethakala Kendram and a temple dedicated to Vinobha Bhave Nagarjuna.
Also Read: A refreshing escape to Pachmarhi
Mahbubnagar (110 km)
The highlight of this district is the forgotten fort of Koilkonda. At one point it was a tax collection point for the sultans of Deccan, but lost its prominence later. Even not many locals have an idea about it, so reaching there could be a struggle. A rough trek through rocky paths which keep narrowing ahead, takes you to the top of the fort. Sitting on the top, looking at the spectacular view, all your struggles will be justified.
Bidar (146 km)
You may have been to the old walled city of Bidar to see the Bidar Fort, or visit the ancient ruins from its time as the capital of Bahmani kingdom, but have you may not visited Bidar to see its blackbucks. The Black Buck Resort occupies a sweet spot between the Honnikeri Reserve and the Vilaspur Lake. As a result, the area is home to a healthy population of blackbucks and other fauna like peacocks, black-naped hare, wild boars and porcupines. Don’t go back without buying some exquisite pieces of Bidriware from Bidar. This metal handicraft from the Behmani era makes for a beautiful gift for friends and family.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam (165 km)
Drive out for about 3 hours to visit the largest stone masonry dam in the world, built on the Krishna River. You can book an overnight stay or stop over at the restaurant in the APTDC property, Vijay Vihar on the banks. Ahead lies the Launch Station of Nagarjunakonda, a small island with a Buddhist museum, with excavations dating back to the 3rd century. If you have time, you can visit the Ethipothala Falls, 22km from Nagarjunakonda.
Warangal (195 km)
Warangal was the capital of the Kakatiya Dynasty from the 12th–14th century. Remnants of the unique architectural style of the era can still be seen in Warangal Fort. The Thousand Pillar Temple, dedicated to Shiva, and Bhadrakali Temple with many shrines in the large complex.
Kolleru Lake Bird Sanctuary (343 km)
Even if birds are not your thing, the sight of a majestic body of water, swollen and expanded over a 260sq km area can make for an inspiring sight. A habitat to over 50,000 resident and migratory birds like Painted Storks, Glossy Ibises, Teals and Red Crested Pochards, the Kolleru Bird Sanctuary has seen a revival of sorts in the last couple of years due to conservation work and the sightings are now in gigantic clusters. Bring your binoculars! The town of Eluru doesn’t throw up any great holiday options so it may be a good idea to check in at the Gateway Hotel, MG Rd, Vijaywada and take a drive (73km) to the sanctuary and return by sunset.
Belum Caves (368 km)
When a 3km long tunnel of underground caves usually found in hills, are instead found under a flat agricultural field just 5 hours outside your city, it is your duty to pack your bags and begin driving immediately. The Belum Caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and imaginative colour illuminations but the highlight is the phenomenal stalactite and stalagmite formations. The government has provided a dormitory for overnight stays but you may be more comfortable staying at Kurnool (110km) and taking a day trip to the caves.
Papi Hills (400 km)
This one may take a bit longer but the payoff here is bigger. Not only is Papi Kondalu or Papi Hills among the most beautiful places in the state with spectacular valleys and waterfalls, but this holiday will be unlike any other because it involves travelling by boat and sleeping in riverside bamboo huts. The boat meanders through the scenic hills and reaches the Godavari riverside camp at Kolluru Village for an overnight halt amidst a stunning combination of rolling hills and flowing water. The tour starts fairly early in the morning so it may be a good idea to get into Rajahmundry the earlier night and check in at the Anand Regency.