20 must-have experiences from India’s youngest state – Telangana
India’s youngest state Telangana might just be young in having its new identity but boasts of interesting and fascinating experiences that date back to the earliest of times.
1. A drive cutting through the Red
Telangana was once the hotbed of the armed communist struggle and when the movement faded, most parts of the state north of Hyderabad were filled by Naxals. Although they were later chased out of the state to the borders of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, the scenic beauty and the recent history of the area make a drive on the Nizamabad Highway an experience worth having.
2. Experience the sunlight inside Medak Church
Built by the gothic Italian community, Medak church stands tall as both – a place of worship and a highly-rated architectural marvel. At one point of the day, the sun rays fall directly on the glass mosaic of Jesus Christ and his disciples and the entire glass painting just lights up.
3. Visit three states in one day
It seems pretty ordinary with the help of lightning fast airlines? Well guess what? You can tour parts of three states via road in hours. That’s right, hours. Narayankhed constituency in Medak district borders two more states – Maharashtra and Karnataka – and makes for this wonderful experience.
4. Enjoy fresh river fish at Godavari
Despite all the controversies on water sharing, the fish in River Godavari have remained the same. And thank god for that. And the folks at Bhadrachalam know exactly how to make their fish finger-licking good. We assure you, the only thing fishy about this experience will be the fish you eat.
5. Meet an 800-year-old
Peerla Marri, an 800-year-old banyan tree, is one thing you need to see in your lifetime. Located very close to Mahaboobnagar town, this banyan tree is the oldest tree in the country. Just to give you an idea of what that means, when this tree was planted, Kabir wasn’t born, Sikhism didn’t exist, the British had no clue where India was, most humans were certain the earth is flat and no one knew what a selfie stick is.
6. Spot cheetahs and tigers
It is one thing watching the alpha predators of the jungle holed up inside their cages in a zoo, but to have that experience with the uncertainty of having one of them chase you? Sounds ‘killer’. And Kawal wildlife sanctuary in Adilabad district offers exactly that. Declared a tiger reserve, the place is swamping with tigers, cheetahs and just to lighten the mood, many species of beautiful colourful birds.
7. A lake that looks like the sets of Anaconda
Located roughly 40 kilometers from Warangal, Laknavaram lake is one of the least known tourist places in the district, let alone the state. The route to the lake is dense forest which is great for bird watching and the lake itself is so clam and serene, you’ll be transported to Hollywood film Anaconda (the part before the snake comes out and kills everyone). *wink*
8. See children write their first words
Gnana Saraswathi temple, popularly known as the Basara Temple, is a one-of-a-kind experience. The temple of the goddess of education – Saraswathi, sees many pilgrims travel here with their 3-year-old kids who write their first letters here. It is believed that in doing so, the goddess will shower her blessings upon them and help them prosper in education.
9. Adventure boating at Nagarjuna Sagar
There is going to be no kayaking or white water rating here. But the adventure is far beyond that. Local fishermen of the area have made boats of bamboo shavings and plastic, and these boats are round in shape. The adventure part kicks in when he takes the boat to the deepest part of the river and starts rotating it at the highest possible speed, and all this, without any safety gear.
10. Bathe in the Kuntala falls
There was not one soul who didn’t start hooting when Prabhas carried the Shiva Linga on his shoulder and walked into the beautiful CGI waterfall in Baahubali. And bathing in the Kuntala Falls your chance to bathe in a waterfall minus the entire CGI and six-pack abs (unless you hit the gym daily).
11. Experience the man-made wild
Pakhal Lake in Warangal district is one of the most beautiful man-made lakes in the world. Surrounded by forest and located right in between a wildlife sanctuary, this lake was built by Ganapati Dev, the ruler of the land in 1213 AD, around the same time the banyan tree was planted.
12. See the beauty beyond the ruins
Although Warangal fort isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about olden Indian architecture, not many places can stand so tall after experiencing the devastation that this place has. This place stands as a testimony to the perseverance of the people of that age and it is an inspiring experience.
13. Lose yourself in the history of Bhadrachalam
Situated in Khammam district of the state, Bhadrachalam is believed to be the place where Lord Rama, Sita and Laxman spent time in exile. The place is full of temples with scriptures of their visit here and it just makes for a fascinating experience.
14. See what the 14th century looked like
Rachakonda fort, situated very close to Hyderabad is one of best preserved 14th-century forts and is located inside the Rachakonda forest. This was one of the few forts that were under the control of the Velama rulers and a visit to this place is truly mesmerizing.
15. Experience the view from the top
Ananthagiri Hills are one of the best trekking trails in the state. Not just for the surroundings of the trail, but also for the reward at the end of it. The trek ends with a massive opening on the top of the highest point of the range known as ‘view point’, where the entire forest range is visible below. Sometimes covered with fog and mist, this is an unparallel experience this far south.
16. Be awestruck at a car museum
Sudha Cars Museum in Hyderabad is one thing you must visit if you are a car lover. Run by K Sudhakar, the Gunnies world record holder for making the biggest tricycle in the world, the place is termed to be world’s only ‘whacky car museum’.
17. Get lost in the 1000-pillar temple
Not everyday do we see a temple that is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Surya, all at the same time. But the 1,000-pillar temple in the heart of Warangal is one of the very few temples that apart from having such spiritual importance also has a complex architectural side to it.
18. Watch trains cruise through the Deccan plains
Every perfect scenery can be made better by adding a train going through it. The case is no different from the top of Bhongir fort where you can see the vast expanse of the Deccan plains stretch out in front of you and then see a train pass through it every 15 minutes.
19. Be a Nizam (well almost)
Chowmala Palace, once considered to be the center of Hyderabad is one of the best examples of the rich Nizam heritage. Now under the control of the government, many cultural events are organized in its ‘Darbar Hall’ and you get the full Nizam experience while attending one of these.
20. Experience the Hyderabadi Biryani
The Hyderabadi biryani is popular across the globe and a trip to Telangana without experiencing the traditional flavours of its capital would be wrong. PS: do not use a fork and a spoon to eat. It is as good a crime as treason.