A few years back, when I used to visit Hyderabad, I heard someone saying that besides Nagarjuna Sagar there are no weekend getaways from the city. And that sentence somehow got stuck in my mind. Last year when I shifted here, I started looking not at the travel guides or websites, but at the map. Trying to look at the 100 Km radius around the city and see if there is something that can be explored. I came up with a list, some of which I explored earlier like Warangal Fort and Temples, Pochampally, Cherial. Last week we set out to explore Medak Fort and Pocharam. I forgot who was the guy who made that statement; I want to ask him who says there is a dearth of weekend getaways from Hyderabad.
Medak Fort & Church – Places to visit near Hyderabad
Medak is about 100 km’s from the city in a northwest direction. You can approach it via Medchal highway or via Narsapur forest. But I recommend the second as the ride is scenic and you can see the monkey lined roads. In the morning you would see people feeding Bananas to the monkeys. The species of monkeys that you see on this stretch is very small in size. You realize this when you look at the baby monkeys, which it seems, can fit in your palm. Unfortunately, monkeys do not realize how fatal the road can be and you may see some of them killed by the vehicles.
This is a small fort located on a small hill well within the city. This must have been built during the times of Kakatiyas that means it is at least 800-900 years old. As you climb up the fort, you cross many gateways, none of which are in a straight line. One gate has the sculptures of two lions on both its sides but on top of the arch and another had two panels depicting elephants. Among other things I could locate peacock and lotus symbols, confirming that the Hindu rulers must have built this. The panels though seem to have been put up recently as part of the restoration.
There are two mosques in pure white in the fort today, one at the base where you park the vehicle and another at the top. Both of them were closed when we visited.
Water Tank at Fort
There is a water tank that must have been a source of water for the fort. There is no information about who ruled from here, who built this fort and other things. An ASI protected monument board is there, but no information board anywhere. What is most interesting about the fort is the views that you see as you climb and then from the top. You can see the town surrounded by lush green farms and trees with ample water bodies. Houses with slanting red roofs and white walls create a colorful sight against the green. The famous church of the town seems to be sprouting out of the dense trees from a distance, but you can feel its height even from the top of the fort. We spent some time on top of the fort, where the air was cool despite the sun shining above our heads.
Our next stop was century-old Cathedral, that is supposed to be one of the biggest churches in South Asia. Built-in Gothic style, it does stand tall and you have to stretch your neck completely to see its top. Light grey stone with an outline in pink, makes it look a little fairy tale structure. Two staircases on both sides lead to the first floor, and it looks like it might have meant for women. Inside the church, there is a vaulted ceiling that looks like an attempt to imitate a wooden design. There are three large stained glass paintings, which make the whole place look very pleasant. The tiles on the floor are original that means they have lived for 100+ years and are still going strong.
We saw many people being blessed by the young pastor there, but what intrigued me was the mixed-faith of visitors. They prostrated as Hindus do, but they were doing this to Christ. Now we know most people who follow Christianity in India followed native faith at some point in time, but what you see in places like is the amalgamation of two and the way of practicing a very personal to each devotee.
As we drove through the small lanes of the town to reach the fort, cleanliness stood out in the sparkling white houses with brightly colored doors. It is heartening to see a town that is cleanly maintained. Though it is expected everywhere we find cleanliness more as an exception rather than a rule in our country. Kudos to the people and authorities of the town!
Recommend you read following travel blog on places to visit in Hyderabad.