You say the word Panjagutta (also called Punjagutta) and pop come the visual of two flyovers surrounded by famous Jewelry shops and a place for all other brands before the mall culture hit the city. It is more like a place that connects two distinct parts of the city. North of which is Secunderabad and south of which are the posh hills of the city followed by the Old City. When GHAC announced a rock walk on the Pahad, most of the people reached there to figure out where is the Pahad in the middle of that crowded concrete jungle. I think some of us even stretched out memories to recall any signs of a Pahad being there, and nothing much could be recalled.
But it was right there, not too far from the main road. With its amazingly balanced rocks and Masjid and an Ashurkhana on top of it. And you would be amazed to know that the place gets its name from this Pahad which has an interesting story engraved on it, literally.
History heritage of Panjagutta Pahad is as old as Hyderabad itself and dates back to the Quli Qutub Shahi period. The top of the hill has a Palm or Panja and a Knee or Ghutna impression on the rock. That is believed to be of Hazrat Ali the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammed. This is what gave the place its original name Panjaghutna which must have distorted it over a period of time to what we call today Panjagutta.
Legend is that once a General of the Qutub Shahi period had a dream that Hazrat Ali has offered prayers on the hill. And when he went there to check he did find this palm and knee impression on the rock. The Alam and Ashurkhana on top of the hill also date back to that time, some 400 years ago. The original Ashurkhana was a small one. But it has been enhanced later by adding a room in the front. There is a mosque called Masjid-e-Ali that seems to be recently renovated. A very old Tamarind tree stands outside the mosque with a completely hollow trunk. According to the caretaker of the hill, this place is also known as Choti (small) Maula-Ali.
View from Rock
Apart from being a piece of history, you get an amazing 360-degree view of the city. You can see all the hills that dot the city. The skyscrapers, Birla temple, Hussain Sagar Lake, Old airport, and a whole lot of other buildings while the wind blows through your hair. It gives a panoramic view of Gunrock hill, Ammuguda hill, and Maula-Ali hill from here. You get a feel of the spread of the city and how the buildings stack up against each other to make a city.
The huge boulders that pile up to make this hill are amazingly balanced on each other. From some angles, they seem to be holding each other. Balancing themselves with each other and sometimes they seem to be glued together. There are a couple of rocks that look like a conical ‘Top’ balanced on just a small tip. It looks magical that these rocks are not falling. Unfortunately, there is ample construction all around the hill. That takes away the raw beauty of the place.
I am still amazed that not many people know about this hidden gem, besides the most traveled road in the city.
Recommend you read the following travel blog on places to visit in Hyderabad.