Golconda Fort (12 kms.)
Places to visit near Hyderabad include Golconda Fort (12 km.) The glorious remains of this once impregnable fort sprawl over a hillside about 1000 feet above the surrounding countryside. The forts name is derived from the Telugu word Golla Konda” meaning “Shepherd’s Hill”. Originally, it was a mud fort built by the Kakatiya kings of Warangal in 1143. The Qutub Shah dynasty held it from 1518 to 1687 and the first three Qutub Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda over 62 years.
The prosperous city was famous for its diamonds and hand-painted textiles. Attracted by the wealth and prosperity of Golconda, the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered Golconda after an eight-month siege. The grandeur of this mammoth fort can be experienced from the top of the citadel. Within the fort are an armory, palaces, the store, courtyards, fountains, mosques, public, and private meeting halls, and temples. The fort is noted for its magnificent acoustics, the structural grandeur of its palaces, factories, and ingenious water supply system. A sound and light show is held here in the evenings.
Qutub Shahi Tombs: The graceful group of Qutub Shahi tombs, about 1 km. north of Golconda Fort’s Banjara Darwaja, were built by the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
Shilparamam (14 kms.)
The crafts village at Madhapur nestles amidst beautiful rocky formations by the hillside with natural1 slopes and wild vegetation. It was set up to preserve the dying art forms as well as to bring together the craftspersons and artists from every sphere. Annual festivals of arts and crafts are held in March. Cultural activities are organised during Dusschra festival (Oct. – Nov.) and Sankrant Sandadi (Jan.).
Osmansagar (Gandipet) (21 kms.)
The charming lake covering an area of 46 sq. kms., was built by Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1920, by barricading the water of the Musi river. Boating facilities are available here.
Balaji Temple: This famous shrine of Lord Balaji Venkateswara is located at Chilkur near Himayatsagar at Gandipet. It is said to be over five hundred years old and is built in Kakatiyan style. No ‘hundi’/cash offerings are accepted here.
Sanghi Temple (25 kms.)
The majestic temple complex dedicated to Lord Venkateswara is a favorite gateway point for the tourists visiting Ramoji Film City.
Keesaragutta (35 kms.)
The Hindu pilgrim center is known for Ramalingeswara and Lakshminarasimha shrines. According to mythological legends, Lord Rama came here during his exile and was captivated by its natural beauty.
Yadagiri Gutta (68 kms.)
Places to visit near Hyderabad includes Yadagiri Gutta (68 km.) It is famous for the shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy perched atop a hillock. The presiding deity is believed to cure the incurable diseases of the devotees. Yadagiri Gutta is 85 kms. from Warangal.
Medak (96 kms.)
This historic site and famous Christian pilgrim center are named after ‘Methuku’, which means a particle of cooked rice. Originally, it was an important Buddhist site, but the town is now well known for its magnificent cathedral.
Medak Church: It is the single largest diocese in Asia and the second-largest in the world after the Vatican. The church was built by Rev. Charles Posnett in gratitude for the end of a famine that lasted for three years. Its construction started in 1914 and was opened on 25th December 1924. The imposing structure in Neo-gothic style is 173 feet high, while the length and width are 200 ft and 100 ft respectively. The tiles used here were brought from Italy, while the soundproof roof of the church is built of sponge material. The church is also noted for its stained glass windows depicting various Biblical and Christmas celebration scenes. It can accommodate about 5,000 people at a time.
Medak Fort: It was originally built in typical Hindu style during the reign of the Kakatiyas and was later constructed by the Qutub Shahis in Muslim architecture. The fort has wide ramparts with several natural bastions carved out of the boulders and rocks on the hillock. The huge Mubarak Mahal within is worth a visit.
Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary: Places to visit near Hyderabad includes Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary. It covers an area of 130 sq. kms., about 15 kms. from Medak. The low hills and small water pools attract large flocks of migratory birds. Animals seen here are panther, sloth bear, wild boar, chital, nilgai, hyena, etc. The best season to visit is from October – May. The sanctuary is 120 kms. from Hyderabad.