Among the various districts of Telangana, Khammam holds a prominent place in the cultural heritage of the State. During my usual routine of scouting for locales, I came across the Khammam Fort which is a testimony to the grand architectural legacy of the Kakatiya dynasty. After visiting some places en route like Pillalamarri Shivalayam, we reached Khammam late in the day; so we decided to see it and return to the city the next morning.
Since we already had other places on our itinerary, we reached the fort early in the morning after stopping to ask for directions. As you approach the outer walls of the fort, the road takes a sharp turn. This was purposely done to slow down any traffic intending to damage or capture the fort in ancient times. Huffing and puffing, we reached the top after spying a small road that led there. Surprisingly, there is no counter or gate at the entrance to the fort. But, the climb was worth it. From the top, we could see Narasimha gutta which houses the Narasimha Swamy temple on the right and a panoramic view of the entire city.
The sun was just rising from behind the horizon which was perfect for some early morning photography.
Mix of architectural styles
The Khammam Fort itself was a wonder. First built by the Kakatiyas in 950 AD and later modified by the Velama and Musunuri Nayak, it eventually fell in the hands of the Qutub Shahi kings, who developed the fort around the 16th century. Situated on the Stambhadri hill, it is a beautiful combination of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
Unfortunately, nothing much remains of the fort now except for a few small structures like mandapas. In its prime, it was a sturdy granite fort spread over an area of 4 sq km. A mosque and ashoorkhana were built later during the Nizam’s time. The fort was also equipped with 15 cannons to guard against invasions, during the wars in the Kakatiya and Qutb Shahi period.
Currently, it is maintained by the Archaeology Department of India and is a popular tourist destination now. One unfortunate pitfall of being a popular tourist destination is that litter is strewn around without a care by the visitors. We saw some families staying near the fort on the way to the top.
How to reach: Khammam is located at a distance of 196 km from Hyderabad. You have to take the National Highway 65 till Suryapet and then National Highway 42 to Khammam.
Tips: The best time to visit is between September and March when the weather is pleasant. If you go after March, temperatures soar above 40 degrees.
Khammam has lots of accommodation options for all budgets.
Nearby places: Narasimha Gutta is a 1000-year-old Narasimha Swamy temple and Ganapeshwaralayam in Kusumanchi.
Nelakondapalli village is just 20 kms away, famous for its Buddhist monuments and relics. It is also home to some sites related to Mahabharata like Virataraju Dibba and Keechaka Gundam, and is the birthplace of legendary composer Bhadrachala Ramadasu.