A quick weekend drive led us to Keesaragutta. We started around 4: 30 pm from Basheerbagh wading through the usual traffic, past ECIL and reached Keesara village. The brick and mortar jungle was soon replaced by the real one making us feel close to nature.
There was a drop in temperature due to presence of many trees and we came across a beautiful lake on the way. But we couldn’t stop since we wanted to catch the sunset from the hill. A gradual ascent to the temple through an arched gateway and a flight of stairs later, we came across a huge statue of Lord Hanuman. The sun was about to set behind him and there were hardly any people.
The place goes with my definition of a temple; a spot where I can find peace, not long queues. My students were already waiting for me there and we spent some time experimenting with some compositions and waiting for the blue hour. Watching the sun descend slowly, the city seemed to come alive and glittered like stars. On my part, I was watching such a beautiful sunset after a long time.
Known popularly as Sri Ramlingeshwara Swamy temple, it is believed to be as old as the Ramayana. According to legend, Rama decided to worship Shiva after installing a Shivalingam here to free himself from the curse of killing Ravana, a Brahmin. He chose this place for its peaceful ambience on top of a hill surrounded by forests. He asked Hanuman to get a Shivalingam from Varanasi.
As the auspicious hour was about to pass, Shiva himself appeared before Rama and presented him with a Shivalingam to install at the temple. It is said that the disappointed Hanuman threw the 101 lingams he brought from Varanasi all over the place on his return. That’s why, we find a lot of lingams scattered around the hillock.
To appease the upset Hanuman, Rama said that henceforth, the hill will be known as Kesarigiri (now corrupted to Keesaragutta) and he would be worshipped first. Besides this, several idols of Jain Tirthankaras belonging to 4th century have been unearthed around the place by the Archaeological Survey of India.
How to reach the place:
The best way is to drive there. We went by bike and it took us a little more than an hour to get there. Some 40 km away from Hyderabad and 20 km from ECIL, the place is also accessible by RTC buses from Nagaram and Secunderabad.
Mornings and evenings are the best times to go there. It can get really hot on top of the hill during the afternoon.
As it is near from Hyderabad, one can return on the same day. However, Telangana Tourism operates the Haritha Hotel if you want to spend a night here. There is a small shop selling water and cold drinks nearby.
Bring your tripod if you want to shoot the cityscape at night. You will surely get some amazing shots.
Keep a note of the blue hour, the time when you get the most amazing colours.