Trekking up Bommalagutta

Explore your adventurous side by heading to this small village where Jainism flourished in the mid-10th century AD

By Author   |   Saurabh Chatterjee   |   Published: 10th Dec 2017   12:01 am Updated: 10th Dec 2017   12:06 am
Bommalagutta
Bommalagutta at Karimnagar. Photos: Saurabh Chatterjee

When looking for some offbeat places around Karimnagar, Bommalagutta almost always comes on top of the list. However, in my network of travellers, I couldn’t find anyone who had been there.

The only information I got was from a blog which said that there are some rock carvings related to Jainism here and no proper way to reach the place. We decided to check it out during our return journey from Dharmapuri.

Bommalagutta is a hillock with ancient Jain carvings which date back to the 6th century. It is believed that the celebrated Kannada poet Vallabhudu carved some of these statues. One finds rock carvings of Jain Teerthankaras and Yakshinis which is the centre of attraction here. The carving of Chakreshwari here is also known as Seethamma. Apart from this, there are 11 lines of inscriptions engraved on the walls in Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit.

It’s best to follow Google maps as it’s easy to get lost with no one around to ask for directions. The hillock is close to Kurikyal village. After travelling for some time, we found a newly constructed Kotilingala temple with thousands of small lingams. We spent some time there even though the temple was closed.

We travelled further ahead hoping to find someone to get directions. We thought there was only one such hillock in the area so it wouldn’t be hard to find. Fortunately, we found a shepherd just a little ahead who gave us the directions. We returned to the Kotilingala temple, parked our car and started our trek uphill.

Bommalagutta


Untouched by commercialisation


The first thing I noticed was that the place was absolutely clean and it looked as if no tourists had visited the place. There are proper stairs till one point, after that you need to watch your step as the road becomes quite narrow. After passing between two rocks, one has to take the remaining flight of stairs.

The adventurous part begins as you climb up the steep rock. Shoes won’t be of much help here as it gets quite slippery. Eventually, you will have to take your shoes off for a better grip. Fortunately, it was not too sunny, so walking on the hot stones was bearable. Finally, we reached a flat rock where we got to see the entire landscape.

There were sheep down below which added a grey brown effect to the green fields, as the shepherd tending them took his afternoon nap. By this time, we were quite tired so I sent my student Raju to go and check out the rest of the walk first.

Once he gave us the heads up about something interesting, we went ahead. It was a tough climb. One wrong step and you could go tumbling down the almost vertical cliff with remote chances of survival. I tried to be very close to the wall to avoid any mishap by using the small plants for support.


Overwhelming feeling


It was an overwhelming feeling when I reached the top. There were two statues of Jain Tirthankaras about 12 feet in height which left me in awe on how someone reached the place with a chisel and hammer and carved out the statues. We stayed there for some time and enjoyed the view around and came down to take the journey back home.

Reach the place: Bommalagutta is just 20 km from Karimnagar. One can go by bus or hire a taxi.

Bommalagutta
Carivings of Jain Tirthankaras and Yakshini which are the centre of attraction at Bommalagutta

When to go


It’s best to go from September to March. After that, it gets really hot in these places. Avoid going in the rainy season as it can get very slippery. Early morning is the best time to go.


Where to stay


You can stay in Karimnagar and do this as a half-day trip. There are plenty of options to stay and Telangana Tourism also operates a Haritha Hotel here.


Nearby places


Elgandal Fort, Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Temple, Vemulawada, Molangur Fort and Nagunur Fort


Tips


There are hardly any places to eat or drink on the way, so carry your own food. While walking up, carry water and snacks along as you will get thirsty and hungry when you reach the top.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes to make it easy for the uphill walk.