Ancient forts have something mystical about them, although they were mostly about battles, blood, defense and death. India has hundreds of such fortresses, that saw the rise and ruin of many empires. The Bhongir fort is one such fortification that dates back to the tenth century. It was built by a King from the Chalukya Dynasty, one of the earliest and popular South Indian royal lines.
I was visiting friends in Hyderabad and since this fort is only a two hour drive from the south Indian city, we decided to go explore the place. Locating the fort was pretty easy with the help of google maps, getting on top of the fort is the tricky bit. It is a bit of an uphill trek, with tenth century stairs that are very uncomfortable and were obviously designed for horses (cavalry). Poor foot soldiers. One better be wearing a good pair of comfortable shoes and carry your own water and some food too. If you forget to carry water, you will die, you have been warned. Just kidding. You won’t die, but you will definitely regret it. There are no food stalls at the top, nobody selling anything whatsoever, which is an awesome thing, because that means the place is not commercialized with ugly shops marring the view. The entry fee is only ten bucks.
Since I always do some research before going any place, we carried water and some munchies and were so glad that we did! Because even before we were halfway up, we were panting and out of breath. Once you reach the top, you are welcomed by the frail remains of what was perhaps a palace once.
So for an average visitor, who is neither a history enthusiast or a trekkie, the peak could be disappointing. But we loved the view from up there and whatever little did remain of the fort seemed amazing to our eyes. I think it was the crazy wild breeze that made all the difference. At the top of this monolithic rock that was once a strong southern bastion and almost impregnable, the wind sings a song of its own. It almost feels like a storm is brewing, but nothing really happens.
The Bhongiri breeze is breathtaking. After the tiring climb, it feels great to just sit near the crumbling ruins and let the wild wind hit you and dance around you. There is not a lot to explore around. There are two tiny ponds inside the fort’s premises. And no, you cannot swim in there. There are also two ancient canons lying around the premises, they make for a good photo-op.
I read a lot about how the monolithic rock on which the fort is built looks like a resting elephant. I actually could not get it, lack of imagination could be blamed I guess. Just when I was exclaiming “just because it is a huge ass rock, does not mean it looks like an Elephant, that’s just mean”, before I could go on, my friend pointed to me how the structure did look like an elephant’s head. Below is a picture of what looked a little like the giant animal’s head.
All in all, Bhongir fort is definitely worth a visit. The best way to get there is by driving from the Capital City Hyderabad. There are also buses and trains that run from Hyderabad to Bhongir and the best part is that both the bus stand and the station are walking distance from the fort. While the bus stand is right outside the fort, the station is about a kilometer away. The walk will help you warm up for the uphill trek. Cheers!