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On the road: The highway, one of the longest in India, is in excellent condition and you can cruise along comfortably. The traffic is also not very heavy and there are enough refreshment stops along the way.
Hyderabad , Telangana's capital city, stands on the Deccan plateau that makes the landscape in and around it stunning, with craggy hills, forts perched on high hilltops and dramatic river valleys and deep gorges. With excellent highways forking out of the city, it's no wonder then that there are several popular road trips to be made from here. One of the most interesting ones is a road journey from Hyderabad to Kurnool, once the capital of the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. The journey can also be completed in 4 hours without stopping at Alampur. But this small detour will let you explore this historic town with immense spiritual importance.
Start: Hyderabad It's always a smart idea to start a road trip as early as possible, so that you can cross the city limits quickly and spend the maximum amount of time enjoying the highways. Hyderabad sees very heavy traffic during office hours so it's advisable to leave the city by 6 am.
A straight and smooth drive with a couple of refreshment breaks will bring you to the headquarters of Telangana's largest district, Mahabubnagar. It is a historic city located in the vicinity of two of Deccan plateau's largest rivers, Krishna and Tungabhadra. Strategically important for the erstwhile rulers of the region, the area has seen several wars over the centuries.
What to see: Within the city is located an expansive natural lake, popularly known as Pedda Cheruvu (Big Lake) and on the outskirts, there are several sites, the most popular being Pillalamarri, a banyan tree spread over around four acres and said to be around 700-year-old. A little further away from the city is the majestic Koilsagar reservoir built on the Peddavagu river, a tributary of Krishna.
What to do: If you are travelling with family, the Pillalamarri makes for an interesting halt. There is a small zoo near the tree complex and it opens around 9.30 am.
Good to know: A detour of just 25 km can bring you to the Koilkonda fort, an outpost of the erstwhile Qutab Shahi dynasty. Perched on a hilltop, it takes a 30-40 minute hike to reach the fort.
On the way, keep an eye out for the seven gates of the fort with intricate inscriptions. Not touristy at all, the fort stands surrounded by the silence of the hills and greenery. The view of the Koilsagar dam from the top is breath-taking.
Explore the temples
After Mahabubnagar, a steady line of craggy hills appear in the distance, the landscape becoming greener. These are a precursor to the Nallamala range, a part of the Eastern Ghats.
What to see: A small and peaceful temple town located at the confluence of the mighty Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers, Alampur is a much-revered spiritual destination. The holy town is popularly known as Dakshin Kashi (Kashi or Varanasi of the south, referring to Southern India).
What to do: There are several temples here but the most popular and spectacular is the towering Jogulamba Temple, one of the 18 Shaktipeeths in India. The nearby Navabrahma temple complex, Papanasham Temple complex and Sangameshwara temple are the other important sites here.
Good to know: Most of the temples in Alampur are located within a 2 km radius and stand next to the river, offering magnificent views. Plan to spend a couple of hours here. Unmissable: There is an archaeological museum near the entrance of the Navabrahma temple complex with an impressive collection of statues excavated from around the temples.
Explore Kurnool Fort
From Alampur, an easy 40-minute-drive later, you will be in Kurnool. Once the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool is a new-age city with an old world charm.
What to see: With a history dating back to thousands of years, Kurnool is located on the banks of Handri and Tungabhadra rivers, and has several places of interest to see, including the Kurnool Fort, the Nallamala Forest and many temples. What to do: Explore the fort that tells the story of Kurnool or you can spend a pleasant evening on the banks of Tungabhadra. Nearby is the Orvakal Rock Garden with ancient caves and awe-inspiring natural rock formations. The rocks, mostly volcanic, give the 1,000-acre landscape an outwardly feel. There is a lake within the garden. You can enjoy, hiking, trekking or boating.
All year round, but October to March is the most comfortable time for road travel.
Pack light clothes. Be respectful of the environment and religious sites and do not litter.