Panagal Someswara Temple is in the village of Panagal that is part of the Nalgonda district and lies very close to the town of Nalgonda. The village is approximately 101 km from the city of Hyderabad. According to historians, Panagal was a flourishing town at one point when it was the capital of the Kakatiya Kings.
The Kakatiyas made the place their capital sometime during the 11th century. They also built the temple at the same time in the village. The temple is a majestic building that has 66 pillars. The pillars are intricately and beautifully carved.
There is also a Nandi idol that has been placed in front of the mandapa that stands in the centre. The presiding deity here is Lord Shiva, and His idol has been placed inside a shrine. On the walls of the temple one can see scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two great Hindu epics.
Phanigiri is a Buddhist site that lies 84 km from the town of Nalgonda. The place is a recent discovery after the Department of Archaeology and Museums of Andhra Pradesh excavated the place. Phanigiri consists of a huge complex that has a large stupa and two huge halls with stupas constructed in the halls as well.
Taking in the sheer size of the site one can make out that the place served as a prominent Buddhist site. A unique site on the floor of the complex is large footprints and these footprints are supposedly of Lord Buddha Himself.
The complex also houses the three dwelling places of the Buddhist monks known as viharas. The Phanigiri Buddhist site stands at the top of a hill that is popular by the name of Serpent’s Hood Hill. The Hill has been so named because of its shape that reminds one of a serpent’s hood.
Bhuvanangiri Fort was built by Tribuvanamalla Vikramaditya who was a Chalukya king. The Fort was built sometime during the 12th century and was supposed to provide protection to the kingdom. The fort has been built over an area of 40 acres and is atop a hill. The fort is at a height of 500 m from the ground level.
The fort is a popular destination among tourists because of its unique construction and architecture. The fort is oval in shape and can be entered from two gates. Outside the fort were put tons of moat so as to make it absolutely inaccessible.
Inside the fort are underground chambers and long corridors that have secret passages, trap doors, a secret room for storing weapons and also a stable for horses. The upper level of the fort has two ponds and some deep wells to fulfill the water needs. One can easily reach the top of the fort by taking a dark stairway or by going up through a winding and steep track.
Rajiv Park, which has been named after India’s former Prime Minister, Late Sri Rajiv Gandhi, is one of the most famous parks in the town of Nalgonda. The Park enjoys the place of an important tourist attraction in the town and is visited by the locals as well in large numbers. It is centrally located within the town and is well-maintained.
The park has well-manicured lawns and numerous flower beds. During the right season, the flowers bloom in all their glory making the park a riot of colours. The flowers are of exotic and rare variety. There are many trees as well lining the premises of the park.
Within the park is a musical fountain that is lit up every evening for the entertainment of the tourists. Sometimes, amusement shows are also organized in the park for children. There is no fee for entering the park, but a board outside the park strictly mentions that littering in the park is not allowed.
Mattapalli is a hamlet located very near to the town of Nalgonda and on the banks of the river Krishna. The village is known among tourists because it has the well-known Narasimha Swami Temple. The village should be on the list of every traveller because of the tranquility that it offers to the mind and body.
The village is located amidst thick forests and on the sides of a holy river, which renders the place a beauty and peacefulness that is unmatched and unparalleled. According to Hindu scriptures, Mattapalli is one of the Pancha Narasimha Kshetras along with Vedadri, Vethapuram, Mangalgiri and Vadapally.
The location of Mattapalli is central to that of the other places that represent the four different directions. It has been rightly said about Mattapalli that "Mattapalli is the only pilgrim spot in the region and there is only one Lord, the Lord of Mattapalli. There is no secondary place as this whatsoever it may be, and there is no secondary God equal to this, whosoever it may be."
Nandikonda is a village that is situated on the banks of the river Krishna. The village is located very close to Nagarjunasagar. The village of Nandikonda is at an easily manageable distance from the township of Vijayapuri. The township is the ancient kingdom of the Ikshavaku Dynasty.
Nandikonda is a popular tourist destination near Nalgonda mainly because it is an important Buddhist site considering the fact that many Buddhist monasteries, halls and pillars have been excavated from here. The place is a must visit for the history lovers as well as people who have the hidden archaeologist in them.
Apart from the Buddhist monasteries one can also explore the ruins of the fort that belonged to the Ikshvakus. The fort is a stark reminder of the power and influences the dynasty exercised over the area. Some of the relics of the times have been moved from the place and are now the property of the Museum of Central Archaeological Department.
Rachakonda Fort used to be the capital of the Velma Kings who ruled over the region during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Velma Kings were perhaps the most unpopular rulers of the south, because they formed alliances with the Muslim rulers of Bahmanis and were perpetually at war with the Reddy Kings who belonged to the region of Kondaveedu.
The Velmas also constantly fought with the Kapayya Naikas who were from Warangal. The Velma Kings had built the fort to protect themselves from invasion, but they were played foul by the Muslim rulers who turned the royal family of Velmas into their vassals.
The Velmas were also cursed by a Brahmin that they would never again rule. Some people believe that it is the result of the curse that the Rachakonda Fort is in absolute ruins today. However, the fort does find visitors in the form of tourists and curious locals who prefer visiting the fort before sunset.
Deverakonda Fort is located in the town of Deverakonda (also a mandal) that comes within the Nalgonda district. The fort is built on the top of a hill which itself is surrounded by seven hills. The fort had a lot of importance during the times of the Recherla Velama Kings who had the fort built during the 14th century.
The main idea of building the fort was to provide the kings with a formidable stronghold. Today, the fort stands in ruins spoiled by centuries of neglect. The place holds interest only for archaeologists who are looking at finding the missing pieces of history by digging into the earth.
Unfortunately, the state government is not doing anything to preserve the remains of the fort and the place is being spoiled by miscreants and vagabonds. It is easy to reach the fort from Nalgonda, Hyderabad, Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar by road.
Kollanpaku Jain Temple is situated near the town of Nalgonda and is about 79 km from the city of Hyderabad. The temple is a Jain temple which is surprising considering that Jainism was not a very popular religion in the region of Andhra Pradesh. This temple is one of the oldest shrines of Jain religion, but years of neglect has left this two-thousand year old building in a dilapidated condition.
However, due to the combined efforts of the Andhra Pradesh government as well as the archaeological department, the temple is now gaining popularity and has become an often visited tourist spot. But there is a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to restore this holy place to what it was initially.
Besides, the presence of a Jain temple in a state that has a largely Vaishnava population is a marvel in itself.
Pillalamari is a small hamlet that comes under the Nalgonda district. The hamlet is famous for the many temples that were built by the Kakatiya Kings. The importance of this village is due to these beautiful temples that are a historical reminder of the glorious past of the village. The temples are a fine example of the superior architecture that was the signature of the Kakatiyas.
Unfortunately, some of these temples are now in a bad state because of years of negligence. However, there is only one temple in the area that has withstood the tests of time. This is the Chennakesava Swami Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The temple is a stark indicator of the supreme style and architecture that was a trademark of the Kakatiyans. The temple has been built on a platform that is about 4 ft from the ground and has a majestic Nandi Bull welcoming the devotees at the entrance.
Lateef Sheb Darga in Nalgonda is the best example of the communal harmony that exists in the place. The darga belongs to that of a Muslim saint, but is visited in large numbers by people of all religions. The place is located over the Two Hills that are the favourite place of trekkers and hikers. Hence, apart from people seeking the blessings of the saint, one can spot a large number of tourists as well at the darga.
It is believed that praying at the darga will fulfill all your wishes. So, people from near and far flock to the darga to offer their prayers and seek blessings of the saint. The darga also witnesses an annual festival known as ‘Urus’.
This festival is very popular, and lakhs of devotees come to the darga during this day and do plenty of voluntary work as well. Very close to the darga lies another hill, the Kapurala Gutta Hill.
Mellachervu is a village that comes within the Nalgonda district and is very close to the town of Nalgonda. Interestingly, the village is connected to Vijayawada by a canal system. The village is popular among history buffs because one can still see the splendid architecture that was created during the times of the Kakatiya Kings.
One simply has to look at some of the famous temples in Mellachervu to understand this. The most important temple in the place is the Swayambhu Sambhulingeswara Swami temple. An attractive feature of this temple is a lingam situated at the top of the temple.
On the lingam is a hole of 2 inches, and this hole remains filled with water during any time of the year. For this reason the village of Mellachervu is also known as ‘Varanasi of the South’. Another popular belief associated with the temple is that its height is growing at a constant pace.