Weekends are for rest, relaxation and recuperation. Nothing works to achieve this, better than taking a drive out of the city to enjoy the freedom of driving on a State or National Highway and taking in some beautiful places and imbibing the culture of the place around us. Revel in the stories of yore and learn about a King here or a Queen there, who have left their footprints in the sands of time, with their forts, palaces, temples and tombs; not forgetting the colonial rulers and their churches.
Picnic Spots Around Hyderabad (Within 100 kilometres)
1. Chilkur Balaji Temple
On the road to Chevella, you will find the temple of Balaji at Chilkur built by Akkanna and Madanna, uncles of Bhakta Ramadas. The God here is popular as Visa Balaji, strongly reputed to ensure a successful visa process for foreign travel, after they complete 108 circumambulations (Pradakshinas) of the temple. Expect to find a zealous horde of devotees, hurriedly ticking off a box after each pradakshina, on a small card provided by the temple.
- Distance: 28 kilometres
- Attractions: Temple, Deer Park, Fresh fruit from the orchards in the area
Built by the Vengi kings in the 13th century, this temple with a seven-storied tower is a great favourite as a location for film shootings among moviemakers looking to depict a temple in their movies. The temple has a huge pond and is located among coconut groves very near to the International Airport in Shamshabad.
- Distance: 32 kilometres
- Attractions: Temple to Ramachandra
3. Bhongir Fort
Bhongir or Bhuvanagiri is famous for its adventure sports, trekking trails and impressive fort built in the 10th century and for the Narasimha Swamy temple at Yadagirigutta (Yadadri) on your way here. With underground chambers, trap doors and secret storage for arms, the Fort is a big draw. Built on top of a 500-foot egg-shaped domelike hill, the fort was the seat of Chalukya kings first and Kakatiyas later.
- Distance: 48 kilometres
- Attractions: Trekking, adventure sports, Historic Fort
Being developed as a major tourist destination to compete with the Temple to Balaji at Tirupati, this is a cave temple to Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Swamy is set at an altitude of 300 ft on the side of a hillock. Its name has also been changed to Yadadri as a part of this makeover effort. The main temple and smaller temples here are worshipped by many people in the region and most people drive here to perform a puja, when they purchase a new vehicle.
- Distance: 62 kilometres
- Attractions: Cave temple, Lotus temple, Surendrapuri and Bhongir Fort
5. Ananthagiri Hills
Not to be confused with the hills of the same name in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh; these hills in Vikarabad are being developed as a hill station near Hyderabad, making it a great weekend getaway. The river Musi originates in these dense forests and the trekking trails and the amazing weather here are huge draws for visitors here. Don’t miss the ancient temple to Lord Vishnu as Anantha Padmanabha Swamy, built by Nizam Nawabs 400 years ago.
- Distance: 81 kilometres
- Attractions: Trekking trails, Resort and Temple
Did you know you don’t have to plan a trip to Europe to see the magnificence of authentic stained-glass windows? Consecrated in 1924, the Gothic style church at Medak has 3 immaculate stained-glass windows depicting different events in the life of Jesus Christ, namely his birth, crucifixion and ascension. The tower of the church stands 175 ft tall and the cathedral itself accommodated at least 5000 people at a time.
- Distance: 96 kilometres
- Attractions: Medak Fort, Cathedral and Scenic Singur Dam on river Manjira
Picnic Spots Around Hyderabad (Within 250 kilometres)
Very close to Hyderabad, Mahbubnagar has monuments replete with the history of the region and also offers a modern monument in the form of the Priyadarshini Jurala Project on the river Krishna. Visit the Ghanpur and Gadwal Forts here and learn of the valour of the erstwhile rulers of this region who proudly held their own against incursions and threats.
- Distance: 115 kilometres
- Attractions: Khilla Ghanpur, Gadwal Fort, Jurala Dam, Koilkonda Fort and Lalitha Someswara Temple at Somasila and Pillalamarri
Spread over an area of 130 kilometres, the Pocharam Dam and Wildlife Sanctuary are named after a dam on the Alair river. Play in the water, watch the animals and birds or revel in the beauty of the greenery surrounding you. The reservoir has nine islands, which form a great breeding ground for a variety of birds. Go around on boats to watch the birds using binoculars.
- Distance: 120 kilometres
- Attractions: Wildlife, Birds, Check dam, Scenic views and Boating
The favourite destination of tourists young and old, Warangal was the capital of the valiant Kakatiya rulers, of whom Rani Rudramadevi needs no introduction to many. The Thousand Pillar Temple and Ramappa temple as well as the Warangal Fort date back to the 12th century. Nearby Ghanpur has a set of 22 temples, showcasing the heights architecture reached at the time.
- Distance: 144 kilometres
- Attractions: Architecture of Historic Fort and Temple, Ramappa Lake, Pakala and Laknavaram Lakes, Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary.
10. Nizam Sagar Dam
Constructed in 1923 by Mir Osman Ali, ruler of the Hyderabad State, inundated 40 villages after their residents vacated them. The dam stretched 3 kilometres across the river and has a 14 ft wide motorable road over it. There is excellent accommodation for tourists here which makes it a great place to visit over a weekend.
- Distance: 144 kilometres
- Attractions: Scenic views, Nizam Sagar Dam, Saraswati Temple at Basara, Koulas Fort
Easily accessible from Hyderabad, Bidar offers a lot of historical monuments and sites from different periods and showcases the unique craftsmanship of the Hindu, Turkish and Persian artisans who worked on the monuments. Visit the formidable Bidar Fort, Gumbaz Darwaza, Baridi Tombs and the ancient Papanasam temple to Lord Shiva which dates back to the times of Rama. Do buy souvenirs of the extremely artistic Bidri handicraft works of metal ware inlaid with pure silver.
- Distance: 151 kilometres
- Attractions: Bidri work, Bidar Fort, Gumbaz Darwaza, Baridi Tombs and Papanasam Temple
12. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
Considered a temple to the country’s prospects when it was built in 1955, the dam is located in a historically important place, an ancient Buddhist centre of learning and one of its four Viharas. Visit Anupu for Buddhist excavations or enjoy the Ethipothala waterfalls and its serene lagoon.
- Distance: 153 kilometres
- Attractions: Dam, Waterfalls and site of ancient Buddhist Vihara
Karimnagar is another historic location close to Hyderabad has changed hands far too often and imbibed the habits and culture of all its rulers. Sounding like an Elvish name from JRR Tolkien, the Elgandal Fort here stands amidst palm groves on the banks of the Manair river and was the seat of 5 different dynasties of the Deccan.
- Distance: 164 kilometres
- Attractions: Tower Circle, Kaman Circle, Elgandal Fort, Lower Manair Dam and Deer Park, Nagunur Fort and Molangur Fort, Anjaneya Swamy Temple at Kondagattu
Near to the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, this historic site offers evidence of a Buddhist civilization that existed here almost 1800 years ago, in the form of stupas, scriptures and artifacts. Named after the famous Buddhist monk Nagarjuna, who is believed to have lived and preached here during the 2nd century AD, this place has proved a huge tourist attraction ever since it was discovered in 1926.
- Distance: 167 kilometres
- Attractions: Buddhist Relics
15. Mallela Theertham
The charming waterfalls at Mallela Theertham are located in the midst of the dense Nallamala forests. The waters fall from a height of 150 ft onto the rocks below, and tourists walk down 380 steps to reach the falls from the road. The scenic views around the falls enthral the visitors and it is said that the summer season brings the tigers in the forest to drink the water here.
- Distance: 176 kilometres
- Attractions: Waterfalls in the rainy season
Nelakondapalli is an important site of Buddhist excavations which unearthed the evidence of many constructions which include brick built Viharas, wells, cisterns, a Maha Stupa or Pillar, a bronze idol of Buddha, a miniature Stupa carved in limestone from the third and fourth centuries. This place is also associated with the Mahabharata as the location of the Virata rajya where the Pandavas chose to spend one year, incognito. You will also find the old residence of Bhakta Ramadas here.
- Distance: 193 kilometres
- Attractions: Buddhist relics
Officially known as Kalaburagi, Gulbarga was once a part of the State of Hyderabad under Nizam rule. At the height of its glory, Gulbarga was the capital of the Bahmani Sultans and has a history dating back to the 6th century. Two rivers flow through this town, the Krishna and the Bhima. The Bahmani Fort has 15 majestic towers and the Khwaja Bande Nawaz Dargah is the tomb of the sacred Sufi saint of the same name. The sprawling Jama Masjid of Gulbarga Fort, built in 1367 AD, covers an area of 38,000 square feet.
- Distance: 231 kilometres
- Attractions: Gulbarga Fort, Jama Masjid and Tomb
Picnics are a great way to unwind over the weekend. These 17 picnic places near Hyderabad are ideal for a one- or two-day getaway. If you’re really enthusiastic, you could even visit two or three of these on a single weekend. Got any questions about how this could be done? Let us know in the comments.