The Complete Guide to Rachakonda Fort
Rachakonda Fort is an unfamous trek around Hyderabad. It is solely secluded from the surrounding villages and that’s why we call it the Hidden Gem!
Rachakonda Fort was constructed in the beginning of the 14th century A.D. by Recherla Singama Nayak, who started an independent clan, when the Kakatiya Dynasty lost its glory in the beginning of the 14th Century A.D.
A great historical significance can be drawn from the way the fort has been constructed and layered over two adjacent hills. The typical structure of a fort with courtrooms and dorms does not exist here, it is more of defence walls, gateways and bastions that are still intact.
The facts about the rocks on this trek is as interesting as its history. The rocks in and around the Rachakonda Fort are one of the oldest rocks to have existed on this planet! These rocks are about 2.5 million years old. The rock formations in this trek are unique and gorgeous!
This trek will take you through plenty of gateways, underpasses, inscriptions and give you a tour of the medieval Hindu town planning and architecture before unleashing the unending views of the valley.
The trek can be done by beginners but prepare well, since the trail at some portions consists of one foot tall stone rocks and can get exhausting.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of Table of Contents:
- What to Watch Out for
- Trail Information
- GPX File of the Trek
- Best Time to do Rachakonda Trek
- How to Reach Rachakonda
- Difficult Sections on the Trek
- How to Get Fit for the Trek
- Things to Take on Rachakonda Trek
- Permission, Water Sources and Other Finer Details About the Trek
- Nearby Places to Visit After the Trek
Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments if you need any help! You will get all the information required to do the Rachakonda trek.
➤What to Watch Out for
The Cyclopean Masonry
All the gates and the walls are built using the cyclopean masonry i.e construction with mere huge rocks that pile in perfectly to balance each other and build a strong structure, without the use of mortar.
The gateways to the fort highlight the use of monolith pillars, beams and lintels all over, doing justice to this system of architecture.
This skill of Cyclopean Masonry originates from Italy and Greece. Trust the Greek, these stone walls won’t fall apart or fall on you!
The Agave Tequilana
Commonly known as the Tequila Agave, this plant is an important economic product of Jalisco, Mexico, because it serves the purpose of being the base ingredient of tequila, a popular distilled beverage.
These plants can grow as tall as 7 feet and are a delight to come across.You will spot a whole row of Agave, along the vast flatland on the initial section of the trek.
While we advocate no consumption of alcohol in the mountains or any trek for that matter, here’s a fun fact; did you know that Tequila is called Tequila only if it is consumed in Mexico?
Inscriptions on the Rocks of the Walls
At various sections of the treks, you will encounter colourful inscriptions of dance figures and Kathakali dance faces on the rocks of walls, gateways and other ruined structures.There are also intricate carvings on these stone structures that look beautiful against the sunlight!
These beautiful drawings are a rare sight and add to the excitement of the whole trek!
Views of the Valley
The views of the valley are truly rewarding. The top most point of the fort is a huge rock which gives a panoramic view of the lush greens of the Rachakonda reserve forest.
The unending scenery accompanied by the thick forests is in itself a marvelous sight!
On the way you will also spot a few birds, butterflies, wild flowers and mongooses.
The Journey Towards Rachakonda Fort
Though this trek is said to be far off from Hyderabad, it is truly worth all the time because the roads and the landscapes that you will come across are a treat to the eyes.
On the way, you will get to see green pastures, tribal hamlets, and about 20 ancient temples located on either side of the road.
Make sure you carry a sun cap and use sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun directly hitting you.
The Rachakonda Trek can be divided into three sections:
- Galib Saheb Darga to the ruined temple
- Ruined temple to the lower plateau
- Lower Plateau to the top most fort
Section I: Galib Saheb Darga to the Ruined Temple
Trek Distance: 800 m
Trek Duration: 15 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Galib Saheb Darga : 17°10’14.37″N 78°48’27.66″E
GPS coordinates of the Ruined temple: 17°10’26.49″N 78°48’21.81″E
The trek starts where you park your vehicle, right beside the Galib Saheb Darga.
There is a vast flatland near the Darga before you can see the wall of the fort. The trail is a well marked narrow route with a lot less grass, so you can easily spot it. It is filled with green brown grass initially and there is a whole row of Agave amidst this huge chunk of land.
The view of the grassland is stunning! You can spot quite a few wild flowers along the way. The whole locale is scenic and apt for clicking some amazing photographs.
There are also a few trees and huge rocks all over this flatland and a few unique combinations of these intertwined together, are a sheer marvel to look at. Once you start approaching these intertwines, you are now almost at the end of this trail and approaching the wall.
The trail then turns a bit rocky as and how you approach the wall of the fort. The wall of the fort is 15 feet high and covers a vast area.
This section is pretty easy as the trail is flat and you don’t have to climb.
Once you see the wall ahead of you, you will carefully have to look at the extreme right for an underpass.The underpass is like a small gateway that will take you to the other side of the wall. This is pretty exciting to get into, it will look like you’re entering an ancient dungeon.
Once you’re on the other side, you will see two hills. The Rachakonda fort is layered over these two adjacent hills. We have documented climbing the hill towards the right to reach the top most point, so the further trail information will be as per the same route.
There is a ruined temple at the foot of the left hill. This marks your first rest point.
Take some time and look around the ruined temple and rest for a bit before starting the climb. . Enjoy the view of the magnificent hill from its foot and the surroundings!
To go back to the Table of Contents click here
Section II: Ruined Temple to the Lower Plateau
Trek Distance: 1.13 km
Trek Duration: 50 min
GPS coordinates of the Ruined temple: 17°10’26.49″N 78°48’21.81″E
GPS coordinates of the Lower Plateau: 17°10’40.98″N 78°48’32.14″E
If you’re resting at the temple, which is at the foot of the left hill, you have to go all the way to the foot of the right hill to start the climb.The trail starts opposite the temple, and there is a dried up stream that runs at the foot of the right hill.
You need to spot the stream and walk along with it towards the hill. It will mostly likely be easy to spot, because of lesser vegetation, more rocks and dried leaves on that particular section. Once you spot the stream it will lead you into a forest section towards the hill. It is a good 10-15 minute walk, so keep alongside the stream until you find rock cut steps.
There are a good amount of shrubs and thorns along this trail so be careful not to hurt yourself while walking
Pro Tip : It is a bad idea to wear shorts on this trek, always go for full joggers or trek pants to prevent your legs from being scratched in the woods.
Once you reach the stairs, it is an easy path, you just have to follow the steps.
The view now starts to open up a little more and oversees the valley, while you can spot a pond afar.Keep an eye out for inscriptions; wild flowers and birds along the way.
You can also deviate from the trail a little to look around the scenery and take in the calm of the wind!
It will take you about 25-30 minutes to cut through the slope of the hill through these rock cut steps. On the way you will encounter a fair few gates and ruined structures.
Keep sipping water along the way to stay hydrated.
After this section you will encounter a small plateau with a rock cavity. It is a water point beneath the top most portion of the fort, which we will now call the lower plateau.
You’re almost about to reach the top but we recommend taking a short break here and soaking in the enigmatic backgrounds which are only about to get better.
Explore the surroundings and look around the monolith pillars and the astonishing Cyclopean Masonry that you’ll never get enough of! The lower plateau serves as a great frame for the scenic backdrop.
To go back to the Table of Contents click here
Section III: Lower Plateau to The Top
Trek Distance: 580 m
Trek Duration: 10 minutes
GPS coordinates of the Lower Plateau: 17°10’40.98″N 78°48’32.14″E
GPS coordinates of the Top Most Fort: 17°10’40.05″N 78°48’45.50″E
From the lower plateau, the stretch to the top is short. This trail is initially flat but will eventually turn to be filled with rock steps that are as high as one foot. Ensure that you place your foot firmly on the ground and take a step.
Pro tip : Make sure you wear proper trekking shoes that will make your climb a lot easier.
Once you climb the rock stairs there comes one final gate that leads you to the top most point.
Reaching the last gate almost feels like the Mario game, where Mario finally gets his way across the obstacles to the castle, so that he can save the princess.The panoramic view from the huge rock at the top mixed with the calmness of the surroundings offers an equally treasured experience!
The views from the top are breathtaking and are sure to make you dumbfound for a while! This hill is slightly higher than the rest of the hillocks in the surroundings, hence giving you an overall 360 degree view of the valley and the landscape.
Embrace the wide green landscapes after the tough rock climb and blend in as you connect with nature a lot more. Spend some time at the top and if it is not sunny you can lie down on the rocks and enjoy the wind.
➤GPX File of Rachakonda Fort
Essentially there are two gates that have two different paths, which lead to the top of the Rachakonda fort. If you directly search for “Rachakonda fort” in google maps it will take you to a different gate.
However, we recommend the other gate because of its scenic view and better trails. (The google maps navigation link is attached in the “How to reach” section below)
Click here to download the GPX file.
➤Best Season to Trek to Rachakonda Fort
The best months to do the Rachakonda trek is from June to February. Monsoon or the winters are the best seasons to do the Rachakonda Trek.
Post monsoon, you will witness the lush greenery of the Rachakonda forest reserve.
The trek can be extended till pre-summer season before the rocks start getting too hot to climb on. You will have much clearer views compared to the post-monsoon season or in the absence of mist.
This region receives a fair amount of rainfall during the monsoon season but it is not very difficult to do this trek during monsoons. However, check the weather forecast on the previous day and if it has rained earlier or been predicted, then navigate carefully.
➤How to Reach Rachakonda Fort
Rachakonda fort is located about 60 kilometres from Hyderabad, in the Bhongir district.
Reaching Rachakonda Fort by your own vehicle
If you plan to drive to Rachakonda from Hyderabad, it will roughly take you around 1.5 hours to reach the Galib Saheb Darga. You can use this link to help set up navigation on Google Maps.
You can take the Nagarjuna Sagar highway via Outer Ring Road that leads to Choutuppal. From Choutuppal it is a little off road, so, by using maps, drive to a small village called Tippaiguda via Allapur.Tippaiguda is only 2Km from the foot of the fort.
The road is motorable till you reach the Galib Saheb Darga.
Reaching Rachakonda Fort by Public Transport System
Rachakonda is a fairly secluded place and there is no direct connectivity via public transport to the fort. We recommend that you either take your private vehicle or hire a full day taxi cab for a better experience.
Nearest Railway Station
Ramannapet Railway Station– 54.5 km
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
(Hyderabad) Rajiv Gandhi International Airport– 56.5 km
➤Difficult sections on the Rachakonda Fort
The Rachakonda trek is rated easy. If you are a first-timer, then we recommend you prepare well for this trek as it will test your stamina and endurance.
One way, the trek will be close to 2.5 km. It will take you roughly 1-1.5 hours to reach the top and about 45 minutes to descend.
There are a few difficult rock step climbs in section 2 and 3 of the trek, so proceed cautiously and at a slower pace. Here are a few things to keep in mind while trekking.
➤How to Get Fit for Your Trek to Rachakonda Fort
The Rachakonda trek is cited as easy and has a few places along the trail that will test your stamina and endurance.
The reason why we focus on asking you to get fit is that, when you have the physical ability to complete the trek without difficulty and have enough endurance, it amplifies the entire trek experience and makes it more enjoyable. You will truly enjoy the trek when you don’t struggle to complete the climb and descent on the trek.
In a generic setting, local treks are usually planned last minute and hence we understand that you might not specifically train for the same.
If you are a trekking enthusiast and want to have a wholesome experience of any trek, here’s a fitness guide that you can follow and turn it into a way of life.
Training yourself for a trek:
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
➤ Cardiovascular Endurance
In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace everyday in the following manner
- Target completing a jog of 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
- Gradually increase your pace by running 5 km, 4 times a week.
- As you become more comfortable, introduce another day of running in your routine.
- Progressively increase the distance you run in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 45 mins.
If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 18 km in 60 minutes when you begin.
- Progressively increase your pace to cover 22 km in one hour.
➤ Strength Training
This is an important area you need to work on.
Strength training is equally important to trek comfortably. Work on your glutes, calves and knees. Additionally, work on strengthening your core.
You must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.
Also, try these exercises for strength:
Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set.
– Squats (Mix it up with sumo squats)
– Lunges (Forward, backward and lateral lunges)
Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.
➤Things to Take on the Trek to Rachakonda Fort
- Basic First Aid kit*
- Identity Card
- Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
- Water (Minimum three litres)
- Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
- High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
- Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
- Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
*First aid kit:
- Band aids (Regular & Waterproof)
- Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
- Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
- Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
- Cotton roll & Bandage
- Crepe Bandage
- 1 inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
- Micropore tape
- Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
- Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)
➤Permission, Water Sources and Other Finer Details About the Trek
1. Do I need to obtain permission for trekking and camping on the Rachakonda Fort?
You don’t need any permission for the trek.
There is no restriction on camping on the Rachakonda trek but you will not be able to pitch a tent since the ground is all rocky.
2. What are the options for overnight stay around Rachakonda?
If you want to stay overnight, the best option is to stay in Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. There are lots of good hotels and guest houses to pick from. You can click on this link to check out some options to stay in Hyderabad.
3. Are there any specific timings to do the trek?
There are no particular timings as such for the Rachakonda Trek.
The best time to start your trek will be the morning or before noon. This will ensure you are back down before dusk. It takes easily about 2-2.5 hours overall to complete the trek. However if you want to catch the sunset, you can always start early in the afternoon and return before dark, as soon as the sun is down.
4. Where can I get food and water during the trek?
There are no food stalls or water sources along the trek to the fort. There are no shops in the small village of Rachakonda or at the entrance of the fort.We recommend that you carry a minimum of 3 litres of water with you and enough food,snacks, energy bars that can suffice throughout the trek.
However, there are a few dhabas and restaurants up till the Nagarjuna Sagar highway, if you were to stop by for breakfast or light snacking while returning to Hyderabad.
5. Whom do I contact in case of an emergency?
Police Station:Rachakonda Police Commissionerate (9490617237) is the nearest police station to the Rachakonda trek.
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112
6. What about mobile network and connectivity on the Rachakonda trek?
ATM’s: There are a few ATM’s near the fort in a small town called Ibrahimpatnam that comes on the way. However, It is better to carry cash with you than rely on any ATM’s on the way.
Mobile Networks: You get coverage of very few networks like Airtel and BSNL throughout the trek. Usually even these networks are weak and hence are not reliable. It is advisable to use the GPX file or download offline maps so that you don’t get lost on the trail and stranded without a network.
Places to visit after the Trek to Rachakonda Fort
Nagarjunakonda is an island in the Guntur district and is actually a historical Buddhist town. The entire Buddhist site is situated amidst an island in the Nagarjunasagar lake.
Due to the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, the archaeological relics at Nagarjunakonda were submerged, and had to be excavated and transferred to higher land on the hill, which has become an island.
This place will interest people who are intrigued by the ancient historical structures and civilization. A lot of ancient Buddhist artifacts and structures can be spotted like,Buddhist Vihara, Medieval Temples, Stupas and Buddhist relics. The island is connected to the mainland via Ferry services that are available conveniently.
So whether or not you’re a history enthusiast, the ferry ride and the view of the Nagarjunasagar lake is worth taking a trip to!
Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park is a place that is spread over 15 Km and is home to an extensive range of flora and fauna.The place once served as hunting ground for the Nizam of Hyderabad
This place offers glimpses of the famous black buck deer along with cheetahs, monitor lizards, wild boars, porcupines and varied kinds of snakes.It is also home to about eighty species of migratory birds. You can observe animals from the many sheds and viewing towers that have been constructed for this purpose.There is also a safari available in the park. The place has a small amount of entry fee for people and private vehicles.
This place is for all the people who are nature and wildlife enthusiasts, or otherwise anyone who simply wants to spend a day away from the city lights!
Sanghi Temple is perched atop a small hillock, Paramanand Giri in Sanghi Nagar area. This temple was built in the year 1991, and since then it has been attracting tourists from everywhere.
Although the main deity of the temple is Lord Venkateshwara, you can find other important Hindu Gods as well.The temple has a holy garden named Pavitra Vanam, which provides for the flowers and leaves used for performing prayers. The temple also has a Kalyana Mandapam where auspicious functions and ceremonies such as marriages are performed.
The elaborate area occupied by this temple also offers amiable space for visitors to sit at leisure and bask in its beauty. The lawn in front of the temple, which has been beautifully maintained, is a perfect setting to sit and relax.
It is one of the most beautiful temples in India with intricate carvings and architecture.
Trek done and documented by P Venugopal Raju and Ravi Setlem
Banner Image by Mangalika Ghosh
The trek was written by Megha Bheda