I sat in contemplation for a little while. The official business of sending up prayers done, the toddler who needed surgery pranced about, her anklets jingling as she approached me with interest and then retreated shyly when I smiled or beckoned. Prayers in this peoples’ church have been heard before, and they may be again.
Medak town is about 100km north of Hyderabad and is reached by the NH7 (now renamed NH44) and the Chegunta road, and a day trip is comfortably doable. Taxis cost around Rs 3,700 for a round trip, and there are regular buses from Hyderabad as well.
Where to stay
The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC) runs a small hostelry abutting the fort — it uses the structure that used to be known as Mubarak Mahal. Haritha Heritage Hotel (from Rs 1,319; Qila Road, Arab Galli; 9948818822, 8333875695) has four rooms and a restaurant with nice views of the town. This is a comfortable stay if you want to soak in some very laidback heritage punctuated by a walk or two. The Cathedral’s Pilgrim Rest House offers bare rooms from Rs 200 onwards.
What to see & do
The Medak Cathedral is well known and draws pilgrims and tourists from all over. Its lofty proportions draw the eye from every vantage point. Its stained glass panels deserve a lot of attention. The cathedral is open daily from 7am to 6pm for public viewing and silent prayer.
The Medak Fort is a 12th-century erection by the Kakatiya ruler Pratap Rudra I. It was later the command outpost of the Bahmanis and the Qutb Shahis. It is remarkable for its architectural features: three grand gates that you pass through to wind up to the top. It has a few chambers and granaries still standing.
Where to eat & drink
Medak is a small town and doesn’t have too many options. However, apart from the restaurant at Haritha Heritage Hotel, you’ll find decent fare at Swagath Mess & Restaurant, opposite the Bus Depot. The food in this state tends to be spiced with a punch, so keep your cold drinks handy.