Say the word Nizamabad and your pronunciation is a dead giveaway about your ‘local’ or ‘tourist’ status. Just pretending to know the names of streets and landmarks hardly works here. The moment you say Nizaa-maa-baad and not Nizaambaad, the autorickshaw driver’s eyes will gleam at having found out that you are not a local. For those familiar with Hyderabad, Nizamabad will sound and look like the Pearl City because of its apparent Hyderabad hangover. Be it the Irani cafés Limrah and Bahar (food landmarks in Hyderabad as well), or the telling hoardings of Mujtaba Jewellers of Nampally, locals love frequenting big brother Hyderabad and associating with the capital city.

This northwestern interior district of Andhra Pradesh is actually the smallest (barring Hyderabad) among the sister districts that make up Telangana. Like the adage – all good things come in small packages, Nizamabad is a compact district with unusual sights to behold, unique legends with which to regale your friends back home and a different ambience to soak in on a lazy public holiday.

Qilla Ramalayam, Nizamabad
Qilla Ramalayam, Nizamabad
Manju Latha


Two full days is ample time to see what Nizamabad has to offer. The district boasts of over half a dozen temples, a picturesque dargah, a couple of lake-side resorts, a dam, a forest and facilities for watersports and trekking.

TIP All temples are open from 6.00am-noon and 6.00-9.00pm; it is not a good idea to venture into the forts and palaces after dark

Qilla Ramalayam

Technically known as Raghunathaswamy Temple, the Qilla Ramalayam is a temple and a jail built in a fort. Originally the fortress of Rashtrakuta king Indrudu, it was converted into a temple by Saint Raghunath, who used to frequent this part of Andhra during his cross-country treks. The 3,900-sq-ft temple, built in 914, used to have a 53 ft dwajasthambam that would light up the entire area underneath and enable pedestrians to walk safely after dark. The local pandit mentions multiple subways from the fort temple to a neighbouring temple, the local river and even to the Sarangapur Temple a few kilometres away from here. The subways are all diligently sealed and locked, due to the proximity of the jail. The rectangular water tank has walls in eight directions to capture the prana in accordance with the rules of vaastu. This small pilgrimage also doubles up as a historic tour. The temple lies in the heart of Nizamabad and is a landmark in itself.

TIP Visit the temple in the late morning hours, when the pandit is free. He will take you around and even show you the fort kitchen and other rooms.

Saraswati idol at Asok Sagar
Saraswati idol at Asok Sagar
Manju Latha

Ali Sagar

Going by the number of couples whispering sweet nothings in broad daylight, this reservoir is certainly the most popular weekend spot in Nizama bad, 8 km from the town off the Bodhan Road. It has all the trappings to draw crowds. A lush forest with a summer house, lovingly maintained lawns and a restaurant and guesthouse are set on an island in the lake. You can take a cruise across the waters in a pedal or speedboat. The adjoining Deer Park offers good walks. It is home to several species of deer, notably among them the golden-hued deer.

Asok Sagar

Almost like a twin of Ali Sagar, this lake resort, 7 km from Nizamabad on the way to Bheemgal, offers some quick snacks and a walk around the rock garden. A Saraswati idol stands majestically in the middle of the waters. Interestingly, this lake has been named after Collector Asok Kumar, who was instrumental in building this lake a few years ago. Few civil servants manage to get this rare privilege during their tenure.

Mallaram Forest

On the outskirts of Nizamabad, along the Hyderabad Highway, is Mallaram Forest, 7 km from Nizamabad. The drive to the forest itself is enjoyable, owing to the lush greenery, sound of the crickets and the little rivulets that flow from across the rocks.

A treat for trekkers, Mallaram has some great trekking routes. The viewpoint tower, one of the main attractions here affords spectacular views of the rich flora here. Other highlights of Mallaram include a 1.45-billion-year-old rock and a mushroom-shaped rock, which dates back to 2 billion years according to geologists. The forest is also known to have rich mineral deposits and therefore only government personnel are allowed inside.

Dichpalli Ramalayam
Dichpalli Ramalayam
Renuka Kelkar

Balikonda Fort

You will notice sceptical looks on the faces of locals when you ask for directions to the Balikonda Fort, simply known as Qilla. The fort, 8 km from Nizamabad, is a good stopover on the way to Armoor. While the structure itself is intact, the dense outgrowth masks the real beauty of this fort. The arches are well defined and so is the circular ceiling inside. This 600-year-old structure was constructed by the Asafjahis. Their qilla (fort) today is deserted and neglected. However, the intrepid traveller can certainly take a quick peek inside. A little walk through leads you to a maidan that offers an aerial view of the entire town. Definitely an excellent vantage point for the soldiers of yore.

TIP Carry a stick to ward off snakes


The best option is TSTDC’s Haritha Indur Inn (Tel: 08462-224403-04; Tariff: ₹840-1,686) near the railway station. It has a restaurant and swimming pool. Hotel Nikhil Sai International (Tel: 236634-37; Tariff: ₹1,235-2,700) offers Internet services and has a restaurant and bar. Hotel Vamshee International (Tel: 234848/ 49; Tariff:₹1,099- 3,499), too, has a restaurant and bar and also a swimming pool. If you wish to stay near the bus station, opt for Hotel Kapila (Tel: 234562; Tariff: ₹ 630-1,260) or Hotel Mayur (Tel: 222925; Tariff: ₹600-1,050), with comfortable and clean AC rooms.

Many Nizamabadis love driving to the outskirts to have a hot bite at the dhabas near Dichpalli. Punjabi Dhaba is good with a variety of tandoori dishes. In the town, Angeethi, Heavenly Fast Food, Taj Dhaba and Kapila’s are quite popular.

Head to model village Ankapur, about 20 km from Nizamabad to try the famous Ankapur chicken curry.

Born Again Banyan Tree
Born Again Banyan Tree
Manju Latha


Dichpalli Ramalayam (18 km)

For newcomers, the Ramalayams are confusing because both are known as Qilla Ramalayams (fort temples). The Dichpalli Temple is 18 km away from Nizamabad on the Hyderabad Highway. By the evening twilight, this temple with the lake in the background and its 40-ft victory pillar, set high up on a hillock and built inside a fort, looks straight out of a movie set. It is made of white and black basalt stone to resemble the 17th-century Kakatiya temples in Warangal. Every inch of the temple has rich carvings of figurines, statues and religious motifs. To the right is a floating temple in the water tank. A popular site in the temple is a long, coir jhoola suspended from a tamarind tree.

Born Again Banyan Tree (33 km)

This little stopover is on the way to Pochampad. Andhra Pradesh Tourism has put up a board and a marker. Known as the Padilechina Marri Chettu (the banyan tree that was born again after it died), this tree must have been over a century old. Initially it was thought to be haunted by demons, but on an auspicious day the tree got uprooted in floods and storms. Miraculously, even as a group of villages sought shelter at the nearby tree, it rose and stuck back to its roots. Almost as though god pressed the rewind button and the tree came back to life! The tree now allegedly looks like Ganesha and pujas are offered here daily.

Armoor Rock Formations
Armoor Rock Formations
Manju Latha

Pochampad Project (38 km)

Also known as the Sriram Sagar Project, this dam located north of Nizamabad is an attempt to tame the tempestuous Godavari. Just a few kilometres away from here is Basar, the seat of Goddess Saraswati, where the river does a macabre dance every monsoon. The project is a human endeavour to domesticate this raging river with the help of the hills on two sides and a concrete structure on the other. It is believed that Lord Rama and Sita were so overawed by the scenic beauty of the hills and the Godavari that they decided to stay put here for a few months. Hence the name of the project. Interestingly, there is not a single tree or a source of food, yet the Pochampad Project houses many monkeys. The locals say that the monkeys, like their master Hanumana, are always around Lord Rama. You’ll never know when he would summon them for help again.

But for marvelling at the magnitude of the project and the hilly ranges, there isn’t anything much a tourist can do here, because of security reasons.

Armoor Rock Formations (22 km)

On the way back to Nizamabad from Pochampad, there is a 10-km stretch with rocks stacked together. These are known to have formed over a million years, weathering the vagaries of nature. There is nothing much to explore here, but for a keepsake picture. The locals believe that some sages do penance deep inside the caverns and the water, a few kilometres into the rocky terrain, has curative properties.

Bheemgal (40 km)

It feels weird asking for directions to a place called ‘Rakasipet’, which literally means the place of Raskhasas. But then that’s what this little town in Bheemgal Mandal of Nizamabad is known as. Legend goes that the demon Bakasura went on a killing spree when Bheema, during the Pandavas’ exile, decided to kill him. He offered to be the demon’s meal for the day as per their agreement. When the day dawned, Bheema turned into his real self and finished him at Bheemgal. The boys here show off the knee-cap marks of Bheema when he leaned across to kill the evil demon. A little beneath the temple, on the rocks, are chariot marks.

Bheemgal is located on the Bodhan Road, and comes a little after Shakkarnagar.

Bada Pahad (48 km)

What would you do to make your enemy shut up? The Nizamabadis have the solution. They buy a lock and a key, mount the Bada Pahad and its over 1,000 steps, turn the key in the lock and throw it at the feet of the Syed Sadullah Hussaini Dargah. In less than three working days, it is said, their wish comes true. Take a look at the number of ‘dushman ka mooh tala’ paraphernalia at the dargah and you would believe it works. A trek of over 1,000 stone steps leads to the dargah, the climb giving you the most spectacular view of the green landscapes of the Mallaram Forest and the punch of pure oxygen when you trek high enough to get beyond the pollu tants. The dargah is of a saint who emptied his personal and professional coffers to feed the poor during a drought. When the cops came searching for him for siphoning off government funds, the earth split and embraced the saint in its arms. It is here that the dargah has been built. A must-visit while in Nizamabad, the dargah is beyond Bheemgal.

Domakonda Fort

This fort is on the way back to Hyderabad, off Bhiknoor (take the first left turn after Basic College), so make it your last destination. The old white fort and its stone temple reflects Asafjahi architecture. The locals say the 18th-century fort’s white hue is because porcelain was powdered and used in the paint.

When to go Summer is best avoided. Rest of the year is fine Location The former capital of the Rashtrakutas, Nizamabad lies close to the Maharashtra border in northwestern Telangana Air Nearest airport: Hyderabad Rail Nearest rail: Nizamabad


Tourist Offices

Central Reservation Office

Telangana Tourism

NSF Shakar Bhavan

Opp Police Control Room

Basheerbagh, Hyderabad

Tel: 040-29801039-40

Cell: 09848540371

Toll free no: 180042546464


Tourist Information & Reservation Centre

Telangana Tourism

Tank Bund Road, Hyderabad

Tel: 23450165

Cell: 09848125720

Tourist Information & Reservation Centre

Telangana Tourism

Tourism Plaza


Tel: 23414334

Cell: 09848306435

Tourist Information & Reservation Centre

Telangana Tourism

Shilparamam (Night Bazaar)


Tel: 23119557, Cell: 09666578880

Tourist Information & Reservation Centre

Telangana Tourism

BHEL, Opp Hotel Kirthi Mahal


Tel: 040-64547729, Cell: 09848540374