Khanapur hill, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, had always interested us. We’d driven (and ridden) over it quite a few times, and we’d always enjoyed going past its impressive granite boulders. And the great view of the lake beyond from the top. The lonely apartment complex, half-built and seemingly abandoned, on one side of the hill added to its mystery.
So one day, we thought we’d jump on the bike and head out to the hill and explore it in earnest. We did manage to find our way to the top of some beautiful boulders, and enjoyed the great view in either direction. But some of the views we encountered along the way weren’t as great. And towards the end, we found ourselves in a granite cauldron that could’ve been straight out of a post-apocalyptic movie.
Riding out to Khanapur hill
Khanapur hill is just off the outer ring road (ORR) beyond the financial district. To get there from Gachibowli, we headed past the ISB campus and kept going until we hit the ORR. Once there, we dove under the ORR and turned right on to the service road. A few hundred metres later, we turned left onto an unpaved road (the unpaved bit didn’t last long), and kept going until we got to the top of the hill.
Finding a good viewpoint
Once we got there, and once I found a place to park my bike, we set off on foot to explore the hill. We wanted to get as high as possible so we would have an unrestricted view. So we started exploring paths that looked like they would lead up to some nice high boulders. After a few hits and misses (we were walking through private plots, it seemed) we found our way to the top of a nice hillock with a great view.
Sadly, we found some depressing sights along the way. Many of the owners of these private plots had turned them into stone quarries, hacking the granite out of the heart of the hill to feed Hyderabad’s hunger for ‘development’.
The view from the top of Khanapur hill
The view from the top of the hill was both more and less than what we expected. We could see all the way past the city and to Golconda Fort on its own hill on the horizon. On the other side, the Osman Sagar lake (a major source of drinking water for Hyderabad) lay below us.
We could also see, more clearly, some of the incredible damage that had been done to the hill. Some way away, it looked like something had eaten its way into the hill, leaving rough granite pillars pointing towards the sky.
Also read: A visit to Golconda Fort’s inner citadel
Morbidly fascinated, we decided to see for ourselves the destruction that had been wrought on the other side of the hill. So we climbed down our hillock, hopped on the bike again, and headed towards those pillars carved out of the landscape.
Following a rough path opposite those abandoned apartment buildings (‘Movie Towers’, they’re called), we got to a huge depression gouged into the landscape. As we descended, I wondered if this is what the future will look like.