We had often driven over and past Khanapur hill, and had always wanted to stop and explore its boulders. When we did, we were shaken by what we found.

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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.

Also read: The surreal rock formations of Fakhruddingutta

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.

ORR service road, Financial district, Hyderabad
Turning off the ORR service road towards Khanapur hill
Riding up Kahanapur hill, Hyderabad
Getting close to the top of the hill
Parking bike on Kahanpur hill, Hyderabad
Trying to find a place to leave my bike, off the road

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’.

Unpaved path, Khanapur hill
Doing some exploring off the main road
Granite quarry, Hyderabad
A wound in the landscape: One of the many quarries we found
Undergrowth, Hyderabad
One of the more promising paths through the undergrowth
Rocky pond, Hyderabad
A little pond along the way, straight out of Jurassic Park
Stone steps, Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
We find a way to the top, courtesy unknown stone-cutters
Lonely Planet

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

Kokapet lake, Hyderabad
The view, back towards Kokapet whence we came
Photo equipment on Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
Always come prepared. Especially since this rock’s days seem to be numbered.
View of Golconda Fort from Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
Golconda Fort on the horizon, with the city closing in
View of Osman Sagar, Hyderabad
On the edge of the world in the other direction, looking out towards the Osman Sagar lake
Boulders on Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
Meditating on the view
Water tank, Hyderabad
Blue and pink down in the valley
View of Gachibowli, Hyderabad
Here comes the city!
Quarry, Khanapur hill
A hole blown into the side of the hill
Granite quarry, Hyderabad
Mankind is a force of nature

Post-apocalyptic scenes

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.

Also read: Snow-capped mountains and Tibetan art in Dharamshala

Granite quarry, Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
First look at hell’s cauldron
Granite rocks being destroyed, Hyderabad
Lonely remnants
A little perspective
Grass and broken stones, Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
What once was, and what is now
Broken granite rock, Hyderabad
A closer look at the shattered rock
Granite quarry,  Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
Something’s taken a bite out of the landscape
Quarry pond, Hyderabad
Faces in the water
Granite quarry, Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
This isn’t what ‘digging deep’ is supposed to mean
Quarry with city beyond, Hyderabad
As one falls, another rises far away.
Granite quarry,  Khanapur hill, Hyderabad
How do we stem the hungry tide?
 

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4 thoughts on “Photo diary: Sweeping views and post-apocalyptic scenes on Khanapur hill

  1. It does make for a very cool landscape I have to say. Now I know the source of that photo with you meditating on the rock. Also humankind have had a big impression on this planet and with each century it grows more and more pronounced. Your foretelling of an apocalyptic future may be accurate.

    1. I think I had my vision of the future while sitting on that rock! Honestly, though, the signs are all around us…

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