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Bhongir Fort, Hyderabad

About fifty kilometers outside of Hyderabad lies a little-known attraction called Bhongir Fort. The town of Bhongir is home to the "monolithic rock" where the twelfth-century fort still stands. And you can hike up that giant rock to the fort on top.

We've been looking for day-trip hikes to do with Muffin and a friend said he was going back to Bhongir and didn't mind if we tagged along at Muffin's pace. We brought the baby backpack but we let her start off on her own. We are always impressed with her stamina and endurance, for a two-year-old, but she blew us away as well as all the others in our party by insisting on walking up to the top all by herself. She held our hands in a few tricky places but she refused to be picked up.

She was so proud of herself when she got to the top. When she saw the view of the plains below she let out an "Oh wow!" that echoed through the fort. Then she very happily and very hungrily dug into the lunch I'd carried up for her -- chocolate milk, cheese, bananas, and almonds. As we'd been hiking up the last part, she said over and over, "Chocolate milk at the top!" and I think it became her version of "Just keep swimming," keeping her motivated.

We ate lunch and rested for a bit, walking around the fort and exploring. We decided to put her in the backpack for the walk down because it was so steep and she was so tired; none of us really had the energy to try and keep her from tumbling down. She protested, but as tired as we were, we were still bigger and stronger than she was and we wrangled her into the backpack. She fell asleep within about five minutes and stayed asleep for the whole walk down and the whole drive back to Hyderabad.

Going up...
and up...
and up.
At the top.
Coming back down.
The walk up takes thirty minutes to an hour, depending on the pace you're going. You can go straight up the rock or take a winding stairway around the sides of the fort.

To get to Bhongir, take the road to Warangal. At just under fifty kilometers, you'll notice some large rocks on the horizon and there's a sign for the town of Bhongir. There's a nominal entrance fee. We'd heard 60 rupees per person but we were charged something like 100 for all 5 adults, Muffin, and two cameras. We learned why we got such a discount on the way down. The ticket agent called the local newspaper after we entered and as we descended, reporters and photographers were waiting to take our photos and get our names. It was very exciting news to have Americans at the fort, apparently. We obliged and gave them our first names. Muffin was totally conked out, or else they would have gotten a real treat for the front page.

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