Warangal Fort was the seat of power of the Kakatiya Dynasty which reigned over parts of South India and the Deccan between the 12th and 14th centuries. The fort, along with the Ramappa Temple and the Thousand Pillar Temple are currently on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Tentative List. And it was from this historic location that the Warangal edition of the Go Heritage Run series commenced on a surprisingly cloudy morning in March.
PLANNING AND ROUTE RECCE:
This wasn’t the first time we’d planned a run vacation in Warangal. Last year, shortly after Warangal was chosen to be part of the HRIDAY scheme – which aims to promote an integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of heritage sites – we had organized a similar event and designed run routes traversing the Warangal Fort and the 1000 pillar temple.
We wanted to make the 2016 edition bigger and better – and with a different set of run routes. With that in mind,
we headed to Warangal shortly after our Hampi run. A couple of hours at mapometer.com and a couple more hours cycling around the Warangal Fort, and we had our run routes sorted! To simplify accommodation planning for our out-station participants, we now offer discounted accommodation through our hotel partners – so the trip to Warangal also had us meeting local hotels to freeze upon hotel rates and block rooms for participants.
The run was promoted online and offline. Our thanks to the Hyderabad Runners and 93.5 RED FM for spreading the word about the run online, offline and on air in Warangal. As always, our team of content-writers identified and highlighted aspects of Warangal at our website (Did you know Warangal hosts a biennial religious gathering second in size only to the Kumbh Mela?) – Read more about Warangal here.
Cheriyal art, the dying art form that narrates the lives of people in rural communities with vibrant colors and visuals on scrolls and canvas, influenced our run collateral designs. Participants saw that in run posters, T-shirts, running bibs and of course the finisher medal – each one was designed and handmade by a national award winning artist and sole purveyor of this art today.
At early dawn on Run Day, with bike marshals from the Hyderabad Bicycling Club leading the way, our runners set off from Kush Mahal within Warangal Fort on the 21K, 10K and 5K routes. They traversed the ASI Museum with its Gateways, and ran along the fort wall periphery before making their way toward fields, a lake, a village and more fields. The 21K and 10K routes took runners from the Warangal Fort ruins towards what can be best described as “the middle of nowhere” – which can often be a great place to run at! No traffic, no signs of habitation – just the sound of nature and runners all the way back to the finish line – where runners received their Cheriyal finisher medal, a certificate and piping hot breakfast!
Many thanks to the following organizations who supported and facilitated the run:
Archaeological Survey of India
Kakatiya Heritage Trust
Indian Medical Association