Gandikota is a place near Kadappa of Andhra Pradesh ,India. It is not become a famous place till now but I am sure that it will be a great tourist spot in the near future as it has all quality to achieve that. The wonderful gorge(a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it) made because of Pennar river and it penetrate the Erramala Hills. This work by the nature is called the ‘Hidden Grand Canyon of India’. Also In Telugo language Gandi means gorge.
In November 2015, then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu put forward a plan to develop Gandikota as next major tourist hub of Andhra Pradesh. Minister for Marketing and Animal husbandry C Adinarayana Reddy laid the foundation stone and performed bhumipooja for the rope way project proposed at Gandikota.
The fort is in ruined stage now. It built in 13th century. But you can wander around the Fort area which is a vast area which will be a great experience for fun loving person. The walk on the fort’s perimeter wall will be a great memory to cherish for long time as it will lead into the pennar river side and the sight from top of the fort is beautiful and in the evening view of sky will be a feast to your eyes.
The fort consists of many palaces built with red sand stones with intricate carvings, perennial springs to irrigate the nearby vegetation, and a 5 mile perimeter wall guarding the fort. Thee are one temple and one mosque near the fort which will be the sign of communal harmony. Surely we can assume there were a vivid civilization existed and a trip to Gondikota will be to feel that civilization from 21st century.
2. Interior view of Belum caves
Belum caves is the second largest cave system in the Indian sub continent and lot of geological and archaeological studies are conducting in these area. A huge deposit of quartz found as a result of these studies. The formation of these rock in the form of stalactite and stalagmite way. The view of Belum caves will remind you that of Antelope Canyons of Arizona.
3. View of Gorge and Pennar River.
The Sight of beautiful gorge through the valley till Pennar river is a mouthwatering one. The stone carvings are same as if it made with hand, the perfection you can realize from the top view.
4. Rayalacheruvu Lake and the sunset
This wonderful lake near the fort is built by famous king Krishnadevaraya who ruled Vijayanagara dynasty. The water from Pennar river is used to make this lake. The sunset from the banks of this lake is a worthy one. This is the drinking water source for Gandikota Village. This water is used for Gardens in Jama Masjid located in Gandikota, though an old pipe supply constructed 400 years ago.
5.Temples at Gandikota
All temples nearby Gandikota is rich with its architecture values. The Madhavaraya temple and Raghunathaswamy temple are most famous in this area. The Raghunathaswamy temple, made of red granite, is a complex system of pillars, hallways, and corridors with an air of mystery about them, since the temple has not a single idol of Gods and Goddesses. The Madhavaraya temple is worthwhile for its architecture with many sculptures of Hindu Gods. Rituals of common people carved on the pillars and walls of the temple.
Raghunatha swamy temple located on a hill and it looks like a mini version of the Greek acropolis. Most part of the temple in a ruined stage. It is a small temple, but it is rich with architecture and sculpture of Vijayanagar temples. The main sculpture about the killing of Hiranyakashibu by Narasimha. There are no idols in the temple, only the sanctum sanctorum remains. If you climb up the ruined outer walls, you get view of the Eramalla hills on one side and Pennar valley on the other.
6.Juma Masjid at Gandikota
The Juma Masjid also in a ruin stage now. When we close to the masjid, first see the entrance in an arch shape and then the Prayer hall which can accommodate around thousands of people reminds us its past glory.
7. Camping at Pennar river
The adventure activities like trekking and rock climbing in the gorge, also rappelling and Kayaking activities are growing in the area. There are very few refreshment shops around the gorge and fort area. So the tourists should keep enough food with them if they plan for a long term activities in Gandikota.
The best time to visit Gandikota is between September to February as the weather is comfortable and pleasant. The summer months are hot and humid with the temperature sometimes rise up to 40-45-degree Celsius, and thus is not a good time to visit the gorge.
HOW TO REACH
Tirupati Airport at Renigunta which is 220 km away and Bengaluru International Airport which is around 350 Km away are the nearest airports to Gandikota. You can cover the rest of the distance to Gandikota by bus or a private cab.
The nearest railway station to Gandikota are at Jammalamadugu (18 km away), Kadapa (77 km away), and Tirupati (219 km away). There are direct train from Bangalore to reach this place which is around 10 hours journey including one hour transfer at Dharmavaram Junction.
Gandikota is well connected to major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam through the NH 7. In fact, Gandikota is rather frequented by backpackers and bikers than normal tourists.
Where to stay
1. APTDC Complex: No online booking here, you must call and book the space. The complex is a vast area with around 15 cottages.
2. Haritha hotel
Gandikota Road, Gandikota 516001, India