Gandikota is a beautiful village located 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is on the right bank of the Penna river. Popular for a historical fort of the same name, that has served as the centre of power for several empires, including the Chalukyas, Nayakas and the Golconda Sultanate.
Gandikota was also the capital of Pemmasani Nayakas for over 300 years. Holding a great historic significance, Gandikota is one of the most important historic sites in Andhra Pradesh. The history of the village can be traced back to the late 12th century when Kakatiya Raja of the nearby Bommapanne village built a Sand Fort.
After being ruled by the Nayakas for over 300 years, the fort was attacked several times by different rulers, including Qutb Shahi rulers, who looked at it as an opportunity to expand their regime in the southern part of the country. The credit for the foundation of the village is given to Kakatiya Raja, a subordinate of Kalyani dynasty, who identified the village and laid the foundation of the majestic 101 towers huge rock fort. Gandikota is a popular destination among tourist buffs and holds a great historic significance.
There are several interesting places to explore in and around Gandikota, and we have compiled a list of some of these places.
Pennar River Gorge Viewpoint:
The Pennar river cuts through the Erramala hills or the Gandikota Hills, to form the Pennar River Gorge Viewpoint. Located just 1 km from the village, the viewpoint is among the top places to explore at Gandikota. The Pennar River Gorge is nearly 300 metres in depth and the fact that it has been made naturally by the river is mindblowing.
One can’t help but remain amazed by the creativity of nature that beats any architect. The Gorge is also known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India as its appearance is very similar to the Grand Canyon of Arizona. You need to walk for almost 1 km from the entrance of the fort to reach the viewpoint from where you get a spectacular view of the entire region.
There are several important temples near Gandikota, and Raghunathaswamy is one of those temples. Located just 500 metres from the village bus stop, it is an ancient Hindu temple within the fort complex. One of the key places to explore in the village, Raghunathaswamy Temple boasts of architectural finesse. Its complex system of pillars, hallways, and corridors leaves even modern day engineers mesmerised. Made up of red granites, the temple is like a hidden gem for photographers who like to capture historic sites.
Madhavaraya Temple is another important religious site at Gandikota. Located just 1 km from the major bus stop, this temple is also within the fort complex. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple was built by Sri Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Kingdom. One of the most important structures in the village and nearby regions, the temple, is a prime example of historic architecture. The intricate carving and designs on the walls of the temple speak volumes about the construction technology of those days. The chief deity was moved to Mydukur from the sanctum of the temple after the Nizams attacked the fort.
One of the most intriguing sites near Gandikota, these caves are located 45 km from Yaganti. The second largest and the longest caves in the country, Belum Caves, are between Nandyal and Tadipatri in Kurnool. 3229 meters. The caves have spacious entrances, long passages and even freshwater galleries. reason behind the formation of these caves was erosion in limestone deposits in the area by Chitravati River. This erosion happened millions of years ago. Chitravathi River still flows nearly 30 km south of these caves. It is not every day that one explores something as rare as these caves.
Yaganti is another very popular tourist spot to explore near Gandikota. Located 70 km from the city of Kurnool, the place mainly earns its fame from Sri Yagantiswamy Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the most popular Shiva temples in the state, Yaganti Swamy temples feature in Andhra Pradesh Tourism recommendations. The temple was built somewhere between the 5th and 6th century.
From Pallavas to Chalukyas and from Cholas to the majestic Vijayanagara empire, every empire in the region contributed to the construction of the temple. Another famous temple in Yaganti is the Uma Maheshwara temple that has the idol of Ardhanareshwar, carved out of a single stone. This temple is one of the few places where Lord Shiva is worshipped in an idol form. Yerramala Hills, that house Yaganti, have a lot to offer apart from the engineering marvels and the undisturbed natural beauty is one thing that will leave you mesmerised.