Do you have a penchant for places with serene lakes, high cliffs, birds flying above water and endless grassland all around? Andhra Pradesh offers a place just like that… And the place also turns out to be one of the best kept secrets of nature!
An unconquerable fort built in red granite stone, guarded by a 20 feet high entry gate, enclosed in a fort wall running around the 5 mile perimeter; 101 bastions, each about 40 feet high, are cut into the fort wall; beautiful palaces with exquisite carvings; perennial springs constantly irrigating the fruit and flower gardens; old temples providing a look into a past with their walls, pillars, ceilings and floors sporting bas reliefs, co-existing with a mosque… The fort is protected by a deep gorge on one side with enormous boulders adding to its natural defense cut by a river flowing below.
Welcome to Gandikota – the Grand Canyon of India. Situated in the Erramalai hills on the bank of the river Pennar in Kadapa district, Gandikota gets its name from the word ‘Gandi’ which means gorge in Telugu. The fort is believed to have been constructed during the 12th century by a subordinate of a Chalukyan king and has also served many a crucial role during the reign of the Vijayanagara, Qutub Shahi and Kakatiya dynasties.
The walls of the gorge are extremely impressive. Different layers of rock by colours – red, brown and grey – are a magnificent treat to the eyes. Snaking below is the Pennar River which fills to the brim during monsoons, adding more luster to this amazing place.
Get ready to be lost in a world of magical shapes that rose from the ground, which gave a surreal touch to the landscape!
- Surrounded by a deep valley and impassable hills, with massive boulders of red granite and the river Pennar that flows about 300 ft. below on the west and northern sides, its location affords strong natural defence to the occupants of the Fort.
- The most beautiful part about a visit to Gandikota Fort is the Gorge view (Canyon view). Adventure trekking is fast becoming popular here.
- Within the fort are two ancient temples, dedicated to Madhava and Raghunatha. The Madhavaraya Temple has an astonishingly beautiful and high-risen gopuram.
- The fort houses Jamia Masjid, which has two adjacent minarets. A heritage festival is held every year in fort area.
- The other structures within the fort include a large granary, a graceful pigeon tower with fretted windows and an extensive palace built by bricks with some plastered decorations and some wells.
- There is an old cannon still lying in the fort. There is also the ‘Rayalacheruvu’ with its perennial springs irrigating some lime and plantain gardens. It is said that this ‘Cheruvu’ was connected to a fountain in Jamia Masjid by pipes, traces of which can still be seen.
- Gandikota Fort does not have timings and is open for you to explore as long as you stay safe.
How to Reach
Gandikota is about and 350 kms from Hyderabad. Jammalamadugu is the nearest town and it is just 15 kms away from Gandikota. Nearest Railway station is 26 km away at Muddanuru in Kadapa district. There are number of trains from Gooty Junction. There are buses available from Jammalamadugu Old Bus Stand (Gandhi Statue Junction) to Gandikota. Inside the fort there is no means of transportation except to walk by foot. There is a good downhill trek through the canyon that leads to the riverbed. There is a dam upstream (Gandikota Dam) and a dam downstream (Mylavaram Dam).
Gandikota has a Haritha Resort that is located less than a kilometer from the fort, and is considered as one of the best resorts in the state. It’s far off from civilization and promises a very pleasant stay. The resort, which has been designed like the fort, has rooms that have been designed in accordance with medieval architecture. Some rooms also have terrace to provide a wonderful view of the surroundings. Gandikota fort stretching all along and the gopuram of the Madhavaraya temple provide a fantastic view from the resort. The resort houses a restaurant, play area for kids, and a lot of open space for campfire.