Gandikota Fort is located about 280 km from Bangalore and is located in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. Gandikota is a small town in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, which is affectionately called the Grand Canyon of India. It is an unconventional tourist spot located on the right bank of the Pennar river. The impregnable Gandikota Fort has been famous since ancient times. Located in the midst of beautiful landscapes and wild forests, it is endowed with vast natural resources.
The Gandikota Fort stands majestically at the top of a gorge in the midst of incredible scenery! It was one of the largest forts in southern India at its peak and is still a place worth exploring for its incomparable beauty. How many places you can say are similarly beautiful, except, of course, the Grand Canyon! This beautiful piece of natural architecture in Gandikota has become to known as the Grand Canyon of India and offers serious competition to its counterpart in Arizona due to its extraordinary beauty!
What is a gorge? A gorge is any valley formed by a water source that flows between the high slabs of steep rocks. The gorges form due to rock erosion over a long period of time. It is hard to imagine that the Pennar River can sculpt such a large gorge, but the continuous flow of its waters eventually cut a deep ditch through the scenery, revealing many layers of rock and creating the remarkable site we see today.
History of Gandikota Fort
Gandi means cannon and Kota refers to a fort. The place was discovered by a subordinate of a king Chalukya in 1132 AD Due to its strategic position, it was founded on a mud fort which was later won by the Khilji kings. The kings of Vijayanagara took control of the area after defeating the Khiljis and forced the Kamma dynasty to seize the area under their fold. In the end, with the decline of empires, the place was abandoned and left in ruins.
Gandikota Fort was founded in 1123 by Kapa Raja from the nearby village of Bommanapalle and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the western king Chalukyan of Kalyana. The city played an important role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods. The fort became more impregnable by Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu. The fort had been under the control of Pemmasani Nayaks for over 300 years.
Surrounded by a deep valley and impassable hillsides and with huge red granite rocks and the Pennar river flowing about 300 feet lower on the west and north sides, its position offers a strong natural defense to the occupants of the fort. The kayakers of Pemmasani, Gothram: Musunulla, the rulers of Gandikota and the commanders of the Vijayanagar army to protect the honor of the land of Telugu are well known.
Vemana, the famous poet Telugu, originally from the Kadapa district is believed to have lived in the Gandikota area for a short time.
Gandikota was one of the largest forts in southern India at its peak, as were the kings who ruled the region. Years after his formation, the fort of Gandikota was ruled by the Mikkilineni dynasty of Bharadwaja gotra which belonged to a clan of Lords Kamma. The Kamma were kings belonging to the Solar, Lunar and Haihaya clans of Kshatriya and were said to be of a fierce nature.
Best time to visit Gandikota Fort
The best time to visit Gandikota Fort will be from June to January. During the summer months from February to April, temperatures will be too high to manage and you may end up being exhausted. The summer months are hot and humid with temperatures that sometimes reach 40-45 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, the water level in the Gandikota canyon will be lower and visually less attractive. It’s always nice to see a little green in the water and in the foliage.
How to reach Gandikota Canyon
Gandikota is well connected with major cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. The nearest airports to Gandikota are Bangalore (285 km) and Tirupati (220 km). The nearest railway stations are Tirupati and Jammalamadugu.
- Bangalore to Gandikota – 285 km, Time Required – 5 and a half hours.
- Hyderabad to Gandikota – 362 km, Time Required – 7 hours.
Gandikota Fort is well connected via NH 7 with major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vizag. As the roads of Andhra Pradesh are in excellent condition and connected to several highways and state roads, a smooth and hassle-free journey to Gandikota is possible.
Jammalamadugu (18 km), Kadapa (77 km) and Tirupati (219 km) are the nearest railway station to Gandikota. You can also take a direct train to reach this location from Bangalore.
The nearest airports to Gandikota are the Tirupati airport of Renigunta and the international airport of Bangalore. You can fly to any of them by bus or private taxi and cover the rest of the distance at Gandikota. Bangalore airport is 345 km (6 hours) from Gandikota, while Tirupati airport is 220 km (4.5 hours) from Gandikota.
Or the easiest way is to book a trip with Adventuresome – Gandikota and Belum Caves Trek
There are no good accommodation options in Gandikota, except APTDC Tourism Hotel – Haritha Hotel. Food and living are basic and very close to the walls of Gandikota fort. Even on this route, the accommodation options are smaller, except for some basic stays in Kadiri and Kadapa.
Things to do at Gandikota Fort
- Try some adventure sports
Put on your jacket and tighten your shoes to walk through the gorge. Try to climb the rocks to enjoy a different view. If you like water, try kayaking on Lake Rayalacheruvu behind the fort. Perhaps, you can combine the experience of land and water with a cliff that jumps into the Pennar river. For those who prefer it to be a little less intense, there is always a coracle ride or a bath in the river.
- Sunrise & sunset over Gandikota Fort
The viewpoint from where you can see the beautiful Pennar river that runs through the gorge will leave you breathless. But what adds to its charm is sunrise and sunset. It’s quite poetic when you see those orange rays shining on the crests of the gorge to create an unforgettable touch of the color. The ancient temple ruins and the mosque tend to add another dimension to this whole experience.
- Catch some birds of Gandikota
Head to Rayalacheruvu Lake or the Pennar River after dawn and you’ll be surprised. From beautiful purple birds to blue thrush and large kites, there are many fluttering birds. If you are there between December and February, it’s likely to catch migratory visitors too. Parakeets are all around and you will find them making enough noise along the ruins of Fort Gandikota.
- Camp under the stars
Build your camp near the Gandikota fort or on the rocks or even near the lake. Create a small bonfire and enjoy your barbecue. Once finished, remove the sleeping bags on the grass and lie down to see the glittering stars. It might even be a good idea to install a telescope to trap the planets. Tip: bring enough mosquito repellent if you are prepared for these outdoor fields.
Tips for Gandikota
- If you are traveling with a child, bring food and snacks from home. There are no decent places for lunch, especially for children.
- On the way back, you have to come to Anantapur to find a good hotel for your empty stomach.
- Bring a sunscreen with you, as the sun is very strong.
- The whole place in an open space and there are no places to shade visitors. An umbrella wouldn’t hurt.
- There are no guards or security here. Therefore, be careful and DO NOT venture far.
- There are no entrance tickets for the fort or the canyon.
- Do not spoil nature. Just because there is no one to monitor, it’s not a good idea to ruin the natural environment with artificial waste.
Places to visit near Gandikota
Gandikota’s huge fortress stretched for miles. Built in the 13th century. The fort is made of red sandstone, consists of beautiful buildings with intricate sculptures. Perennial springs water the nearby vegetation and the perimeter wall 5-6 km from the fort. The old mud fort had expanded over time to include a mosque, two temples, water tanks, guard towers and more. Cross the demolished walls to discover the beautiful Jamia Masjid with its sunken fountain and intricate minarets. Find the Kattula Koneru, a water tank where soldiers washed their swords. Explore the carved pillars of the Ranganatha Swamy temple while appreciating the artistic gateway to the Madhavaraya temple. Along the way, look for the abandoned tomb and the Charminar, an exquisite pigeon tower.
The Belum caves often called “Belum Guhalu” in Telugu took their name from the Sanskrit word “Bilam” which means “Buca”. Millions of years ago, water flowed into these caves, which eventually corroded the limestone in this area, creating subtle cracks in the walls of the Belum caves.
The Belum caves are natural underground caves and is one of the largest in India. Famous for being the longest cave in India with approx. 3 km long, of which 1.5 km can be traveled by tourists, the Belum Caves are a must for those wishing to explore unique places in India.
A fascinating piece of information on the Belum caves is that there is evidence to show that these caves were inhabited in 4500 BC! There were remains of ships of that era, that is 4500 BC which were found in the caves of Belum. Many Buddhist relics have also been found in the caves of Belum which suggest the presence of Buddhists and Jains in the caves of Belum. But the time in which they resided here is uncertain. These artifacts are now in a museum at Anantapur.
The caves of Belum were unknown to the modern world until 1884 the British geologist and archaeologist Robert Bruce Foote mentioned the Belum caves in his expeditions. After that for another century, the Belum caves were completely neglected. In the 1980s, the Belum caves were rediscovered, but the villagers had turned them into a landfill. Eventually, in 1988, the Andhra Pradesh government declared it protected and development work began in 1999 and was finally opened to the public in 2002. In this way, us mortals could witness this wonder of nature that leaves us stunned!
The caves of Belum are one of the caves of stalagmites and stalactites in India, composed of a key element: the black limestone. Another surprising fact about the Belum caves is that, besides being an underground cave on which there is a normal land where there is vegetation, the Belum caves have a constant water flow under it!
Proof of this is “Patalaganga”, a perennial stream that flows beneath the caves of Belum, almost 150 feet below, which we can see when there is a good flow of water.
Another surprising fact is that there is a musical chamber in which the stalactite formations in this compartment mimic the musical notes when struck with a wooden stick or fingers. Nature is truly the teacher of melody! No?
The caves of Belum are underground caves. This is an obvious invitation to let humidity prevail in all glory! Therefore, it is definitive that you will pant and snort, you will sweat everywhere, which I suppose will happen any time you visit, only the degree to which it happens differs.
Therefore, it is better to visit the caves of Belum in the early hours of the day, before the Sun reaches its peak! The evenings are manageable as long as you are in the best state of health! This does not mean that you cannot enter the caves if you go there in the afternoon, it means that you cannot cover the entire trip, you may be tempted to return after about an hour. That said, for your information, it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to completely cover the caves.
The Belum caves are open from 10am to 5.30pm. Try to get there when the cave opens, so that the weather is mild and starts before noon. Or visit in the afternoon at 4:00 pm when the Sun’s fury has subsided.
The construction of the fort dates back to the 12th century when the city of Kurnool was used as a base to stop before crossing the Tungabhadra river. Kurnool was occupied by the ruler of Vijayanagar Devaraya II and Achyutaraya, who succeeded Krishnadevaraya, built the initial fort between 1530 and 1542.
The fort has several gates and ramparts. The entrance gates of the fort were built by Gopal Raja, grandson of Rama Raja of the kings of Talikota Vijayanagara in the 17th century. The fort has three levels and was used as a watchtower in the 17th and 18th centuries. The ground level is closed for visitors, while visitors can go up to the first and second floors and take a look at the story. The first level has a few enclosures with a large porch. The second level houses a large tower used for observation.
The fort is named after Konda Reddy, the last ruler of Alampur who was imprisoned in the fort by Kurnool Nawab in the 17th century. Konda Reddy eventually escaped from the fort, but had to lose his territory in Golconda Nawabs.
Lord Shiva’s temple was begun in the 5th and 6th centuries by several rulers of Pallava and Chola, but was completed in the 15th century by Emperor Harihara Bukka Raya of the Sangam dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire. There are many stories that tell of the process and construction of the temple.
The Yaganti temple sits high in the hills of Yerramala, which gives it an extraordinary environment and extreme scenic beauty, which is why it is often considered one of the most popular attractions in Andhra Pradesh. The Yerramala hills have numerous natural caves around the temple that have been home to many saints over the years. The three famous caves located around the temple are the Agastya cave, the Venkateswara cave and the Veera Brahmam cave. It is inside the cave of Agastya where Agastya made his atonement for Lord Shiva. The Venkateswara cave is relatively easier to climb than the Agastya cave, which requires you to climb 120 steps to reach the top. The Venkateswara cave still houses the destroyed statue of Venkateswara. The Veera Brahmam cave is much lower in height and requires a curve to enter the cave. Santa Sree Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swamy had predicted his prophecies (Kala Gnaanam) during his stay in this cave. A unique feature of Yaganti is the Pushkarini, which is a small pond where water flows from the mouth of a hill.
There is an interesting fact about the idol of Nandi, in which the locals believe. It is believed that there is an incessant increase in the idol Nandi. There is also a scientific explanation that states that the rock with which it is built has an intrinsic growth property and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has established that it grows by 1 inch every 20 years. The visit to Yaganti is quite fascinating for tourists and shows why it is an important tourist attraction. Tourists can visit the Yaganti temple from Kurnool or the infamous Belum caves.
Oravakallu Rock Garden
Orvakal Rock Garden is a rare site of silica and quartz rock formation with beautiful surroundings. The rocks form around a natural lake in the middle of the site that enhances the beauty of the place. This is one of the places to visit in Kurnool and its surroundings. The rocks extend over an area of 50 acres adjacent to the Kurnool – Nandyal road.
The garden is well developed by AP Tourism with a restaurant at the entrance and cabins scattered throughout the garden. There is a walkway built through formations that allows tourists to explore the beauty of the site. At the center of the hill, there is a metal animal garden with several large iron-built animal structures, which is a further attraction. There is enough parking and a children’s playground near the restaurant.
From September to February it is the best season to visit the place when the lake is full of water that enhances the character of this beautiful place.
Orvakal is not only a tourist place, but also a famous place for shooting Telugu films. Several scenes from the recent super hit “Baahubali” have been shot here.
This place is well connected by bus from Kurnool and Nandyal, since most of the buses connecting Kurnool and Nandyal stop here.
It usually takes about an hour to explore the place.
Mantralayam is associated with the famous saint Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy, a renowned Hindu saint and philosopher. Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy, who lived between 1595 and 1671, was an influential saint in Hinduism. The followers of the saint consider him an incarnation of Bhakta Prahallada, who was saved by Vishnu in the avatar of Narasimha. It is said that Sri Raghavendra Swamy has performed many miracles during his life and has many followers even today. Mantralayam is a small and quiet town located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and receives thousands of devotees from all over the country. He also worked as chief of Sri Mutt of Kumbakonam from 1621 to 1671.
Mantralayam is also famous for the Manchalamma temple located near the Samadhi temple, within the Mantralayam Mutt complex. It is customary for Mantralayam that devotees offer prayers in the Manchalamma temple before visiting Samadhi temple. According to the data, the arid land around Mantralayam along the banks of the Tungabhadra river was handed over to Mutt of Sri Raghavendra Swamy by Nawab Siddi Masud Khan of Adoni. Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple, Chinna Tumbalam, Bichchali and Alampur are attractions near Mantralayam.
Male devotees who want to perform alone in Pooja must use dhoti. While male devotees who visit usually have to take off their shirts and women devotees must wear saris or other traditional fabrics.
Accommodation includes Mutt near the temple and room rates vary between Rs. 200 to Rs. 1000 per day (online booking not yet available). Hotels and private hotels also offer accommodation. It is advisable to book accommodation in advance as the place attracts devotees throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gandikota
1. What does Grand Canyon mean?
The Grand Canyon is one of the most important natural attractions in the United States. UU. Located in the state of Arizona. It is a steep 277 mile long canyon that was carved by the Colorado River. The Gandikota canyon in India is often compared to the Grand Canyon due to its similarity.
2. How do I get to Gandikota?
Tirupati airport and Bangalore international airport are the closest airports to Gandikota, if you want to fly there. And Jammalamadugu (18 km), Kadapa (77 km) and Tirupati (219 km) are the nearest railway stations to Gandikota.
3. How do I get from Bangalore to Gandikota by Bus?
APSRTC operates direct buses to Jammalamadugu from Bangalore. From Jammalamadugu there are private buses and APSRTC available for Gandikota. Alternatively, you can reach Kadiri with the direct services APSRTC and KSRTC from Bangalore.
4. Is there any canyon in India?
Did you know that there is also a Grand Canyon hidden in India? There is, and it is nothing short of impressive. True: in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southern India, there is a small town in the Kadapa district called Gandikota, which is home to the hidden Grand Canyon of India.
5. What is Yaganti famous for?
Yaganti, in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in India, is a famous tourist site famous for its Sri Yagantiswamy temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the perfect way to get an idea of Andhra Pradesh tourism.
6. What is the best time to visit Gandikota?
Between September and February, when the weather is nice and cool.
7. Who built Gandikota fort?
The place where Gandikota was discovered by Kapa Raja in 1123 by a king of the nearby province called the city of Bommanapalli.
8. How do I get from Hyderabad to Belum caves?
Nearest Bus Station: Yaganti Bus Stand (0 Kms) Banaganapalle (11 Kms) Direct Buses to Yaganti.
Nearest Train Station: Nandyal Railway Station (55 Kms) Direct Trains to Nandyal.
9. Where is Kurnool caves situated?
The Belum caves are located near the city of Belum in Kolimigundla Mandal in the Kurnool district in the state of Andhra Pradesh.