Gandikota – The Grand Canyon of India and Belgum Caves

Gandikota, on the right bank of the river Pennar, is a small historic village in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. #gandikota

The Pennar river near Gandikota

Gandikota was founded in 1123 A.D. by Kapa Raja of Bommanapalle village ( a nearby village) and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. Gandikota Fort was one of the greatest forts in south India, during its heydays. Many wars were fought for this grand fort. Hyder Ali of Mysore was one among those who conquered Gandikota fort from the Vijayanagar emperor in the 17th century. Later on, the fort went into the hands of The British .

The picturesque Gandikota fort ruins and nearby Grand Canyon (called the ‘The Grand Canyon of India’ or Indian Equivalent of the ‘Grand Canyon’ ) are the main tourist attractions here.

There are ruins of a massive granary near the Canyon. The building can be seen, though it’s damaged over the course of the time. There is a mosque behind the granary.

Madhavaraya temple (believed to be constructed by Vijayanagar kings who conquered the fort) is one of the main attractions here. Many sculptures can be seen on the walls and pillars of this temple. The temple was partly  destroyed by some invaders.

A Jail and Ranganatha Swamy Temple are some of the other important tourist places worth visiting. This temple is built in the Chalukyan style of architecture, by the Chalukya dynasty rulers.

The features of the Gandikota fort includes a gorge at around 300 feet above the Pennar river. The fort  comprises of 101 bastions, all of them are over 40 feet in height. Gandikota fort was built using red granite stones, with a 20 feet high entry gate. The fort wall runs around the 5 miles in perimeter. Gandikota fort is a one of the best tourist places in India with its exquisite carvings, ancient temples co-existing with a mosque and the perennial springs. Gandikota and its surrounding areas offers trekking opportunities in the fort ruins and the canyon. Numerous viewpoints in the area offers breathtaking views of the scenic site.

Gandikota acquired its name from the Telugu word ‘gandi’ (which means ‘gorge’ ). Telugu is the local language of Andhra pradesh state. Gandikota is situated in the Erramala hills range and the Pennar river flows at the foot of these hill ranges.

It seems that there are no guides to explain these things at Gandikota.

How Do I Go to Gandikota?

Jammalamadugu city is the nearest city to Gandikota and is at a distance of around 15 kilometers. Local buses takes you to Gandikota fort from Jammalamadugu city bus station.  Jammalamadugu to Gandikota bus timings are as follows 5.30 am, 9 am, 2.30 pm and 6 pm.  Gandikota to Jammalamadugu Bus timings are  6.30 am, 10 am, 3.45 am and 6.45 pm.

Kadappa which is formerly known as Cuddapah, a major town in Andhra Pradesh known for its Black Limestone, is at around 77 kilometers away from Gandikota.

Muddanuru (also spelt as Muddannur) railway station with station code MOO, is the nearest railway station to Gandikota. Most of the express trains stops here. It is at around 26 kilometers distance from the Canyon.

Tadapathri is another major railway station, which is at a distance of around 28 kilometers from Jammalamadugu. Station code for Tadipatri Railway station is TU.

Tips for Gandikota Visitors

You need carry food, water and other essential items. you can also buy them at Jammalamadugu. There are no hotels or restaurants at Gandikota, except Hotel Haritha, a guest house from Andhra Pradesh State government, which offers food and accommodation.

You can put up your own tent in the canyon area.

Belgum caves

Belum caves is a major nearby tourist place, at around 60 kilo meters distance from Gandikota. It is the second biggest known cave in India. The total length of the cave is around 3 kilometers. Tourists are allowed walk through this underground cave for around 1.5 kilometers, after paying the entry fee.

Tadipatri  railway station with Station code – TU is the nearest railway station to Belgum caves, at around 30 kilometers distance. There are buses from Tadipatri  to the caves area.

#Gandikota #GrandCanyonofIndia #Belumcaves

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