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
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. Madhavaraya temple (believed to be constructed by Vijayanagar kings who conquered the fort),Granary, Jail, Ranganatha Swamy Temple (Chalukyan style architecture by Chalukya kings who also occupied the fort), etc, are some of the other important tourist places worth visiting. It seems that there are no guides to explain these things at Gandikota.
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.
The features of the Gandikota fort includes a gorge at around 300 feet above the Pennar river and it comprises of 101 bastions, all over 40 feet high. 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 palace 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.
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.
Kadappa formerly known as Cuddapah, a major town in Andhra Pradesh known for its Black Limestone, is at around 77 kilometers away from Gandikota.
Muddanuru railway station with station code MOO. where most of the express trains stops, is the nearest railway station to Gandikota It is at around 26 kilometers distance from the Canyon.
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.
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.