Gandikota – The Grand Canyon Of India

A  trip to Gandikota   was  in the   works   ever  since   we  heard it  referred  to as the  Indian  Grand  Canyon.   The   drive   from  Hyderabad  was  very  scenic ,  taking us   through  beautiful villages   and  breathtaking  rock  formations .

Situated  on the  banks of  Pennar  river   Gandikota   derives   its name from  two Telugu  words  meaning  gorge  and fort .   This little known village in the  Kadappa  district of  Andhra Pradesh   . Here  the river Pennar  flows through the  Erramala  range  ,  narrowing  down considerably .  Over the  years  the  erosion  has  created  breathtaking  views  of the  red  boulders . Recognizing the  region’s  natural  defenses  the  rulers  in the   13th century   built  an  impressive   fort  here .    The  city  built  here  had  a  prominent place  for  over  300  years.

The  Fort entrance is  behind a  wall to  avoid  direct attack

The  fort  itself is  an  impressive  structure    with  101  bastions  ,  each  over  40 ft  high .  

 Notice  the   pipes  running  along  the  wall,  this is a  living  fort   though the  population  inside  is  not  large . 
Entrance to the fort

 This  is a  laid back village  and  the only place   to  stay is  the  APTDC Haritha resort  .  It is  not  usually  crowded  but if you plan  to stay  please inform them  in advance , as   the  food  and   facilities  are  arranged  only on  demand .   On the  plus    side  it is  on a wonderful location   and  only a  couple  minutes  walk  away from the   fort  entrance . 

View of the   fort  from Haritha  Resort

Within the   fort  there are  many  ruins  that  capture   one’s  attention .   Of  which the temples dedicated to  Madhav and  Ranganatha   as  well as  the Jama  Masjid   complex  are  preserved  very well .

Entrance to the  Madhavaraya Temple

Inside the Temple  complex
We were  the only ones  there .
The  carvings  resembled  Vijaynagara   style .
View of  the   fields  inside  the   fort .
We  came  across  these  fields  as   we   were  walking  around .  There  were  some  villagers  working  on the   fields    and  there  were   cattle  roaming   around  too .
The Jamia  Masjid  with its  beautiful minarets.
The  top of the  Masjid  offers   beautiful  views  of  the   whole  area .

The   view of  the  temple  from the  Masjid
After   exploring  the  mosque  and  the   temples  we  came  across  this  sign .
Finally !!

Now  this  is   what  we  really came  for

Trekking  enthusiasts   will  love  this  place .  One   can walk   along  the   fort,  climb  some  rocks  and   even hike   down  to the   river .   A  word  of  caution  though  ,  there   were  no  trail  markers ,   and   no  guides .  

Climbing a  few  rocks …
The  fort   walls   along  the   river

The  gorge ,  the  river  and  the  history – no  wonder  this  place is often referred to  as  the  Grand  Canyon of India. 

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