After visiting the magnificent Tadpatri Temples, we moved ahead to visit the Gandikota, located in Jammalamadugu region in Andhra Pradesh. I had booked the Hotel Haritha Resort at Gandikota (Only hotel with better amenities, turned out to be okayish). In few years, more options might pop up, because we saw few construction in process.
The road to Gandikota was very smooth one, with vast open land on both sides. We reached Haritha Resort by 2 pm, checked in and had lunch there itself (Haritha Restaurant) with hardly any choices in the Menu. We decided to explore the Fort after the Lunch.
Gandikota Fort is spread over five miles, with boundary wall guarding the fort, built in Red Sandstone (at some places it has crumbled down over the years). It was built in 13th Century, ruled by different dynasties like Chalukya, Vijayanagara, Nayaka, Mughals, Quli Qutub and British. Gandikota was established by Western Chalukyan King of Kalyana named Ahavamalla Someswara I in 1123. Fort was constructed by the Kappa King in 13th century. The Mosque was the added later by the subsequent ruler in the same century as the temples were built. The entrance to the Fort was some 2 kms away. At the entrance itself, there is a ruins of a Temple, we moved further ahead, the roads are pathetic, not developed, with space enough to pass one vehicle at a time, but as usual with adjustments and passerby helping out, vehicles can cross each other side by side. So much for attracting tourism!
Once you reach the spot, outside the Monument, car can be parked and we moved around on foot. There is a Jamia Masjid with Granary, Raghunatha swamy Temple and beautiful Gorge view of the River Penna. Jamia Masjid was crowded by the usual Picnikers due to Sunday. I had missed out on exploring the Madhavaraya temple which was adjacent to the Jamia Masjid.
Jamia Masjid has a multi arched entrance, followed by the Prayer Hall, built in Islamic Architecture. There is a Charminar style Monument at the centre. Within the Complex, there is a Granary, which used to store grains. The doors were closed. We went ahead to explore the Raghunathaswamy Temple.
Raghunathaswamy Temple is also built of Red Granite, found locally in abundance. There is a Gopuram at the entrance, followed by Pillared Mandapam. There is platform on the right side which can be climbed over and entire superstructure can be seen from above as well as one can view the huge boulders spread across the entire landscape. We explored the temple, moving further towards the Gorge.
Gandikota Gorge was crowded, with people posing all over the places. As mentioned earlier, there are huge boulders, one has to climb over and need to take care while climbing. The climb is worth the effort one takes to reach the topmost point. Once over the walls, there is a panaromic view of the River Penna, Valley and opposite cliff.
Here, I did practised Diecast miniature vehicle photography, thanks to my Friend, Saurabh, who joined this trip with his amazing collection of cars. He introduced me to this different kind of photography. I was amazed by the efforts and the resultant shots.
I had read about the people climbing down the gorge or water sport activities being undertaken at this place. Due to covid restrictions, I didn’t see anyone at the base or any tourist boats in the River.
Unfortunately, I missed out on Madhavaswamy Temple, maybe on next visit in some years, to come.
After watching the sunset, we all came back to the hotel. We had dinner in the Haritha Restaurant (with very limited Choice, Offcourse). Next destination was Lepakshi, for which we had to leave as early as possible, next day!