South India is blessed with a number of natural wonders which are simply breath-taking. While some of the destinations might look a bit similar, there’s this one place which is unique in itself and can’t be compared to any other place – Gandikota, also famously known as The Grand Canyon of India.
Situated at a distance of 280 kms from Bangalore and 380 kms from Hyderabad, Gandikota serves as the perfect place for a weekend trip!
Gandikota is a small village in Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh. The village is situated on the banks of Pennar river and has a history dating all the way to the 12th Century. It is home to the famous Gandikota fort situated atop the Gorge. The gorge is formed by the Pennar river cutting through the Erramala Hills and is sure to leave you in awe. It is well connected via roads from Bangalore and Hyderabad. So, one can easily reach here by car.
It is not just replete with the natural beauty of a canyon dissected by a river but has a fascinating history too. Adventure lovers can camp out under the stars. The best time to visit this place is from October to February. During this period, the weather is perfectly fine, thereby, letting visitors explore its tourist attractions comfortably.
Since it is the perfect place to visit for a day trip, this place has a lot to offer to the adventure seekers. There’s a lot to explore and do here.
Witness the sunrise or the sunset over Gandikota as it is stunningly beautiful!
Amidst the rocks and drylands of the Gandikota village, lies a beautiful waterfall. The turquoise blue cold water of the fall is so relaxing for the body in the hot and dry weather of Gandikota. Take a dip here and enjoy!
Explore the famous Gandikota Fort situated here. The fort, made in red sandstone, comprises of gorgeous palaces with intricate carvings, perennial springs to irrigate the nearby vegetation, and a 5-mile perimeter wall guarding the fort. It is one place where you can learn in detail about the existence and survival of Gandikota in the past. Here, you can also study the bygone era of the Pemmasani Kamma dynasty. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Gandikota from the top of the fort. It’s stunning!
Watch the Pennar river peacefully flow through this brilliant stone gorge that’s an artwork in itself, and you’ll realise why it is called the Grand Canyon of India. The Pennar Gorge is formed by river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills also known as Gandikota hills and is a sight not to be missed!
Visit Jamia Masjid. At a distance of 500 m from Gandikota Bus Stop, Jamia Masjid is an ancient mosque situated inside the Gandikota Fort. Also known as the Central Mosque of Gandikota, it is one of the must visit places in Gandikota.
Apart from an Indian version of Grand Canyon, we also have an Indian version of the Antelope Canyons called the Belum Caves. Belum Caves is the second largest cave system in the Indian subcontinent and has great significance in terms of its geology, archaeology, architecture. These caves are located at a distance of about 60 km from Gandikota which you can easily visit.
Close to Gandikota Fort is Rayalacheruvu Lake, another surreal hidden natural wonder built with stones. Water from the Penna River pours into this lake, and the belief is that the fountain in Jamia Masjid connects to this water source. One can sit on the bank of the lake on their trip to Gandikota and admire its beauty!
The remains of two temples – Ranganatha Swami Temple and Madhava Swami Temple are not to be missed on your trip to Gandikota. Madhavaraya Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is believed to have been built during the reign of Sri Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Kingdom. Raghunatha Swamy Temple is a complex system of pillars, hallways, and corridors. Though there is no statue inside the sanctum, but remnants of the temple are ideal for photographers.
There are a number of activities conducted at Gandikota for the adventure junkies. One can get down to the gorge and engage in a number of adventure activities like rock climbing, rappelling, trekking and kayaking.
Saving the best for the last, camping at the top of the gorge which overlooks the Pennar river flowing into the gorge with the moon’s reflection in the backwaters of the Mylavaram Dam under a starlit sky is as magical night can get. You can ask the hotels in the Gandikota village to arrange the camp and dinner for you.