Gandikota: The Hidden Grand Canyon of India
Gandikota is a small village located in Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh, India. The region of Gandikota was established in 1123 under the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana named Ahavamalla Someswara I. The Gandikota fort was constructed by the Kappa king during 13th century.
Situated on the banks of river Pennar, Gandikota derives its name from two Telugu words ‘Gandi’ meaning gorge and, ‘kota’ meaning fort. Also known as George fort, it is guarded by a huge entrance gate that’s 20 feet high and 101 bastions each over 40 feet high. The fort is surrounded by the deep gorge, impenetrable hills and dense forest. The landscape also includes monolithic boulders of red granite. All these provide a natural line of defence to the residents of the fort.
The area is full of rocky plains and dry plateau landforms with the Penner river flowing in the background. At present, Gandikota Fort lies in ruins and it is now only a tourist attraction.
Gandikota have been under the rule of numerous empires- The Chalukya, Viyanagara, Nayaka, Mughal, Quli Qutub and also the British. Hence, the region has a mixed reminiscence of all these reigns, with a higher significance of Nayaka dynasty who took over the control of this fort and approximately used its for 300 years.
Gandikota was one of the greatest forts of south India in its heydays and so were the kings who ruled the region. Various kings of this fort become the hero for local population due to their bravery and their songs are in custom.
The people here have a distinctive culture; their way of dressing, festivals and food etc. are inspired by their ancestors who ruled the Gandikota. The Pemmasani Nayaks who seem to have ruled this place for three centuries is belived to have descended from the Kakatiya Dynasty of Warangal. Perhaps, the culture may be a result of evolution from the Kakatiyan Culture.
This quaint little village situated on the banks of the Pennar River, is home to some major historical structures. The fort premises include small fortresses, a granary, two beautiful temples and a splendid mosque. All of these ruins speak of their prime even as the structures seem to be on the verge of crumbling.
Gandikota Fort comprises of several other structures, such as, a palace, a magazine, another granary and a pigeon tower which included fretted windows. The palace was mostly constructed with bricks and included plastered decorations. There were also a few wells in the palace. There is also a cannon which is still present in the premise of the fort. There were also many gardens and springs in and around Gandikota Fort. A garden named Parebagh was also present at the foot of the hills. It included a waterfall on the bank of the river Penneru.
Ranganath Swami Temple
This temple has its importance due to very ancient. This temple is an example of fine architecture and design. It is believed that this temple is constructed before 500 years ago. The building is very attractive and put a dashing impact on devotee because of its surroundings.
Madhava Swami Temple
The Madhavaraya Temple is the grandest structure in Gandikota or perhaps, in the entire region and its grandeur is on par with the temples of Hampi. Architecture of this temple is a little more difficult than of Ranganath Swami temple. Interiors are more attractive than exterior. There are small statues and sculptures of Hindu Gods carved over the Gopuram and walls of the temple.
This masjid inside the fort has covered a lot of area as the expansion of this mosque is vast to accommodate the people for offering Namaz.
This Lake is adjacent to the fort and origins from Pennar River. It is said that a fountain inside the mosque is connected with this lake but direct sources of the pipes are not seen.
The granary, Gandikota
The granary is said to be used for storing grains. It is adjacent to the Jamia masjid and to the west of Raghunathaswamy temple.
There are yet many unexplored places and things in the region. Recent architectural research has revealed the presence of underground passages that connect the fort with the valley. The traps set to capture leopards and other animals are still in their place.