Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Gorge Fort - Gandikota

      'Gandikota' is an ancient fort surmounting the Penna gorge in Jammalamadugu taluk of Cuddapah district, Andhra Pradesh. The river Penna flows through the Erramalai hill range, forming a gorge at Gandikota. The steep rocky walls of the gorge run for a length of about 1.5km and rise above 90m height on either sides. Gandikota village was founded by a king named Kapa, hailing from the nearby village of Bommanapalle in the 11th century and the fort at Gandikota is believed to have been built by him. This gorge, popularly known as 'India's Grand Canyon' is very popular among  travelers and proves a prefect weekend gateway for tourists from Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The AP tourism department has provision for accommodation with basic amenities for tourists wanting to stay overnight. We hadn't booked any as we were unsure about the time required to explore this place. But, on reaching the fort, we realized we may need more time to explore and hence decided to book a room here. Though the accommodation was full for that evening, luckily a group that was supposed to be there that night canceled their reservation giving us an opportunity for overnight stay. We quickly latched upon this opportunity as the manager later informed us about the rareness of such non availability owing to a very unusual case of full booking  by a  biker community.
Gopuram of Madhavaswami  Temple
         It was around 3pm by the time we settled down and  the temperature was too high to step out and start our exploration. At 4pm, we decided not to waste any more time and drove our vehicle towards the fort, found a comfortable place to park and started our exploration by foot. The fort built over the right bank of river Penna covers a wide expanse of land and houses many ancient structures. The lofty tower (Gopuram) of Madhavaswami temple was quite inviting, so we decided to visit this temple at once. The temple at the outset gave us the feeling of Vijayanagar architecture. The story of the temple dates back to the 13th century. Once, Lord Madhavaswami appeared in the dreams of King Harihara Bukkaraya and instructed him to construct a temple in the forest where he was hunting. Thus, this majestic temple was built to honor the lord. Though the temple is partly ruined, the remaining structure  is well maintained.
Rear View Of Madhavaswami Temple
       After witnessing the grandeur of Lord Madhavaswami Temple,  we visited the Royal Tank, the Jail and the Charminar which lie in close proximity to one another. We later moved on towards the grand looking Jumma Masjid, built by the Nawabs of Golconda. The masjid sets a perfect example of the Indo-Islamic Architecture. Right opposite to the Mosque complex is a big tank, which even today serves as a source of water to the residents. A big granary (storehouse for grains) is present besides the mosque. Next to the granary is a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Ranganathaswami built by the Vijayanagar kings.
Jumma Masjid
Unity in Diversity
Inscriptions Found inside Ranganatha Temple
Lord Ranganatha Temple
       It was time now to witness the magnificent and strikingly picturesque 'Penna Gorge' or 'India's Grand Canyon'.  The view of the gorge was simply spectacular. One can easily run out of words to describe its beauty. Spellbound by its mesmerizing beauty, we wanted to explore more than just have a view of the gorge. As the sun was setting, we had to retire for the day and wait until sunrise to continue our explorations.
Penna Gorge


  1. An incredible post and superb captures!! What an amazing place! Thank you for sharing, as always! Have a great week!

  2. Interesting information and wonderful shots.

  3. Pictures of the Madhavaswami temple are breath taking - such amazing architecture and sculptures/carvings on stone.Trust such an ancient and precious monument is under the auspices of ASI. The inscriptions are showing signs of wear.The sunset pics are awesome.The Penna Gorge is fascinating! Truly a wonderful post. Is this place nearer from Bangalore or Chennai ?

    1. It is much nearer to Bangalore. . About 270km. However from Chennai it is about 400km.

  4. Exquisite architecture. Love this wonderful natural wonder. Nice post!

  5. Very good article.. nice pictures..

  6. the columns are remarkable on their own, but when you see the fort structure, too... amazing.

  7. I'm glad you were able to explore this fort. It is very impressive in its architecture and the details, and I'm happy that most of the fort is well-maintained. I'm even happier that you were able to stay overnight and give us the pictures of the beautiful canyon and the gorgeous sunset.

  8. Truly incredible India. I would love to visit this place sometime.

  9. Amazing clicks . Superb article. Thanks

    Praveen Crasta