Gandikota is a small village in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is majorly known for housing the spectacular gorge which is famously adjudged as the Grand Canyon of India. The stunning gorge has been created by the waters of the famous river Pennar that streams from the Erramala hills. It is also known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India as it isn’t very well known around the country. Not just the grand canyon there are plenty of attractions in and out of the village that is perfect to explore for tourists.

About the Gandikota Canyon

How was it formed? A gorge in any valley is formed from the source of water that flows between the gigantic slabs of rocks. The Gorge is formed out of the result of erosion of rocks over a greater period of time. The flowing rivers lead to the cutting of the rocks that further lead to the gorges forming over a period of centuries. One of the most difficult things for the human mind to ever imagine is how a process happened over a larger period of time that led to the formation of a huge gorge. The swift flow of water led the water to cut a very deep trench through a landscape that further exposed off many layers of rock that led to the magnificent creation of what we know today as the Grand Canyon of India. 

According to Geologist P.D., the Geologist P.D. Sabale explained that the Gandikota canyon was formed when the flow of the river Pennar separated the Pink granite that later formed a bedrock. As many people are aware that cutting the Pink granite is not an easy task. The igneous rock is acidic, hard and compact in nature whose mass of granite made the natural decomposition of the rock weather faster. Though it is not that famous around the entire country, the great canyon of Gandikota or the Grand Canyon of India had played a significant role in the history of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The village of Gandikota has played massive and significant roles that date centuries back. Historical periods of yesteryears include the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods that over the years have influenced the role of Andhra Pradesh in the magnificent and powerful Indian history. It is said that the Pemmasani Nayadus ruled over the village of Gandikota for a massive period of three hundred years. But, the fort fell into the laps of the Qutubshahis of Golconda in 1650 CE. The popular medieval fort of Gandikota that is said to gain popularity for being one of the most strong and assortative witnesses of the historical periods are named after the adjoining gorge named Gandi (the Telugu word for gorge). The fort is witness to a numerous number of temples and mosques which stand in a condition of ruins. 

The Grand Canyon of India offers you with many natural discoveries that are perfect to explore and enjoy. Following are the things that you can plan to check out while touring around the gorge.

  • The famous ruins of the Gandikota fort spread itself on a vast area of land. Built-in the thirteenth century entirely with red stones which consists of beautiful palaces adorned with stunning carvings, a few perennial springs that help in irrigating the fostered vegetation. A tall five-mile wall guards the entire vicinity of the Gandikota Fort. Nearby it, you will be able to spot the Gandikota temple that was built in the thirteenth century too. After a couple of years, the Jama Masjid mosque was also added to the vicinity adding a great amount of diverseness to the place. The perfect place to spend some time while touring the fort. A unique display of the Gandikota fort’s history that stretches up to a period of over a hundred years added with the naturistic surroundings make it the perfect place to visit. 
  • The beautiful gorge of the Grand Canyon of India hosts the serene flow of the Pennar river. Watching it take turns and forms smooth curves into the gorge is one of the most beloved sites to witness. Similar to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA, this Grand Canyon has the same structure. An assembly of rocks that sit with sharp cuts on top of each other leave visitors baffled as to if it was built by a human. But viewing and climbing on them is an entirely different thing. Though climbing on these treacherous rocks is one of the most difficult things to do, the amazing view that you will get to experience while you will reach the top would be just all worth it. You will not just be greeted by incredible views but also pelicans fly over when the sun starts to dim.
  • An hour away from the Gandikota Canyon will lead you right next to the second largest caves in India, the Belum Caves. Located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, the caves measure a great height of 10,594 feet. These black limestone caves have been estimated to be formed millions of years ago that today offer the perfect exploration opportunities to adventurers and history buffs. The caves came into formation when the stream of water passed over the limestone deposits. Hence, resulting in the most uniquely beautiful stalagmite and stalactite formations. The depth of the cave is around 150 feet. Its deepest point is the Patalganga where you will be able to spot the underwater stream that flows every day and night like a waterfall. Apart from the naturistic phenomenons, there are a tall forty feet Buddha statue in the vicinity too. 
  • The beautiful Rayalacheruvu Lake is one of the famous tourist spots to witness inside the Grand Canyon of India. Lying next to the Gandikota fort, the lake is said to be constructed by emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya who used the waters of the Pennar river. It is a popular belief that the fountain in Jamia Masjid connects to the lake’s water source. The perfect way to enjoy the waters is by sitting next to the banks of the lake and admiring the charm of nature. The entire serenity of the place leaves you with a peaceful mind. The view of the Erramala hills with blue skies and chirping birds add a touch of glory to your trip. According to recent developments, the lake will now be used for irrigation purposes in order to help the farmers of the village and not just as tourist attraction spots of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Madhavaraya temple is one of the architecturally rich ancient Hindu temples of Gandikota. It is located on the west side of the Gandikota village. The temple is dedicated to the Hindi god Vishnu. It is believed that it was built during the reign of Sri Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Kingdom. One of the most spectacular structures to witness in the entire area. After the Nizams broke the fort security, the main idol from the sanctum sanctorum of the temple was shifted to Mydukuru. Though the sanctum sanctorum is empty, the decorated mandapa is still there to witness. The temple has many Hindu god idols that are worshipped by devotees daily. The five-storey building of the Madhavaraya temple also has an art display that showcases the life and culture that was lost years back. You will also be able to spot carvings of fish and tortoise that indicate that the sanctuary was previously a sacred place of Mahavishnu.
  • The Jamia Masjid of the Gandikota Fort is an ancient mosque that was built in the twelfth century. Also known as the Central Mosque of Gandikota, the Jama Masjid spreads up to a vast area that makes it an architecturally incredible mosque to have ever been built. The Jama Masjid has been constructed inside a Hindu temple that showcases great diversity. It was a later addition to the fort. The simplistic architecture and the grand size of the Jamia mosque make it resemble the structure of the famous Char Minar in Hyderabad. The elegant Islamic architecture is loved by visitors who visit here in huge numbers to offer their prayers. 
  • Gandikota is famous for its numerous adventurous activities. Before trying any of the activities around do take out the time to catch a sunrise or a sunset. The stunning orange colour that bounces over the rocks is beyond perfect to experience. Some of the adventure activities that you can enjoy here include rock climbing, rappelling, trekking and kayaking. If you are looking for more then camping here under the lit sky is and sparkling water of the Mylavaram Dam is also a great option. The camping site is on the edge of the canyon, where the wind is usually cold and heavy. Don’t forget to carry some stoles to protect yourself from the chill.

How to reach Gandikota?

By Air

The apt way to reach Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh is by flying to either the Tirupati Airport in Renigunta or the Bengaluru International Airport in Bangalore. Both the airports are fairly close to Gandikota. After taking a flight you will have to cover the rest of the distance to Gandikota by either a bus or a private cab. Bengaluru Airport is located at a distance of 345 km or 6 hours away from Gandikota while Tirupati Airport is 220 km or 4.5 hours away from the same.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Gandikota consists of the Jammalamadugu railway station(18 km away), Kadapa railway station (77 km away), and Tirupati railway station (219 km away). You can also choose to take a direct train from Bangalore to reach Gandikota. This is considered as one of the most convenient and less tiring ways to travel from Tirupati or Bangalore.

By Road

Gandikota is greatly connected with many major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vizag through the National Highway 7. The roads of Andhra Pradesh are in one of the greatest condition that is connected to various link roads and state highways. Hence, you have a smooth, hassle-free road trip to Gandikota.

Where to stay?

Complex accommodation

 The APTDC complex is the famous accommodation facility of Gandikota that spreads up to an area of ten acres. It consists of twelve cottages that have a dining hall, a dormitory, a massive parking space for your vehicle and a play area for kids. The cottages are entirely air-conditioned that has numerous facilities to offer you a wonderful and comfortable stay. To make a reservation for the APTDC Complex you will have to call the facility in order to make reservations for the specified date. The complex doesn’t provide an online mode of registration.

Adventurous Camping Stay

If you wish to not reside in an accommodation facility and instead wish to get a closer and better experience out then camping is the aptest experience for you. Camping at the banks of the Pennar river is a different stay option that lets you enjoy the quirks of nature at its best. The sound of the river flowing right next to you while you camp or lit a bonfire is perfect to enjoy at Gandikota. Freakouts Adventure offers easy and comfortable camping opportunities for travellers. The scope of adventure activities in the gorge, like rock climbing, rappelling, and kayaking.

You do not need to travel miles away into the air to reach the United States of America to witness a phenomenon of nature that is popularly called the Grand Canyon of India. While the Americans have their little piece of nature. India is also certainly not behind. Despite it also being formed through the harsh flowing of water streams cutting its assembly of rock into a form of a gorge, similar to how the Grand Canyon of Arizona was formed. But the Grand Canyon of India is a unique pride of both the state of Andhra Pradesh and the country. For it reflects the imprints of a strong history that impacted the lives of many. Visit here for the history and to get a little up close to the stunning art known as nature.