Gandikota fort and gorge will soon be a tourist hotspot

Rappelling, kayaking, speed boat ride and trekking are the main draw

January 07, 2019 09:50 am | Updated 10:04 am IST

Adventure, leisure, archaeological, historical, nature and eco-tourism rolled into one is Gandikota — which derives its name from the 1123 A.D. fort and a gorge or canyon through which flows the river Pennar. In Telugu a gorge is called ‘Gandi’ and fort is ‘kota’.

The Mylavaram Dam situated about 7 k.m. from the fort would be the key source of water for the steel plant to be set up by the State government. With Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu laying the foundation on Thursday, the backwaters of the dam came up to the gorge making it one of the unique tourist places.

With the proposed enhancement of the storage capacity of the dam from 8 tmcft to 26 tmcft, the river passing through the canyon would always be full and a hotspot for nature lovers.

As a tourist location it came into prominence only in the past five years with a number of Information Technology employees from Bengaluru and Hyderabad making a beeline to the exotic location to spend their weekends. Watching migratory birds and local domiciled species make the visit with a camera or a pair of binoculars a dream fulfilling experience.

Away from the din of the urban areas, one can enjoy an overnight stay along the mighty canyon in

a cosy tent (either with A/C or non-A/C), or stay in a standard hotel room of the Haritha Resort of the A.P. Tourism Development Corporation.

Only 10 rooms of the Tourism Development Corporation are the permanent structures available but they lack maintenance in the absence of trained permanent staff.

The fort was founded by the Western Chalukya kings in 1123 and constructed by the Kapa king during the 13th century. Now, for a visitor only the ruins of several structures remain to be seen. The fort complex has an imposing jumma masjid in addition to two temples (Madhavaraya & Ranganatha Swamy) with carved pillars, a chaar minar, large granary and graceful pigeon tower.

Adventure sports like rappelling, kayaking, speed boat ride and trekking draw youth while the grandeur of the fort now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, a view of the 300-feet gorge from the edge of the fort brings the elderly.

While vehicles should not be driven into the fort complex, the ASI is unable to impose a complete ban leading to the deterioration of the structures. It is not a gated/ticketed monument at present, says APTDC Regional Director Gurrala Gopal.

One should not miss the early morning sunrise in the gorge. For overnight stay, one needs to book rooms in advance as all week-ends are fully booked.

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