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Gandikota Tourism And Travel Guide
30.4° C / 86.6° F
October to March
1 to 2 Days
Tirupati Airport (225 kms)
Jammalamadugu Railway Station (18 kms)
Gandikota is one of the most historical places in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Located in the Kadapa district, it’s a small town that is extremely popular worldwide because of the fabulous gorge that’s formed here by the Penna river. This small town has everything in store to blow your mind away with amazing ancient, natural formations. Known to a few passionate globe trekkers, Gandikota is not a regular tourist hub. It’s doesn’t fall into the category of a world heritage site and also the state tourism agencies have not promoted it well. And therefore, this site has remained untouched and unexplored. Nevertheless, in this article, we will discuss more about this fantastic tourist destination and a travel guide to explore it.
How To Reach
This fine tourist destination can be reached through all three modes of transport that are railways, roadways, and airways. The best option however to get here is the roadway. It is not only affordable but can also be comfortable. Due to the unavailability of a railway station, getting here through trains can be a little challenging as you’ll have to take connecting trains. Let’s discuss the available options in brief.
As said above, Gandikota doesn’t have a dedicated railway station and therefore getting here through trains directly is not possible. The nearest railway station is at Jammalamadugu but it is located at about 15 km from the village. So if you get here by train, you’ll have to hire a cab or a rickshaw to get to your hotel in Gandikota. One good option is to get down at Tirupati railway station or Vijayawada Railway station. From Vijayawada, there’s one direct train to Jammalamadugu and from the Tirupati railway station, you can get here by bus or a private cab.
Reaching Gandikota by bus is extremely convenient due to the availability of excellent, smooth, and well-maintained roads. The connecting service roads and highways offer a comfortable bus ride or a self-drive. Various publicly and privately managed buses are available from Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Vizag, and Vijayawada that can help you reach Gandikota.
Gandikota being a small village doesn’t have a dedicated airport. If you’re planning to travel by flight, you’ll have to get down at either Tirupati Airport or the Bengaluru International Airport. Many flights are available from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and other major cities in India to these airports. Once you get down at either of the airports, hire a private cab or get into a bus and reach your hotel in Gandikota or wherever you have booked your stay.
Getting around in the small village of Gandikota is possible through cabs and auto-rickshaws. There are also local city buses that help you connect with other tourist destinations. But hiring a private cab or a rickshaw is the recommended option as you can visit multiple tourist sites easily without having to worry about the transport. But to crack a good deal, you’ll have to bargain and you might be able to book a cab for 1300 INR for a day which is not a bad deal at all. So good luck with that.
Weather And Best Time To Visit
The weather of Gandikota is a local steppe in nature. The area undergoes three major seasons like any other place in India. The summers are hot and dry, it receives a good amount of rainfall in monsoons, and the winters are extremely pleasant. The best time, therefore, to visit Gandikota is the winter season.
Summer (March - June):
The summers in Gandikota are hot, humid, and dry. It generally starts at the end of March and lasts till June. Due to tough climatic conditions, sightseeing becomes difficult and therefore, we don’t generally recommend visiting Gandikota during this time. If you still have plans to visit the village, carry light cotton cloths to avoid discomfort. The max temperature can go as high as 40° C and the minimum temperature remains around 25° C.
Monsoon (July - September):
Just after the end of the summer season, the monsoon season begins in Gandikota. The area receives decent rainfall which helps in getting the temperature down to some extent. It doesn’t rain much in the region so sightseeing remains a possibility. Only in the month of August, you need to be careful about traveling here as it rains quite heavily this time. The remaining months of monsoon are quite favorable for visiting the place. The max temperature during this time is 32° C whereas the minimum temperature lingers around the 23° C mark.
Winter (October - February):
The tourism-favorable time starts from the month of October and remains active until February or early March. The weather at this time is at its most pleasant allowing you to enjoy your stay and site visit to their fullest. Therefore, this is a highly recommended time for visiting Gandikota and the neighboring regions. The max temperature at this time remains at 30° C and the minimum temperature stays as low as 19° C. The evening time is much cooler than the day and you might have to put on jackets or woolen cloths. So ensure to get them along with other stuff.
Things To Do
Explore the Might of the Gondikota Fort:
One of the best things that you must try in Gondikota is to explore the ruins of the massive Gondikota fort. This huge structure spreads over miles and believed to be constructed during the 13th century. This red sandstone fort holds several sumptuous palaces that have intricate carvings, perpetual springs to provide irrigation facility to the farms, and a huge 5-mile perimeter wall that guards the mighty fort. One can spot the ruins of the ancient temples inside the fort along with a mosque that was constructed years after during the Qutubshahi reign. So take a leisure walk along the perimeter of the fort and sight the serene river or witness the fort transform into a play of colors at dusk.
Experience the Breath-taking View of the Gorge:
Probably the best thing to do in Gondikota is to experience the beautiful gorge along with the Penna river. The gorge is formed by the Penna river which is a remarkable collection of rocks, cut and layered in the most unique way. You will feel as if they were arranged by hand. Climb up the slippery slope (which is a task in itself), but the view that you get to see from the top is simply indescribable and awe-inspiring. So the risk is totally worth it. This beautiful gorge is called the Hidden Canyon of India and can be compared to the like of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Come and witness it.
Gaze at the Captivating Interiors of Belum Caves:
Besides experiencing the beautiful gorge, the next thing that you cannot miss in Gandikota is staring at the fascinating interiors of the Belum Caves. Many call this as the Indian version of the Antelope Canyons in Arizona. These cave formations are the second-largest cave system in the entire Indian subcontinent. They have their own significance in terms of their archeology, geology, and architecture.
Pay Homage to the Temples:
As you watch and admire the gorge and the Belum caves, the next thing that you should be doing is paying respect at the temples. On your way, you will find the remains of two magnificent temples near Gondikota. The Raghunathaswamy temple and Madhavaraya temple are the ones we are talking about. Raghunathaswamy temple is made of red granite and has amazing hallways, corridors, and a complicated system of pillars. But here is the catch, although it’s referred to as a temple, you’ll not find any idol of God or Goddess here. Surprised? On the other hand, the Madhavaraya temple has a sublime architecture with many idols of God and day-to-day rituals performed by common people are carved on the walls and pillars of the temple.
Take a Tour of the Jamia Masjid Of Gandikota Fort:
One of the most recommended things to do in Gondikota is to take a religious trip to the magnificent Jamia Masjid inside the Gondikota Fort. Although the radiance of mosque walls is lost, the overall structure of the mosque still manages to fascinate travelers, which is not only simple but also elegant. As you approach the mosque, you’ll first see a grand multi-arched entrance. The next thing you’ll see is the primary prayer hall capable of accommodating thousands for the prayers. From the top of the entrance, you can see the Gopuram of the Madhavaraya temple which is situated close to the mosque. They are a great example of harmony and peach as they have stood beside each other for ages.
South Indian foods are full of spices and have a delicate touch of the region you are in. Eating in Gandikota can be a bit challenging as there aren’t too many restaurants in the regions. However, you’ll find many near the Jammalamdugu and Kadapa areas. The restaurants serve veg and non-veg food items. Chinese food is also very prevalent in these areas so you can expect quality and taste. Typical South Indian Biryani is also available for eating whereas dosas, idlis, and wadas are pretty common. Some of the famous restaurants in and around Gandikota include Gandikota Penna River View, Abhiruchi Family Restaurant, Elite Family Restaurant, Paradise Hotels, Keerthan Family Restaurant, Tasty Inn, and Hotel Navyuga. Try the delicious cuisine and keep traveling.