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Tourist Places To Visit In Kurnool
Kurnool, one of Andhra's dream destinations is situated at a distance of 210 km from Hyderabad and some 350 km away from Bengaluru. Also famous as the Gateway of Rayalaseema, the Kurnool town is located on the bank of the river Tungabhadra. This historic town has a glorious past it was first ruled by the Cholas and later by Kakatiyas during the 12th and 13th centuries. Then, the Vijayanagar rulers governed the city in the 16th century. The town came under the emperorship of the Mughals, Emperor Aurangazeb in 1686. Nawab Dawood Khan and Gulam Rasool Khan then took over after the Mughals and finally the British Government got the complete control of the city in 1839. Nevertheless, the city has major tourist spots that include Srisailam, Yaganti, Ahobilam, Mantralayam, Belum caves, and many more. Let's discuss some of the best places to visit during your visit to Kurnool.
The Majestic Srisailam
The first place on our list is situated a little far away from Kurnool. At some 180 km away from the city center, and one of the banks of the Krishna river, Srisailam is one of the famous twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Srisailam is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage centers of Lord Shiva in the entire nation. This famous site is known for Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple — a dedication to Lord Shiva — and Srisailam Dam. The temple was exalted during the Vijayanagar Empire structured in a typical Dravidian style has lofty towers and sprawling courtyards talks a lot about the beauty of the temple. It houses the shrine of Lord Mallikarjuna in the form of a linga protected by a three-hooded cobra.
One of the most notable features of this kshetram is the combination of Jyotirlinga and Mahasakthi housed on one campus. The perfect duo of temples and scenic spots make Srisailam one of the most visited spots. Besides Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple, Pathala Ganga, Sakshi Ganapathi Temple, Akka Mahadevi Temple, Bhramaramba Devi Temple, Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Shikaresvara Temple, and Mallela Theertham are the other unique attractions here. The best time to visit this place is during the Feb/March when the Maha Shivaratri festival is celebrated with great spirits. Usually, it takes a couple of days to visit major tourist attractions in Srisailam.
The Mighty Konda Reddy Buruju or Fort
The second place on our list is the mighty Konda Reddy Fort. This grand structure is the pride of the town located at a distance of 2 km from Kurnool railway station. Also known as the Konda Reddy Buruju, the construction of this magnificent architecture started in the 12th century. During this time, the city was used as a base for halting before crossing the Tungabhadra River. Between 1530 and 1542, after the Emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, Devaraya II and Achyutaraya ruled Kurnool and laid the foundation of this stronghold. This mighty structure has different bastions and gateways. The grandson of Rama Raja of Talikota Vijayanagara Kingdom, Gopal Raja ordered the construction of the gateways of the fort in the 17th century.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the three levels of the fort were used as a watchtower. Although the ground floor is closed for visitors, you can directly get on to the first and second floor using the stairs. Here you will get a good glimpse of the history of the fort. The first floor has a few enclosures that have large portico, while the second one houses a huge tower that was used for observations. You must be wondering why this fort is called Konda Reddy. Well, there's a story behind it. Konda Reddy was the last ruler of Alampur in the 17th century and was imprisoned in the fort by the Nawab of Kurnool Nawab. While he managed to escape from the fort but lost his territory to the Nawabs of Golconda.
The Beautiful Orvakal Rock Garden
The third one that we want to present is the Orvakal Rock Garden that is situated 20 km from the Kurnool city center. This wonderful site is all filled with the extensive natural beauty of majestic rock formations. Orvakal Rock Garden is located on Kurnool - Nandyal highway, 3 km from Orvakal village. The garden is a rare quartz and silica rock formation with sublime surroundings. The thing that enhances the beauty of this garden is the rocks that are formed around a beautiful lake built naturally right in the center of the site. This makes this place one of the most visited places during your Kurnool trip. AP Tourism has been managing this garden and has built cottages around this place and a restaurant at the entrance of the garden.
AP tourism has also built a beautiful metallic at the center of the hilltop. The garden has huge structures of animals made from iron that adds to the beauty of the garden. A walkway is constructed within the rock formations allowing visitors to explore the place to its fullest. The management has provided a huge parking space for everyone to park vehicles comfortably without any worries, along with a play area for children just close to the restaurant. The best time to visit this site is between September and February because during this time the lake is filled with water which improves the beauty of this place.
The Amazing Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary
The next fabulous Kurnool attraction is the amazing Rollapadu wildlife sanctuary. This wilderness is located 45 km from the city center and is recognized as one of the best sanctuaries in Andhra Pradesh. It was developed to provide a natural habitat for the endangered Great Indian Bustard. This place is located 5 km from the Rollapadu village and also known as the Rollapadu Bird sanctuary as it also a huge number of migratory birds. Established in 1988, this sanctuary covers an area of 6 sq. km and is a dry grassland area with distinct location settings. The Alaganuru reservoir is 7 km away from the sanctuary and serves as a base for the thousands of migratory birds.
Rollapadu sanctuary houses a vast number of blackbucks and deers. Jungle cats, jackals, sloth bears, foxes, bonnet macaques are the other attractions of the sanctuary. With over 120 species of birds also attracts several visitors towards the Alaganuru reservoir. The Indian rollers, eagles, mynas, flamingos, bar-headed geese, and Demoiselle Cranes can be spotted easily in the area. Around 800 blackbucks roam around freely in the sanctuary and offer visitors excellent opportunities to click pictures of them in their natural habitat. The best time to visit this place is between October and December as it is the time for migratory birds to pay for their visit. You can also visit a watchtower, a small bird museum, and a guest house near the sanctuary.
The Iconic Yaganti
At just 80 km from the Kurnool city center, Sri Yagantiswamy Temple is the iconic pilgrimage site around Kurnool. The temple is also known by the name Uma Maheshwara Temple which is a dedication to Lord Shiva. This temples lists amongst the most visited places during the Kurnool trip as it is one of the most famous Shiva Temple in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The history of this temple dates back to the 5th and 6th centuries during which several Pallava, Cholla, Chalukaya, and Vijayanagara kings offered their contributions which glorified the temple. The most notable contributions came from the Harihara and Bukka Rayalu kings of the Vijayanagara Empire who finalized the formation of numerous structures in and around the temple.
The temple houses the Shiva & Parvathi (Ardhanareeswara) idols that are crafted from a single stone. It is perhaps the only place in India where the idol of Shiva is worshipped instead of Shiva Linga. Legends say that at this place Sage Agastya exhibited fasting for Lord Shiva and requested Him to appear in the Ardhanareeswara form. The Nandi statue is also pretty attractive and worshipped by many. It's said the statue of Nandhi keeps growing in size. The location of the temple is also pretty attractive as it offers a sublime view of the natural beauty of the surroundings. You can also visit the natural caves around the area where many saints including the Great Telugu saint and astrologer Potuluri Veera Brahmam Garu performed meditation. The Pushkarini (pure water steam) flows continuously in the vicinity where people take a holy dip during their visit to the temple.
The Historic Alampur
Alampur is a historic site located at a distance of 20 km from the Kurnool city center. Alampur is famous for three things: Navabrahma Temple, Jogulamba Temple (a Shakti Peetha), and Sangameswara Temple which were built during the 7th century. Located on the Tungabhadra river banks, Alampur is also known as the western gateway to Srisailam. With enormous rich pilgrimage and historical significance, Alampur came under the kingship of many rulers including the Kakatiyas, Chalukyas, Satavahanas, Vijayanagara, Bahamani Sultans, and Hyderabad Nizams. Legends say that after losing powers from the curse of a saint, Lord Brahma performed penance for Lord Shiva.
He appeared in 9 different forms and that's why nine temples were constructed to celebrate each of His forms. Bala Brahma Temple houses the Shivalinga in the main temple which is visible in the form of a bull's footprint. The ancient temple of Jogulamba is the 5th of the 18 Maha Shakti Peeths of Goddess Shakti. The present temple was constructed in 2005 after the original was destroyed and it houses the idols of that are from the 6th century. Due to encroachments and lack of space and religious activity of Jogulamba and Balabrahma temples the Alampur temples could not be preserved well. Nevertheless, the significance of the temples still remain and must be visited during your trip to Kurnool.
The Divine Ahobilam
Ahobilam is yet another pilgrimage site located at a distance of 140 km from Kurnool railways station. It is regarded as of the most divine pilgrimage site in Andhra Pradesh, and therefore, a must-visit around Kurnool. This place is basically a holy residence of Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu in man-lion form. As per Hindu mythology, this is the place where the demon Hiranyakasipu was killed by Lord Narasimha. The initial temples were built by the Chalukyas during the 8th century and later on, in the 15th century, the Vijayanagara kings reconstructed several temples around the area. Ahobilam is located in the midst of dense Nallamala Forest and is one of the 108 Divya Desams.
Due to the fact that Lord Narsimha is worshipped in 9 different forms, this place is famously called as Nava Narasimha Kshetra. Some of the temples can be visited easily whereas few require difficult treks through rocky paths and thick forest. Lower Ahobilam and Upper Ahobilam are the two parts in which the town is divided. From the nine shrines, Chathravata, Yogananda, and Bhargava Narasimha Swami are situated in upper Ahobilam whereas the remaining six are located in the lower Ahobilam. In the lower Ahobilam, the idol in the temple of Lord Narasimha is believed to be installed by Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati. For visitors, food is accessible at small canteens and hotels. There's also an arrangement of free food for 400 people in the Brahmana Nitya Annadana Satram in the Upper Ahobilam.
The Deific Mahanandi
One of the last places of interest on our list is the Mahanandi pilgrimage site. Located at a distance of 90 km from the Kurnool city center, it's a holy Shivaite pilgrimage center that is visited by thousands of devotees from different corners of Andhra and India. Mahanandi is a picturesque village located to the east of Nallamala hills and surrounded by thick forest. One can spot 9 Nandis (bulls) within the 15 km radius of the village known by the name Nava Nandis. The primary temple Mahanandiswara is a dedication to Lord Shiva that was built in the 7th century by Chalukyas. Several temples were then built in the 10th century AD by the Nandas and that's how this place got its name.
The peculiarity of the temple is the crystal clear water in Pushkarini. This water stream flows all through the year and no one knows how the water is able to flow continuously without any interruptions. It is said that the water is so clear that the needle at the bottom can be seen easily. Two pools lie outside the temple and the third one is inside of it. The water in the inside pool flows from the basement of Garbha Gruha where the main idol of Shiva Ling is installed. Devotees can take a dip in the pool as the water level is maintained at five feet. The suggested time to visit the place is during the Maha Shivaratri festival celebrated in February and March. Accommodations are available in the village and near the temple for devotees.
The Devotional Mantralayam
Mantralayam or Manchale is yet another devotional site around Kurnool which is located at a distance of 70 km from the city center. The site is associated with the famous saint Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy, who was a famous Hindu philosopher and saint. He is considered to be the avatar of Bhakta Prahlada (saved by Lord Narsimha an avatar of Lord Vishnu). It's believed that he performed many miracles during his lifetime and therefore devotees have built a temple as a dedication to him on the banks of the River Tungabhadra.
The place is also famous for Manchalamma Temple which is situated near the Samadhi Temple — inside the Mantralayam Mutt complex. Devotees first perform their religious ceremony at the Manchalamma Temple and then they visit the Samadhi Temple. The Nawab of Siddi Masud Khan of Adoni handed over the barren land around Mantralayam to the Mutt of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. Bichchali, Chinna Tumbalam, Panchamukhi Anjaneya Temple, and Alampur are the other attractions near Mantralayam. Accommodation facilities are available near the area along with restaurants and it takes a couple of days to visit the nearby attractions.
The Heritage Caves of Belum
The last place of interest in Kurnool on our list is the Belum Caves. Belum Caves are one of India's ancient sites located at 43 km from Yaganti in Kurnool district. These historic caves are the second-largest in India and offer a captivating view from the inside. These massive caves are 3235 m long with extended passages. Just as you enter the caves, you’ll spot the deepest point of the caves that is 118 feet. It is said that these caves are a million years old and were formed by the disruption in limestone deposits in the area by Chitravati River that flows 32 km south of the caves.
Besides the sublime inside view of the caves, the other thing that will attract your attention is the huge Buddha statue near the caves. It is said that ancient Buddhist monks used these caves for meditation. They used the huge meditation hall in the caves for practicing meditation and other Buddhist rituals. This, one of Gandikota’s top attractions, is situated close to the Kolimigundla village on Nandyal - Tadipatri route. The Andhra Pradesh Tourism has built bridges and pathways for visitors to reach the caves. There’s also a resort run by the AP Tourism department near the entrance of the cave that can be used for a stay and having snacks.