Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Gandikota is a small village in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh that is known for its spectacular gorge formed by river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills. This handsome piece of Nature’s architecture has come to be known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India by travelers who visit it and get bewitched by its beauty.
Why visit Gandikota?
Watch the Pennar river peacefully flow through this brilliant stone gorge that’s an artwork in itself, and you’ll realise why it is called the Grand Canyon of India. Just like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, this massive gorge is a stunning assemblage of rocks, cut and layered in the most peculiar way as if they were arranged by hand!
Climbing up those treacherous rocks can be a task in itself, but the amazing views you’ll get once you’re up there, is totally worth it. Sit on top of the rocks and merely watch groups of pelicans fly over the velvety green river every now and then while the sun sets in the backdrop, and your trip to Gandikota will be nothing short of heavenly!
What to do in Gandikota?
As mentioned, it is the Grand Canyon that is the major attraction. These are the things you can do in Gandikota.
1. Gandikota Fort
The massive Gandikota fort expands over miles. It was constructed during the 13th century from red sandstones, consists of gorgeous palaces with labyrinthine sculptures. Perennial springs to water the neighboring vegetation, and also the fort's 5-6 kilometer perimeter wall.
The different sites within the fort are Jama masjid, granary, the ruins of the fort, temples.
2. Get an astonishing view of the Gorge and Pennar River
The Pennar Gorge is created by the Pennar river that runs through the mountains of Erramala, also referred to as the mountains of Gandikota. The Gorge of the Pennar river is almost 300 feet from the geological formation.
Just like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, as if they were arranged by hand, this massive gorge is a stunning assemblage of rocks, cut and layered in the most amazing way! Climbing up those rocks can be a task in itself, but the amazing views you’ll get once you’re up there, is totally worth it.
Tip : The best time to enjoy the place is during the Sunrise or Sunset time. It can get hot during the day time. Also, be very careful when you are on the edge of rocks as it can get slippery.
3. Explore the less popular Belum Caves :
Belum Caves is the second largest cave system in the India. The caves are known for their unique formations such as stalactite and stalagmite formations.Its around 1.5 hours from Gandikota and worth visiting. The amazing formation will definitely surprise you.
You can also take a guide along with you to get a deeper understanding about the caves and the formation.
Points to be noted :
The place can be reached by Road, Air (near airport is Tirupati) and Rail (Jammalamadugu -18 km away, Kadapa -77 km away). Having a personal vehicle/Taxi/bike will make it even more convenient.
There are not many options for staying here.
1. Hotel Haritha by APTDC : It is spread over an area of 10 acres and has 12 cottages, a dining hall, a dormitory, parking space and play area for kids. In order to book a room, one is supposed to call up and make reservations on phone, as the complex doesn’t have any online mode of registration.
2. Camping at Pennar river: If you’re looking for adventurous stay options and wish to sleep under the stars with the river gushing beside you, then camping at Gandikota is the perfect thing to do. You can also do activities like rock climbing, rappelling, and kayaking.
Just enquire with the locals near the fort and they can help you get in touch with people who organizes camping.
There are not many restaurants near Gandikota. You should either visit Jammalamadugu or Prodattur for good food. Hence, carry snacks and water.
Best time to visit :
Anytime around the year is a good time to visit but I personally suggest you to avoid the place during summer as it gets really hot especially during the day time.
The whole of Gandikota can be covered in 1 day and the next day, you can visit Belum caves. You can even visit both these places in a day itself. Please note that Belum caves closes by 6 PM.
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