A natural marvel: Explore India's Grand Canyon

Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh is known as India's Grand Canyon. Photo: iStock/Albin Raj

The Grand Canyon, located in the State of Arizona in the United States, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The nearby Grand Canyon National Park and its surrounding area, with deep gorges, canyons, and steep valleys, attract many tourists. This place is famous for various adventure activities. But, for those who are unable to travel to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, a visit to Gandikota in Andhra Pradesh provides a similar experience. Known as the 'Grand Canyon of India,' Gandikota features a spectacular canyon carved out by the Pennar River. The dramatic vistas of red sandstone, rocky cliffs, and adventure tourism activities enthrall travellers.

Scenic panorama formed by river and valley
The name 'Gandikota' is derived from the Telugu word 'Gandi,' meaning valley. Gandikota is situated between the Eramala Hills (also known as the Gandikota Hills) and the Pennar Hills at its base. The Pennar River flows through this gorge, offering breathtaking views. The place, surrounded by steep hills that are challenging to navigate and huge boulders, is protected by nature itself.

Witness to the rise and fall of kings
The historic Gandikota fort, built in the 12th century by King Kappa of the Western Chalukya dynasty of Kalyana, is a major attraction. The specialty of the fort is its exceptional architecture. Gandikota Tantra was an important region during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara, and Qutb Shahi dynasties. Later, the fort was under the control of the Pemmasani Nayaks for about 300 years. The fort houses two ancient temples dedicated to Lords Madhavan and Ranganathan, although the structures are in a decrepit condition. A Jamia Masjid also stands here as an example of religious harmony. Two minarets near the Jamia Masjid add to the historical charm. A heritage festival is held every year in the fort area. An ancient cannon and several storehouses for grain are also found here.

Tourist facilities
One has to walk to see around Gandikota and guides are available to provide information to the tourists. Accommodation is offered in a green hotel under the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department, and camping is available on the banks of the Pennar River. Accommodation and food are generally inexpensive, and adventure sports enthusiasts can avail of package deals for activities like rappelling, rock climbing, and kayaking. Every year in February, an annual heritage festival is held here.

How to reach the destination
The nearest railway station to Gandikota is at Jammalamadugu in Andhra Pradesh, 18 km away. Buses are available from the old bus stand at Jammalamadugu to Gandikota. Alternatively, visitors can get off at Muddanuru railway station, which is 26 km away.

Ideal time to visit
The best time to visit Gandikota is from November to February when the weather is very pleasant. It is advisable to avoid visiting the place during the summer months due to high temperatures.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.