Historical site, Archaeological Survey of India
|Established||12th Century A. D.|
|Founded by||Kaka Raja, subordinate of Kalyani Chalukya dynasty (small sand fort)|
Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayudu, (101 towers huge rock fort)
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Gandikota is a village and historical fort on the right bank of the Penna river, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. The fort was the centre of power for various dynasties, such as the Kalyani Chalukyas, Pemmasani Nayakas, and the Golconda Sultanate. Gandikota was the capital of Pemmasani Nayakas for more than 300 years. Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayudu constructed the huge fort at Gandikota with 101 towers replacing the previous sand fort constructed by Kaka Raja, Vassals of Kalyani Chalukya rulers. Various additions of Islamic architecture were made during subsequent Muslim rule.
The fort of Gandikota acquired its name due to the 'gorge', formed between the Erramala range of hills, also known as Gandikota hills and the river Penna (Pennar) that flows at its foot, reducing its width to a mere 100 m (look for the river image in the montage/main image).
Gandikota is a village on the right bank of the river Penna, 15 km from Jammalamudugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. Gandikota area was first identified and made Sand fort in 1123 by Kakatiya Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, Kalyani Chalukya ruler. Gandikota came under the rule of Kakatiya dynasty from 1239 A.D to 1304 A.D and ruled by their various subordinates.
Vemana poet, native of Kadapa district and believed to have lived in Gandikota area for a short period. Jean Baptiste Tavernier visited the fort during his travel to Golconda sultanate.
Efforts are being put forth to give Gandikota a world heritage status.
In the fort are two ancient temples, dedicated to Madhava and Ranganatha. They are in ruins and the fort area is full of the debris of ages and many ancient structures in varying stages of decay. The large granary, with a vaulted roof, is now used as watchman's quarters. The Jamia Masjid has two adjacent minarets. A heritage festival is held every year in the fort area.
The other structures in the fort, include another large granary (used for storing food and grains late back), a magazine, a graceful 'pigeon tower' with fretted windows and an extensive palace built by bricks with some plastered decorations and some wells. There is an old cannon lying in the fort. There is the 'Rayalacheruvu' with its perennial springs irrigating some lime and plantain gardens. It is said that this 'Cheruvu' was connected to a fountain in Jamia Masjid by pipes, traces of which can still be seen.
There were other gardens and springs. There is an undated inscription on a boulder, near the 'Nagajhari' outside the fort, recording the gift of two gardens at the place to the temple. There was a garden called 'Parebagh' with a waterfall at the foot of the hills, on the bank of the Penneru.
There are multiple camping areas outside the Fort and on the banks of the Penna (Pennar) river.
The other main attractions at the fort includes House of the Drum (drums were used to alert the army in case of invasion), Charminar, Jail (where in the prisoners were held captive) and Red Koneru (Also known as pond of Swords, The huge lake in front of the mosque, where the warriors used to dip their swords in this lake and the waters used to turn blood red after the war).
Access and transportation
The nearest railway stations are Muddanuru which is 26 km (railway code: MOO) and Jammalamadugu (JMDG) in Kadapa District. There are number of trains from Gooty Junction. Recently the town of Jammalamadugu which is closest to Gandikota fort  also got railway connectivity due to the completion of Nandyal–Yerraguntla section railway line. However frequency of trains on this line is very low.
There are buses available from Jammalamadugu Old Bus Stand (Gandhi Statue Junction) to Gandikota.
Inside the fort there is no means of transportation except to walk by foot. It is ideal to engage a guide as the fort area is huge. There is a good downhill trek through the canyon that leads to the riverbed. There is a dam upstream (Gandikota Dam) and a dam downstream (Mylavaram Dam).
There is a Haritha hotel run by Andhra Pradesh Tourism department which has lodging facilities. However the facilities are limited during the weekdays as the visitors during weekdays are low
In November 2015, Andhra Pradesh government cited a plan to develop Gandikota as next major tourist hub of Andhra Pradesh.
- Staff Reporter. "Stone from Gandikota fort to be used". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- Susarlagandikota, Ramesh (7 January 2019). "Gandikota fort and gorge will soon be a tourist hotspot". The Hindu.
- "Be amazed at India's Grand Canyon: Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh".
- "Canyon Viewpoint: Soak in some natural beauty while camping along Pennar river". The Economic Times.
- Gandikota, by Tavva Obul Reddy, 2016, Telugu Samajam publishment
- Sewell, Robert. "A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar): A contribution to the History of India". Archived from the original on 2 December 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
- "K. A. Nilakanta sastry: Further Sources of Vijayanagar History". 1946.
- Stein, Burton (1989). Vijayanagara. Cambridge University Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-521-26693-9.
- Tidings of the king: a translation and ethnohistorical analysis of the Rayavachakamu by Phillip B. Wagoner. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 1993. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0-8248-1495-9.
- "Copper plate inscription about Gandikonda Fort found".
- "Heritage status for Gandikota fort sought". The Hindu. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "Gandikota Heritage festival from October 26". The Hindu. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "Trip to Gandikota".
- "Gandikota: To be next tourist hub of Andhra Pradesh – Trekkerpedia". Archived from the original on 20 July 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- Article about this visiting Gandikota: Grand Canyon at Gandikota, Deccan Chronicle newspaper (Hyderabad edition), 6 April 2012, Wanderlust Page: 21
- GandiKota Travel Guide to Plan Your Trip by Nature inFocus/
- Imperial Gazetteer of India: About Gandikota
- Water color paintings by Thomas Fraser and Sir Thomas Anburey-- in 1799 & 1802
- French Traveller Tavernier's experience about Gandikota Fort & about Nawab of Gandikota while he was in India
- Gandikota Fort Canyon - A Complete guide with Pictures!/