Gandikota which is most famous for its Grand Canyon-like gorge has also another important tourist attraction which is the Gandikota Fort. The ruins of the fort and its structures lie right next to the gorge, in fact, the fort was purposely built in this location so that the gorge acts as a natural defense on one side. The different remaining structures inside the fort complex is spread out and if you want to see them properly then can take nearly half a day thus prepare and plan accordingly. Gandikota fort forms a part of the tourist circle which comprises of Belum Caves – Gandikota Gorge – Gandikota Fort – Gooty Fort.
How to Reach
Tadipatri is the nearest train station from Gandikota but as per my knowledge, there are no good hotels where you can stay unless of course, you are coming to this place on a long drive from the nearby metro cities. The best option as far as the hotel is concerned would be Gooty, which is also the logical choice since most people visit Gandikota along with Belum Caves and Gooty itself also has the famous hilltop, Gooty Fort.
Where to Stay
Gooty has limited options and I managed to only see three hotels where you can stay overnight with only one amongst the three recommendable. Even the locals will tell you that Hotel Ravi Theja is the best place with air-conditioned accommodations in the town. The only downside is that the hotel rooms do not have western toilets and you would have to get yourself accustomed with the Indian version. On the positive side, this hotel has a restaurant attached which takes care of your hunger problem. However, the taste of food is not that great and the saving grace would be that there are quite a few restaurants all around this place serving both veg and non-veg food.
If you want to stay directly at Gandikota then APTDC Haritha Hotel is the only option. On the downside, this place is completely ill-prepared to host guests if you visit them without prior booking. We wanted to have lunch at the restaurant inside the hotel out here since this was the only place around the fort but we were told that the only option for lunch would be fried rice and egg fried rice. The hotel staff themselves admitted that it is only during the weekends that this place springs into action with guests visiting else this place remains completely vacant throughout the week thus they plan the food availability accordingly.
Considering that you are going to stay at Gooty you will find plenty of Auto and Vikram plying from the station towards the main town. Gooty station is a bit far (nearly 5 kilometres) from the main Gooty town thus this is the only viable option. A fully booked auto will cost you around 60 Rs. and takes around ten minutes to reach the hotel. Since this is a small town thus all the auto drivers know all the hotels in town so sit back and enjoy the short ride from the station to your hotel.
To reach Gandikota and Belum Caves you have to book a car since there are no regular bus services on which you can rely. The car rates are 1000 Rs. for a day plus 300 Rs. for the driver, fuel cost will be at actual at the rate of 10 Kilometres per litre of diesel. Roughly a trip to Gandikota including Belum caves from Gooty would roughly cost you around 3000 Rs.
History of Gandikota Fort
The word Gandikota is actually derived from two words “Gandi” in fact means gorge and “Kota” means fort. The history of this place dates back to 12th century A.D. According to Khaifivat of Gandikota a certain chief Kapa Raja, a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana, founded Gandikota in 9th of January 1123 A.D. According to the same record, the Chief Kakaraja while on his way to Mulkinadu via Bellary and Gooty was impressed with the romantic landscapes like high cliffs and thick bushes and several water springs and along with the divine vision of Vishnu, he laid the foundations for the fort and ordered his architect Gurikandlu and Ayakandlu to build a fort in that place. He is also said to have built several bastions, which were called after the names of Ramabanamu, Virabhadrabanamu and Madhava Chakram, and several temples inside the fort.
Rough timeline of the rulers of the fort:-
1123 – Kapa Raja
1309 – Invasion by Muhammadans
1336 – Kingdom of Vijayanagar by Harihara & Bukkarayalu
1352 – 1376 – Bukka I
1509 – Krishnarayalu
1544 – Nandyala Timmayadeva Maharaja
1546 – Nandyala Timmayadeva Naraparaju
1548 – Mahamandalesvara China Timmayadeva Maharaju
1549 – Naraparaju
1551 – Pina Avubhalamaharaju and Narapadeva
1552 – Timmayadeva
1557 – Timmayadeva and Pina Aubhala Maharaju
1574 – Narasimharaju
1597-98 – Nandyala Krishnamaraju
1642-64 – Sri Ranga III
1649 – Mir Jumla (attacked)
Nek Nam Khan
Md. Nabi Khan
Abdullah Nabi Khan (Mayana chiefs)
1777 – Hyder Ali (under Mir Jumaluddin)
1782 – Tipu Sultan
1790 – Nizam of Hyderabad
1800 – East India Company (Capt. Little)
Generic Structures inside Gandikota Fort
Once a thriving fort now only a few of the structures are visible, most of the boundary walls have either collapsed or simply vanished. The entrance to the fort, however, have been restored and some grandeur can still be felt as you drive past them. The ceilings are missing but the thick walls tell a story of a fort which has massive defences.
Main Visible Structures inside the Fort
LocationOf All The Important Structures Inside The Fort
This is possibly the most well-maintained structure still standing. By the design, you can clearly make out that this was meant to house pigeons. The numerous number of openings are still a place where you will find these pigeons pecking out its neck.
To the left of Charminar is the Jail, Clearly understood by the massive windowless structure that this place once housed prisoners of the kingdom. You will still be able to see small openings in the wall which was probably built for air circulations in the cells below.
There are few tanks in the fort and while you approach Madhavaraya Swamy Temple you will be able to see one of them. The villagers have installed water pumps which draw water from these tanks and use them for cultivation around the fort structure. It is to be noted here that there is a substantial population of villagers live inside the fort walls thus you will see them all around. Up ahead there is perennial spring called Rayalacheruvu which according to historical records used to even supply water to the fountains of the mosque (Jama Masjid).
Madhavaraya Swamy Temple
This is the grander of the two temples that exist inside the fort, this also happens to be the tallest structure in the fort premises. The gateway (Gopuram) of the temple is impressive with four-storeyed structures and with numerous intricate carvings. The main shrine inside is beyond a massive mandapa which has elaborately carved pillars and impressive ceilings. This was built during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya around 15th and 16th century.
This structure lies right next to the Jama Masjid, looking by its size and design it can be safely assumed that this was a Mausoleum for the Muslim rulers of the fort. Right opposite to this structure you will find some damaged building like structures from the fort that once stood here.
This mosque was built by the Muslim rulers of the regions started conquering different forts in this part of the Indian subcontinent. The mosque was originally started by Mir Jumla after he successfully annexed this in the year 1649 however it was only completed by Nek Nam Khan years later. The main structure inside has three arches and two big minarets followed by smaller ones all around. The Mihrab inside this section still has some visible design patterns.
Kathula Koneru (Pond of Swords)
This tank or pond is right in front of Jama Masjid. It is believed that the king and rulers of the fort used to wash their swords in the water of this pond after a battle thus it got its name Kathula Koneru.
Right next to the Jama Masjid is the Granary. The structure looks similar to that of the Jail but a little smaller in size.
This temple is in much-dilapidated state and also smaller in size. If you are visiting the Gandikota gorge then this temple will fall to your left. This was built during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya around 15th and 16th century.
Apart from these, there are other structures like Rani Mahal, Magazine, Gun Foundry, Talim Khana etc. which are spread all around the fort, these are in a damaged state thus do not expect a grandstanding structure. Lack of visitors to this region means that very less maintenance has taken place thus some portion of the fort is not easily accessible and one needs to carefully navigate through boulders.
Action Camera Video Footage
Click here to open the route map to Gandikota from Gooty on Google Maps
Click here to open the route map to Gandikota from Gooty via Belum Caves on Google Maps
Click here to open the route map to Gandikota from Gooty via Belum Caves and return to Gooty on Google Maps
Gooty – Hotel Ravi Theja (Mobile – 83093 86360, this is the mobile number of the owner who can speak Telugu and Little Hindi. You can also WhatsApp him in this number in English)
Local Transportation Details
Toyota Etios & Toyota Innova – Call Malli at 91000 91666, he can speak English, Hindi at Telugu