Gandikota Fort


Gandikota Fort

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 CavesGandikota 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.

 

Local Transport

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.

Gandikota Fort (1)
View Of the East and South Faces Of Gandikota by Thomas Fraser circa 1802 – Courtesy British Library
Gandikota Fort (2)
View of the North Face of the Fortress, Gandikota Taken From the Bed of the Penna River by Thomas Fraser circa 1802 – Courtesy British Library
Gandikota Fort (3)
Key drawing for View of the West side of Gandikota Fort by Thomas Fraser circa 1802 – Courtesy British Library

 

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

Harihara Bukkaraju

Kaka Maharaju

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)

Fakir Khan

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.

Gandikota Fort (4)
Gandikota Fort Is Often Referred To As the Second Hami Due to the Presence of Similar Looking Rock Temples
Gandikota Fort (5)
Entrance to the Fort
Gandikota Fort (6)
One of the Gates at the Entrance – The Architecture Is That of Islamic Style Thus Can Be Assumed It’s From That Period
The Only Surviving Gate at the Site
The Only Surviving Gate at the Site
Gandikota Fort (8)
Metal Spikes on the Gate to Prevent Elephants from Ramming Into the Door
Gandikota Fort (9)
Sections of the Fort Walls – This Section Is the Best Preserved
Gandikota Fort (10)
Watch Towers around the Fort
Gandikota Fort (11)
Another Stone Arch Gate at the Entrance
Gandikota Fort (12)
View of the Stone Arch Gate from Inside the Fort – Other Stone Foundations Can Be Seen
Gandikota Fort (13)
Some Stone Structures Are Completely In Shambles

 

Main Visible Structures inside the Fort


LocationOf All The Important Structures Inside The Fort

 

Charminar

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.

Charminar
Charminar
Gandikota Fort (15)
Charminar
Charminar
Charminar

 

Jail

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.

Gandikota Fort (17)
Jail
Gandikota Fort (18)Jail
Jail
Jail – Air Circulation Vents
Jail – Air Circulation Vents
Jail
Jail

 

Water Tanks

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).

 

Follow the Signage That Says Madhavaraya Swamy Temple
Follow the Signage That Says Madhavaraya Swamy Temple

 

Gandikota Fort (22)
This Section Passes Through Parts of the Fort with No Clear Visible Structure Only Stone Rubbles Visible

 

Gandikota Fort (23)
One of the Water Tanks inside the Fort

 

Gandikota Fort (24)
A Temple like Structure Right next To the Tank

 

Gandikota Fort (25)
Another Bigger Water Tank Up Ahead On Way towards the Temple
This Covered Stone Building near The Fort Walls – Possibly that of a Magazine
This Covered Stone Building near The Fort Walls – Possibly that of a Magazine

 

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.

Gandikota Fort (27)
Madhavaraya Swamy Temple – The Gate (Gopuram) at the Entrance
Gandikota Fort (28)
Madhavaraya Swamy Temple – View of the Gate (Gopuram) From Inside
Gandikota Fort (29)
Madhavaraya Swamy Temple – View of the Gate (Gopuram)
Gandikota Fort (30)
Stone Pillars inside the Gate (Gopuram)
Gandikota Fort (31)
The Main Shrine – Surrounded By Pillared Hall On all Sides
Gandikota Fort (32)
The Main Shrine – Madhavaraya Swamy Temple
Pillared Hall On all Sides at Madhavaraya Swamy Temple
Pillared Hall On all Sides at Madhavaraya Swamy Temple
The Main Temple Having Several Stone Carved Pillars of Figurine
The Main Temple Having Several Stone Carved Pillars of Figurine
Gandikota Fort (35)
The Main Temple
Gandikota Fort (36)
The Flat Roof with a Design in the Centre Which Has a Hole – Possibly to Put up A Flag Pole
Stone Carved Pillars of Figurine
Stone Carved Pillars of Figurine
Gandikota Fort (38)
The Inner Chamber
The Inner Chamber with Square Pillars and a Decorated Ceiling
The Inner Chamber with Square Pillars and a Decorated Ceiling
Gandikota Fort (40)
The Inner Chamber with Square Pillars and a Decorated Ceiling

 

Mausoleum

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.

Gandikota Fort (41)
An Unidentified Structure near The Mausoleum
Gandikota Fort (42)
Mausoleum
Mausoleum
Mausoleum

 

Jama Masjid

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.

Gandikota Fort (48)
Jama Masjid at Gandikota
Gandikota Fort (49)
Entrance to the Jama Masjid
Gandikota Fort (50)
Jama Masjid – Main Mosque
Gandikota Fort (51)
Jama Masjid – Main Mosque
Gandikota Fort (52)
Interiors of the Main Mosque
Gandikota Fort (53)
Mihrab inside the Mosque

 

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.

Gandikota Fort (46)
Kathula Koneru – The Biggest Tank inside the Fort
Gandikota Fort (47)
Kathula Koneru – The Biggest Tank inside the Fort

 

Granary

Right next to the Jama Masjid is the Granary. The structure looks similar to that of the Jail but a little smaller in size.

Gandikota Fort (54)
Granary
Gandikota Fort (55)
Granary
Gandikota Fort (56)
Granary

 

Ragunatha Temple

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.

Gandikota Fort (57)
Ragunatha Temple
Gandikota Fort (58)
Ragunatha Temple – Entrance
Gandikota Fort (59)
Ragunatha Temple – Design Patterns at the Entrance
Ragunatha Temple – Main Temple Structure
Ragunatha Temple – Main Temple Structure
Gandikota Fort (61)
Ragunatha Temple – Main Temple Structure
Gandikota Fort (62)
Ragunatha Temple – View of the Entrance From Inside
Gandikota Fort (63)
Ragunatha Temple – Some Patterns on the Boundary Wall Still Visible
Gandikota Fort (64)
Ragunatha Temple – Elephant Status at the Temple Stairs
Gandikota Fort (65)
Ragunatha Temple – Main Temple Structure
Gandikota Fort (66)
Ragunatha Temple – Garba Griha
Gandikota Fort (67)
Ragunatha Temple – Stone Pillars Inside
Gandikota Fort (68)
Ragunatha Temple – Stone Pillars Outside

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.

Gandikota Fort (44)
Unmarked Structure
Gandikota Fort (45)
Unmarked Structure

Another attraction of this fort is the Grand Canyon-like gorge; I have already written a separate blog about it which you can read it here.

Gandikota Fort (69)
Gantikota Gorge

 

Action Camera Video Footage

Route Maps

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

 

Hotel Details

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

 

Other nearby Tourist Attractions

Belum Caves – I have a separate detailed blog about this place click here to read.

Gandikota Gorge – I have a separate detailed blog about this place click here to read.

Gooty Fort – I have a separate detailed blog about this place click here to read.

Gooty European Cemetery – I have a separate detailed blog about this place click here to read.

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12 thoughts on “Gandikota Fort

  1. I have been to Hyderabad a few years back, and had some fade memories (I was a too young to remember it all) but this post was absolutely refreshing and beautiful. I must say you made the place look extra beautiful with those pictures and and you were certainly very descriptive.

    Liked by 1 person

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