India’s Own Grand Canyon-The Gandikota Village
Have you been drooling over the pictures of the Grand Canyon? One of the most sought after destinations in the USA, the Grand Canyon is indeed an awe-inspiring natural wonder. Carved by the Colorado River that snakes through its valley, this iconic Canyon has been magnetically pulling travellers from all across the world. However, travelling to the USA just to visit the Grand Canyon may not always be feasible owing to time and monetary constraints.
But what if we were to tell you that there is another Grand Canyon very close at hand? Yes, India, the land of unlimited wonders boasts of its Grand Canyon too. Plunge in as we explore this secret wonder and share some fun things that you could do on your trip to this amazing place.
A laid back village in the laps of Erramala hills, Gandikota is located in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The silver-hued Pennar River beautifully cuts through the hills here, creating deep gorges which are comparable in beauty to the Grand Canyon. No wonder the visitors to this exquisite piece of nature’s architectural genius have named it the Indian Grand Canyon or the Hidden Grand Canyon. Experts believe that these Canyons were carved out at least a thousand years ago.
In fact, many people in their enthusiasm even call Gandikota the Arizona of India. However, unlike Arizona which only boasts of the Grand Canyon, Gandikota has several other attractions which are just as captivating as its Canyon. Here is a list of interesting things that you could do on your trip to Gandikota:
Capture The Best Pictures At The Canyon
Whether you are an amateur photographer with your DSLR or simply a selfie-queen, India’s Grand Canyon Gandikota provides an ideal setting for your perfect pictures. For nature lovers, the deep rock-cut valleys provide the best scope to try their hand at nature photography. And the selfie lovers can enjoy having the Canyon to the background and clicking pictures in the most amazing natural light. With those pictures on your feed, you are sure to score a thousand likes instantly. If you are lucky, you may even witness a host of pelican’s flying past the valley, adding to the beauty of the picturesque setting.
Indulge In The Rich Past Of The Gandikota Fort
Situated in the right bank of the Penna River, the Gandikota fort boasts of the historical importance the village had occupied during the times of important southern dynasties such as the Chalukyas and the Nayakas. Built-in the 13th Century, the fort has passed through the hands of several kings and chieftains, each making their own addition to its architecture. Thus, different parts of the fort boast of different cultural influences that have beautifully fused together to create an altogether different experience for its visitors.
The entire sandstone structure of the fort is also protected by high and rocky ancient walls that run for a distance of over 8 km. Some 100 bastions are also found surrounding the fort complex, most of which are situated at the height of 40 feet. It is indeed a wonder that even with such limited technology; the builders of the time could erect such a spectacular structure.
Pray At The Jamia Masjid
A fine structure within the fort complex that will definitely call your attention is the Jamia Mosque. Featuring the Islamic architectural style, the mosque, though not very glamorous, still does not cease to fascinate the visitors. The grand hall seems to tell you the tales of a time when thousands must have thronged its complex for prayers. The massive multi-arched entrance of the mosque stands out among all its features.
Explore The Belum Caves
Close to the Grand Canyon, Gandikota also hides another natural wonder in the form of the Belum caves. Resembling the Antilope Canyons of Arizona, this massive cave system is the second largest in the entire South Asian region. The entire cave is built out of massive black limestone blocks, and it is a treat both to the science and the history buffs. The beautiful stalactite and stalagmite are still intact in the cave and are of great geological significance, attracting speleologists from all across the globe. Even to the general visitors, the cave system is a storehouse of attractive features such as the waterfall found in one of the deepest chambers of the cave that flows throughout the year. Apart from the natural beauties, there is also a massive Buddha structure of over 12 meters that is sure to catch your eyes. Given that the cave has innumerable chambers and sinkholes, it is advisable that you do not stray too far from your group and use high power torches for deep exploration.
Enjoy The Sunset By The Penna River
The Penna river that flows through the Gandikota village, defining its geography is in itself a great attraction to the nature lovers. The best time to enjoy the beauty of the river is towards the evening when the sun slowly sets behind the stone walls of the Canyon. The entire rivers seem to turn into a large mirror, reflecting the crimson hues of the sky. Visitors who have spent their evenings by the river vouch that this mystical and magical experience is barely comparable to any other travelling experience.
Enjoy The Best Of Architecture In The Ancient Temples
Like most of the South Indian villages, Gandikota too is dotted by several ancient temples that had been built by the fabulous architects of the ancient times.
Most notable among these are the 13th-century Madhavaraya and the Raghunathaswamy temples. Even if you are not of the religious bent, the architectural beauty of these temples makes them a “must-visit” on your trip to Gandikota. The Raghunathaswamy temple may even take you by surprise as there is not even a single deity in the temple. What remains are only the intricately carved pillars and hallways that carry an air of the bygone splendour.
On the other hand, the Madhavaraya temple is crammed with innumerable images and sculptures of gods and goddesses, many of whom are not even very well recognised in the Hindu pantheon today. Some interesting scenes from the everyday lives of people have also been carved out in the granite walls and can speak volumes about the art and culture of the time.
Enjoy Adventure Sports
If you are an adventurous spirit who loves to feel the rush of adrenaline, the Grand Canyon at Gandikota can offer the perfect opportunity for you to indulge in various kinds of sports.
The most popular among them include rock climbing, rappelling and kayaking. Various adventure companies operating in the area and you can make suitable arrangements by getting in touch with tour planners who can work out the details for you. So, there is no need to carry your gears as the travel company provides all the safety equipment.
Camp By The Canyon
For those who are of a lesser adventurous spirit but would like to taste the unconventional none the less, camping by the Canyon can be a very thrilling experience. Sleep under the starry sky and wake up to the view of the Canyon. Enjoy bonfires and eat your dinner sitting amidst the lap of nature. Camping equipment is easily available on rent along with the other necessary items required on such trips.
Best Time To Visit Gandikota And The Grand Canyon
The best time to plan your tour to the Grand Canyon is between the month of August to February. Summers are unbearably hot while monsoons can be a hindrance to your exploration of surrounding attractions such as the Balam cave. Since the river swells up during the monsoon, adventure sports are also not recommended during the season.
How To Reach?
Gandikota is well connected by roadways to the cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad. Being only a few hours away via road, it is an excellent choice for your next road trip with friends and loved ones.
With the COVID crisis and the new normal in the post lockdown situation, planning trips to faraway places may not be possible. But spending a happening weekend in Gandikota can definitely refresh your mind and leave you energised for the months ahead. Since it falls among the off-beat tourist places, you won’t find a large crowd here and can enjoy your holiday without the fear of contracting diseases. So why wait? Break the chain of monotony and step out to enjoy a wonderful weekend amidst nature at Gandikota.
Is fretting over the details of your trip stealing away all the holiday fun? Then leave it on the experts. Let our team of seasoned tour planners help you make the best out of your holiday as we take care of all the other details. Choose a destination as per our liking, and our experts will take care of all the other nitty-gritty of your trip including itinerary planning, airport transfers, rented cars, hotel booking, adventure sports booking and much more. Get in touch with us today and get your plans rolling.