Gandikota is a small village in Jammalamadugu taluk of Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh. The village lies on the banks of the river Pennar. Gandikota is well-known for its fort that is also called as Gandikota (Gandi- gorge and Kota- Citadel). The fort got its name as ‘Gandikota’ due to the presence of ‘Gandi’, a deep valley or gorge in Telugu, formed between the Erramalai range of hills. Hence it is also called as ‘Gorge Fort’. The Pennar river that flows at the foot of the valley is in the vicinity of the fort.
Built during the later half of 13th century, the fort is protected by the deep valley surrounding it and by the enormous boulders of red granite of the Erramalai hills, giving it a natural strength. The entrance of the fort has a huge gate, about 20 feet high, and has nearly 101 fortress, each about 40 feet high, surrounding the fort. It has a Masjid, a large granary, temples and many attractive places to see. The temples of Ranganatha swami and Madhava swami, inside the fort, supposed to be built during 15th-16th centuries, are the master piece of art and architecture. The architecture of these temples resemble the style of Vijayanagar era with outstanding sculptures and fine carvings.
The Jamia Masjid, inside the fort, covers a large area next to a granary. This granary was used during the time of a blockade in its heydays and today it is used as a traveller’s bungalow. The fort also has a graceful ‘Pigeon Tower’ with windows and a palace built by bricks with plastered decorations. An old cannon used in those days still adorns the fort. A perennial spring called ‘Rayalacheruvu’ (lake), inside the fort, is said to be connected to a fountain in Jamia Masjid by pipes, traces of which can still be seen. From the top of the fort, you can get a panoramic view of the surroundings with lush green forest, sparkling river and beautiful valley.
According to the chronicles, the early history of Gandikota begins in 12th century AD, when a certain chief Kakaraja founded it in 1123 AD. Kakaraja was a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the then Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. The fort also played a significant role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods.
The beautiful landscape and the wild forest with river Pennar flowing at its foot, makes it picturesque and a wonderful place to visit.
Gandikota is located at a distance of about 77kms from Kadapa. The village is well connected by road and rail. The nearest airports are at Hyderabad, Tirupati, Bangalore and Chennai. From Hyderabad it takes nearly 8hours to reach Kadapa from where you have regular buses to Gandikota. Bangalore is another nearby destination. It takes about 6 hours to reach Kadapa from where you can take the road to Mydukur, Proddatur, Jammalamadugu and then reach Gandikota.
Driving in your own vehicle or hiring a taxi is another good option of reaching Gandikota, from Kadapa, which takes nearly and hour and half.
Nearest railway stations are at Yerraguntla and Kadapa town.