Historical Gandikota, Fort, Gandikota, Andhra Pradesh - needs preservation

ruined fort walls, Gandikota fort and canyon, AP. wanderheads.com/ 

Mosque inside Gandikota fort, AP,safarnamatravelers.com

Gandikota fort, AP ghatroads.in

Gandikota fort, AP,Ruined Hindu temple, dedicated to Ranganatha. en.wikipedia.org

Mosque near the entrance. Gandikota fort, AP,  en.wikipedia.org

Compared to states like the Rajasthan Maharashtra and other states the number of forts in the southern India you won't find that many. Part of the reason is those states were prone to raids by treacherous Muslim rulers from the West of India and from the northern areas in particular, from the Delhi rulers. Hence they built  sturdy and self -contained forts to sustain long siege.

Gandikota, Andhra state, location map. nmaps-india.com

Gandikota, a historical fort in Andhra Pradesh, S.India  is in a small village close to  the river Penna  in Kadapa district. That many rulers of by-gone era vied with one another to control the fort  shows  the strategic importance of this fortified structure and no doubt  various dynasties, such as the Kalyani Chalukyas, Pemmasani Nayakas, and the Golconda sultans competed among themselves to get it and and the fort remained a seat of power for these dynasties for a while. It was one Nayak ruler Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayaka  had the preexisting weak fort further expanded and strengthened  far more than 300 years ago to safeguard his kingdom  against the invasion of Muslim rulers from the north as well as from the west. Gandikota was the capital of the  Nayakas for more than three centuries. During spell of Muslim rule, some additional  Islamic structures were added. The Nayak rulers, replaced the poorly structured fort and built a massive one with 101 towers, primarily to watch the enemy movements at a far off distance. The fort got the name from a big gorge formed by the Penna river (through erosional process) between the Erramala range of hills, called Gandikota hills.  The inscription dates back to 16th century.

In 1123 AD, Kakatiya Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village under Ahavamalla Someswara I, Kalyani Chalukya ruler made the sand fort. Down the ages. during the Nayak rule, Pemmasani Timma Nayaka was defeated by Mir Jumla, military general of Qutb shahi dynasty and  he  became a feudatory ruler.  The later ruler  Abdul Nawab Khan. persecuted  non-Muslim  families who  fled Gandikota from his atrocities. Subsequently,  the region came under the East India company.

Inside the fort lie many structures, many of them are in ruins, The structures that get the attention of the people are the two Hindu temples dedicated to Mahahadeva (God Shiva) and Ranganatha (God Vishnu) - both are in ruins  There is a big granary with vaulted roof, Jamia Masjid with two  minarets. on either side ( well preserved), an important structure called the House of the Drum (drums were used to alert the army in case of invasion),  the Charminar, Jail (where in the prisoners were held captive), Red Koneru (known as pond of Swords,  Ii was  in front of the mosque,  where the warring soldiers (after war) used to wipe out the blood on their sword and would make the pond turn red, pigeon tower' a magazine, etc. The  other features are an old cannon, magazine, etc. There are big gardens here that are fed by natural springs 

Add captionGandikota Fort Entrance  en.wikipedia.org

The reported piece of information that the famous diamond merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier  visited the fort  on this trip to Golconda sultanate needs further verification. .The fort can be reached via Gooty junction and nearest stations are  Muddanuru - 26 km from here and Jammalamadugu  in Kadapa District.

 The 11.23 AD fort  is a big one and one has to walk a long stretch to cover the various areas. The state govt. was  making efforts along with the ASI to restore and repair the ruins and make it a popular tourist spot. This historical fort and the near-by canyon through which the Penna river flows would  be turned into ahaeological, historical, nature and eco-tourism rolled into one,. The decision was taken when Telugu Desam party was in power. If the present ministry pays serious attention to this site, tt will attract lots of tourists once the Covid pandemic will be eliminated for ever. The near-by attarction is the Mylavaram Dam situated about 7 k.m. The proposal to  increase the capacity of the dam from 8 tmcft to 26 tmcft will be beneficial in two ways, it will take care of agriculturalneeds of this region  and the river passing through the canyon would always be full tothe banks ; a lovely spot for  nature lovers. As lots of visitors from Bangaluru and other places come here, facilities for adventure sports like rappelling, kayaking, speed boat ride and trekking  would draw young people who need a break from the  monotonous work.It is not a gated and ticketed monument and there must be restriction on the admission to this old monument which has lots of ruined structures of the glorious, but troublesome past.