Gandikota Travel Guide– Gandikota is a small village on the right bank of the river Pennar, 15 km from the nearest town of Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh.
Before you press the back button of your browser, let me disclose that yes this post is all about the famous grand canyon of India and my experience.
GANDIKOTA: GRAND CANYON OF INDIA
Off late, I saw several posts on favorite internet medium about the Grand Canyon of India and how to visit the famous place. Therefore, I too started planning to visit Gandikota from Bangalore on one of the weekends.
The first question from you would be, hey is it like the mini version of the US Grand Canyon? And then is it worth visiting the place in Andhra Pradesh? Hold one for a while, and I will explain and clear all your doubt in my blog post.
GANDIKOTA FROM BANGALORE
I am sure most of the visitor to Gandikota would be from Bangalore, and this is what I saw when I was there in the village. The distance from Bengaluru to Gandikota is roughly 280 Km, and it takes 7 hours to reach to the APTDC run the only hotel at Gandikota. Though Google suggests 5.30 hrs, you don’t drive nonstop.
The road condition is good with some 15 Km of the lousy patch; I suggest you take the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway and take the right turn after crossing the Lepakshi road intersection
ROAD TRIP TO GANDIKOTA
Let me be very honest with you, no leading travel portal or blog talks about what to expect during the journey. As soon as you enter Andhra Pradesh, the geography changes drastically, the long patch of dry and hot land greets you, and this is true when you will visit Gandikota in any season except peak monsoon.
Also, you may not find any proper eateries or refreshment on your way. Therefore, please either stock all the food items or complete your breakfast or lunch on any restaurant in Karnataka section.
WHY VISIT GANDIKOTA?
Now if you are true road trip lover like me, the above reasons shouldn’t bother you much and take the suggestions as a heads up for your road trip to Gandikota.
Why you visit the Grand Canyon of India? The answer is simple and straight. It is the miniature version of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and secondly, this small, offbeat village has not yet been commercialized, which means you’re not likely to find crowds of tourists obstructing your view plus jam-packed vehicle. However, as it is gaining popularity, expect a good rush on Weekends (Saturday)
WHEN TO GO?
Avoid Summers, i.e. February to May. During this time, it is scorching. Best time to go is around October to January. However, if you don’t give care to extreme weather, March & April is the month to go because you will get less crowd and easy access to gorge view
GRAND CANYON OF INDIA?
For the simple reason, it does resemble with its bigger brother of US Grand Canyon, however still I prefer to name it as Gandikota Canyon to maintain the uniqueness of our country’s natural tourist spot. Check out a series of pictures below and decide yourself?
WHERE TO STAY IN GANDIKOTA
Yes, this is the problem in Gandikota, and fortunately, we have a solution too. As of now, you will find two ways to stays just near the fort and the George, and they are-
- APTDC Haritha Hotel: The hotel in Gandikota is spread over an area of 9 acres and has 12 small cottages, a dining hall, a dormitory, a big parking space and play area for kids. The complex has basic air-conditioned rooms. To book a room, you can head to the APTDC official site and make the online booking. I would recommend reservation in a few weeks in advance
Again, a necessary stay with reasonable rates at the APTDC run hotel at Gandikota
- Camping near the George: If you’re looking for tent accommodation options and wish to stay under the clear sky with the river gushing beside you, then camping at Gandikota is the perfect thing to do. Managed by the Freakouts Adventure, they offer easy and comfortable camping opportunities to travelers, along with the scope of adventure activities in the George, like rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, etc.
I saw their tent accommodation and found to be good; they also have AC tent and basic tent. I would recommend you can try if you are okay to stay in shelters.
WHERE TO EAT IN GANDIKOTA
I found the food options not so useful and readily available on the whole route to Gandikota. The entire stretch is still in early stage and hence no option of good food facilities. In Gandikota, if you are staying in APTDC hotel, you need to tell them much in advance for your food choice. You might find road stores selling snacks for quick consumption around the fort.
THINGS TO DO AT GANDIKOTA
Though I am not the one who keeps an account of things to do while visiting a particular destination, however for the benefit of my blog’s reader, I will list down few great activities you can do at Gandikota.
You may be knowing Gandikota for the hidden Grand Canyon of India, but this gorge is not only one of the many attractions of Gandikota. There are various other things to do in Gandikota that one must account on their trip to the village.
#1. The Grand Gorge of Gandikota
The magnificent gorge is undoubtedly the number one and must things to do in Gandikota. In my opinion, you can skip the rest of the activities of Gandikota to keep watching the gorge and the river that follow through it. A lovely morning and calm evening are what I recommend you to view the canyon of India.
Note that- by early morning, I mean just before sunrise and take the best seat on one of the boulders and sit and do nothing
#2 Meditation & Spirituality
If you are the one who loves to meditate and spirituality, I would strongly suggest visiting the place. You will be surprised to discover the numerous, lovely and serene locations behind the gorge to fulfill your quest of achieving inner peace. Take my words.
#3 Visit the magnificent Forts & it’s surrounding
Spread over eight miles (as per a local expert), the massive Gandikota fort was built in the around the 13th century. The mighty fort, made in red sandstone, comprises of fine carvings, a tank to store the rainwater to irrigate the nearby vegetation, and a 5-mile thick perimeter wall guarding the massive fort. Do not worry; you must walk a few meters from the Gandikota gorge to explore the fort.
#4 Visit the temples & mosque and find the peace
A temple and a Mosque from ancient time located adjacent to each other, sound not realistic? Well, you can capture both in the same frame if done correctly. Located close to each other, the remains of a temple built in around the 13th century and a mosque added years later by the ruler, set a great example of unity in diversity.
#5 Be adventurous at Gandikota
Gandikota has everything for every sort of traveler and tourist, even for the adventure people. As Gandikota village is slowly coming under the tourism hotspot, various travel agencies and local are starting to start in the area.
You can get down to the gorge and engage in several adventure activities like rock climbing, kayaking, etc. I think it is good for local economic development. However, I fear if not controlled, it may lead to unfortunate accidents
#6 Do Nothing & Enjoy nature
Above is my favorite things to do in travel these days. The trend is called slow travel. If you are like me who trip, to run here and there to complete all things to do on a trip , then doing nothing and enjoy the moment & nature is one of the best things you can do in Gandikota and the best view of the grand canyon of India will give you the reason to do so.
KNOW THE HISTORY OF GANDIKOTA
I usually try to know the history behind the place I visit and luckily on my road trip to Gandikota, we had a Telugu friend. As per him, the word “Gandi” means a gorge in Telugu and “Kota” refers to the fort.
Gandikota fort was built around 11th century here in front of the river, however, the detailed history is still not known and the local historians are now trying to piece together all the scattered history around the place.
After watching out the fort and the river with gorge surrounding the area, I can definitely say the place was selected based on the best natural defense system