Gandikota is a small village on the right bank of the river Pennar, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It has gained momentum in the tourism circuit because of it almost forgotten spectacular gorge formed by Pennar River that cuts through Erramala hills. A gorge is typically a narrow valley between hills or mountains, with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it. In fact, gorges are formed because of rock erosion over a long period of time.
There is a massive fort which is surrounded by natural deep valleys, impassable hills and boulders making it a secured fort. The fort can be accessed only from one direction. There is Pennar river flowing beside it in the valley which makes it look like a huge canyon.
According to Sthalapurana, relating to the foundation of the village Gandikota and its fortification. In 1213 there lived a certain king called Kaka Maharaju in Bommanapalli, a village close by Yerrakonda, about two miles to the 52 east of the Pennar, The site of Gandikota was discovered by this king during a hunting expedition and, being struck with the place, he made enquiries and, finding it was sacred, took counsel with learned men who advised him to found a village which would flourish. He accordingly founded a village and fortified the hill which afterwards came to be known as Gandikota.
In 1297 year of the Salivahana era, Harihara Bukkarayalu reigned in Vijayanagar and his reign was very prosperous. He visited Benares and brought water from the holy Ganges, and on his way back he found the images of four gods buried in the sand of the Godavari river. He was instructed to install the images in newly-built temples. On his return to his capital the king built two temples for two of the gods at Gooty and Sashagrundipuram (Pamidi). Then he came to Gandikota and saw the fort. While he was on hunting, the god Madhavaswami appeared and told him that as the place was sacred and contained many holy streams he has to build a temple there. The king accordingly constructed a temple for Madhavaswamy.
There is a massive masjid( Jama Masjid) and a temple( Madhavaraya Temple) right beside each other the once again signifies India’s policy of Unity in Diversity. A heritage festival is held every year in the fort area.
The fort has a separate jail which can be seen even today which shows how cruel and less tolerant the Kings were towards any wrong doers in the kingdom.
Surrounded by a deep valley and impassable hills & with massive boulders of red granite and the river Pennar that flows about 300 ft. below on the west and northern sides, its location affords strong natural defence to the occupants of the Fort. Gandikota was one of the greatest forts of south India in its heydays and so were the kings who ruled the region. Years after its formation, Gandikota fort was ruled by the Mikkilineni dynasty of Bharadwaja gotra who belonged to a clan of Kamma lords. Kammas were kings belonging to the Solar, lunar and Haihaya clans of Kshatriyas and were said to be ferocious in nature.
The Vemana, the famous Telugu poet, native of Kadapa district and believed to have lived in Gandikota area for a short period.