The Ultimate 2023 Guide to Gandikota: Grand Canyon of India

India never disappoints when it comes to amazing destinations. Yet, it is common that most of us know better about international destinations than our own rare tourist spots. For instance, everyone knows about the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. But how many of us know about the Grand Canyon of India? Well, to those of you who are eager to know, we’ll tell you more about the Indian Grand Canyon in this article. Gandikota is one of the hidden gems of our country. A natural wonder in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, it is a must-visit destination. So, here we bring to you every single detail you should know of before heading to Gandi Kota Grand Canyon of India!

Best time to visit Gandikota?

It is preferable to visit this amazing canyon during the winter. You will find the weather scorching hot during the summer. This is because the temperature goes up to 40 degrees Celsius during this time. Additionally, due to the heat, the water in the Penna River also goes down. Since the view of the river is one of the highlights of Gandikota, it is better to skip a summer visit. Furthermore, although it is a thrilling experience to explore the rocky surfaces in monsoon, it can prove dangerous as these surfaces get slippery. In short, the best time to visit Gandikota Canyon is between the months of September and February.

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Gandi Kota weather

The weather in Gandi Kota is quite dry. Even if you visit in winter, you should be prepared for hot afternoons. Hence, it is recommended to carry sunscreen and a hat or a cap with you. Additionally, keep some water handy as the trek and exploration can easily dry you out. Talking of exploring the gorge, it is also recommended that you wear shoes with great grip. It is best to wear trekking shoes as the rocky surfaces can get tricky with your normal shoes or sandals. Camping out at night is a good idea if you have a jacket or an overcoat to shield from the cold winds.

Things to do in Gandi Kota Grand Canyon of India

  1. Gorge and river view
  2. Sunrise and sunset view
  3. Camping
  4. Hike
  5. Adventure sports activities
  6. Gandikota fort
  7. Jamia Masjid
  8. Ranganathaswamy temple
  9. Madhavaraya temple
  10. Charminar
  11. Kattula Koneru
  12. The Dungeon
  13. The granary
  14. Mylavaram dam
  15. Belum caves

1. Gorge and river view at Gandikota

Gandi Kota Travel Guide

The view of the Penna River through the beautiful gorge is the prime reason why you should visit Gandikota. One can only go short of words to describe the natural splendour of this view. The river is about 300 feet below the viewpoint and extends to nearly six and a half kilometres. The beautifully cut rocky patches and the charismatic green water will put all manmade monuments to shame. A destination still is hidden from most, you can click some amazing pictures in the backdrop of the canyon. Undoubtedly, the Indian Grand Canyon will mesmerize you beyond expectations.

2. Sunrise and Sunset View at Gandikota

Gandikota Grand Canyon of India Travel Guide

To be honest, there are a few places in India where you can get the perfect sunrise and sunset views that remain etched in your heart forever. Well, we can assure you that Gandikota Canyon is one of these places. The sunrise view from above the picturesque gorge is a fascinating experience. To wake up watching the sun climb up from the river and paint the entire horizon in a shade of golden orange is just rare. The alluring natural setup will leave you wishing time stopped while you soaked in this experience.

If the sunrise is that attractive, it goes without saying that the sunset is equally gorgeous. The sunsets in Gandikota to the opposite of the river. That is to say, you can catch a glimpse of the setting sun when your back faces the river. You may trek up some height through the boulders to get the best view of the sunset. The effort is worth it for you’ll get to witness the beautiful sky sketched in purple and orange, while the ball of fire goes down to oblivion.

3. Camping at Gandikota

Things to do in Gandi Kota Camping

Gandi Kota is one of the best locations to set up a tent and camp under the stars. With a scenic gorge and a soft whisper of the gushing Penna River in the background, it is the ideal setup for camping. You can either rent a tent or just bring your own and set a camp. Camping is a great idea as you can wake up to the gorgeous canyon in front of your eyes! Now that’s something you get to feel once in a lifetime.

4. Hike at Gandikota

Things to do in Gandi Kota Hiking

The whole idea of fun at the Great Canyon of India is the walk and exploration around the rocky surface. The boulders are tricky which is why the hike is fulfilling. If you have enough time, there is a trail through which you can hike to the riverbed as well. Without a doubt, this is an amazing experience. You get to discover the mysteries of nature as well as history as you hike through the rocks and ruins in Gandikota. Hence, this place is a haven for people who love nature as well as adventure.  

5. Adventure sports activities at Gandikota

Adventure activities at gandikota

As we already hinted, Gandikota Canyon is an ideal spot for adrenaline junkies. To further enhance this point, Gandikota offers you an opportunity to indulge in adventure sports. A few of the most common activities include kayaking in the river, rappelling, and rock climbing.  All these activities assure a wonderful time in the backdrop of the canyon. So, if you’re an adventurist we highly recommend that you try your hand at these activities at the great canyon of India.

6. Gandikota fort, Gandikota

Gandikota fort

In addition to the gorge and the river, another significant attraction at Gandikota is the historical fort. The huge monument is a reminder of the glory of the golden days. The intention of building a fort in such a unique location was an upper hand in defence. The ruins of the structures inside including the water channels, tanks, the storehouse, and others are proof of a well-planned, majestic citadel that stood at this place.

The fort was the brainchild of Kapa Raja, a ruler of the Chalukya dynasty who ruled the region in the early 12th century. It was constructed as a sand fort at this time. The fort was then invaded by several rulers and was modified to the current form with over a hundred towers by Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayaka. He was a king from the Pemmasani Kamma Nayakas dynasty. There are many structures inside the fort which are major attractions of Gandikota.

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7. Jamia Masjid, Gandikota

Jamia Masjid gandi kota

The Jamia Masjid is one of the most spectacular structures inside the Gandikota fort complex. The eye-catching gateway to this mosque and the intricate detailing of the towers are a treat for the eyes. Carved in the Mughal architectural style, the floral patterns and the remarkable minarets add to the charm of the place. Additionally, there is a small pool-like structure in the vicinity of the mosque. There was a fountain at this spot during the olden times.  

8. Ranganathaswamy Temple, Gandikota

Ranganathaswamy Temple gandi kota

There are two temples inside the fort complex, and this is the first one that you come across during your exploration. The temple is a striking example of the architectural brilliance of that time. The walls, pillars, and ceilings inside the temple all tell you tales from Indian mythology through incredible carvings. Unfortunately, the temple is not in its best form with a missing idol and certain wrecked parts here and there. Ranganathaswamy temple is among most temples in South India that saw this ill fate during the Mughal invasion. However, whatever remains of the temple is still a marvel that you won’t regret visiting.

9. Madhavaraya Temple, Gandikota

Madhavaraya Temple gandi kota

Madhavaraya temple is another wonderful temple that sits inside the Gandikota fort. With a majestic gate and the mind-blowing architecture, this temple will leave you in awe. The corridors and the rooms inside the temple offer a feeling of wandering in a time that dates back to centuries. You can enjoy the beautiful carvings on the pillars and the walls in refreshing quietude. The style and structure of the temple resemble that of the Hampi temples. The fact that Gandikota was once under the Vijayanagara empire might explain this similarity.  

10. Charminar, Gandikota

Charminar gandi kota

The Charminar in Gandikota is different and unique from that in Hyderabad. The Gandikota Charminar is a single tall tower that stands at the entrance of the Gandikota Fort. There are small minarets at the top of this tall structure. Even after all these years, this one structure stands undisturbed and grand inside the fort. It is often flocked with birds that visit the tower through the numerous little holes.

11. Kattula Koneru, Gandikota

Kattula Koheru gandi kota

Kattula Koneru is a massive pond located in the fort complex. The green, shiny water in the pond with rocky walls surrounding it on all four sides is an uncommon sight. It is said that in ancient times, after a battle, the warriors used to clean their swords in this pond. It is one of the biggest water reservoirs inside the fort. This is a unique structure to behold inside Gandikota fort.

12. Belum caves, Gandikota

Belum caves gandi kota

Belum Caves is a mind-blowing destination located about 60 kilometres away from Gandikota Canyon. It is an underground cave and one of the longest of its kind in the Indian subcontinent. Originally more than three kilometres long, about half of it is open to visitors. The awe-striking freshwater caverns, siphons, and galleries inside the cave system are globally admired. It is a monument of national importance. The musical chamber, the enormous pathways, and the Buddhist relics all add to the glory of this place. We assure you that a combined trip to Gandi Kota and Belum caves will be one of the best weekend trips you’ll ever have!

13. The Dungeons inside Gandikota Fort

Quite adjacent to the Charminar, there is an old dungeon inside the Gandikota fort. The well-planned fort might have housed convicts inside this structure. Although there is no entry inside, one can explore the ruins from the outside. The actual prison cells are said to be underground. The entire building has no windows and just tiny air vents. This historical structure manages to offer you a spooky first impression!

14. The Granary of Gandikota

Another structure inside the fort is an old granary or storehouse. Apparently, this is where the essentials and provisions of the fort were stored during those times. It is a large, closed structure with several entrances. Entry inside is prohibited though one can explore the exteriors. You can also spot a narrow staircase on one side of the granary that leads up to one of the entrances.

15. Mylavaram Dam, Gandikota

Mylavaram Dam is a picturesque dam at a distance of nearly 17 kilometres from Gandikota Canyon. The dam is built on the Pennar River. A medium irrigation project, this dam meets the irrigation requirements of about 75000 acres of farmland in the area. The dam is a popular tourist attraction as it provides a wonderful view of the river. Additionally, you can go boating on the backwaters of the dam. All in all, this is one destination that you can include on your list on the way to the Gandikota or while returning from the Indian Grand Canyon.

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Where to stay in Gandikota?

Gandikota is a gem still hidden from most travellers. Owing to this, there aren’t many accommodation choices available in Gandi Kota. One option is the Haritha Resorts which stand in proximity to the gorge view. This resort is run by Andhra Pradesh Tourism. The rates at Haritha Resorts are around 1500 INR per head. Another option, and perhaps the best is to camp near the gorge. If you need assistance with tents or other arrangements, you can contact the Freakouts group. They assist you with these facilities as well as packages of adventure activities. However, you can also just rent a tent or bring one along and set up a camp on your own in Gandikota.

Where to eat in Gandikota?

You can have a decent meal at the restaurant in Haritha Resort. Apart from this, there are some eateries like Abhiruchi restaurant, Priyanka restaurant, Moonstar Camping Gandikota restaurant, and Gandikota viewpoint tents restaurant. It is a suggestion, however, to carry any packed food or snacks if you’re travelling with small kids, as there aren’t plenty of choices here unlike other tourist destinations.

How to reach Gandikota?

By Air: The nearest airport to Gandi Kota is Tirupati Airport which is at a distance of 220 kilometres. Bengaluru airport is the next option which is nearly 290 kilometres from Gandikota. If you’re travelling by air, you need to alight at one of these airports and catch a cab to reach Gandikota.

By Train: The nearest railway station is the Jammalamadugu station which is at a distance of 18 kilometres from Gandikota. The next option is the Muddanur railway station which is 26 kilometres away. Kadapa railway station is 77 kilometres from Gandikota. If you’re travelling from another Indian state, the two major stations that connect to the place are Tirupati and Bengaluru, which are at a distance of 227 kilometres and 280 kilometres respectively.

By Road: The nearest town to Gandikota is Jammalamadugu town. It is about 15 kilometres away. Two major cities near Gandikota are Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Bengaluru is 280 kilometres away and it takes nearly 5 to 6 hours to drive from the city to the canyon. Whereas, Hyderabad is 380 kilometres from the canyon and it takes a road trip of about 7 to 8 hours.

Places to visit near Gandikota:

1. Owk Reservoir

Owk Reservoir gandi kota

Owk Reservoir has an additional historical significance. The place was once a princely state and dates back to 1463 AD. The reservoir was built by Nalla Thimmaraju. He was the son-in-law of the great Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire. The purpose of creating the Owk Reservoir was to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of the villages nearby. Adjacent to the reservoir, there is a temple of Lord Chennakeshava, a form of Vishnu, built during the same time. This temple is about four kilometres away from the reservoir. If you’re visiting Owk reservoir, it is recommended that you make some time to enjoy this beautiful temple nearby.

2. Yaganti Temple

Places near Gandikota Yaganti Temple

Yaganti temple is your ideal pick if you are into history, temples and caves! Located about 87 kilometres from the Indian Grand Canyon, Yaganti temple is an ancient Shiva temple. Legend says that when Sage Agastya tried to install a Venkateswara temple at this place, he didn’t succeed. So, he performed a penance to please Lord Shiva, to get a solution for the problem. Shiva appeared and suggested that a Shiva temple is more suitable to the geography of the location. Hence, the Yaganti temple was built here. Additionally, the idol of Shiva in this temple contains the power of both Shiva and Shakti, that is Goddess Parvati, in a singular form. Furthermore, the Nandi statue in this temple is a sight to behold. The massive structure is believed to be increasing in size as per local belief.

A distinctive feature that attracts a great number of people is the Pushkarini pond. The water to this pond comes down to the hill and through the mouth of the Nandi statue situated in the temple. However what amazes most is that the water never dries out, and flows thus all throughout the year. It is auspicious to take a dip in this water before heading for the darshan. Apart from these, there are three caves on the premises of the temple. These are known as Agastya Cave, Venkateswara Cave and Veera Brahmam Cave. All three caves have religious significance. To put it in a nutshell, Yaganti temple is a great location to stop by, while visiting Gandikota.

3. Mahanandi village and Mahanandishwara temple

Places near Gandikota Mahanandishwara temple

Another majestic temple to witness once in a lifetime: Mahanadishwara temple in the Mahanandi village. This place is at a distance of about 102 kilometres from Gandikota. A highlight of this village is that there are nine shrines of Nandi, the bull vehicle of Shiva, located within the 15-kilometre span of the Mahanandi village. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It dates back at least 15 centuries and is believed to be built during the Chalukya dynasty. The temple is a favourite not just because of its religious and historical significance, but the natural beauty of its surroundings. With dense forests and mighty hills in the backdrop, it attracts nature lovers and adventurists as well.

The Pushkarini is the water pool inside the temple. There are three pools, two small ones at the entrance of the temple, and a bigger one inside the temple. The amazing fact about this water is that it’s absolutely devoid of contaminants. In fact, the water is so crystal clear that you can spot the bottom surface like you’re looking into the glass. Additionally, the water never dries up which adds to the fascination of the tourists. Another interesting fact about the pools is that during winters, the water appears warm, while in summers it is cold and refreshing. The temple and the surrounding village attract considerable crowds during the Mahashivratri festival. We suggest that you check out this amazing temple while visiting Gandikota Canyon.

4. Gooty Fort

Places near Gandikota Gooty Fort

The Gooty Fort is a ruined fortress situated in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a monument of national importance. This fort is nearly 116 kilometres away from Gandi Kota. The fort is at least 10 centuries old and is supposedly from the Chalukya period. Located on top of a group of hills, the view of the fort from the foot of the hills is a spectacular one. There are numerous gateways, buildings, structures, reservoirs and a temple inside the fort. Records state that exactly 108 wells were once dug inside the premises of this fort. The Gooty Fort also has great historical significance, owing to having been under the reign of several dynasties and invaders in the course of the centuries.

The fort is also credited as one of the largest and oldest forts in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Spanning over 20 acres in area, the architecture of the fort is a fusion of Hindu and Muslim styles. The ruined Narasimha temple inside is a particular favourite of history levels. This is because, many of the sculptures and inscriptions on this temple are still intact, even after a thousand years! From the fort, you can also have an enchanting view of the town below. All in all, a trip to Gooty Fort will enhance your love of exploring ruins while on a visit to Gandikota.

5. Oravakallu rock gardens

Places near Gandikota Oravakallu rock gardens

About 150 kilometres from Gandikota, is a stunning garden. Spanning across a thousand acres, the Oravakallu rock garden, or Orvakal rock garden as it is otherwise called, is an amazing sculpture park. The caves and rocky paths in the garden attract a lot of tourists who visit Kurnool. The major highlight is the natural splendour of the place. The rock formations and sculptures are situated amidst several pools of crystal-clear water. If you wish to spend a peaceful evening in nature, this park is a great pick.

The rocks in Orvakal Garden are igneous rock formations. The main elements found in these rocks are quartz and silica. Tourists can enjoy rock climbing and hiking in the garden. Additionally, boating activity is also arranged here. It is also a great location to click amazing pictures. An elegant garden away from all the noise, Orvakal rock garden is a natural wonder to visit at least once. Since it is not very far from Gandikota, you can try and manage to fit this place in your schedule. We can assure you that it’ll be worth it!

6. Kurnool fort

Places near Gandikota Kurnool fort

Kurnool Fort is the most popular location to visit in Kurnool. Also popular as the Konda Reddy Fort, this fort has great significance with respect to the history of the place. The fort was built in the 12th century by Devaraya II and Achyutaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire. The fort gets its name from the final ruler of Alampur, Konda Reddy. In the 17th century, the Nawab of Kurnool imprisoned Konda Reddy in the fort. There are three stories of the fort, out of which the first and second floors are open to visitors. The ground floor, however, is closed. It is said that it is through the underground tunnels that Konda Reddy escaped from prison. The fort is a great location to visit for history lovers. Additionally, since it is only about 168 kilometres from Gandikota, you can visit both places in one go.

7. Lepakshi

Places near Gandikota Lepakshi

Lepakshi is a village in Anantapur which has mythological significance. It is situated about 190 kilometres from Gandikota. According to legend, when the demon king Ravan was abducting Sita, the massive vulture Jatayu came to help her. But, Ravan chopped off its wings leaving it to die in Lepakshi. Later, Lord Rama blessed the bird with salvation at this place. The footmark of Sita is still visible in the Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi. This is one of the most awe-striking and grandest temples in India.  A hidden gem, the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, dates back to the 16th century. It was constructed by Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna Nayaka, during the reign of the Vijayanagara empire. The architecture of the temple puts several big forts and palaces to shame.

The temple is a monument of national importance. The carvings and fresco paintings inside the temple will make you wonder about the brilliance of the sculptors. It also houses the largest Nandi statue in the world, located a few hundred metres away from the entrance. Additionally, the largest fresco painting in Asia is at the ceiling of the Ardha mandapa of the temple. This painting has a combination of paintings of the 14 avatars of Lord Shiva. There is a sculpture of a serpent with multiple hoods, sheltering a Shiv Linga. This is one of the most beautiful of its kind ever found. In short, if you love to explore history and architecture, the Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi is a paradise for you!


1. What does Grand Canyon mean?

The Grand Canyon is a series of deep gorges in Arizona. It is carved by the movements of the Colorado River for millions of years. It is a major tourist attraction in the United States.

2. Who built the Gandikota Fort?

Gandikota fort was built by Kapa Raja as a sand fort. It was modified and renovated to the current form by Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayaka.

3. How do I get to Gandikota?

Gandikota is situated in a remote location in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The nearest town to Gandikota is Jammalamadugu. The distance is 15 kilometres. The nearest railway station is Jammalamadugu station. The distance is 18 kilometres. The nearest airport is Tirupati Airport. The distance is 220 kilometres.

4. What is Indian Grand Canyon?

The Indian Grand Canyon is another name for the Gandikota Canyon in Andhra Pradesh. It is a beautiful gorge formed by the Penna River.

5. What is the best time to visit Gandikota?

The best time to visit Gandikota is during the winter, that is, from September to February.

6. How far is Rayalacheruvu Lake from Gandikota?

Rayalacheruvu Lake is 242 kilometres away from Gandikota.

7. What are the activities to do in Gandikota?

Some of the best activities to do in Gandikota include rappelling, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Are you a devote of Lord Shiva? Well if you are You might also like to read about Jyotirlingas in India: Complete Travel Guide to 12 Jyotirlingas in India – Temples of Lord Shiva – Jyotirlinga Travel Guide

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate 2023 Guide to Gandikota: Grand Canyon of India

  • Arpita Kumari

    This seems so interesting!! Such an informative article .

  • Arpita Kumari

    Wow . This seems so interesting. Such an informative article this is !!


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