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Nagarjuna Sagar, located at a distance of 165 Kms from Hyderabad in Nalgonda district, is one of the most prominent Buddhist centers in India. Known in ancient days as Vijayapuri, Nagarjuna Sagar takes its present name from Nagarjuna, one of the most revered Buddhist monks lived in 2nd century AD. It is also a place of immense archaeological significance & excavations revealed this place as a center for the propagation of Buddhist teachings in South India during 3rd century AD.One of the early river valley civilizations took birth here. Enthused by the peaceful environs of this place, Buddhists made this land a great hub of learning, setting up one of the four major Viharas here. Further down in history, one of the first Hindu kingdoms of South India, Ikshvakus made this city their capital. Today known as Nagarjuna Sagar, this holy land now boasts one of the world's tallest dams.Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was completed in 1966 with a height of 124 meters and a length of over 1450 meters with 26 crest gates. The lake created by the dam is the third largest manmade lake in the world. There is a viewpoint at a distance of 4 Kms from the dam that offers a panoramic view of the amazing landscape. Nagarjuna Konda, where the ancient Buddhist excavations are found is in middle of the waters of Nagarjuna Sagar and can be reached by a boat.AP tourism operates a wonderful cottage on the banks of Sagar lake, called Vijaya Vihar.
At a distance of 3 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar Bus Station, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is built across Krishna River. It is the world's tallest masonry dam with a height of 124 meters and a length of over 1 km with 26 crest gates. Completed in 1966, the lake created by the dam is the third largest manmade lake in the world. It is one of the earliest irrigation and hydro-electric projects in India. The dam provides irrigation water to over 1 million acres of land in Nalgonda, Prakasam District, Khammam and Guntur Districts. The construction of the dam submerged an ancient Buddhist settlement, Nagarjunakonda. There is a viewpoint at a distance of 4 Kms from the dam that offers a panoramic view of the amazing landscape.This place is flooded with tourists in monsoon season when all the gates of the Dam are opened, which offers awesome views of the water falling through 26 gates from a height of over 100 meters.
At a distance of 23 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar Bus Station & 14 Kms from Boat Launch Station, Nagarjuna Konda is a small island in Nagarjuna Sagar Lake which houses the excavated remains of the Buddhist civilization of 2nd century.Discovered in 1926, the remains of the Buddhist settlements and university are preserved in the museum on Nagarjuna Konda. There are many structures of those ancient days still remain scattered on the island. Constructed in the shape of a Buddhist Vihara, the museum houses a stupendous collection of relics of Buddhist art and culture. Famous relics include a small tooth and an ear-ring believed to be of the Buddha. The main stupa of Nagarjuna Konda called Mahachaitya is believed to contain the sacred relics of the Buddha. A partly ruined monolithic statue of the Buddha, that's at once a striking-image of peace and poise, is the main attraction at the museum. This place can be reached by a boat ride from Boat Launch Station operated by AP Tourism from Vijayapuri South. There are only two trips per day at 9:30 AM and 1:30 PM.
At a distance of 17 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar Bus Station & 8 Kms from Boat Launch Station, Anupu is a site of Buddhist excavations reconstructed to perfection with extreme care and great effort. During the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, the ruins of an ancient Buddhist university were excavated along with several monasteries. These ruins are collected and few structures are reconstructed at Anupu.There are three main structures at Anupu - Ancient University, Amphi Theater and Harati Temple. The reconstructed stupas at University have circular brick or rubble walls, which have cladding of limestone slabs or plaster. The Simha Vihara has two halls, one encircling a Buddha image. The Chaitya Halls and monasteries had limestone column set in to brick or stonewalls. The limestones are mostly collapsed.The Amphi Theatre or Status is amagnificent structure with stepped columns on both sides and a big play ground in the center. There are ruins of a vihara with broken lime stone columns on top of the stadium.Anupu is located to south of Nagarjuna Sagar town across the Dam. It can be reached through Dam or by crossing the police check post after newly constructed bridge via the Boat Launch Station. Boating is also available at Anupu on small fishing boats.
At a distance of 14 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar & 176 Kms from Hyderabad, Ethipothala waterfalls are striking falls on River Chandra Vanka (a tributary of River Krishna), down the waters of the Dam. With an elevation of about 70 feet, the water flows down from Chandravanka Mountains. The falls are located in a beautiful locality surrounded by greenery all the sides. It is possible to climb down to get close to the falls and bath in the waters of the pool at bottom. But not allowed to go to foot of the falls and it's dangerous as well.To reach the falls from Nagarjuna Sagar, go towards Macherla on SH1 for about 8 Kms and take left turn to Ethipothala Falls (sign board available) and drive for 3 Kms; the road is good throughout.AP Tourism has developed a very good restaurant with two rooms for accommodation and wonderful garden with toilet facilities at this place. Once can enjoy half day trip at this place watching falls, bathing and roaming around.Timings: 6:30 AM to 9 PM. Entry fee: Rs 20 for adults & Rs 15 for children.
At a distance of 55 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar (on SH1 after Macherla), Laxmi Chennakesava Swamy Temple is a famous 13th century temple dedicate to Sri Venkateswaram (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) located in Karampudi village of Guntur district.This historical temple was built by king Brahmanayudu of Palnadu. The main gopuram is 60 feet tall with several carvings. Weapons used during the Palnadu war are carefully preserved here. An annual festival to commemorate the memories of the heroes of that war attracts visitors from all over the region.
At a distance of 60 Kms Nagajuna Sagar, 30 Kms from Srisailam and 140 Kms from Hyderabad, the Nagarjuna Sagar - Srisailam Sanctuary (or Srisailam Sanctuary) is the largest tiger reserve in the country, spread across 3568 Sq. Kms. It is spread between Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir & Srisailam reservoir. It was declared a sanctuary in 1973 and was incorporated under Project Tiger a decade later.Animals that can be found here are the panthers, tigers, spotted deer, mouse deer, black buck, sambars, chousingha nilgai, tree straw, mugger crocodile, and wolfs, sloth beer & wild dogs. Mannanur (104 Kms from Mahbubnagar towards Srisailam), Kandla Kunta (30 Kms from Macherla & 60 Kms from Sagar towards Srisailam), Vatwarla Palle (30 Kms from Srisailm towards Mahbubnagar) are different gateways into the sanctuary. No forest department safaris are available. Accommodation is available at Srisailam, Macherla & Mannanur and private tour operators can arrange trip into the forest from here.
At a distance of 40 Kms from Vijayawada, 33 Kms from Guntur, 105 Kms from Nagarjuna Sagar & 253 Kms from Hyderabad, Amaravati, on the banks of River Krishna, is the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center.It is best known for the Great Stupa or Maha Chaitya, believed to have been 32m height and 32m diameter, larger than the one at Sanchi (Bhopal). The origins of the stupa go back to the 2nd / 3rd century BC, the reign of Ashoka. The Stupa is partly reconstructed on the same site. The excavations by Colin Mackenzie in 1797 recovered the magnificent railings and sculptured friezes.Amaravathi is also known for the Amaralingeswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built in 10th/11th century by eastern Chalukyas.The Archaeological Museum includes collections from Buddhist sites belong to 3rd century BC to 12th century. It contains panels, chakras and caskets containing relics, broken railings and sculptures etc, arranged in different galleries. Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM. Friday Closed.
Srisailam is one of the most important pilgrimage centers of Lord Shiva in India, and it's one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Srisailam, also known as Sriparvata is situated in the Rishabgiri Hills on the banks of River Krishna in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, at a distance of 215 Kms from Hyderabad and 180 Kms from Kurnool.At an altitude of 457 meters above sea level, this ancient temple built in the Dravidian style with lofty towers and sprawling courtyards is one of the finest specimens of Vijayanagar architecture. Though the exact origins of the temple are not available, the Satavahanas of the 2nd century AD have referred to it. The Kakatiyas and the Vijayanagara kings have made several endowments here. This temple is of immense religious, historical and architectural significance with self-manifested linga. The Skanda Purana has a chapter dedicated to it. The great religious leader Aadi Sankara is said to have visited this shrine and composed his immortal Sivananda Lahiri here.The unique feature of this kshetram is the combination of Jyothirlingam and Mahasakthi (in the form of Bramarambha) in one campus, which is very rare and only one of its kind.Srisailam Dam built over River Krishna is one of the largest dams in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the largest hydroelectric project in the state. The dam offers wonderful views of the surrounding Nallamala hills.Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Sanctuary, India's largest tiger reserve is spread over 3500 Sq kms.