When we hear the words ‘Grand Canyon’ we automatically think of Arizona, USA, and the spectacular canyon there. Few people know that we have a smaller, but still very impressive version of USA’s Grand Canyon right here in India. It’s called the Gandikota Canyon. You’ll find it in Andhra Pradesh’s Kadappa District.
A canyon is formed by water flowing continuously through rocky mountainous areas. The water slowly but surely exposes layer after layer of rock, creating a valley or gorge as it cuts deeper and deeper into the mountainside. It takes centuries to form a canyon.
The Gandikota Canyon was formed by the River Pennar as it cut through the Erramala Hills.
Apart from the breathtaking canyon, there’s another attraction to this place – a fort.
According to historical records, a local king, Kaka Majaraju, was hunting in the area one day in the 13th Century when he came across the canyon. He felt that it would be an ideal place to build a fort, as the canyon created a natural defence, being very hard to corss. So, a grand fort was built there, and a bustling village grew up around it. Over the years, the Gandikota Fort became the property of other rulers, until it came to be part of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire. The Vijayanagar kings developed Gandikota into an important trade centre, as it was located on a trade route.
With time, the Vijayanagar Empire faded away, and slowly, Gandikota Fort lost its importance. It became a ruin.
From 2015, the Andhra Pradesh Government has been taking steps to make Gandikota a tourist destination. There are adventure treks and camping facilities available there now, and a Heritage Festival is held at the Fort every year.