The small town of Gandikota is found on the Pennar river, in Andhra Pradesh just 15 km from Jammalamadagu. It is a popular tourist town tucked into the beautiful Erramala Hills and is known as India’s Grand Canyon. As well as being able to enjoy the amazing views there is a lot of historical importance to learn about and it is a great place for birding. While you can visit all year, the best times and most popular are from September to February when the weather is warm but not super hot. (During the summer season you can expect temperatures to reach between 28c to 40c).

Looking for places to stay

The name means gorge fort as it was built on the Penna river gorge in 1123. In the town itself, there are not many places to stay - you can find more variety nearby in Jammalamadagu and then travel in. There is the Haritha resort in Gandikota, it is a great place to relax, has its own restaurant but being as it is a very popular place you will need to book ahead. If you want to be more outdoorsy you could opt to stay in the small lodges in Jammalamadagu for very affordable rates.

Things to do and experience

There is a lot to do and something for everyone. Within Gandi Kota and outside it you have things like;

  • The fort, two temples, a jail, watchtower and masjid to explore.
  • Birding and photography at the Pennar river gorge.
  • Adventures sports that include zip-lining and kayaking.
  • The Belum Caves are the 2nd longest cave system in India so for spelunking enthusiasts, this is a must-see. Expect to spend at least half a day exploring.
  • Enjoy Kadapa’s Sri Lankamalleshwarma Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the last places you can find the endangered Jerdon’s Courser. You can stay in forest rest houses for accommodation close by if you do not want to drive the 15km to and from. Open all year but most popular between October and March.
  • The Mylavaram Dam found on the Pennar river on the route between the town and Jammalamadagu is a great place to spot different bird species. The highest-flying bird in the world is one of them, the Bar-headed Goose.

Preparing for your time in Gandikota

If you are braving your trip during the summer be sure to take head covering, cool clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and stay hydrated. If you are going in the winter you should take a light jacket with you. Bring a light first aid kit with you as well as good hiking shoes and extra socks. Insect repellant is a good thing to have too and to spot the views, the birds and the wildlife a pair of good binoculars. If you are especially focussed on bird watching a bird guide helps you avoid missing things. If you are coming to take some amazing photos, and trust us there is a lot of opportunity to do so, then bring a zoom lens and a wide angle lens.

For facilities like convenience shops, pharmacies, cash machines and hotels you need the larger towns close by such as Tadipatri or Jammalamadagu. You cannot find public transport to travel from Gandi Kota to Tadipatri and there are not many riskshaws either. If you have a rickshaw ask them to wait for you to take you back. Major phone networks cover the area. Consider what you will be doing with your baggage when you have checked out of a lode as many owners will not let you leave your bags there to go off for the day.


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This Article panned by Lora Davis