Gandikota is a historical village in the district of Kadapa, in close vicinity with Jammalamadugu. The reason the gorge of Gandikota is named is because the name is comprised of two Telugu words, gandi, a gorge and kota, a fort. Needless to say, the place boasts both of them. One can stand there in overlooking the magnificent Pennar from the top of the gorge.
There is however a bigger story and a deeper one explaining the love the people and the kings had for Gandikota. Once upon a time in the year of 1213th era of Salivahana lived a King called Kaka Maharaju in Bommanapalle, a village close by Yerrakonda, about two miles east of Penner. The site of Gandikota was discovered by the King during hunting expedition. He was totally mesmerized by the place and he started inquiring about the place. The locals told him the sacred nature of the place and how important it is according to the sthala purana written about that place. The King further took advice of the elderly men and other counselors who told him to establish the village there. Hence the village of Gandikota was founded on the banks of the river Penner.
The story continues, it is said that in the 1297th year of Salivahana Harihara Bukkarayalu earned the throne of Vijayanagar. His reign was highly prosperous and incomparable. The King visit Varanasi and brought the holy water from the river Ganga. On his way back the king found statues or images of four gods buried in sand on the banks of river Godavari. The king instructed for the temples to be built. On the way of his return the temples for two of the gods were built at Gooty and Pamidi. The details about the remaining two gods are not so clear so I’d refrain from mentioning it. Then he came to Gandikota and saw the fort. When he was hunting in the area around the fort, it is said that god Madhavaswami appeared to him and told him that the particular place of Gandikota was sacred and consisted of many holy streams. The lord asked the king to build a temple there and hence it was done.
Incidentally the local legend of the place mentioned in the sthalapurana regarding Kaka Maharaju, the date coincides with the kings of Warangal. The place was supposedly said to be founded by the Kakatiya king Ambadeva or his successor Prataparudra. Eventually after the end of Vijayanagara at the battle of Talikota, the village of Gandikota stayed in control of local chiefs and then won by the kings of Golconda followed by the Nawabs of Cuddapah. It was unfortunate that the Kings of Golconda never really did understand the strategic position Gandikota offered. Adding to the agitation of the villagers the kings butchered over a hundred cows belonging to the temple.
The place of Gandikota has severed as an important strategic location for over several centuries and the ritual importance of the place is as critical as the fort. If it were not for the local legends, the importance of Gandikota would have forever been lost to history.
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