Guthikonda Caves, Guntur

Summary: Caves bring us the remembrance of olden periods and Guthikonda Caves are no exception. Try to make your visit once to this place during your visit to Guntur.

Guntur is a popular tourist destination that is situated in the middle of hills in the Krishna Delta. This city is actually located at a distance of about 40 kms from the Bay of Bengal. The great thing about the entire region of Guntur is that many small water channels and rivers pass through this district. Besides these things, this is a land of rich cultural diversity. In addition to, many water channels as attraction for tourists, there are many festivals celebrated in this district every year and these festivals attract people from around the world to join in the celebrations, even though, the festivals have religious connection.

The Kalachakra Festival is one of the important attractions of this district and it is held at the city of Amaravati. This festival got its name to mean the time wheel used in tantric Buddhism and this region is known to have historical connection with the religion of Buddhism.

In addition to the festivals, there is a wide range of natural beauties in this district that provides many weekend visiting spots for the locals and many spots for tourists as well. When talking about attractions for tourists, Guthikonda Caves is one that cannot be left out from the list. This is otherwise called as Guthikonda Bilam.

Bilam is actually a Sanskrit word that brings the meaning Cave and Guthikonda here is the name of the village in which the cave is located. This cave has been enticing historians and archaeologists for many decades now as it stands as storehouse of mysteries of ancient heritage of the nation.

Inside Guthikonda Caves


Guthikonda Caves are located near a place called Karampudi, which is located at a distance of about 38 kms from Narasaraopet in the Guntur Disrict.
Spiritual connection:

These caves are stated to be the chanting place for the great saint called as muchukunda maha muni. History states that there are about 108 caves in this place, but humans can visit just 5 to 6 of them easily. There are temples for many gods and goddesses in these caves. In addition, there are many Shiva lingams in these caves.

Historical details:

When going through the history of these caves, it is found that the Palanati Yuddam was fought near these caves at a distance of about 20 km during the 1182 AD. During the war period, the Palanati Bramha Naidu and his 66 warriors have stayed in these caves and it is located amidst lush forests. Nature lovers will be surely enthralled when they visit this place as there are many natural formations. It is known that people from prehistoric times have used these caves. Even, remains from antediluvian era were found by archaeologists from these caves. 

Geological details:

These caves stand at the foot of the hillock amidst the dense forests of the Nallamala hills of Eastern Ghats. The roof of the caves is composed of rock with limestone and mica schist. The floor is not even and it has a thick layer of gravel and some huge boulders as well.

Sivalingam inside Guthikonda Caves

Biological details:

There were no publication reports with respect to the biological details of the cave until the year 2008. But, on this year, a M. Sc Zoology student of the Acharya Nagarjuna University found a tiny milky white creature for the first time in this cave. Following his finding, the isopod taxonomist began a new chapter in India phreatoicidea for the identification of new spices and named it as Andhracoides following the name of the student, who found the species for honouring his finding.

How to reach?

Buses are operated from the Narasaraopet to Macherla through Guttikonda and the nearest railway station is the Piduguralla railway station for those planning to visit by train. From Guttikonda village, auto rickshaws are operated and even shared auto rickshaws are available for the convenience of tourists. The great thing to remember is that daily food distribution, cottage and light arrangement is done by the temple community in these caves.

Tourists are recommended to visit this place as a holy place and not as a tourist or trekking spot and they are also recommended to be cautious about preserving the historical spot in whatever way they can like by not throwing garbage here and there. Even, they can make their possible contributions for the temples in these caves as free annadhanam is done on a regular basis.


Nagarjuna Konda, Guntur

Summary: Can you imagine visiting an island in South India? Yes, this is possible as the Guntur District has one such island. Let us explore some details about this island called as Nagarjunakonda.

The term Nagarjunakonda is translated as Nagarjuna Hill and it is nothing, but a historical Buddhist town. It is now an island that is located close to the Nagarjuna Sagar in the Guntur District of the state of AP.

Site of historical importance:

The ancient remains of this site, which is located at a distance of about 150 kms southeast of Hyderabad were discovered in the year 1926. Before the year 1953, two major excavations were carried out in this place. The first excavation was done when it was announced that the area would be flooded by the Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir. It was presumed that the major flood would arise as a result of the massive hydroelectric project that was initiated in the area in the year 1960.

To protect the Buddhist remains in this area, a massive excavation work was carried out, during which the unearthing of many Buddhist stupas, ruins, viharas, chaityas and mandapams happened. During the period, many white marble depictions explaining the life of Gautam Buddha were found. From the remains found during the excavation, some of them were moved to Nagarjunakonda Island that now has a museum for showcasing these remains from Buddhist period to the tourists.

Significance of Nagarjunakonda:

This island was one of the most important and largest Buddhist centers in entire South India right from the second century BC until the third century AD. This place was named after Acharya Nagarjuna, who was a renowned Buddhist philosopher and scholar and who is also considered as the pioneer to spread Buddhism in this region. It is stated that he had migrated to this place from Amaravati for spreading the message of Gautam Buddha of brotherhood and universal peace.

Acharya Nagarjuna as he was popularly called is the founder of Mahayana Buddhism and there is also a university that functions even today in the name of this Acharya. He also established the Madhyamika School for which students from different countries of the world like China and Sri Lanka were attracted to learn the preaching of Gautam Buddha. The Acharya also governed the community of Buddhist Priests for nearly 60 years during the 2nd Century AD.

Replica of Buddha In Nagarjuna Konda

The museum Nagarjunakonda:

The museum was actually established with a view to collect, safeguard and exhibit the remains that were retrieved when the excavation was done near Nagarunjasagar. The special thing about this museum is that it is constructed in the style of Buddha Vihara and it is located in the middle of the remains of the defence that took place in the medieval period. Besides the remains of the Buddha reign, the museum also showcases the remains of many cultural periods that the region has passed through. Some of the articles displayed in the five galleries functioning in the museum include inscriptions, sculptures, lime stone slabs and many such things that are known to be remains from 3rd or 4th century AD.

Key gallery:

Among the galleries functioning in this area, the key gallery is known to have the masterpieces of Ishvaku dynasty, who ruled this area between 225 AD and 325 AD. In addition, there is a separate section that shows the development of human civilization in the region right from the Stone Age to the megalithic period. There are coins and seals of the ruling dynasties among the many other things that people used during those historical periods.

Tourist attractions in Nagarjunakonda:

Besides reaching this island by boat from the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, the other attractions for tourists visiting this place are the Ethipothala waterfalls, Nagarjunakonda caves and of course the Nagarjunakonda Dam. Apart from these attractions, the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Museum is yet another place, where the tourists can find some dreadful animals, some rare birds and many playful animals. The best time to visit this region is from October to March every year.

Timings to visit the museum:

The museum will be kept open from 9am to 4pm for the tourists to visit. It will be closed on Friday and only a meagre fee is collected as entry ticket. Children under 15 years of age are allowed to enter fee.

If you wish to explore about Buddhism to certain extent and the great life history of Gautam Buddha and if you have interest towards historical remains, never forget to plan your visit to this place during your vacation.


Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Guntur

Summary: Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is popular all around India and it is located in the Guntur District of the state of AP. Let us explore some details about this dam.

Krishna River is highly popular not just in AP, but also in many other parts of India and even abroad as well. Like the Krishna River, the dam that is constructed across this river called as Nagarjuna Sagar is also popular. This dam was constructed in Nargarjuna Sagar and this is the place, where the river is standing as the forming boundary between the Nalgonda District of the state of Telangana and the Guntur District of the state of AP. The dam was built between 1955 and 1967.

During the Green Revolution Period in India, a wide range of infrastructural projects were initiated by then government of India and this dam holds the pride of being the earliest of such projects. In addition to this pride, the dam also holds the pride of being one among the earliest hydro-electric and multi-purpose irrigation projects in India. Besides providing hydro electricity generation service, the dam also provides irrigation facilities to agricultural lands spread over different districts like Guntur, Krishna, Nalgonda, West Godavari and Prakasam.

History of the dam:

The request for building of a dam for using the surplus water from the Krishna River was initiated by the Nizam of Hyderabad and for this project, the Nizam engaged the British Engineers in the year 1903. With this initiative, different sites for location of reservoirs in different regions of the state like Pulichintala, Hyderabad and Siddeswaram were considered. But, the stubbornness shown by the Raja Vasireddy Ramagopala Krishna Maheswar Prasad, it was identified that Nagarjunasagar is the ideal place to construct the reservoir. The king, who showed his stubbornness also contributed 55000 acres of land and also 55 billion British pounds for finding the site, design and building of the dam. Then, the construction began with local knowledge under the engineering leadership of Mr. K.L. Rao.


Once, the spot was identified and the required permissions were obtained, the project construction was launched officially by then Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the 10th of December 1955. After the inauguration, the construction work continued for the next 12 years. After, the construction was completed reservoir water was released into the left and right bank canals by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the year 1967. This followed the construction of Hydropower plant and the power generation increased between the years 1978 and 85 as additional units came into service during this period.

Even though, the dam was constructed with a good cause, the construction led to immersion of an ancient Buddhist settlement called Nagarjunakonda, which was earlier the capital of the Ishvaku Dynasty. When the place was dug for construction of the dam, nearly 30 Buddhist monasteries, besides artworks and inscriptions were found. These monumental findings were moved to two different places. Some of them were moved to mainland, while some were shifted to Nagarjuna’s Hill, which is now an island in the middle of the reservoir.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Night View in Guntur

Effect of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam:

The right canal provides water supply to more than 1.113 million acres of agricultural land in the Prakasam and Guntur Districts, while the left canal provides water supply to 0.32 million acres of land in the Khammam, West Godavari, Krishna and Nalgonda districts. The right canal is named after Jawaharlal Nehru as Jawahar Canal, while the left is named after Lalbahadur Shastri.

It is stated that this great project has brought about a great improvement in the economy of the districts mentioned above. However, there is a negative effect of 52 villages submersion and 24000 people were relocated for the construction, but the relocation of people was completed only in the year 2007. It is known that for the construction of the dam, nearly 1300 crore rupees were spent and it is also stated that around 45000 to 70,000 people got employment opportunity because of the construction. So, the dam stands as an emblem of helping many families not just now with its water and power generation, but also earlier during its construction.

Power generation:

The hydroelectric plant in Nagarjuna Sagar Dam has a power generation capacity of 815.6 MW and there are 8 units. These 8 units were commissioned one after the other followed the first commissioning that happened on the 7th of March 1978 and the final unit commissioning was done on the 24th of December 1985. The Jawahar Canal has the power generation capacity of 90 MW with 3 units contributing equally, while the Lalabahadur Canal can generate 60 MW with 2 units contributing equally. However, the power generation capacity use to be very high during rainy seasons, while lesser water is needed for irrigation.


To make it suitable for tourists and visitors, the dam is constructed with a beautiful landscape and it has a scenic attraction. Turbines are located both on the Nalgonda side of the river and on the Guntur side and tourists are allowed to see the turbines in action.

Other attractions:

There are many other places to visit around the dam like Ethipothala waterfalls and the dense Srisailam Wildlife Reserve. Besides these places, there is also an excellent museum near the dam and this museum can be reached by boat. Boat trip is another attraction for the visitors.

The museum is actually located in the Nagarjuna Konda Island, wherein the remains of the Buddhist settlement can be seen. Boats are operated regularly from the dam to the museum.

How to reach?

To reach this place by air, Hyderabad is the nearest airport and Nagarjuna Sagar is located at a distance of about 150 kms from Hyderabad. Regular buses are operated from the cities of Hyderabad and Guntur to Nagarjuna Sagar. When it comes to rail route, the nearest station is Macherla and it is located at a distance of about 24kms from Nagarjuna Sagar and roadways like bus or private taxis should be chosen after reaching this railway station.

Ethipothala Water Falls, Guntur

Summary: Most of us wish to get drenched in the shower of water and when it is a natural water in natural falls, our happiness will be doubled, isn’t?

Ethipothala is a place located at a distance of about 11 kms from Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. This place is the home for a sprawling waterfalls called as Ethipothala Waterfalls. This waterfall is actually a mountain stream that falls down 22 metres for formation of a tranquil pond at the foot of the hill. The falls is actually a union of three small rivers called as Nakkala Vagu, Chandravanka Vagu and Tummala Vagu. The ponds around the falls are used for crocodile farming programme that is running under the control of the Forest Department of the state of AP.

A View of Ethipothala Water Falls

What is the reason behind the name of the falls?

The story behind this falls states that yathis and rishis have done tough prayers in this place and so this place got its name as etitaposthal, which means the place in which thapam, a form of meditation was done by yathis. In Sanskrit, the term ‘iti’ gives the meaning of tapas, which means personal discipline or endeavour, which is done to achieve a goal. Yathi is a term that denotes the meaning of an individual, who works hard to achieve a particular purpose and this term is synonymous to the spiritual person called yogi or monk.

The name ‘Ethipothala’ is given to two things in AP, one is this waterfall and the other is the government’s Lift Irrigation Scheme and this scheme is called as Ethipothala Padhakam.

Description of Ethipothala Water Falls

Confusion behind the name of the falls:

In Telugu, the term ‘Ethipothala’ gives the meaning as lift and pour. This is why many local people assume that this falls is a part of the Lift Irrigation Scheme of the government. But, it has nothing to do with this scheme governed by the local government. Also, since the Nagarjuna Dam is located close to the falls, it is obvious that people think that the falls is a part of government’s project. But, it is a tourist spot that is open for public.

Nearby places to visit:

Besides this falls, Ethipothala is the home for two beautiful temples as well that are located close to the waterfalls. These temples are located in a valley that is surrounded by lush green forest. The temples are for lord Ranganatha and Dattatreya. There is also a network of caves close to the waterfalls and these caves start here and extend till Srisailam. There is also a Buddhist site close to the falls.

Night view of Ethipothala Water Falls

The best time to visit:

The ideal time to visit this waterfall is summer evenings. The reason for this is that after the sunset, colourful lights start to decorate the falls. The cascade looks fantastic under lights.


Haritha Resort is the most popular and affordable accommodation to choose and this is located in Nagarjuna Sagar area. From this resort, the tourists can get a magnificent view of the falls. There are both AC and non-AC rooms in this resort for the visitors to choose according to their budget. The grounds near the waterfalls also have the ideal place for mild trekking and camping as well.


Upplapadu Bird Life Santchury

Summary: For those, who have love towards birds, the best place to visit in Guntur District is the Uppalapadu Nature Conservation.

If you are a bird watcher interested in getting the sight of new and different birds that migrate from around the world, the best place to visit is the Uppalapadu Nature Conservation. The solitary pelican bird that rests for three weeks in the nourishing water of the village called Uppalapadu in Guntur District, bring in droves of many other birds from different parts of the world. The local villagers state that during the winter season, they can see nearly 2000 pelican birds, besides many other birds like spot billed ducks, glossy ibises, painted storks to name a few.

It is stated that more than 60 different species of birds visit the tank in the Uppalapadu Village for nesting and roosting all year across seasons. Even though, it is stated that spot-billed pelican is an endangered species, this type of bird retains its pride in Uppalapadu.

Where is this village?

This village is located at a distance of just 6 kms from main Guntur city. There is a water tank that provides home for different species of birds and this tank holds water covering an area of 32 acres and there is also a high school in the middle of it. Not just birds, but the local villagers also get plenty of water from the tank and this is why the villages have left six acres area for the birds, while the remaining is for their use.

It is stated that before 1992 only resident birds were visiting this spot, but after this year, many migrants are see says a villager. The migrant birds followed after the first visit of the pelican bird. It is stated that spotted pelicans land this spot every year by the third week of September. When it comes to pelicans, it is stated that right from the year 1999-2000, there has been a considerable increase in the number of pelicans visiting this spot. In the year 1999-2000, the numbers started at 40 pelicans that built around 15 nests and the number was rising every year. As per the 2004-05 record, the number of Pelicans was 1500 and the number of nests was 400.

Birds in Upplapadu Guntur

Why is that village habitat crucial?

Nature enthusiasts state that spot-billed pelicans are endangered species, but they visit and breed around this tank in Uppalapadu in hundreds and with every year passing, the number of this species is almost doubling. This breeding ground is stated to be the only hope for pelicans in AP. Besides this species, nearly 60 other species also choose this spot as the nesting and breeding ground. Some of these birds take their foods from the pests that destroy crops. Even some migrants that lost their group are able to find feeding grounds in Uppalapadu for survival. Villagers state that the birds are to be protected as they are providing great help to farmers. Also, they state that some more area of water other than 6 acres will be reserved for birds, if some issues are resolved.

So, have a look at these friends of farmers, when you visit Guntur and you will be enthralled with a wide range of species.