Each district in Telangana has a unique legacy associated with its age-old forts and other historic structures. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that Telangana state, is a land of rich heritage structures and forts.
Gandhari Khilla, also called Gandharikota or Gandharigutta is a hill fort, located near Bokkalagutta village in Mandamarri Mandal, Adilabad district of Telangana. The fort was believed to have been built more than 1000 years ago within a dense forest region. The fort was reportedly built in the 12th century by Gondu tribals, who predominantly inhabit the region. The construction of the fort started during the Rastrakuta era, before 1200 A.D. and continued until the end of 16th century. The sculptures, thoranam as well as pillars were constructed in Kakatiya style. It is interesting to note that most sculptures here are dedicated to Vishnu, while the Kakatiyas are known to have worshiped Shiva. After it was ruled by the Kingdom of Gondus, it later went under the control of Oddi Raju Anantharaju and subsequently it was controlled by the Qutub Shahi Sultans.
Highlights of Gandharikota Fort
- The fort is covered by forest partially even to this day.
- Gandhari Maisamma temple is located within the precincts of this fort.
- A major attraction of the fort is the eight-foot Ekasila Naga Seshu idol with 10 heads.
- There are three wells located near the Naga Seshu temple, called “Savathula Bavulu” which has plenty of water even during summer.
- Other key highlights of this fort are Rock-cut cells, gateways, Rock cut cave temple with seven hooded Naga, four-armed Bhairava, chained Elephant with a man in its trunk, Shiva,Ganesha etc.
Importance of the Fort
The fort reflects the tribal heritage of Telangana’s interior regions. Since the hill fort is located in the interior of the forest area, it is therefore described as Vanagiridurga, during the heydays of the yesteryear rulers. The forest area of the Gandhari fort is considered an important source for medicinal plants. Even to this day, the local people collect the plants grown here and sell them in nearby towns.
Best Time to Visit
Every year, Mahankali Jatara held here during Dussehra, attracts more thousands of Tribals from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and other parts of Telangana.
How to reach
To reach this fort, one has to take the Mancherial – Bellampalli highway which passes close to the fort, and from this highway, the fort is located about 3 kilometers away. Gandharikota is located on sand rock hills, at a distance of about 270 kilometers to the north east of Hyderabad.