is also called 'Vijayapuri' in ancient times is an important Buddhist
site located 150 Kms from Hyderabad. Nagarjunasagar is named after
the Buddhist saint Acharya Nagarjuna, one of the outstanding Buddhist
teachers in the Andhra Kingdom. The relics of Buddhist civilization
dating back to the 3rd Century A.D. that were excavated here are
carefully preserved on the picturesque island Nagarjunakonda situated
in the center of a man-made lake. Nagarjuna dam, which was completed
in 1966, is 124 meters high and 1 km long, one of the largest
masonry in the world. The lake, which it straddles, is the third
largest manmade lake in the world. 4 Kms away from the dam, is
the Viewpoint, where a panoramic view of the amazing landscape,
is simply a feast to the eyes. On a pylon not too far from the
dam, is the image of Nagarjuna, the patron of the ancient city.
The Museum at Nagarjunakonda, which displays relics also has pre-historic
finds in the form of tools from Paleolithic and Neolithic times.
11 kms downstream, from the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam are the Ethipothala
waterfalls, a mountain stream cascading down the hills from a
height of 22 meters, the Ethipothala waterfalls are a radiant
sight of the power and beauty of nature. The dazzling, azure lagoon
formed at the foot of the falls houses a first-rate crocodile
breeding center which is open to the public. The 'Chandravanka'
stream here plunges from a height of 21.3 meters into a lagoon
and flows on through a green valley much frequented by tourists.
It is few kilometers away from the Nagarjunasagar dam, Anupu is
a site of Buddhist excavations reconstructed to perfection with
painstaking effort. The reconstructed stupas have circular brick
or rubble walls. The walls have cladding of limestone slabs or
plaster. The Simha Vihara has two Chaitya halls, one encircling
a Buddha image. The Chaitya Halls and monasteries had limestone
column set in to brick or stone walls. However only the lower
portions including the pavement slabs and access steps survive.
Nagarjunakonda also has remains of some Hindu shrines. The island
has an archaeological museum rich in sculptures mainly from the
3rd - 4th century AD and also a few pieces from much later periods.
Other reconstruction sites are at Anupu on the east bank of the
river. These include a temple (3rd - 4th century), monasteries
(4th century) and a Stadium (4th century). The monastery has also
a refectory, a store and a bath. The stadium has tiered galleries
providing around a rectangular court.
The Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary is situated around 132 kms
south of Hyderabad on the banks of the river Krishna. The reserve
is part of Project Tiger and supports a variety of animals birds
and reptiles. The temple at Srisailam is dedicated to Lord Shiva
and is considered as one of his twelve Jyotirlingas. A cluster
of minor shrines within the temple enclosures include the Sahasra
Linga Panchapandava Temples and Vata Vriksha.
Mention of Srisailam as Sriparvata has been made in the immortal
epic of the Hindus- the Mahabharat.