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It 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.

Ethipothala waterfalls
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.

Srisailam wildlife
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.

Hyderabad | Warangal | Visakhapatnam | Tirupati | Vijayawada | Nagarjunakonda

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