Gandikota Fort | Overview, Camping & Best time to Visit

Kadapa District is the residence of Gandikota, one of India’s most spectacular geological formations. Gandikota Fort on the banks of the Penner River derives its name from two Telugu words, ‘Gandi’ meaning gorge. ‘Fortress’ means Fort—the canyon Fort (Gandi means Canyon in Telugu, and Kota means Fort). Fort and Canyon are also known as the “Grand Canyon of India”. Gandikota Fort timings are from 08:00 am to 06:00 pm.

Gandikota Fort camping

Gandikota is located 90 km from Kadapa in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. This beautiful landscape is known as “The Hidden Grand Canyon of India”. It is a village on the right bank of the river Pennar near Jammalamadugu, amidst the huge Fort, magnificent gorge, lakes, temples, beautiful landscape and vast natural resources of the jungle.

Gandikota Fort Overview:

Many enthusiastic travellers have reached Gandikota (literally “Gorge Fort”) to the Grand Canyon in Colorado. While the ‘Indian Grand Canyon’ sobriety is hyperbolic – the valley extends to a very short distance compared to the 441 km long American wonder – Gandikota is amazing. There is a dam at the Fort upstream (Gandikota Dam) and downstream (Mylavaram Dam).

Origin of Fort:

The Fort of Gandikota acquired its name due to the ‘gorge’, formed between the Erramala range of hills, also known as Gandikota hills and the river Penna (Pennar) that flows at its foot, reducing its width to a mere 100 m (look for the river image in the montage/main image).


In November 2015, the Andhra Pradesh government cited a plan to develop Gandikota as the next major tourist hub of Andhra Pradesh.


The first structure to be seen inside the Fort was the Charminar, a three-story tower that was enthusiastically rebuilt. To the left is a prison, a huge stone structure with three gates. Going a little further, one can see the Madhavaraya Swamy Temple.

Despite the intelligence of all these monuments, the highlight of Gandikota is undoubtedly the idea of the Penna Gorge from the border of the Fort. Climb over the rocks beyond the Ranganathaswamy Temple for the best vantage point.


The ancient grant indicates that King Kapa of Bommanapalli, a neighbouring village, built a fort at Gandikota. Harihara, the first emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire, is believed to have built a temple here. However, the 16th-century Persian historian Firista states that they built the Fort in 1589.

It was captured by the Qutb Shahis and presided over by Mir Jumla in the 17th century. Jumla built the Zuma Mosque and expanded the Fort. The Fort was later handed to the Nawab of Kadapa and Haider Ali. In 1800CE, following an agreement with the Nizam, the British gained control of the Fort.

Major structures:

The Fort has two antique temples dedicated to Madhava and Ranganath. They are in disrepair, and the fort area is covered with the ruins of the ages, and many ancient structures are in ruins at different stages.

The large granary with the cup is now used as the Watchmen Quarter. There are two minarets next to the Jamia Mosque. A heritage celebration is held every year in the fort area.

Other Structures in the Fort Include:
  • Another large granary (used to store food and grain late).
  • A magazine.
  • A beautiful ‘pigeon tower’ with torn windows.
  • An elaborate palace built of bricks with some plastered embellishments and some wells
  • House of the Drum (drums used to alert the army during an invasion)
  • the Charminar, the prison (prisoners held hostage)
  • The Red Corner (also known as the Sword Pond
  • a large lake in front of the mosque

There is an old cannon fibbing in the Fort. ‘Rayalacheruvu’ irrigates some lime and banana plantations with its perennial springs. Pipes have connected the ‘pond’ to a fountain in the Jamia Mosque, and traces of it can still be seen.

An undated inscription on a rock near ‘Nagjhari’ outside the Fort records that two gardens were gifts to the temple. There was a garden called ‘Parebag’ with a waterfall at the bottom of the hills on the banks of the Penner.

Gandikota Fort Timings and Entry Fee:

There is no Entry Fee. Here are the timings of the Gandikota Fort.

Monday8 am to 6 pm
Tuesday8 am to 6 pm
Wednesday8 am to 6 pm
Thursday8 am to 6 pm
Friday8 am to 6 pm
Saturday8 am to 6 pm
Sunday8 am to 6 pm

Best time to visit:

Between September and February, the weather is comfortable and pleasant.

  • Rainy Season: Aug 2nd week – Sep 2nd week
  • Summer Season: Jan 2nd week – Jul 2nd week.
  • Winter Season: Sep 3rd week – Jan 2nd week.

Stay at Gandikota:

Room TypeRoom ChargesNo.Of persons allowed
Ac (A little far from Fort)Rs.16802 Adults + 2 Child
Swiss Tent Rental without FoodRs.15003 Adults + 1 Child
Swiss Tent Rental with Food (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)Rs.1500/ person3 Adults + 1 Child

Adventure Activities at the Fort:

  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Cave exploration
Activity NameCharges
KayakingRs.500 (Not available now)
Rock ClimbingRs.200

Pack Things for visiting Gandikota:

  • Pack cool cotton clothes, sunglasses, and sunscreen during summer, and carry a hat or headscarf (afternoons are extremely hot).
  • In the winter, pack a jacket and carry a moisturiser to prevent chapped skin.
  • Carry comfortable, close-toed, sturdy hiking shoes and extra socks.
  • Make sure to bring along binoculars and a bird guide.
  • A first aid kit and insect resistance would be advisable.
  • Water bottles (at least two, but it’s better to be extra-prepared!)

Tips for Photographers:

  • Carry a wide-angle lens to photograph the sunrise and sunset at the Pennar Gorge and the temples and monuments at Gandikota Fort.
  • Don’t forget to bring your zoom lens; plenty of birds, e.g. an eagle, can be spotted soaring above the cliffs of the Pennar Gorge. 
  • Winter is the perfect time to try to photograph the Bar-headed Goose at the Mylavaram Dam.

Budget per person to visit Gandikota:

We can expect to spend between Rs 1500 and Rs 1800 per person for two days and at least three tourist attractions.

Best to know before going to Gandikota:

  • Tadipatri and Jammalamadagu are the nearest towns with basic facilities like convenience stores, ATMs, pharmacies, hotels etc.
  • There is no organised transport from Gandikota to Tadipatri, and rickshaws are few and far. Your best option is to secure a rickshaw from Tadipatri to go up to the Fort and request the driver to wait to take you back. If the price is too high, you can find other tourists who can share the rickshaw.
  • All major phone networks have good coverage at Gandikota and its surrounding attractions.
  • Lodge owners may not allow you to keep your baggage in the lodge after checking out, so plan your stay accordingly. Be prepared to carry your luggage if you explore the region after checkout.

Gandikota Camping:

This Camping Site is located in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, a short distance from Chennai. Make your excursion at Gandikota memorable. The area was surrounded by stunning landscapes, hilly landscapes and balloon caves to explore. The camping starts at 4 pm on the first day and ends at 10 am on the second. Watch the beautiful sunrise from the top of the hills or sit on the banks of the Penna River.

Embrace the beauty of the Penna River by engaging in swimming, cliff jumping, waterfall trekking, fort visiting, rock climbing and many more adventurous activities. Play indoor board games. Enjoy comfortable accommodation in tents on a twin/triple/quad sharing basis and the usual washroom facility.

Know before you go to Gandikota Camping:

  • At least two people are needed to book a camping session.
  • Thrillophilia reserves the right to change the travel order without changing the total number of days and without compromising any service (i.e. weather conditions, political conditions, or others).
  • Any meals or transfers not specified on the trip will be considered an exception to the deal.
  • Follow the guidelines administered by the state government.
  • It would be best if you observed the social distance.
  • Frequent use of hand sanitiser and mask was recommended.
  • Proof of I.D. is mandatory for every single guest during and after booking.
  • PAN card will not be considered as proof of valid address.
  • If any items in the resort are broken or damaged, a charge will be levied based on the facts.
  • The Gandikota camping package does not include any personal expenses or items of an individual nature.
  • It is free on a complimentary basis for children less than five years old.
  • Children 5-10 years old will be charged extra.

Places to visit near the Fort:

  • Jail
  • Madhavaraya Temple
  • Juma Mosque
  • Kattula Koneru
  • Rayala Cheruvu
  • Charminar
  • Granary
  • Ranganayakula Temple
  • Penna River Gorge
  • Gandikota Reservoir
  • Belum Cave
  • Owk Reservoir
  • Yaganti Temple
  • Oravakallu Rock Garden
  • Kurnool Fort

Hotels near Gandikota Fort:

  • Amaze Camping Gandikota
  • A.P. Tourism Haritha Resort
  • Sri Balaji resort
  • Royal Fort Hotel & Lodge
  • Royal Palace Residency
  • Gandikota Camping | Freakouts Adventures
  • Sivalingam accommodation & tents
  • Priyanka Restaurant
  • Sri Sri Lakshmi Narayana Bhavan
  • Gandikota Penna River View and Abhiruchi Family Restaurant.

Gandikota Fort Address and Contact Number:

How to Reach Gandikota Fort:

The best way to reach Gandikota Fort is by road, private taxi, or vehicle. The roads to and from Gandikota Fort are in great condition, offer a smooth and comfortable journey, and you can enjoy travelling.

By Air:

The nearest airport is Tirupati, which is at a distance of 225 km from Gandikota.

By Rail:

The nearest railway head is 18 km from the fort.

By Road:

APSRTC operates several buses from the Jammalamadugu Bus stand.


What is the secret of Gandikota?

The massive Fort is surrounded by deep natural valleys, impassable hills and boulders, making it a very secure fort. The Fort can be accessed only from one direction. Pennar River flows beside it in the valley, making it look like a huge canyon.

Who built the Gandikota fort?

Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayudu.

When was the Gandikota fort built?

Half of the 13th century A.D.

What is Gandikota called?

The almost-forgotten gorge of Gandikota is situated on the Pennar River in Andhra Pradesh and is known as the Grand Canyon of India.

Who discovered Gandikota?

Kapa Raja.