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Buddhism in Andhra Pradesh

Situated on the country's southeastern coast, Andhra Pradesh is a state filled with Buddhist relics. One can travel through the state and admire the Buddhist carvings and architecture here. Although many of them are in ruins one is still left to wonder as to how such mega structures were built and how long did the construction take. The intricate carvings on the life of Buddha is common on most of the architectures. Some also contains the carvings of the rulers under whose reign the structures were built. Still serving as a religious place for Buddhists, these relics are in a sorry state and are under the care of nature. So let's set out to explore these ancient relics built by our ancestors that still live on with us here.

Amaravati
  

Amaravati

Amaravati in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh is a site of Buddhist Stupas. The Stupas were built during the reign of emperor Ashoka. The Stupas have carved on them the story of Buddha's life. Amaravati is also famous for the Amareswara Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Photo Courtesy: J M Garg

Bavikonda
  

Bavikonda

Bavikonda which is situated on a hill is a Buddhist site. The Buddhist monks used to collect rain water in the trenches they dug here. The name Bavikonda if deciphered means 'hill of wells' and thus the name. The Bavikonda Monastery is very old and is said to date back to 3rd century BC.

Photo Courtesy: Adityamadhav83

Bojjannakonda
  

Bojjannakonda

Bojjankonda is located on a hill near the village of Sankaram. The hill is covered with a group of monolithic Stupas. There are six rock cut caves here each having a sculptured panel.

Photo Courtesy: Adityamadhav83

Nagarjunakonda
  
 

Nagarjunakonda

Nagarjunakonda is a historical Buddhist site in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh. It was a centre of Buddhist universities where students from China, Ghandhara, Bengal and Sri Lanka came. Tourist can see the ruins of these universities and other structures at the site. Other attractions here include the Ethipothala Falls which is a breeding place for crocodiles and the Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary.

Photo Courtesy: Sabyk2001

Pavurallakonda
  

Pavurallakonda

Pavurallakonda is a hill located near Beemunipatnam and is about 150 mts above the sea level. The hill top consists of a ruined Buddhist Monastic Complex which once used to house Buddhist monks. Visitors can enjoy the panoramic view of the coastline from here.

Photo Courtesy: Adityamadhav83

Ramateertham
  

Ramateertham

Ramateertham is know for its Buddhist and Jain ruins. There are three lines of hill that stand parallel to one another and is separated by the valleys between them. The central hill called the Gurbaktakonda houses the ruins of Buddhist monasteries.

Photo Courtesy: Adityamadhav83

Salihundam
  

Salihundam

Salihundam is located in the Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh. It is famous for the Buddhist site situated at the south bank of river Vamsadhara. There are ruins of Stupas and other Buddhist architecture here.

Photo Courtesy: George Puvvada

Thotlakonda
  

Thotlakonda

Thotlakunda seems to have been greatly influenced by Kalinga in its structures. One can date the ruins to about 2000 years old. The ruins contain Stupas and Buddhist viharas. It is believed that the vihara could house 100 monks and in its time had space for storing food, clothing and medicine.

Photo Courtesy: Adityamadhav83

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