November 4, 2015

Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex...

Apart from the beaches, ports, steel plant and refinery the place Vizag has been once a flourishing centre for Buddhist culture. It was a surprise for me too till I actually reached this place called “Thotlakonda Caves”.  As I always say Travellers never think of themselves as foreigners, whatever time I could have managed from my schedule I stepped out to relish the soothing ambience at Thotlakonda.
It is believed that Vizag had been once a part of legendary Kalinga Empire and Buddhism flourished here under the patronage of rulers of Kalinga. The place mst have been  flourishing centre around 200 BC  - 200 AD.
Thotlakaonda is around 15 Km. from Vizag enroute to Bheemlipatnam. Way to Thotlakonda will be at your left hand side, please be vigilant or ask the locales. Situated atop a hill, Thotlakonda caves make a picturesque site for the visitors and archaeologists too. Caves were discovered during an aerial survey by Indian Navy in 1970's.




Mounds, Stupas, Chaitya grihas and pillared halls indicate that this place must have been a Buddhist monastery/ university for primary students. Check out the largest of the existing Stupa:

Going by the layout of this place, around 150 monks used to stay and study here. Proximity to sea and harbours must have allowed scholars from across the world to travel to this place and vice versa. Monks from countries like Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka were regular visitors here.
The well defined lay out of the rooms is like a hostel and size of the rooms which is pretty small can accommodate no more than 2 students of age group 10-12 years. 




A well equipped kitchen to cater to needs of students and visiting scholars was also operating in this campus.




The set-up here must have been a self sustained one as there are also some rock-cut cisterns meant for rain water preserving.








A Giant Stupa...












Layout of the premises with self explanatory mark up boards...






Some excavated structures.....








There are a few guides also at this place who can explain the various structures and significance of each of these. Good part they do not bargain for fees and accept whatever you will give, but please be reasonable enough as it is their only means of livelihood.
Thotlakonda in Telugu means "Eagle had shaped Hill". One can also enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the nearby beaches an landscapes. To reach Thotlakonda, Bheemunipatnam from Vizag railway station.


Drive on the beautiful Beach Road is really enriching, you will enjoy every moment of it. Take whatever time you get from your busy schedules to savour such delicacies, Keep travelling Guys...




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