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Nagarjuna Sagar is situated at a distance of about 150 km from Hyderabad and is one of the well known Buddhist centers and also an attractive tourist spot in Andhra Pradesh. During ancient period, Nagarjuna Sagar was represented as Vijayapuri. It takes its present title from one of the most prominent Buddhist monk Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna governed the Sangha for about 60 years around the turn of the 2nd century A.D. It is an ideal spot of extensive archaeological importance and other mines which determine Nagarjuna Sagar as an epicenter for the broadcast of Buddhist preaching in India.
The Monasteries and Chaityas were developed on top of a hill called Nagarjunakonda (Konda is a telugu word for hill) which arise from the center of the lake. Several statues, friezes, coins and jewelry were detected from this site and were being displayed in a museum on the island and give an interesting insight into the daily lives of this relic Buddhist centre. This place was discovered in 1926. Subsequent excavations have brought out the remains of stupas, viharas, chaityas and mandapams.
One of the river valley civilization happened at this place. Inspired by the peaceful atmosphere of the place, Buddhists have created this region as a central hub for learning process by developing one of the four Viharas here. Also, one among the initial Hindu Kingdoms of south India, Ikshvakus determined this place as their capital. Thus this snow white region of archaeological finding and enlighten now possess the world’s tallest stone work dam.
Nagarjuna dam was constructed in the year 1966 is about 124 metres height and 1 km long and contains 26 crest gates. The corresponding lake is the third largest manmade lake in the world. The viewpoint is four km away from the dam, where a panoramic sight of the beautiful landscape is definitely a feast to the eyes. Developed in the shape of a Buddhist Vihara, the museum possesses an astonishing collection of ancient Buddha art and culture. The main stupa of Nagarjunakonda termed Mahachaitya is known to possess the divine relics of the Buddha. The major attraction of the museum is a striking image of peace and composure, a partially ruined monolithic statue of the Buddha.
Ethipothala is a mountain stream flowing down the hills from a height of 21.3 meters into a lagoon. This waterfall is a result of merging of three streams namely Chandravanka Vagu, Nakkala Vagu and Tummala Vagu. This beautiful lagoon developed by the waterfalls possesses a crocodile breeding centre. This stream joins the river Krishna after flowing for a distance of 3 km. Ranganadha and Dattatreya temples are located near the waterfalls. The caves present near to the waterfalls are believed to go to Srisailam.
Anupu, a reconstructed Buddhist excavation is situated just few kilometers away from the Nagarjunasagar dam. The ancient Buddhist University excavated during the construction of Nagarjunasagar dam has been reconstructed at Anupu, 4 km distantly located from the right bank of the reservoir. This is the place of great architectural importance with trusted reconstruction of the third century Vihara (Buddhist University) and also an amphitheatre with well developed acoustics that can take back to the ancient era lost in the pages of time.
How to Reach
Hyderabad is the nearest airport situated around 150 km from the Dam. Hyderabad is well connected from most of the cities in the country and there are many flights that arrives Hyderabad from different parts of the world. Many prepaid and post paid taxis are available from the Hyderabad airport which charge around Rs.2000 for the trip from the airport to the dam.
Nagarjunasagar is well connected by trains as the railway station is located near the dam. There are several trains that arrive to this station from different parts of the state. Travelling by train is the cheapest and best option. There are also A/C compartments available in most of the trains which is a very good option. Auto rickshaws are readily available from the station and there are also many boats that can be employed for travelling on the reservoir.
Local buses and also state transport buses run from various cities across the state to Nagarjunasagar.