Historical Buddhist Town
Nagarjunakonda or Nagarjuna Hills is located 150 km from Hyderabad. The town is famous for being India’s richest Buddhist site and draws travelers from across the country. Ancient Buddhist civilization was excavated during the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir in the Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh.
Visiting Nagarjunkonda is like traveling into the past. Toward one side stands, in the expressions of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, "one of the best sanctuaries of present-day India"- the Nagarjunsagar Dam-and at the opposite end is the flickering green island, Nagarjunkonda, containing treasures of the valuable heritage of an ancient civilization.
During the excavations, articles and inscriptions were found dating back to 1,800 years. The ruins of the ancient civilization were discovered in 1926, much of which is submerged under the largest man-made lakes in the world. The highlight of the ancient testimonies is the Gandhara style architecture of shrines and establishments. This ancient site has scattered remains of stupas, temples, monasteries, burial sites, a university and an amphitheater of the olden days.
Nagarjunakonda is formed by two words Nagarjuna the famous Buddhist Monk and Konda meaning Hills in Kannad. It is known as one of the richest Buddhist Learning Centre and has many caves that exhibit Buddhist carvings. Nagarjunakonda was the capital of Ikshvaku Kingdom and was called Vijayapuri. It is the third most important cultural centre of South India, and is surrounded by world's third largest man-made Lake Nagarjunasagar Lake.
How to reach
Vijayawada and Hyderabad are the nearest airports. Nagarjunakonda is well connected to Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Guntur by road.Nearest railway station is Macherla.
How to Reach by Flight
Hyderabad is the nearest airport which is at a distance of 160km. Vijayawada airport (180km) is also used by tourists to reach Nagarjunakonda.
How to Reach by Train
Nagarjunakonda does not have its own railway station. The nearest railway station is Macherla. It has daily trains from Guntur.
How to Reach by Bus
There are regular buses that ply from Guntur, Hyderabad and Rajahmundhry to Nagarjunasagar. From Nagarjunasagar you will have to take short ferry ride of 45 minutes to Nagarjunakonda.
How to Reach by Road
Nagarjunakonda is 160km from Hyderabad, this distance can be covered in about 3-4 hours. Vijayawada is at a distance of 180km and can be reached 3-4 hours.
How to travel within
Taking a boat to Nagarjunakonda island is an adventure in itself.
Do not miss the spicy local cuisine. South Indian food is available in the little food joints all over the town.
Where to Stay
There are few hotels on the island. Few suggestions are:
- Vijay Vihar Punnami Hotel
- Samagamam Hotel
- Sarovar Hotel
- Punnami Project House Hotel
- Nagarjuna resort
Did you know?
Nagarjunakonda island museum is the only island museum in India and two of the same in the world. One is at Berlin, Germany and the other is at Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh.
A perfect one day trip to Nagarjunakonda.
Morning 7am: Start from Hyderabad and take the Nagarjunasagar Road. Takes 4 hours to reach Nagarjunasagar.
On the way, you could visit Saibaba Temple too.
Once you reach Nagarjunasagar, you coudl enjoy beautiful hill view from the Dam.
Boat rides are available to the island. The time to and fro would be around 3 to 4 hours.
It would take 40 to 50 mins to reach the Island and could visit the Museum and the caves.