Amaravathi is a small town located on the banks of the River Krishna in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It serves as quiet a familiar name for the Buddhists in India and is a prime hub for pilgrimage and sightseeing for tourists. Thus, Amaravathi is also called the Abode of God.
Pilgrims different religions visit this town almost throughout the year owing to the number of temples and shrines that adorn the little town in different parts. The town is also renowned for being a site of a great Buddhist Stupa, which is a mound-like or semi-hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of Buddhist monks, used by Buddhists as a place of meditation. However, it was during the reign of emperor Ashoka, that the original structure was established. Today, one can see the Stupa decorated with carvings of life and teachings of Buddha. The 95 ft tall structure is made of brick with a circular dome and platforms towards all four directions. It is decorated with carved panels which tell the story of Buddha's life. Art historians regard the Amaravathi art as one of the three major styles or schools of ancient Indian art, the other two being the Gandhara style and the Mathura style. Some of the Buddhist sculptures of Amaravathi betray a Greco-Roman influence that was the direct result of the close trade and diplomatic contacts between South India and the ancient Romans.
New Capital Of Andhra Pradesh
Amaravathi, soon to be the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, is a bustling village near Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. Owing to the partition of the state of Andhra Pradesh, the remaining Andhra Pradesh had to choose a new capital, for the common capital of Hyderabad would be transferred to Telangana within 10 years of the formation, and hence, the new capital was chosen near the Buddhist pilgrimage of Amaravathi. Once a flourishing capital of the Satvahana dynasty, Amaravathi is now officially a village. However, destiny had something else in store for this place. This village is a pilgrimage to both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.
History of Amaravathi
Amaravathi derives its name from the Amaravati village which is a historic temple town located on the banks of the Krishna river in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It was the capital of the Satavahanas kingdom since the 3rd century BCE. Later it was ruled by several major dynasties like the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Chalukyas, the Delhi Sultanate and the Golconda empire. It was a part of the Nizam of Hyderabadâ€™s kingdom when it was ceded to the French in 1750. It was briefly captured by Hyder Ali, but remained under British rule for the majority of time since the 1780s. Amaravati is currently the de-facto capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, following its bifurcation from Telangana.
Places to Visit in Amaravathi
This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Amaravathi. Constructed during the late Mauryan era, this ruined Buddhist monument was actually a Buddhist stupa, which housed the relics of great Buddhist scholars and thinkers. Although most of the structure was ripped apart during an excavation in the 1800s by Major Colin Mackenzie, some engravings were carefully preserved and transferred to various museums, both in India and abroad. The preserved remains depict the history of the Mahachaitya, which was possibly an educational abode of its time, with some engravings depicting the life & teachings of Gautama Buddha on the same.
As per Hindu legends, the Amareswara Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, the 'Destroyer of the Universe'. The holy place embraces a 15 ft high marble Shiv Ling. It is believed that Lord Shiva is present in the structure of five lingams - Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, Amareswara Temple has a lot of myths behind its creation. Another interesting thing about this temple is that it is situated at a point where the river alters its route. 'Maha Shivaratri' of 'Magha Bahula Dasami' is the main festival celebrated in a big way here. This holy place has a pious aura that seeps into the heart, mind and body of all patrons.
This is a small but interesting museum in Amravati which displays exhibits that range between 3rd century BC and 12th century AD. Some of the finest exhibits include statues of the Buddha with lotus symbols on his feet, curled hair and long ear lobes. Apart from this, there are also limestone sculptures of goddess Tara and Bodhisattva Padmapani. Many of these Buddhist sculptures were excavated from here and now adorn the Chennai Government Museum and the British Museum in London.
Best Time To Visit Amaravathi
Amaravathi is situated in Andhra Pradesh, and thus experiences a tropical climate, with mild winters. The best time for a visit to Amaravathi is in the winters, especially the months from October to March. The summers are unbearably hot, and the monsoons, although lovely and inviting, might dampen your plans if the rainfall is more than normal.