Latest News

Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A throwback at the fun-filled trip to Vijayawada - Amaravati - Mangalagiri*

With the buzz around Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh catching up, I couldn’t help reminiscing our trip to this beautiful place - perfect for a peaceful stay, away and far from the maddening crowds. Even though it was a decade ago, the memories are still fresh, those fun-filled moments with friends, visiting places, discovering new things amidst nature, history,  food, art and crafts.  It was even more enthralling as the trip was combined with a friend’s wedding.  

It was more like a to-and-fro between the neighbouring districts of Krishna and Guntur, covering Vijayawada- Kondapalli- Guntur- Amaravati- Mangalagiri- Undavallli. This is one of the most spellbinding routes to explore as the cities and the rivers mingle with each other to tell us tales of harmony between people and their diverse history, culture and geography.

Vijayawada and Undavalli

After reaching Vijayawada we began our journey with a visit to the Kanakadurga temple. Here, it is considered auspicious to seek the blessings of the goddess before embarking on any pursuit. So, it was pretty natural that we drove up the Indrakeeladri hills and visited the temple, situated on the banks of the river Krishna. The peaceful early morning darshan was followed by a drive around the place, admiring the Prakasham barrage and its scenic surroundings.

In the evening we  visited Kondapalli, a short drive that takes you to the village where the famous wooden toys are made with tella poniki  softwood. We watched the artisans skilfully chiseling out the forms and painting them with natural dyes. Of late we get to hear that these artisans are poorly supported with raw material and very few of them are keen on carrying on this precious craft. We missed visiting the Kondapalli fort as it was turning dark and we spent a lot of time chatting with the Kondapalli artisans and listening to their stories about the unique Kondapalli bommalu (dolls /toys).
Kondapalli toys

Kondapalli artisans
The next day started with another temple visit in the auspicious city of Mangalagiri. This time it was the visit to Panakala Narasimha Swamy temple at Mangalagiri. The tall gopuram (temple tower) is visible from almost everywhere.  It was quite intriguing to see how the lord Narasimha is worshipped here: the offering of Panakam (water sweetend with jaggery) is poured into the mouth of the deity by all the pilgrims. This was followed by a visit to the handloom weavers.  Mangalagiri cottons are finely woven fabrics with thread or zari borders. The the seemingly soft fabric is very durable and lends itself to elegant garments, apart from yardage and sarees. I remembering purchasing few salwar-kameez materials with simple dupattas. The zari in the border gives the material that typical grand and festive feel.

Mangalagiri weave
Our next destination was the Undavalli caves,  multi-storeyed and monolithic, located in the fresh and verdant surrounding of hills, close to the river. The caves belong to the 4th and 5th century A.D. According to Wikipedia, Undavalli caves are an example of how many Buddhist artifacts and stupas in Andhra were converted into Hindu temples and deities. One of the floors has a huge statue of Vishnu in reclining posture, sculpted from the single stone. These caves leave you with an imprint of mixed heritage of Jain-Hindu-Buddhist architecture.

Our evening was spent on the Bhavani Island; capturing the multi-hued sunset as our boat was launched and it began to move towards the island. The golden sunset was a treat to the eyes as we enjoying the panoramic view of the  resplendent river and the city of Vijayawada.

The next day was our friend’s wedding. And before attending the wedding we managed to visit Amaravati. Who would have ever had the wildest imagination that this place would transform into a modern capital of the new Andhra Pradesh...ten years later!

Amaravati stupa and museum
The latest update being the tallest Dhyana Buddha statue to be installed at Amaravati; when we visited this place the Buddhist stupa belonging to the Asoka era was in the process of being restored. There’s a museum that displays several statues and relics found in and around. Amaravati is just about 40 kms from Vijayawada and it also has a temple dedicated to Shiva – the famous Amareswara temple. We couldn’t visit the temple as we spent most of the time in the peaceful environs of the stupa and the museum. Photography is not allowed in the museum, so we had to satisfy ourselves with pictures of the building and the surroundings.

Today, thanks to AP tourism, these places are equipped with a variety of accommodation and sightseeing options. All you need to do is just pack your bags and set off for a mindful break, even if you don't have a long weekend, make it long by taking a day off!
*This blog uses old pictures, things may have changed since the time we visited these places and they may look different and better now!

Contributed by Madhuri Dubey

1 comment:



Blog Archive