Guntur ( Andhra Pradesh , South India)
Guntur, an ancient historical region of Andhra Pradesh, has been ruled by the Satavahanas and Ikswakus. The famous Kohinoor diamond is reputed to have been found in Kollur diamond mines in Guntur area. Marco Polo appears to have visited these diamond mines according to his records. There are many interesting places of tourist interest in this region.
Bellamakonda: Bellamakonda, 35 kms from Guntur, is a hill fortress near Sattenapalle. It is a single stone wall with bastions. The highest point is 520 metres above sea level. The fort is said to have been constructed by the Reddy kings of Kondavidu. At the close of the 18th century, the British had stationed their troops at this place. Bellamakonda is a fine place for excursion and picnic.
Chebrolu: Situated near Tenali and 26 kms from Vijaywada, Chebrolu has a very rare temple for Brahma. Perhaps this is the only such temple in the state.
Ethipothala: Ethipothala, 8 kms from Macherla, is a popular water fall in the beautiful valley situated near Tallapalle. The river Chandravanka cascades from a height of about 25 metres into a lagoon below. Although the water is not much, yet it is very picturesque. This is a place very much frequented by tourists even from Hyderabad.
Kondavid: Kondavid, 20 kms from Guntur, is a hill fortress which was once thriving capital of Reddy kingdom. Krishnadeva Raya held it for some time and later it was taken over by the Sultans of Golconda. The name was changed as Murtazanagar. The fortifications cover an extensive area at the height of 900 metres above sea level and as such, it was once used as a health sanatorium. This is a historical place worth a visit.
Macherala: Macherala, 32 kms from Nagarjunasagar, is a historical place connected with the excavations of Nagarjunakonda. The ancient temple of Chenna Keshava on the banks of river Chandravanka is full of fine sculpture.
Mangalagiri: Mangalagiri, 12 kms from Vijayawada, is known as the Auspicious Hill. It has the famous Panakala Narasinmha Swamy temple on the top of a nearby hill. The offering of jiggery water (which is called Panaka) is poured into the mouth of the deity with a conch. The spacious temple at the bottom, also dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha, has a stupendous tower, the only one of its kind in the state.
Tenali: Tenali village is 25 kms away from Guntur. The Rameshwara Swamy temple after the great Vikatakavi Tenali Ramakrishna, who adorned the royal court of Krishnadeva Raya is situated here attracting many visitors. The procession idol of the deity bears his name on it.
Vinukonda: Vinukonda, 35 kms from Guntur and a hill fort, is popularly called as the hill of Hearing because of the tradition that Sri Rama first heard of the abduction of Sita at this place. The striking summit consists of two peaks, one of which is almost inaccessible. The British army was stationed here in 1790 with a huge depot of ammunitions. It is an excellent place for picnic.