On your Andhra Pradesh Tour if you wish to add some extra charm, visit the hills of Thotlakonda and Bavikonda located 15 km from Visakhapatnam city. These are the ancient Buddhist sites where tourists come from far and wide. These hills boast of wondrous structures which were discovered by the Indian Navy in an aerial survey of Vizag port. These similar looking hills overlook the enchanting Bay of Bengal.
The word Thotlakonda in Telugu means ‘the hill in the shape of Eagle’s head’. The enchanting Thotlakonda hills are dotted with ancient Buddhist structures such as stupas, chaityagrihas, pillared congregation halls, viharas with cells, bhandagaras (storerooms), a bhojanshala (refectory), parts of a drainage system, stone pathways and huge water reservoirs. The entrance gate to this hill is built in the Buddhist style.
As you reach the hilltop you will come face to face with the ancient ruins. The Buddhist complex on the hill encompasses ruins of an ancient Buddhist monastery and an advance center of learning. Visit the meditation halls within the complex which were designed in such a manner that monks don’t get disturbed due to outside disturbances.
Archeological exploration at the complex site revealed several articles like different kinds of pottery, beads, tiles, bangle pieces, stucco, molded bricks, coins, inscriptions, iron objects and sculptural remains.
The term Bavikonda in Telugu means ‘a hill of wells’. It is one of the oldest Buddhist sites of Asia. It is well known for its huge circular tanks or wells which were once used for water storage and for dyeing the robes of monks. From this hill you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surroundings and the fascinating Buddhist ruins spread over acres of land. According to the historic records, Bavikonda was once a known learning centre of Hinayana Buddhism, which flourished between 3rd century BC and 3rd century AD.
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