(Last Updated on : 10-01-2009)
Situated 8-km south of the Penner River, Cuddapah is surrounded on three sides by the Nallamalai and Palkonda hills. Deriving its name from the Telegu word 'Kudapa' meaning 'gate', the city is the gateway from the north to the sacred hill 'Pagoda' of Shri Venkateshwara of Tirupati.
Besides being a historical city, Cuddapah also incorporates the Bhagwan Mahavir Museum. It is a Government museum having great archaeological and historical significance. Its name has a history of its own. It was established in 1982 with the donations from the Jain businessmen and thus was named after their deity 'Mahavir'
The Bhagavan Mahavir Museum is a storehouse of ancient stone structures, idols made of granite, dolomite, limestone, bronze icons and inscriptions dating back to several centuries. These antiquities were found under the excavations carried out at different places of Cuddapah, Hyderabad and Kurnool districts. The sculptures that have been unearthed from Nandalur, Mantapampally, Gundluru, Attirala, Thimmayapalem, Kolathur, Poli and other villages are between 5th to 18th centuries.
There are several exhibits that are bit unusual. Among these are a statue of Lord Ganapathi with his feet resembling that of an elephant and a statue of Hanuman dating back to Vijayanagar period, with long hair tied up in a braid. The 9th-10th century idols belonging to the Chalukya period shows a goat's head and Lord Shiva with Ganga not over the head but on one side. Apart from the usual model of Vishnu holding a 'chakram' in the right hand and a conch in the left, the Vishnu idol is seen holding a 'sankhu' in the right hand and a club in the left hand.
There are also other notable exhibits in the Bhagavan Mahavir Museum. These include coins dating back to the Satavahana period, Ikshawakus, Bahmanis, Vishnukundins, Mughals and Qutub Shahi. There are also miniature paintings including swords and knives of the Mughal Age. In addition to these, there are also antique stone tools and weapons of varying sizes and shapes. 'Veerashila' idols showing tribal warlords also adorn the museum hall.
Interested people may visit the place by taxis, autorickshaws and city buses between 10:30am to 5pm except on Friday and public holidays.