(Last Updated on : 19/11/2014)
Bavikonda is a popular hilltop monastery on the coast that hosted up to 150 monks at a time. It is an important Buddhist heritage destination located towards the northeast from the city of Visakhapatnam
in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh
. Bavikonda serves as an important tourist spot and is frequently visited by a vast numbers of visitors from different places.
Bavikonda is a Telugu word meaning a hill of wells. Lying at distance of about 15 kms, the monastery is spread over 40 acres flat-terraced land, which is filled with Buddhist occupancy. The Hinayana School of Buddhism was practiced here.
It is said that Buddhist monasteries flourished here during the period of 3rd Century B.C. and 3rd Century A.D. Bavikonda has remains of a Buddhist compound which houses about 26 structures in three phases. Visitors can trace the existence of Buddhism
with its earthly remains of a bone piece piled in an urn. Bavikonda is filled with huge measure of ash, charcoal, and ceramic products along with the presence of abandoned water tanks around the region.
The name Bavikonda came into existence due to the path, leading to the beach road of Bheemunipatnam or Bhimli. Here one can see the presence of wells along the hill that collect rainwater. This accumulated rain water is later used for the purpose of drinking. Bavikonda represents one of the ancient sanctified Buddhist centres in Asia. The place is also houses the ancient Roman coins and Satavahana coins as well as the pottery belonging to the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD. The sight of the sequences of hills carved into stupas mesmerizes the tourists visiting this place. All these support the fact that Buddhist civilization had long ago flourished in Southern India.
Many interesting Buddhist possessions of viharas have been found out during archeological excavations along the peak of Bavikonda. The objects that were found here during excavations are potteries, relic caskets, Mahachaitya, stupas, chaityagrihas, congregation hall, platforms, tiles, stuccos, iron objects, molded bricks, coins and other objects. Thus a visit to this place gives an insight about the Buddhist establishment in Bavikonda.