Once a prosperous town of Indo-Roman commerce, Ghantasala was also known to be a well-known religious spot. There have been instances of carved limestone columns which are associated with Buddhist monastic settlements belonging to 2nd and 3rd centuries BC at Ghantasala. Besides, a stupa or 'Maha Chaitya' displaying a unique pattern, composed of bricks at the centre is another structure which is praiseworthy. The cube of solid bricks situated at the central part of the Chaitya is embedded with 12 constellations inspired by the zodiac. These Chaityas served as residences of the Buddhist monks and were popular during the era of the Satavahana Dynasty. Lime mortars and marvellous plasters made up the walls of the stupa. Yet another interesting structure is a beautifully carved structure adorned with the figurines of two garland bearers on the dome, a miniature stupa based on a throne at the centre and a 'Dhamma Chakra'. A 'purna kalasa' carved with lotus flowers, suggesting the birth of Lord Buddha, which measured four-by-three-feet. Concentric inner wheels are also a part of the stupa.
The carved slabs belonging to the stupas are today exhibited in various museums scattered across London and Paris. Presently, there exists a museum at Ghantasala which consists of some Buddhist slabs and relics which have been discovered recently. The town of Ghantasala has been declared as one of the tourist locales of the state by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. A Shiva temple known as Jaladheeswara Swamy Temple, constructed by 'devathas' is present here, which is referred to as 'chinna kasi'. The idols of Goddess Parvathi and Lord Shiva have been placed on the same 'peetham' in this particular temple. It is believed that the very first rite was performed here by Adi Shankaracharya. 'Sasti' is celebrated with great pomp and glory in the temple premises during November, every year. Numerous Pujas are offered at this temple during 'Kartika' month.
The airport of Vijayawada is present at a distance of nearly 20 km away, at a region called Gannavaram. Vijayawada is connected to Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam by airway and the airport which is closest to Vijayawada is based in Hyderabad. Roadways are also utilized to approach Vijayawada from Machilipatnam. From Machilipatnam, buses are readily available which will help travellers to commute to Ghantasala. Private transport and private buses can also be availed from Challapalle in Krishna District.
(Last Updated on : 28-12-2013)
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