Ghantasala is a town and Mandal headquarters in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is 21 km west of Machilipatnam and 11 km east of river krishna.The largest city of this district, Vijaywada, is around 60 km away. It is a rare and reputed center for Buddhistsculptures. Boswell of the East India Company first reported Ghantasala as a historical site in 1870-71. Alexander Rea excavated the stupa at Ghantasala, which had a circumference of 112 feet and a height of 23 feet. The remains of an important Buddhist stupa and sculptural slabs were found in 1919-20.
Ghantasala was once a flourishing town of Indo-Roman trade as well as an important religious centre. The Buddhist relics and the Hindu structures at the place reveal its past glory. Carved limestone columns belonging to pillared halls associated with Buddhist monastic establishments (2-3rd centuries BC ) have been discovered. The ruined Maha Chaitya or stupa that was excavated here is of a unique design. A cube of solid bricks is set in the centre, inscribed with 12 constellations of the zodiac.
The chaityas had a texture and size unique to the Satavahana times and had separate dwelling places for Buddhist monks in the complex. All walls were found to have beautiful plastering with superfine lime mortar. A three-dimensional limestone carved structure, embellished on the dome portion of the stupa had two garland bearers, a dhamma chakra and a miniature stupa on a throne in the middle. Objects such as a four-by-three-feet 'Purna Kalasa' containing lotus flowers, indicating the birth of Gautama Buddha were also discovered. The stupa had concentric inner wheels radiating towards a central chamber.
Some of the carved slabs have found their way to museums in Paris and London.
Now Ghantasala has its own museum which contains some of the important Buddhist stupa and sculptural slabs found in recent years. The Andhra Pradesh Government recognizes this village as one of the tourist centres.
There is a temple for Lord shiva named as JALADHEESWARA SWAMY ( బాల పార్వతి సమేత జలదీశ్వర స్వామి )temple which was built by devathas and is called as chinna kasi. In this temple lord Shiva and goddess Parvathi are placed on the same peetham. It was said that Adi Sankaracharya performed the first righteous in this temple. Every year in the month of NovemberSasti is being celebrated in awesome way. Hundreds of villagers around Ghantasala will attend this. In kartheeka masam special pooja's are done for lord shiva
Machilipatnam: Known as Brundavanapuram by the local people, the city of Machilipatnam is extremely important from historical point of view. The city is known for its long serene beaches which attracts tourists to spend some quiet moments there. The city is also famous for Kalamkari textiles and paintings created using vegetable dyes, carpet-weaving industry and production of scientific instruments.
Gudivada: A census town and a mandal headquarters, Gudivada forms the meeting point of Vijayawada- Machilipatnam-Bhimavaram-Nuzvid in the Krishna district. Archaeological excavations of the area have revealed remains of Buddhist and Jain relics. There are around 99 low mounds with remnants of Buddhist stupas, primary amongst them is a raised cylindrical mound with a semi spherical top. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, also paid a visit to Gudivada to deliver a public address on December 17, 1933.
Hamsaladeevi: The river Krishna branches in to two streams at Puligadda near Avanigadda. The eastern stream empties into the Bay of Bengal at Palakayi Tippa, 5 kilometres from Hamsaladeevi. TIPPA or DIBBA in Telugu means elevated land. The western stream again branches into three streams, Lankavani Dibba Krishna, Naasagunta Krishna, and Venisagaram Krishna, and then empties into the Bay of Bengal. There is also an old Venugopalaswamy (Lord Krishna) temple at Hamsaladeevi. People celebrate 'Magha Pournami' (February) as a holy day. That day 'Anna daanam' (food-donation) is done for who ever comes to visit this place.
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Vijaywada has an airport located some 20 km away at Gannavaram. Flights from here connect Vijaywada to both Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. The closest major airport is in Hyderabad.
Machilipatnam is connected by road and rail from Vijaywada. From Machilipatnam, buses as well as private transport are available to transfer you to Ghantasala. Buses and private transport are also available from Challapalle in Krishna district.
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