Visakhapatnam

Sankaram and Kotturu

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Andhra was a bastion of Buddhism for at least a thousand years. It was a centre of learning and Buddhism spread out to Sri Lanka and South East Asia through its ports. The stupas and monasteries provided the architectural models for the more famous Buddhist shrines in the rest of the world like the famous Borobodur in Indonesia. The Buddhist phase lasted for nearly a thousand years till the rise of Shaivism in the 7th century CE obliterated Buddhism from this region. It is sad that while these places attract visitors from all over the Buddhist world, Indians are not aware of the existence of these places.In this series, I am retracing the footsteps of those distant ancestors of mine.

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Hilltop monasteries on the seaside

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What Jawaharlal Nehru had said about India is equally applicable to my hometown, Visakhapatnam, better known as Vizag. It is a young city with a history that goes back to the prehistoric period. In this series, I shall revisit the footprints left on the sands of time in and around Vizag by the early Buddhists.

I shall start at Thotlakonda, a 130 metre high hillock overlooking the famed beaches of Vizag. The Buddhist settlement was accidentally discovered in 1988 by Naval personnel were carrying out an aerial survey for setting up some facility.

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The Finale to Visakhapatnam Trip

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Our next stop was Kailashgiri Park, a tourist spot developed at a height of 130 m overlooking the city of Vizag and facing the Bay of Bengal. There are various view points offering a panoramic view of the city and ocean. We had a ride in the toy train which goes around the hill.

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