About Thotlakonda Visakhapatnam (Vizag)
Thotlakonda is a Buddhist Complex situated on the hill Bheemili near Chepaluppada Village at about 15 kms from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The hill is about 128 meters (420 ft) above sea level. Thotlakonda is a Telugu name derived from the presence of a series of cisterns cut into the rock, embedded in the hill.
A Brief History of Thotlakonda Visakhapatnam
Thotlakonda depicts the influence of Buddhism during ancient Kalinga. A hill on the sea coast with a pleasant climate led buddhist monks to build a monastery complex. Thotlakonda has become famous during an aerial survey by the Indian navy for setting up a naval base after the discovery, in major excavations done by Andhra Pradesh Archaeological Department from 1988-93. It has been established the existence of Hinayana Buddhist Complex which has flourished 2000 years ago on the southern side of the complex there is a water tank which serves as a water source to the people of the monsters.
During the excavation, the ruins of Satavahana dynasty, the recovery of Roman Silver coms reveals foreign trade, terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, mini stupas, and Buddha footprints were found. Thotlakonda activity was at peat during 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE to back the Roman trade and religious missions to send abroad. Thotlakonda came into existence along with the other sisters like Bavikonda and Pavurallakonda in Visakhapatnam. The Shining Stupas during day time, lightning lamps during night served as guiding landmarks. The traders and the local people who were the believers of Buddhism supported the complex. Thotlakonda had the capacity of accommodating more than 100 Bhikkhus.
Thotlakonda has been facilitated with storing food, clothing, medicines and also served as a religious cum academic Centre for study. The practicing Buddhism here was Nikaya Buddhism, which included the worship of Gautama Buddha, with the symbols like Padukas. Thotlakonda had declined by the end of the 3rd Century.
How to Reach Thotlakonda Visakhapatnam (Vizag)
It is better to take your own vehicles or book a taxi to get to Thotlakonda. You must first arrive at Thotlakonda Beach Road and then take the road to Bheemili. Even local transportation, like automatic rickshaws, can be taken to get to Thotlakonda.