Thotlakonda Buddhist

     

           Thotlakonda Buddhist is a place located at a distance of 16m from Visakhapatnam city on the beautiful beach road connecting Visakhapatnam and a historic town of Bheemilli. Located at a height of 128meters on a hilltop near the village Mangamaripeta, this complex was first discovered by an aerial survey by Indian Navy. Excavation of the place done during 1988 to 1992. This complex was active between the year 200BC and 200AD. This place was inside the Kalinga region which was instrumental in promoting Buddism to Srilanka, Burma and many other places. Thotlakonda was identified as Hinayana Buddhist complex and Andhra Pradesh tourism with the help of Visakhapatnam urban development authority has taken up many developments works to promote this place in the tourism map of Andhra Pradesh. Welcome gate by the side of the beach road with an entry fee and good tar road at the top of the hill is constructed by the local. Medication halls are designed to protect monks from outside disturbances with stupas at the center and guards at the entrance of the hall. The layout of kitchen and resting place for monks are still giving a glimpse of the simple life of them.

 

             Monks visiting this Buddhist school from far places like china, Burma and other countries came through the sea route and used to stay here for months and year before completing their study. The direction of sunrise and sunset are marked in stones. The complex has a number of Stupas, chaityas, and Viharas. There are many rock-cut throughs available here. Out of the 12tubs used for storing drinking water, four are available within the complex and others were a little outside of the area. One of the troughs at the top of the hill holding water in the all the seasons and never went dry in past many years. Probably the Telugu name Thotlakonda is derived from the totti (tub) and Konda (hills) names. The old refractory of Hinayana culture gives examples of maritime trade during the period. Monks visiting the Buddhist school from far places like China, Burma, and other countries came through the sea route and used to stay here for months and year before completing their study. The eagle-shaped hilltop gives a panoramic view of the sea and the curved coastline. This was one of the ideal spot for the Buddhist monks to establish a monastery here. The proximity of other Buddhist site nearby like Bavikonda, Sankaram and some other places has made Vizag as one of the Buddhist heritage destination places.

 

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