Friday, May 2, 2008

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is one of the largest dams built in Asia, located between the cities of Guntur and Hyderabad in AP (India). It is built on the Krishna river between Guntur and Nalgonda. It is one of the earliest hydroelectric of India.
Nagarjuna dam, which was completed in 1969 is 124 metres high and 1 km long, and has 26 crest gates. The lake behind it is the third-largest man-made lake in the world. This dam is said to be the World's largest masonry dam.
Of late, the inflows into the reservoir have been reduced due to the increased number of projects which have been built upstream.
Located at a distance of 150 km from Hyderabad, Nagarjunasagar is an important irrigation dam on river Krishna. This is the tallest and biggest masonry dam in the world and is about 150 Km away from the metropolitan city of Hyderabad. It creates the third largest man-made lake in the world. Apart from this, some remains of the Buddhist civilization dating back to the 3rd century A.D, are seen on an island called Nagarjunakonda located in a man-made lake on the other side of the river Krishna. These relics of Buddhist civlization found during excavation unveiled the traces of Mahachaitya, the most sacred of the stupas. An inscription in Brahmi characters states that the sacred relics of Lord Buddha lie within the Mahachaitya.
Nagarjuna sagar Dam: There would be very few modern constructions you will come across
that bring to mind such a rejoinder. A feeling of awe and significance overcomes you when you lay eyes upon the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam for the first time. Its sheer size and magnitude leaves you breathless and astounded. As the tallest and largest masonry dam in the world, really stands as one of the conjecture of engineering excellence. Stretching across the mighty river Krishna, the barrage also has another distinction to its credit - it has created one of the world's largest man-made lake! The reservoir is a vital source of irrigation for vast tracts of the surroundings region. The two left and right canals, called Bahadur Canal and Jawahar canal respectively, cater to the watering needs of a very large area of the state. Successfully transforming a barren, thirsty land into a lush verdant landscape with acres and acres of green fields swaying in the breeze as far as the eye can see. Naturally, it has played a leading role in helping the state of Andhra Pradesh emerge as' the Rice Bowl of India'. Significantly, the creation of this lake has submerged the excavations that were carried out here in 1926 which unearthed three historical sites- Dhanyakataka, capital of the Satavahanas; Sriparvata, Vijayapuri, capital of the Ikshvakus and a Buddist civilization that thrived here in the third and fourth centuries B.C. What is of special interest to historians is the fact that the excavations also revealed the existence of Brahmanical temples here which indicates that Hinduism and Buddhism flourished together in peaceful co-existence. All the archeological findings and relics have been removed from here and carefully preserved on an island in the middle of the lake - Nagarjunakonda.
Nagarjunakonda: was one of the largest and most important Buddhist centres in South India from the second century BC until the third century AD. It was named after Acharya Nagarjuna, a renowed Buddhist scholar and philosopher, who had migrated here from Amarvati to propagate and spread the Buddha's message of universal peace and brotherhood. The founder of Mahayana Buddhism, this revered monk governed the sangha for almost 60 years and the Madhyamika school be established attracted students from far and wide including Sri Lanka and China. As the site, excavations have unearthed a university, monastries, aswamedha altar, royal baths, advanced drainage system, viharas, chaityas, mandapams the life and times of the Buddha. Of special significance is the finding of nine stupa- like structures arranged in a wheel shaped formation which includes the Mahachaitya, the most sacred of them all. The Brahmi characters inscribed on it reveal that the remains of Lord Buddha are preserved within it.
With the construction of the Nagarjunasagar dam and the subsequent flooding of this site by the rising water, all the priceless finds have been shifted to an island in the middle of the lake. The ruins were transported and reconstructed at the unique island museum, in the form of an ancient Buddhist Vihara. So that visitors can get a glimpse of a great chapter in Indian history and see for themselves a rich culture that has successfully survived through the centuries. Along with these, the museum also houses invaluable relics such as stone tools and weapons from the Paleolthic and Neolithic ages, which were found at the same site.The mammoth task undertaken to shift the archeological treasures and preserve them at another location is reminiscent of the famous Abu Simbel operation carried out in Egypt.
Anupa: A short distance away at Anupa, the Bhuddist University and Stadium, which were excavated at Nagarjunasagar, has been reconstructed. The stadium boasts of the most amazing acoustics that are truly remarkable considering the time and age when it was built. a place that qualifies as a 'must-see' for everybody interested in history, culture and architecture.

Ethipothala Waterfalls
: just about 11 kms from the Nagarjunasagar Dam are the Ethipothala Waterfalls on the Chadravanka river, a tributary of the Krishna. In absolutely scenic surroundings, you can marvel at the shimmering water as it cascades down 70 feet into a lagoon. The picture postcard beauty of the place with verdant valleys together with numerous cave temples that dot the hilly countryside, have made this a favorite picnic spot of visitors.While at Ethipothala, another place well worth a visit is the crocodile breeding centre. Here you can safely see these reptiles from close quarters and observe their fascinating habits.

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