Gandhari Fort, Temple & Jatara, Mancherial – Complete Details

Gandhi fort is located in Bokkalagutta in Mandamarri Mandal in the Mancherial district of Telangana. The Gandhari fort is said to be built by Tribal kings who ruled this region once upon a time around 1000 years ago. It is situated on the sand rock hills. It is 270 kilometers northeast of the state capital, Hyderabad. The fort contains the temples of Maisamma and also contains the idols of Kala Bhairavaa Swamy, lord Shiva, Hanuman, and Lord Ganesh which are carved out of rocks.

Gandhari Fort, Temple & Jatara, Mancherial
Gandhari Fort, Temple & Jatara, Mancherial

Well, the archaeological evidence, suggests that the construction of the fort was begun in early 1200 A.D during the Rashtrakutas Era and continued till the 16th century. This beautiful fort has a magnificent architecture with defensive constructions, bathing tanks, and sculptures of that leaf’s visitors spellbound. In the fort’s temple, there is one idol of Naga Seshu which is 8 feet long in height and has 10 heads sculpted using a single rock which attracts tourists from far. Furthermore, the fort has some medicinal plants and herbarium specimens in the house. 

As the fort was being constructed in a forest area, meanwhile it was built within a thick forest area that was rich in plant species including many medicinal herbs. 

Moreover, the Mahankali Jatara or Quarry Jatara is conducted every year which attracts more than 10,000 people. The Gandhari Maisamma Jatra is being done in the temple on the fort of Gandhari every 2 years and tribal people from the Vindhya region that includes Maharashtra Chattisgarh on the other riverside join it.

It is noted that all the sculptures that have been built like gates and pillars were constructed in the Kakatiyas style. By observing the decorations of the Shanku, Chakra, and Vishnu the experts find that they are dedicated to the Lord Vishnu while Kakatiyas worshipped Lord Shiva. The script of Shree Oddi Raju Anantha Raju Shasanam. Well mainly this belongs to the kingdom of Gondus, but later Oddi Raju occupied it. And after that, it came into the hands of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty in 1518- 1687, and in the middle of 1656, the ruler of Golconda occupied it.

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The fort was built within the forest area that was the home of medicinal plants, and the Gandhari fort became an important source of medicinal plants. A large number of medicinal plants were collected and sold in other nearby towns. Even the students visit these sites to identify these plants and make herbarium specimens. As this area was under preserve because of medicinal plants, and the forest area of the fort was declared a medicinal plants conservation center. 

Gandhari Fort, Temple & Jatara Entrance
Gandhari Fort, Temple & Jatara Entrance

The fort has three main entrances that are carved into the stone. The fort contains idols of Kala Bhairavaa Swamy, lord shiva, lord Ganesh, and Lord Hanuman, and the way to the fort hill was built in such a way that horses and elephants can trek the hill easily. Even there are three wells, which never dry up even during high summer. There is also another well called Yenugula Bavi which means Elephants Well. The well is designed like that the elephants and horses can trek their thirst by reaching the well through steps.

Maisamma Jatara is a festival where people gather from other districts across the state during the rituals fair held in the holy Magha Masam which is the holy month of the Hindu calendar year. The fair is an important religious and cultural event of the Rodda clan which belongs to the Naikpod, a scheduled tribal community as this is the 3-day long annual Gandhari Jatara. According to the official information, the jatara was suspended in 1998 due to a murder incident that took place during the celebrations.

Naikpods took Sadar Bheemanna, a deity to Godavari for a holy dip, before taking him to his temple. They performed ‘Abhisekham’ for Maisamma and other rituals on the fort. After that, they danced to drum beats and offered prayers at the temple.

The Cultural programs by artists of the Naikpod community are presented at the time of the fair and even a ‘Praja Darbar’ would be held for addressing the grievances of Adivasis on the final day of the fair. 

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