To avoid submersion of the outstanding structures
in the valley, a rare feat of reconstruction and
relocation of the remains was taken up, using the
original raw material. Anupu, four kms from the dam
site, was chosen for relocation of a Buddhist University,
the ruins of which were found during the special
The painstaking reconstruction using a technique
adopted for the first time in the country ensured
that serenity of the seat of learning was preserved.
The transplanting was done along the lines of those
at Abu Simbel (Aswan Dam Project) in Egypt.
As the area was threatened with submergence by
the reservoir the Archaeological Survey team made
determined efforts to virtually transplant nine
monuments from the valley onto Nagarjunakonda (the
Hill of Nagarjuna) where they stand now in almost
the original form in which they were found.
While most of the monuments were relocated at Nagarjunakonda,
the hill that now forms an Island in the middle
of the reservoir. A museum at Nagarjunakonda contains
Buddhadatu or relics excavated from the valley.
The museum at Nagarjunakonda is a structure modelled
along the lines of a "Vihara" and contains
a number of precious artefacts of all cultural periods
through which the valley passed. Carved limestone
and stone slabs, inscriptions and sculptures dating
to the third and fourth century AD constitute a
majority of the exhibits, arranged methodically
in five galleries.
The sculpture at Nagarjunakonda brings out the mastery
of the Satavahanas and the Ikshvakus. The themes are
mainly from episodes involving the Buddha but the
outstanding example of the sculpture of that age is
the life-like depiction of the Enlightened One. The
Buddha images, be they in the 'sthanaka (standing)
or 'asana (sitting) position, beautifully portray
a serene oval face with a moderately-built body and
rounded shoulders. The right hand is held up in the
symbolic gesture of 'abhaya (protection) or 'pravachana
One can transport oneself into that glorious age
through a model of the submerged valley, exhibited
in one of the galleries at the museum. The Nagarjunakonda
island is approachable by motor launch.
Eight kms from Nagarjunasagar is the Ethipothala
waterfall. Ethipothala in Telugu means to 'lift and
pour' and the impressive picnic spot has the hill
stream Chandravanka cascading down 22 metres to join
the mainstream Krishna river. The waterfall has created
a beautiful lagoon below. After sunset, the waterfalls
are illuminated by dynamic lighting. A crocodile breeding
centre has been located here by the Forests Department.
APTDC has Punnami restaurant here with two rooms attached.
The largest wildlife sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh
lies between Nagarjunasagar and upstream Srisailam.
Spread over 3,500 sq.kms., it encompasses thickly
wooded hills in five districts - Nalgonda, Kurnool,
Mahboobnagar, Guntur and Prakasam.