Thotlakonda – A Home For the Monks
Located about 16 kilometres away from the city of Visakhapatnam is the famous Buddhist Complex, Thotlakonda. It lies on the city’s beach road that connects Bheemli, the historic town. Positioned on a hilltop at an elevation of 128 metres, this complex was first discovered by the Indian Navy at a village called Mangamaripeta.
It is believed that Thotlakonda was in full operation during 200 BC and 200 AD. The name of this ancient Buddhist compound means ‘Hill with Stone wells’. It was named so because of its stone wells that stored water for Buddhist monks. Even today there is a tub containing water at the top of the hill that never runs dry.
The architectural style of the complex is simple yet elegant with meditation halls mainly designed to offer peace and silence for monks. The stupas are positioned right in the heart of the complex while the hall is looked after by two guards standing by the entrance. Thotlakonda is also home to many stupas and viharas. The cooking area as well as the resting place used by monks creates a clear picture of how simple their lives used to be.
Monks visiting Thotlakonda from far off countries such as Burma, China and other Asian nations usually arrived at the site through sea. These monks used to stay for many long month and years before they completed their studying at this monastery.
Recognised as Hinayana Buddhist complex, AP tourism together with the assistance of Viskhapatnam Urban Development Authority has taken steps to put Thotlakonda in to the tourism map of Andhra Pradesh. As a result many refurbishment measures have been taken by the local government body to develop the site.
This peaceful and outstanding monastery located on a hill top provides the perfect place for worship and even sightseeing. Exploring Thotlakonda and its rich Buddhist heritage will be easier by choosing to stay at The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Visakhapatnam which is located close by. The Gateway Hotel is well known for offering refined personal service which is ideal for a cozy, convenient and pleasant stay.