Tourism dept to turn Vijayawada heritage caves, museums into tourist attractions

Tourism dept to turn Vijayawada heritage caves, museums into tourist attractions

VIJAYAWADA: Tourism department of Andhra Pradesh is planning to turn the ancient Moghalrajpuram caves, Akkanna Madanna caves and also the under-repair Bapu museum in Vijayawada city into tourist hotspots. As part of the ‘reviving heritage’ campaign, the department is all set to spend good amount of money on these heritage sites.

Speaking to Express, Himanshu Shukla, APTDC managing director said, “Under the Buddhist Circuit project we sent a ` 150 crore-proposal to the department officials; of this `60 crore was already approved in phase 1. The revamp of the caves and other developmental works will come in the second phase. But as we don’t want to wait till then, we will spend `1 crore to 2 crore, on each site, from state budget. There won’t be much to do for these sites as these are protected ones. Even then, we wanted to make their ambience pleasant by introducing a small cafeteria, repairing the drains, developing greenery around the caves, enabling the last mile connectivity etc”.

The Moghalrajpuram and Akkanna Madanna caves are said to have been discovered in the 5th century AD. The caves have five rock-cut sanctuaries and house the idols of Lord Nataraja and Lord Vinayaka and hence, draw a lot of devotees, due to their religious importance. Also it is said that the famous Chinese Buddhist scholar Huan Tsang visited these caves and stayed in these.

Apart from the ancient caves, the Vijayawada city is also famous for the Bapu museum, which was formerly known as Victoria Museum. The museum has been shut for the past two years and developmental works are still going on. The museum, also know as Coastal Museum, was built in 1887 and would be soon thrown open to the public. It will have many new attractions. The scene of the freedom fighter Pingali Venkaiah presenting a design of the National Flag to Mahatma Gandhi when he came to Bezawada in 1921 in 3-D visualisation, will be one of the big attractions, an official said.

Beautifully carved marble sculptures of prominent leaders, who were part of the 1921 flag-presenting occasion, dot the old building. The new building has prehistoric tools, manuscripts, stone-cut writings, armour and shields used by kings, in addition to idols, belonging to the second and third century AD.
“We want to open the museum for the public in the coming four months. Also we are paying special attention to the historic caves in the Vijayawada city and in the Amaravati region. Soon, the museum will begin to attract visitors with its latest collections and the 3 D technology,” said Vani Mohan, commissioner, Department of Archaeology & Museums.

Aspirational move
The tourism department seeks to spend J1-J2 crore on each heritage site
A revamped Bapu museum, formerly known as Victoria museum, will open for public soon, an official from the department says
The Moghalrajpuram and Akkanna Madanna caves are said to have been discovered in the
5th century AD