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Pavuralakonda Hill to be developed into a tourism circuit

Visakhapatnam: Finally, the neglected Buddhist heritage site of Pavuralakonda will be revamped by the district tourism department and a tourism circuit is to be set up on the Pavuralakonda Hill. The Buddhist monastic complex, situated atop a hill in Bheemili, which also houses the Narasimhaswamy Temple, has been almost abandoned, with no motorable approach road and weeds growing everywhere.

While tourists confined themselves to visiting the Buddhist sites of Thotlakonda and Bavikonda, Pavuralakonda (meaning hillock of pigeons), situated by the same Vizag-Bheemili road, was always given a miss. Tourists were unaware of it and a few locals who knew about the existence of the site had just made the weeds-grown jungle into a hub for drinking liquor.

The interesting aspect about this heritage site (around 160 metres above sea level) is that it is said to have thrived from the third century BC to second century AD and around a dozen water tanks or wells belonging to that period are found here.

There are also some relics and artefacts such as pottery, clay vessels and some inscriptions found on the hillock. Cells for monks are also found.

In-charge district tourism officer of Vizag VVVS Lakshman said, “We are planning to set up a tourism circuit atop this hill which offers a panoramic view. Besides the Narasimhaswamy Temple, there’s a colonial Dutch building and the monastic complex of Pavuralakonda. We will put up a view point because from this hill, one can get a panoramic view of the sea, the Gosthani River and Bheemili Town. All these together can make the place interesting for visitors.”

“Steps are present till the temple. After that, it’s less than a kilometre walk to the Buddhist site. We will clear the weeds and pathways for people to walk to the site. Fencing around the heritage structures would also be put up as it’s damaged at some places besides signages from below the hill to guide people up to Pavuralukonda hill. We will also arrange for write-ups about the historical significance of the site,” added the district tourism officer.

Work is likely to start within a couple of months so as to complete it before the commencement of the tourist season in October. As per the estimates of AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC), around Rs 25 lakh would be required for the renovation works.