Buddhism is a religion that has always fascinated me. The gentle nature of Buddha and his great teachings are very much relevant in today’s world. Exploring places with a Buddhist connect had been on my list for quite some time. Dhulikatta is one such place.
Located near Karimnagar in Eligaid mandal , it’s a three-hour drive from the city.It’s best to start early in the morning as it gets quite hot during the day. Finding the place is not easy as there are pictures but no directions to go by.On top of that, we didn’t know the local language which made things worse. A search on the Tourism website didn’t help as there are no directions listed and there is no board to guide you.
After much hassle we found the place, weaving our way through really narrow roads, sometimes dragging our bike through cotton fields. When there was absolutely no way to take our bikes, we left them on the side and started walking.
It was a hot day and at one point, we debated whether to continue or go back. Thankfully, a local kid came by and through gestures and broken Telugu; we managed to get him to take us to the stupa. We were still unsure if it was the right direction, until we saw the stupa.
Punched coins from Roman empire, ivory sombs, beads and silver from Satvahana dynasty were found here
The Buddhist Maha stupa and vihara in Dhulikatta village is said to be 2000 years old. Many historians say that the village bears a striking resemblance to a place described by the Greek emissary Megasthenes who spoke of a fortified town on the banks of a river.
The structure was discovered by the Archaeological Department in 1975. A unique quality of the stupa is the use of light-weight bricks and the carved limestone slabs. During excavations, several articles like punched coins from Roman Kingdom and beads, combs made of ivory, bangles and authentic silver jewellery from Satvahana dynasty were found.
Most of relics were shifted to the state museum and only a few articles are kept at the Karimnagar museum. Currently, some tablets depicting the life of Buddha are scattered around the place. A statue of Buddha has also been constructed under an old tree recently. If you look at it from a distance, it looks like as if he is alive and preaching to his disciples.
Unfortunately not much has been done since then. There are no walls or motorable road to mark the boundaries of the monument even now. Miscreants have damaged the monument and smuggled slabs with carvings. Some have even tried to dig up the ground in search of a hidden treasure. We spent an hour around the place before starting our return journey to Hyderabad.
How To Reach
Dhulikatta is located 25 kms away from Karimnagar which is well connected from Hyderabad by buses and train.
Tips For Travellers
There is no place to buy water or food in Dhulikatta. Make sure you carry snacks and water from Karimnagar.
The best time to visit is from October to March. After that, the place can get really hot. There is no opening and closing time as the place is not guarded by any walls.