Nagarjunakonda

Early Buddhist Settlement
Ikshvaku Dynasty (3d-4th centuries A.D.)
166km (103mi) SE of Hyderabad


The early Buddhist settlement of Nagarjunakonda was the capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty (c. 225 A.D. - 325 A.D.), the successors of the Satavahanas in the Eastern Deccan. The settlement's name means "Nagarjuna's Hill," and refers to a Buddhist teacher who is believed to have lived there in the first or second century A.D. During the early centuries A.D., the site housed more than 30 Buddhist monasteries; excavation has yielded art works and inscriptions of great importance for understanding the history of this early period.

Archaeological disaster struck in 1960, when an irrigation dam was constructed across the nearby Krishna River, submerging the original site under the waters of a reservoir. In advance of the flooding, several monuments were dug up and relocated to the top of Nagarjuna's Hill, which is now an island in the middle of the lake. Other monuments were relocated to the mainland, east of the flooded area.