I had no clue as to how to reach Amravati, leave aside reaching the Dhyan Buddha Park. Also, the challenge was to reach the destination economically. I was totally not in the mood to spend thousands to reach Amravati. Though that was the easiest way, hire a cab, pay the hefty amount and bam you have reached. But clearly, I had different plans. I weighed in all my options, did a price point comparison with all the means of transport and finally zeroed on taking an Ola auto. Not very adventurous, I know but considering I was solo and had absolutely no idea about the area I thought of sticking to a safer option towards the to journey.
Amravati is a small village in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh. It is close to 65 kilometres away from the main Vijayawada city. And I took approximately 1.5 hours by the auto to reach the destination.
First Impression of the Dhyan Buddha Statue
Watch this video before going ahead:
As we left the city, the hot and humid weather started changing gradually. I rode through rough patches of roads, narrow lanes of small villages, soothing green banana fields and colourful marigold fields. Not to forget the quintessential coconut trees. The journey is long and after some time it gets boring, that is if you are solo. But if you have company I am sure you will reach before you even look at your watch. The auto driver dropped me right outside the Dhyan Buddha Park. I lifted my head up under the excruciating heat and with squinching eyes from behind the sunglasses; I had the first look of the Buddha statue. “This thing is colossal” was my first reaction.
It was close to forty degrees and I could have easily collapsed with sunstroke.
I looked the other way and instead of going straight inside the statue I took a left turn and went to the canteen. Hydration is important. I sat there for a while, caught my breath back. It was not very crowded, the hot and humid weather is culpable but there were a decent number of people inside the park premises. And here I thought I was the only crazy one but guess what the girl’s got company. The Dhyan Park is maintained by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism. I couldn’t find any guide nearby. So while I was resting and drinking water in the canteen I decided to read up a little on the stupa.
About Dhyan Buddha Park
Amravati has a long history and excellence in Buddhist art and culture for nearly 1500 years from the time of Emperor Ashoka to the second millennium. Dhyan Buddha Park is another addition to its rich Buddhist history. The park is sprawled across 4.5 acres on the bank of Krishna River in a small village Amravati. A sky-high imposing Buddha statue of 125 ft. (38 meters) is the cynosure of the park. Needless to say its unmissable. The statue perches aesthetically on a massive Lotus Pandal which in turn is supported by eight pillars. The eight pillars symbolize Budhha’s eight paths to attain salvation.
The five Ayaka stand stone pillars represent the five stages of life. Every aspect of the statue is carefully crafted and is the representation of one of the other tenets of Buddha’s life. The construction of the statue was commissioned in 2003 and by 2015 it was completed. Only in 2018, it was opened for public visits.
The architecture of the Dhyan Park
After my protracted break at the cafeteria of the Dhyan Park, I decided to finally enter the massive structure. The area is divided into four zones. There are multiple entries to these zones. The four zones are the representation of four noble truths of life. What looked like a huge base for the massive Buddha statue is actually a three-story museum. As you walk inside the museum, the minimalistic interiors are the first thing that will grab your attention. It was nothing like conventional museums.
The museum houses reliefs of famous sculptures of Amaravati Art including events associated with the enlightenment of Buddha. All the significant aspects of Buddha’s life are intricately carved inside the museum on the walls. Right from his enlightenment under Bodhi tree to spreading his knowledge to the worldwide, everything is neatly carved on the walls. One can easily spend a lot of time appreciating the attention to the details in all the carvings of the museum.
The museum is in a circular shape so you essentially end where you start.
This probably symbolizes “what goes around comes around” fact of the life. This is totally my deduction since everything in the Dhyan Park had some reason behind its existence. So I invented this reason behind the circular shape of the museum.
The museum is maintained by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism department.
I must say they are doing a decent job. But I am not going in length appreciating them because this park has been recently open to the public and so far has not been braced by the major public. Although that has not stopped people from expressing their love by scribbling all over the walls of the museum.
I am sure their love and affection are going to be well written in the pages of Dhyan Park history. I was shocked to see the amount of love on the walls, considering the recent unveiling of the museum. After carefully inspecting all the sections of the museum I decided to make a move. There are a couple of more historic sites in Amravati but the heat wasn’t in favour. I could have either visited those places or left the place alive. I thought choosing the latter was a good idea.
How to reach Amravati
The easiest way to reach Amravati from Vijayawada by cab. But it is the most expensive way as well. It will cost anything close to 2000 Indian Rupees. If you opt for auto it will cost you somewhere between 600-700 Indian Rupees. The most economical option is taking a bus. Reach Vijayawada Bus station and take the bus for Amravati. From Amravati, bus station hires a normal auto to the Dhyan Park. The bus to Amravati will cost you something between 35-50 Indian Rupees and the auto to Dhyan Park will take at max 20 Indian Rupees. By this way, you can reach the Dhyan Park in less than 100 Indian Rupees.
What else to do in Amravati
As you all might know that Amravati is the de facto capital of Andhra Pradesh. The town is gaining more and more visibility after attaining the capital tag. Apart from Dhyan Park, there are quite a few other significant spots in Amravati. To name a few, Amravati Stupa, Archeological Museum and Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple. Try to pay a quick visit to all these places if you happen to be in Amravati.
Tips from my visit:
- Telugu is predominantly spoken in Amravati and if you don’t know the language, things can be tough for you. “Telugu Raadu” (which means I don’t know Telugu) was my catchphrase pretty much all the time. If you can, tag someone along who knows Telugu.
- Keep your head covered and body hydrated. If you happen to visit during the summers (which I think is a forever season in that part of Andhra Pradesh), cover your hydrate your body all the time.
- There aren’t many eating options near the Dhyan Buddha Park except their own canteen which only served packaged nick nacks. Carry some eatables with yourself.
- There is a nominal entry fee for Dhyan Buddha Park.
This was all from my visit to the splendid Dhyan Buddha Park. If you have any questions around this, please drop me in comments I would love to answer.