Thotlakonda monastery, (near) Bhimunipatnam, Andhra Pradesh, IN

Raw data

"128 meters above sea level overlooking the sea Thotlakonda (‘thotla’ meaning trough and ‘konda’ meaning hill) derives from the presence of a number of rock-cut troughs hewn in the bedrock of the hillock. These rectangular troughs, which can still be seen, were used for storing water that used to be purified with herbs.

Thotlakonda was influenced by the ancient Kalinga region, which was an important source of dissemination of Buddhist culture to Sri Lanka and various parts of South East Asia. A hill on the seacoast with a salubrious climate was the ideal place for Buddhist monks to build a monastic complex here. The placid sea sheltered by the deeply curved coastline provided a safe haven for anchoring ships. Thotlakonda came to light during an aerial survey by the Indian Navy, and excavations conducted during 1988-93 established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex, which flourished two thousand years ago. To the south of the complex there is a tank that served as a water source for inmates of the monastery. It is estimated that the monastery accommodated more than a hundred Buddhist monks. The excavations revealed Satvahana lead and Roman silver coins, indicating foreign trade. Terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, stupa models in stone, Buddha padas, etc. were also found. Thotlakonda had witnessed peak activity between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD owing to brisk Roman trade and religious missions abroad. The complex had arrangements for storing food, clothing and medicines, and served as an academic center. It declined by the 3rd century AD, owing to the rise of Hinduism and decline of maritime trade.

Thotlakonda [… has] ruins of a 64-pillared congregational hall where monks used to gather for meditation and religious discourses. There is also a kitchen complex consisting of four rectangular rooms used for cooking and storing food.
The Thotlakonda Buddhist complex lies about 15 km. from Vizag city on way to Bheemili town."

"Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex (17 15 N - 83 23 E) Lies about 15 km from Visakhapatnam city on the way to Bheemili town on a hill about 128 mts. Above Mean Sea Level overlooking the sea. The Telugu name Thotlakonda derived from the presence of a number of a rock-cut throughs hewn in the bedrock of the hillock. Thotlakonda was well within the influence of ancient Kalinga region which was an important source of dissemination of Buddhist culture to Srilanka and various parts of south-east Asia.[…] Buddhist monks [… built] a monastery complex here. […]. The excavations established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex which flourished 2000 years ago.
To the South of the complex there is a tank which served as a water source to the inhabitants of the monastery. […]"

Input by: tmciolek, Sep 27, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 21 Jul 2014

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Thotlakonda monastery, IN.

General location of the Thotlakonda monastery, IN.
Lat 17.82606 Long 83.41046
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2012.

Google Map link:,%20IN)&ll=17.82606,83.41046&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Thotlakonda monastery

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Andhra Pradesh

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • [missing data]

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 17.82606 Long 83.41046 - based on visual identification of the site in maps/satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 27 Sep 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag <=0200 - tmciolek 21 Jul 2014
<=0200 0233-66p 0233-66p 0267-99p dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag 0233-66p - tmciolek 21 Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

18. Available Printed Literature

  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 1]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 2]
  • [bibliographical details of the Book/Article 3]

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