This historic site, 43km west of Vijayawada, was the earliest centre of Buddhism in southern India, with the nation's biggest stupa, 27m high and 49m across, constructed here in the 3rd century BC. All that remains of it now are its circular base and a few stone railing parts, but the neighbouring museum has a model and some intricate marble carvings depicting the Buddha's life.
Amaravathi flourished as a capital of the Satavahana kingdom, which ruled from Andhra across the Deccan for four or five centuries, becoming a fountainhead of Buddhist art.
A section of reconstructed stone railing gives you an idea of the stupa’s massive scale. About 1km away, on the edge of town, is the 38m-high Dhyana Buddha statue, erected on the site where the Dalai Lama spoke in 2006.
Many of Amaravathi’s best sculptures are in London’s British Museum and Chennai’s Government Museum.