Telangana & Andhra Pradesh

This former monastic compound, on a hilltop overlooking a vast expanse of forest and paddy fields, is well off the beaten path and makes a very scenic adventure. It's especially noteworthy for its circular rock-cut chaitya-griha shrine. The cave’s domed ceiling is carved with ‘wooden beams’ designed to look like those in a hut. The chaitya-griha has a well-preserved stupa and, like the monks' dwellings that line the same cliff, a gorgeous arched facade also designed to look like wood.

The site is accessed by very steep steps and stone pathways, which are well maintained and largely free of litter. Also check out the stone 'beds' in the monks’ cells, and the compound’s 60-plus votive stupas. The monastery was active from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD.