Situated in the West Godavari district of southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Lingapalem is known for a 2nd century Buddhist structure discovered on top of the hillock of this small village. The village of Lingapalem falls under the taluk of Voletivari Palem Mandal in the district of Prakasam. At a distance of 328km from the state capital of Hyderabad, the village of Lingapalem is surrounded by Lingasamudram Mandal towards South and Ponnaluru Mandal towards North. Located in the border of West Godavari and Krishna district, the mandal adjacent Buddhist site in Lingapalem is a recent excavation made by the Archaeology and Museums Department of Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh used to be known for its Buddhist practices over the centuries as the state leaves behind many religious sites with traces of Buddhism. King Ashoka’s sprawling kingdom in the state was another reason for Buddhism to spread during his reign from 268BCE to 232BCE. He served as the chief protagonist in preaching and practicing Buddhism among masses and has built many ‘stupas’ and ‘lingams’ as a patron of this religion. Though Lingapalem is not linked with king Ashoka as the excavations have taken place quite recently and the Buddhist site is yet to be preserved and identified. The villagers collected two copper coins from the site and the findings can lead to some interesting facts yet to be unfolded by experts.
How to Reach
Vijayawada is the closest airport to Lingapalem with a distance of 57km. Other nearby airports include Tirupati airport, Chennai airport and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. There are some railway junctions like Denduluru at a distance of 30km from the village of Lingapalem. Sitampet , Vatlur and Powerpet junctions are also accessible to reach Lingapalem and the distance from these junctions to the mandal is 32km for all. The major railway station is Vijayawada which is 69km away and is very well connected to every major city in the country.
Eluru is the nearest to Lingapalem which has connectivity for road travel. APSRTC runs several buses to the village from major cities. Some nearby bus stations to Lingapalem are V V Palem APSRTC bus station, Chundi APSRTC bus station, Linga Samudram APSRTC bus station that can be accessed to reach the madal. Driving from the capital city of Hyderabad is also an option provided you have a good map or GPS in hand. There is also online cab-booking facility available, traveling from Hyderabad to Lingapalem at a cost around 10,000INR. Driving options from Vijayawada is also doable and is cost-effective with the taxi fare starting from 3,500INR.
Being too hot during the summer, Lingapalem can be visited during the winter to ensure a comfortable journey. It is a small town consists of 43 villages and the native language spoken in Lingapalem is Telugu. With its simple southern charm and rich history surrounding the vicinity, the Buddhist site of Lingapalem is worth visiting not only to explore its historical past but to enjoy the scenic beauty this South Indian village has to offer.