Situated at a distance of about sixty kilometres from the largest city Vijaywada of Krishna district that is one of the 23 districts in Andhra Pradesh, it is a township and headquarters. It is located at a distance of about 11kms from River Krishna in the East and 21kms from Machlipatnam in the West. This place is believed to be named after the horse of Buddha known as ‘Kantakasaila’. The city of Ghantashala has been recognized as a chief tourist attraction by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and is famous for the remnants of Buddhist sculptures and Stupa that were established in 1919-1920.
Ghantashala was considered previously as a historical place in the year 1871 by Boswell belonging to the East India Company. Later on it was re-discovered by Alexander. The Stupa is of an exclusive design resembling to the architecture of Satavahana periods and is also known as ‘Maha Chaitya’. It is an arrangement of bricks forming a solid cubical placed in the middle that is embellished by twelve zodiac signs. There is a three-dimensional engraved structure of two garland bearers on the top of the Stupa that is made up of limestone, a small Stupa seated on a throne in the centre and a Dhamma Chakra. Representing the birth of Buddha there is an item called ‘Purna Kalash’ that contains lotus flowers.
It is said that there was a time when the dome of the Stupa was adorned with forty-seven slabs screening the Buddha, but later on were a bit ruined. The museum of the Ghantashala town has a collection of plenty of Buddhists remnants but a few of them also embellish the museums of Paris. Satavahana and Roman Gold coins can also be found in the Ghantashala Museum.
A temple known as Jaladheeswaraswamy is a significant religious attraction of this place as Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi is placed together here. It is also known as Chinna Kasi and was believed to be constructed by various Gods. Adi Shankarachary was said to perform his first rites in this temple. There are special offerings made to Lord Shiva in the month of November by the people of Ghantashala.