About the Venue
ICRISAT@50: Many reasons to visit ICRISAT
ICRISAT is organizing an International Conference on Innovations to Transform Drylands from 21 to 23 February 2023 at its headquarters in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
ICRISAT stands tall among the national and international research institutes working towards sustainable food systems in the drylands and its vast campus is unique in many ways.
The ICRISAT campus is spread over 1390 hectares, beautifully landscaped with precision research fields, water bodies, and world-class research facilities. The campus has a rich history and heritage, and the buildings have unique architecture.
Historical relics at the ICRISAT headquarters
During the routine road-building operations on the ICRISAT research farm in 1973, a protruding carved stone turned out to be a 1000-year-old five-ton statue of the Hindu God Ganesha. Hindus worship this God of infinite wisdom and learning before the start of any new venture. ICRISAT thus began on a very auspicious note.
The discovery sparked a series of excavations sponsored by ICRISAT, resulting in many findings of ancient relics. From the beginning of the excavations, the Institute took a socially responsible approach to develop the area entrusted to it.
Archaeologists have found vestiges of an ancient civilization in this once quiet rural setting of Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana), including the discovery of Neolithic tools on the ICRISAT campus. Further, there is documented proof that a megalithic complex similar to Stonehenge existed in Patancheru area. In neighboring Kondapur, terracotta figurines resembling early European art and pendants molded in the form of Roman coins bearing the profile of Emperor Tiberius (37 A.D.) have been unearthed.
Patancheru was once a religious center of various faiths. Innumerable broken images and carved stone pieces testify to the former existence of several religious structures within three or four kilometers of the Institute.
ICRISAT campus – Hub of biodiversity
The ICRISAT campus comprises a diverse range of habitats that support remarkable numbers and species of wildlife. The compatibility of wildlife conservation with agricultural research and educational activities that can be benign or supportive of domesticated and wild biodiversity is demonstrated at this campus.
It is remarkable to find diverse and distinct ecosystems – grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, croplands, fallow lands, built-up areas with managed lawns, trees and gardens, open wells, and open water bodies making the ICRISAT campus a miniature biodiversity hotspot. The vast campus is attracting and supporting at least 500 species of plants, 20 species of fruiting fungi, 250 species of birds, 50 species of butterflies, 20 species of reptiles, 15 species of dragonflies, numerous other insects, ten species of fish, and ten mammal species.
The numbers illustrate the excellent ecological conditions of ICRISAT-Patancheru.
The Ganesha sculpture, carved on gray granite, is approximately 1000 years old.
The iconographic features of Ganesha date the statue back to the late Kalyani Chalukya period.
Ganesha is the son of the Goddess Parvathi, consort of Shiva.
This God of infinite wisdom and learning is worshipped by Hindus before the start of any new venture.
The Manmool Castle
Manmool Castle was erected in the early 16th century by the Qutub Shah dynasty and reportedly was used as a fort, taxation center, hunting lodge, shelter for the poor, and eventually as a shed for cattle.
The earth around the Castle was rich in potshards and carved granite pieces. There is a legend that golden coins and treasure lie buried somewhere in the vicinity of the Castle and are guarded by a proverbial Jinn.
A small temple (inset) at the rear of the Castle has an inscription stone with “Halekannada” (old Kannada) script belonging to the eleventh century A. D., an image of Shiva, and a Jain altar still remains within the temple.