Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh

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Situated in the southeastern coast of India, Andhra Pradesh is the 4th largest State of India. The capital of the state was Hyderabad which is also the largest city here. However, due to the announcement of the recently formed Telangana State, Hyderabad will be a part and capital of Telangana from the 2nd of June 2014. The State of Hyderabad will continue to function as the State Capital of Andhra Pradesh for a period not exceeding 10 years till a new capital is determined. The state of Andhra Pradesh is mentioned since 800 BC in the Sanskrit Epics like Aitareya Brahmana and Mahabharata. The native language ‘Telugu’ is often associated with the Early Cholas. Andhra Pradesh also came under the rule of the Maurya Empire, the Ikshvaku Dynasty, Pallava, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Later Cholas.When it comes to geography, Andhra covers most of the eastern part of the Deccan plateau and the eastern plains of the Eastern Ghats. The Eastern Ghats being a mineral rich area is covered with thick vegetation and the two regions are connected by patch of sparse vegetation. The State of Andhra Pradesh is well promoted by their tourism department and is well known for its rich natural resources, temples and rivers. The state of Andhra also shares a part of the coastal areas of the Bay of Bengal. The rich cultural heritage, ancient architecture and historical importance have made Andhra Pradesh one of the top tourist destinations in India.

1. Visakhapatnam

Ramakrishna-Beach-Visakhapatnam2

 

Visakhapatnam was the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and a major sea port of India. However, with the recently announced Telangana State, Vishakhapatnam will now be the largest city of Andhra Pradesh and a probable Capital of the future state of Andhra Pradesh. The climate is tropical and humidity is high throughout the year. The city has all the necessary attractions and resources to make it one of the top tourist destinations in India. Its various beaches, hilltops and a wildlife sanctuary attract a major tourist crowd. The place is the major port of the Indian National Army and is the deepest ports of India. There are various valleys like the Araku Valley, which is a picturesque location for picnics and is a hill station that has some really great trekking hotspots. The various beaches like Yarada and Rishikonda are situated in some of most picturesque locations and are relatively clean and are frequented by many tourists.Given below are the major tourist attractions of Visakhapatnam:

  • Borra Caves
  • Araku Valley
  • Yarada Beach
  • Rishikonda Beach
  • Katiki Waterfalls
  • Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
  • Kailasagiri Hill Park
  • VUDA Park

 

2. Tirupati

tirupati 2

 

Tirupati is one of the Major cultural and religious pilgrimage spots in India. The city is located at the southern part of Andhra Pradesh and is situated at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats in the Chittor district. Although the major language spoken here is Telugu, the word Tirupati is a Tamil word as saint Ramanujacharya who was a Tamil Vaishnava saint was responsible for founding this city. The town is famous for its temple dedicated to ‘Balaji’, a form of Lord Vishnu. The temples foundation history is unknown and it was expanded over the centuries by various kingdoms and dynasties including the Chola, Pallava and the Vijaynagar Empire. The temple is one of the major pilgrimage spots in India and especially in the southern India. Apart from the temples, there are various other attractions like parks and zoos. Here are some of the major tourist attractions of Tirupati:

  • Sri Venkateswara Temple
  • Talakona Waterfalls
  • TTD Gardens
  • Deer Park
  • Sri Vari Museum
  • Sri Govindarajaswami Temple
  • Srikalahasti
  • Kanipakam

 

3. Vijayawada

Krishna_River_Vijayawada

 

Vijayawada, being the third largest city of Andhra Prades is number 3 on this list. The city is an agriculturally rich state and has been recognized as the Global city of the future by McKinsey. The former name of the city was Bezawada and has been under the rule of various ancient kingdoms of the South and has been one of the places the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang stayed at. The River Krishna runs through the city and is located at the hills of the Eastern Ghats. The city’s location is unique as well as to its west lays the deep jungles of the Kondapalli Reserve Forests which is known to house leopards, jackals, wolves, wild boar and wild dogs. The city itself is a cultural and religious center with its various temples, religious monuments, rivers, ancient caves and many more. Do not forget to buy the famous Kondapalli Toys as souvenirs. Some popular tourist places in Vijayawada are:

  • Undavalli Caves
  • Mogalarajapuram Caves
  • Prakasam Barrage
  • Bhavani Island
  • Victoria Museum
  • Kondapalli Fort
  • Kolleru Lake
  • Gandhi Hill

 

4. Nellore

nellore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The name ‘Nellore’ literally means ‘Paddy Place’ and is thus one of the primary agricultural cities in Andhra Pradesh. The vast paddy fields of Damaramadugu are one of the prime sources of rice in the state and in the country. The town is split in two by the Pennar River and is thus located at both the banks of the river. Towards the east of the city is the Bay of Bengal and thus Nellore is at a unique and strategic geographical location. The city has seen various ancient dynasties like the Mauryas, Chola, Pallava and Vijaynagar etc. Nellore is also famous for its ancient temples which are amazing owing to their stunning architecture and the cultural history associated with them. Nellore also has the Nelapattu bird sanctuary which is a great spot for the photography enthusiasts and professionals alike. The various lakes, temples, forts in the ancient agricultural town of Nellore are sure to keep you enchanted. Here are some important tourist destinations in Nellore:

  • Udayagiri Fort
  • Venkatagiri Fort
  • Nellapattu Bird Sanctuary
  • Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
  • Penchalakona
  • Jonnawada
  • Mypad Beach
  • Pulicat Lake

 

5. Chittoor

CHITTOOR

 

 

The city of Chittoor lies at the banks of the Ponnai River and is thus an important agricultural town in Andhra Pradesh. The town’s major source of economy is its crops and agricultural products like grain, sugarcane, mango and Peanuts. The town has a unique climate which is high in the Eastern areas and low in the western areas because of the change in the altitude. The place is considered to be a backward district as far as the economy is concerned; nevertheless it is a great place to visit and an undiscovered gem for a tourist. The town with its various hills, rivers, temples, forts and a rich collection of flora and fauna is a must visit. A personal recommendation would be to spend more time at the western areas near the Horsley Hills and simply relax. While most attractions in Chittoor can be covered in a day, it is more of a place to relax and rejuvenate. Some major tourist places in Chittoor are given below:

  • Horsley Hills
  • Kaundinya Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Kalavagunta
  • Gurramkonda Fort
  • Nagari Hills
  • Sri Venkateswara Temple
  • Mogili
  • Ramagiri

 

6. Anantapur

iskcon-anantapur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Largest of all the districts in Andhra Pradesh, Anantapur is famous for diamond mining and agricultural produce like rice, cotton, maize, chillies etc. The town is located near the bordering State of Karnataka and has 6 rivers that flow through the district. The town is an undiscovered tourist location with a number of monuments that exemplify the ancient reign of the Vijaynagar Kingdom and is famous for its ancient temples as well. The old ruins of the hilltop forts, its hidden waterfalls make it an amazing tourist attraction. The town of Anantapur is also famous for housing the mighty banyan tree of ‘Thimmamma Marrimanu’ which is one of the largest trees in the world. Its branches are spread in an area covering around 2.5 acres and a canopy that is spread around 19,107 sq meters. Anantapur is a definitive visit for all people visiting Andhra Pradesh. Given below are major places to visit in Anantpur:

  • Penukonda
  • Ravadurg Gooty Fort
  • Thimmamma Marrimanu
  • Dharmavaram
  • Hemavathi
  • Aluru Kona
  • Lepakshi
  • Raidurga Fort

 

7. Kurnool

kurnool

Kurnool is known for being the erstwhile capital of the State of Andhra Pradesh. The town is one of the oldest cities and based on the rock paintings of Ketavaram, the town has seen humans since the Paleolithic era. The ancient caves and fort ruins in Kurnool date back pretty far in history and are a marvel to behold. The town is surrounded by the parallel running mountain ranges from north to south. The various temples and pilgrimage sites in this ancient town are not only significant when it comes to their cultural history but are also important architectural heritage of the city. The Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary is one of the prime reasons one must visit this town as it is a great place for both nature lovers and the shutterbugs. Some major attractions of Kurnool are given below:

  • Kurnool Fort
  • Belum Caves
  • Nallamala Forest
  • Rollapadu Bird Sanctuary
  • Adoni Fort
  • Mahanandi
  • Kurnool Museum
  • Mantralayam

 

8. Kadapa

kadapa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kadapa literally means a “Gateway”. This name owes to its special location which acts as a gateway to the pilgrim spot of the Tirumala Hills. The town was a part of the various ancient kingdoms of the South and it’s famous for its various temples and forts that exemplify a marvelous Dravidian style architecture and prowess of the artisans when it comes to stone carving. The Bellum Caves are few of the longest caves in the Indian subcontinent and a spot that one shouldn’t miss. The town got its economic boom when the large deposits of natural Uranium were discovered here and is one of the world’s top 20 reserves of the nuclear fuel. The Shree venkateshwara wildlife sanctuary located here is also a great spot worth visiting and is rich with flora, fauna and some breathtaking views. Major tourist places in Kadapa include:

  • Belum Caves
  • Gandikota Fort
  • Sidhout Fort
  • Bhagvan Mahavir Government Museum
  • Sri Venkateswara Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Pushpagiri
  • Ontimitta
  • Ameen Peer Dargah

 

9. Srikalahasti

Skriakalahasti

Located on the banks of the Swarnamukhi River, Srikalahasti is located near the pilgrim city of Tirupati. The name of the town comes from the native names of three animals (spider, snake and elephant) which are said to have received salvation owing to their worship of Lord Shiva. Many different spots of this sacred town have been mentioned in the ancient texts and epics like Mahabharata. The town being a holy spot for the Hindu pilgrims boasts of its various temples which are architectural marvels and are located in few of the most picturesque locations between the surrounding hillocks. The town’s major sources of economy are agriculture and tourism so the visitors can expect good food and hospitality. Here are some major tourist places to visit in Srikalahasti:

  • Sri Kalahasti Temple
  • Talakona Waterfalls
  • Veyilingala Kona Waterfalls
  • Ubbalamadugu Falls
  • Gudimallam
  • Sahasra Linga Temple
  • Bharadwaja Tirtham
  • Durgambika Temple

 

10. Ongole

ongole

Ongole is an ancient town that came under the reign of the ancient southern Indian kingdoms like Mauryas and Sathavahanas and the Pallava Ruler Krishna Deva Raya. Due to this ancient history behind the town’s origin, it is famous for its Hindu temples which date back to the 17th century. The town’s major produce is tobacco and is famous for its various small scale industries. Ongole is famous for its small beaches which are often devoid of huge crowds and has various water sport facilities. The sands are grainy and golden and the waters are clean. The hidden waterfalls of Bhairavakona are also not to be missed and you’re sure to get lost in the breathtaking and relaxing surroundings. Here are the major tourist attractions of Ongole:

  • Kothapatnam Beach
  • Vodarevu Beach
  • Chennakesava Swamy Temple
  • Kashi Visweswara Swamy Temple
  • Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir
  • Tangutur
  • Chandavaram
  • Bhairavakona

 

11. Puttaparthi

Puttaparti

The significance of Puttaparthi rose to fame due to it being one of the major religious centers of ‘Satya Sai Baba’. The various temples and sociocultural centers in the town attracted a majority of the tourist population and pilgrims. The town houses a no. of religious sites and temples popularized by Satya Sai. The Chitravathi River is also referred as being the new Ganges and was used a cleansing spot for the pilgrims who visit here. One of the most distinctive places to visit here would be the Chaitanya Jyoti Museum which is a modern architectural marvel. The museum combines a mix of Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Gothic style architecture into a single monument. The Satya Sai Space Theater and planetarium is also worth visiting. Here are some major places to visit in Puttaparthi:

  • Sai Kulwant Hall
  • Chaitanya Jyoti Museum
  • Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre
  • Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium
  • Gopuram
  • Anjaneya Hanuman Swamy Temple
  • Village Mosque
  • Chitravathi River

 

12. Rajahmundry

Rajahmundry

The city is known to be the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh and is notable for its ancient Vedic culture. The city was said to have been founded by the Chalukyas in the 11th century. However it has been disputed by many historians and archeologists who claim that the town existed before the rule of the Chalukyas.Rajahmundry is also known to be the birth place of the Telugu language. The river Godavari is the major attraction in this town and various parks and ghats are located by its banks. The boat cruises on the river are also an activity that shouldn’t be missed. The town being an ancient one is also famous for its ancient Dravidian Hindu temples that are frequented by tourists from all around. Some of the most popular places in Rajahmundry is given below:

  • Papi Hills
  • Kadiyapulanka
  • Godavari Boat Travels
  • Kotilingeswara Temple
  • Rallabandi Subbarao Government Museum
  • Pattiseema
  • Markandeya Temple
  • Dowleswaram Barrage

 

13. Secunderabad

Secunderabad

The town is famous for bearing the nickname ‘The twin city of Hyderabad’.Secunderabad was founded in 1806 AD as a British cantonment; the city differs in major ways from the city of Hyderabad. The town developed under the direct rule of the British as opposed to the Nizam ruled princely state of Hyderabad. Secunderabad is also one of the largest cantonment areas of India. The town is distinct from the other places in Andhra Pradesh due to the majority of its population being Anglo-Indian and Parsis. The town’s various forts and the famous hussain sagar lake are a must visit. Here are the main places to visit in Secunderabad:

  • Golconda Fort
  • Hussain Sagar Lake
  • Konaseema
  • Birla Mandir
  • Trimulgherry Fort
  • Birla Planetarium
  • Saidanimba Tomb
  • All Saints’ Church

 

14. Amalapuram

Ampalapuram

A small town which is mainly known for its agricultural produce of coconuts and rice, Amalapuram has a rich Vedic culture and is known for its various temples. While there isn’t much to see in this town the main places to visit are the Appanapalli Temple, Ainavilli Siddhi Vinayaka Temple and Sree Veereswara Swamy Temple. The town also lies at the head of the Konaseema Delta which is formed by the Godavari River. The town is also a hub of financial and education institutes in the Konaseema region. Major tourist attractions in Amalapuram include:

  • Appanapalli Temple
  • Ainavilli Siddhi Vinayaka Temple
  • Sree Veereswara Swamy Temple, Muramulla

 

15. Srikakulam

Srikakulam

The town of Srikakulam is located at the banks of the Krishna River and is placed on the northeast corner of Andhra Pradesh. This town came under the kalinga region of ancient India and is known for its various ancient temples. The town has one of the longest coastlines in the state of Andhra Pradesh and its various beaches are also worth visiting. Srikakulam is also a major producer of Khadi products. The various historic temples, monuments and beaches are deserving of a definitive visit. Image Credits SaurabhChatterjee

Being a part of the ancient kingdoms of the southern India, Andhra Pradesh is one of the major sources of Dravidian culture and history. With numerous tourist places in Andhra Pradesh, vast natural resources, varied climatic conditions and numerous ancient temples is a great location which will definitely make you look into the history books.

Tourism in Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati Stupa, an important Buddhist site in South India, the antiquity of Amaravati dates back to 500 BCE. The stupa was then adorned with limestone reliefs and free standing Buddha figures

A View of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

Srikalahasti Temple

Rushikonda beach, Visakhapatnam

Rock-cut Buddha Statue at Bojjanakonda, Visakhapatnam district

Ethipothala Water Falls

Palmyra palm trees barrier islands of Pulicat Lake, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh

Belum Caves, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

Araku Valley, Eastern Ghats, Visakhapatnam

The state of Andhra Pradesh comprises like scenic hills, forests, beaches and temples. Also known as The City of Pearls,Hyderabad is today one of the most developed cities in the country and a modern hub of information technology, ITES, and biotechnology. Hyderabad is known for its rich history, culture and architecture representing its unique character as a meeting point for North and South India, and also its multilingual culture,

Andhra Pradesh is the home of many religious pilgrim centres:

  • Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, is the second richest and most visited religious centre (of any faith) in the world. Srisailam, the abode of Sri Mallikarjuna, is one of twelve Jyothirlingalu in India. Amaravathi’s Siva temple is one of the Pancharamams, Vemulavada temple, one of the old abodes of Lord Shiva, reputed as Dakshina Kashi – Benaras of South India.
  • Kanaka Durga Temple of goddess Durga is situated on the Indrakeeladri Hill in the city of Vijayawada on the banks ofKrishna River. A large number of pilgrims attend the colourful celebrations of Tepotsavam and for holy dip in theKrishna river during the festival of Dusshera.[9]
  • Mallikarjuna Swamy temple situated at Srisailam in the Nallamala Hills of Kurnool district,[10] is the abode of lord Mallikarjuna Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Lord Rama himself installed the Sahasralinga, while the Pandavas lodged the Panchapandava lingas in the temple courtyard. The Vijayanagara Empire built number of monuments, including the Srisailam and Lepakshi temples.
  • The five ancient Hindu temples of Lord Shiva, known as Pancharama Kshetras, are located at – Amararama, Draksharama,Somarama, Ksheerarama and Kumararama. Other religious places include, Srikalahasti temple in Chittoor district,Raghavendra Swami Mutt in Mantralayam of Kurnool district, Lord Venkateswara temple in Dwaraka Tirumala of West Godavari District, Annavaram temple in East Godavari and Arasavalli Surya temple in Srikakulam District etc., are also religious places for divine worships in the state.

Famous Buddhist centres:

  • Amaravathi – Guntur District
  • Nagarjuna Konda – Guntur District
  • Bhattiprolu – Guntur District
  • Ghantasala – Krishna District
  • Sankaram – Visakhapatnam District
  • Bavikonda- Visakhapatnam District
  • Thotlakonda- Visakhapatnam District
  • Ramatheertham- Vizianagaram District
  • Salihundam- Srikakulam District
  • Lingapalem – West Godavari District

Others are Pavurallakonda, Chandavaram, Guntupalli, Adurru, Kummarilova, Kotturu Dhanadibbalu, Karukonda, kapavaram, Nandalur

Pilgrim centres and temples:

  • Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple – The abode of Lord Venkateswara, is the richest and most visited religious centre (of any faith) in the world situated in Tirupathi City
  • Kanaka Durga Temple – One of the Shakti Peetam’s situated in Vijayawada City
  • Sri Mallikaruna Temple – One of the Jyothirlingam’s situated in Srisilam Town
  • Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narashima Temple – Situated at Simhachalam near to Vizag City
  • Sri Kalashastiswara Temple – Situated at Srikalahasti Town
  • Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple – known as china Tirupathi located at Dwaraka Tirumala Town
  • Sri Amaralingeswara Swami Temple – One of the Pancharama’s located at Amaravathi Town
  • Sri Someswara Swami Temple – One of the Pancharama’s located at Bhimavaram Town
  • Sri Kshira Rama Lingeswara Swami Temple – One of the Pancharama’s located at Palakol town
  • Sri Bhimeswara Swami Temple – One of the Pancharama’s located at Rama Chandra Puram Town
  • Sri Satyanarayana Swami Temple – Located at Annavaram near Rajahmundry city
  • Arasavali Temple – Sun God’s temple located 3 km away from Srikakulam almost on the shore of Bay of Bengal
  • Srikurmam – Temple of Lord Vishnu in Kurma Avataram also near Srikakulam on the Shore of Bay of Bengal
  • Rama Lingeswara Swamy Temple- One of the Lord Shiva’s temple suituated in Yanamalakuduru village near Vijayawada, Shiva Rathri is well celebrated in this Temple

Thousand’s of oldest temples are situated in Andhra pradesh.

Attractions:

  • Kilash giri – Mountain View along with beach side situated in Vizag City
  • Bhimili Beach – Beautiful Beach near to Vizag City
  • Araku Valley – known as Andhra Ooty near to Vizag City
  • Borra Caves – caves formed 1 million years ago situated near to Vizag City; belongs to Odisha
  • Bhavani Islands – A unique tourism spot to stay and visit near Vijayawada
  • Thimmamma Marrimanu – The World’s Largest Banyan Tree, and “Marrimanu” was recorded as the biggest tree in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989. Its branches spreads over nearly 5 acres. (2.1 ha.). Located about 35 km from Kadiri, and 100 km from Anantapur.
  • Lepakshi – this is the largest monolithic Nandi (Bull) in the world, (length 27 feet, height 15 feet), It is 15 km (9.3 mi) east of Hindupur, and 105 km from Anantapur, and about 120 km (75 mi) north of Bangalore.
  • Prakasam Barrage – A famous bridge which was constructed by the British Government in the remembrance of Tanguturi Prakasam, is the best tourist spot to visit in Vijayawada
  • Kolleru Lake – A famous lake situated between Krishna and West Godavari District.
  • Pulicat Lake is located at the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Pulicat Lake covers an area of 500 km2. It is a brackish water lagoon, the second largest in India, and is situated along the coast of Bay of Bengal. The lake encompasses the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary attracts many migratory birds and also is a feeding and nesting ground for aquatic and terrestrial birds such as flamigoes, pelicans etc.
  • The Borra Caves in the Anatagiri Hills of the Eastern Ghats, near Vishakapatnam at an altitude of about 800 to 1300 metres are famous for million-year-old stalactite and stalagmite formations. They were discovered by British geologist William King George in 1807. The caves got the name from a formation inside the caves that looks like the human brain, which in Telugu language is known as burra.
  • The Belum Caves in Kurnool District have a length of 3,229 metres (10,594 ft), making them the second largest natural caves on the Indian subcontinent. The Belum Caves derive their name from Bilum, the Sanskrit word for caves. The caves have long passages, spacious chambers, freshwater galleries, and siphons. The caves deepest point is 120 feet (37 m) from the entrance and is known as Patalganaga.

The golden beaches at Visakhapatnam, the one-million-year-old limestone caves at Borra, picturesque Araku Valley, hill resorts of Horsley Hills, river Godavari racing through a narrow gorge at Papi Kondalu, waterfalls at Ettipotala, Kuntala and rich bio-diversity at Talakona, are some of the natural attractions of the state. Visakhapatnam is home to many tourist attractions such as the INS Karasura Submarine museum, Yarada Beach, Araku Valley, VUDA Park, Indira Gandhi Zoological Gardens. The weather in Andhra Pradesh is mostly tropical and the best time to visit is in November through to January. The monsoon season commences in June and ends in September, so travel would not be advisable during this period. Rajahmundry is the hub for great Engineering and Architectural monuments such as Godavari Bridge (Asia’s second largest Road cum Railway Bridge), Papi Hills, Iskon Temple, Tantikonda, Sir Arthur Cotton Museum, Pushkar Ghat, Gowthami Ghat. A unique festival called Pushkaram will be celebrated along the Godavari river for every 12 years and Rajahmundry attracts 4-5 crore people during the tenure of the festival.