Andhra Pradesh is the most populous state in Eastern India surrounded by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa to the north, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west.Andhra Pradesh is divided into three regions. Konaseema is a coastal plain between Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal. Telangana lies west of the Ghats and Rayalaseema is located in the southeast of Andhra Pradesh.
Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala, India
Tirumala is one of the most important pilgrim centers in the world. Venkateswara is an ancient and sacred temple that is said to outshine Jerusalem, Rome and Mecca for the utter numbers of pilgrims alone - never fewer than 5,000 at any one time.The origin of Venkateswara Temple is in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect that advocates equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice.The main temple of Venkateswara houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills in the inner sanctum. The temple is an atmospheric spot bathed in soft light but as you enter the inner sanctum it grows darker and smells of incense. Many pilgrim wait in line for hours to catch a fleeting glimpse of the deity.Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit Venkateswara Temple throughout the year from all over the world. The temple is considered one of the richest in India.
Vijayawada is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh, located on the banks of the Krishna River. The name literally means "The Place of Victory". Vijayawada is a busy port town and the largest railway junction of the South Central Railways.The city of Vijayawada is surrounded by hills on three sides with the Krishna River cutting through the southern end.Some of the most popular attractions include temples, such as the Undavalli Cave Temples, and the Buddhist ruins at Amaravathi. Millions of pilgrims swoop down on Vijayawada every 12 years when Lord Pushkara is believed to reside in the Krishna River.
Amaravati is small town west of Vijayawada that was once the Andhran capital and was also the site of a great Buddhist stupa built by the Satavahanas. Nagarjuna, the Mahayan monk, built the stupa at Amaravati over 2,000 years ago.Many pieces from the stupa have been taken to the British Museum, National Museum, Kolkata and the Government Museum at Chennai. The Amaravati Buddhist sculptures are world-famous and even though only remnants remain, any visitors interested in Buddhist history will want to visit the sight. A small museum is located nearby and features a replica of the stupa.
Undavalli Cave Temples
The Undavalli Caves house a statue of Vishnu in a reclining position, sculpted from a single block of granite. The Undavalli Caves are located high in the hills overlooking the Krishna River.The caves were excavated in the 4th and 5th C, and host a variety of architectural and sculptural models. Other shrines within the caves are dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Warangal was once the capital of the legendary Kakatiya kingdom, which covered the present day Andhra Pradesh from the late 12th to early 14th C.Warangal is the fourth-largest city in Andhra Pradesh and home to several education institutions such as Kakatiya Medical College, Kakatiya University, Kakatiya Institute of Technology and Sciences and the National Institute of Technology.This cotton market town has a colorful wool market during the cooler months and abundant attractions that draw large numbers of tourists. The Hindu Kakatiyas were great builders and Warangal contains many of the best forms of architecture, especially temples.
Warangal Fort dates back to the 13th C, but invaders destroyed the majority of this massive fortress. The remnants of Warangal Fort that remain include a wall made of mud, which encircles the entire fort, a second wall of granite rock, and then the actual fort itself.The stone gateways of Warangal Fort are still present and stand about 50 feet from the ground, carved out of a single rock. Replicas of these gates, made out of concrete, can be seen in various parts of Andhra Pradesh.The four pathways inside the fort, pointing in the four principal directions, lead to a huge central Shiva Temple.
Ramappa Temple, Palampet, India
Ramappa Temple was built in 1234 and influenced by Chalukya and Hoysala architectural styles. An inscription at the Ramappa Temple reads that it was built on behalf of Ganapati Deva, by his commander in chief. The temple is named for the sculptor who built it.Highlights include ornately carved pillars and statues of female forms as well as the star-shaped platform that Ramappa Temple rises above.The temple is built with bricks that are very light yet the temple stands so strong even after numerous wars, invasions and natural disasters.