Hyderabad-The City Of Nizams
Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh in many ways. It is India's Pearl City with a past that has brought with it a flourishing international trade. It's also the most sought-after destinations by people in technology, with new and leading software companies opening shop almost every day. Hyderabad is a City's dreams come true. Hyderabad's dazzle begins with the great Charminar landscaping the old City. Neighbouring it is the Laad Bazar, India's most famous bridal ware market. Right at the base of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, one of India's largest mosques.
Move over to the Salarjung Museum which houses the largest one-man collection of artifacts and antiques ever to be found anywhere in the world. There's also the Andhra Pradesh State Museum. A must on the touring almanac are the Qutub Shahi Tombs, the Hussain Sagar and the Osman Sagar lakes. Overlooking the Hussain sagar lake is the Statue of Buddha. The newest the additions being the Dhola-ri-Dhani, an ethnic Rajasthani village, and Shilparamam, a Crafts Village. For those into adventure, there's the Ocean Park, and for the carting freaks, the Runways 9. While in Hyderabad, do relish the famous Hyderabadi Biryani.
On the other side, for those who are done with history, there's the Ramoji Films City- a sprawling complex of movie studios, with some of the most hi-tech movies equipments, the place has reinvented itself as a leading tourist destinations, with accommodations being available for the movers. There is the Prasads, a mammoth entertainment center, with south India's first IMAX Theater.
Golconda-The Big Fort
The Golconda Fort was originally constructed in the mid-Twelfth Century by the Yadav kings of Deogiri. It passed through a succession of ruler until it became the capital of the Qutub Shahis from 1518 to 1687. The diamonds vault at the Golconda Fort is known to have once housed the Kohinoor and the Hope diamonds. The Fort is quite revered for its acoustics, palace, a remarkable water supply system and the Fateh Rahen gun. The added 'nostalgic' accompaniment at the Fort is the not-to-be-missed sound and light show every day.
Buddhism's Southern Stronghold
Andhra's Buddhist roots are old, and the doctrine came there in the lifetime of the Buddhist sites survive today. One of the greatest Buddhist sites is the Nagarjunakonda. With the coming up of the Nagarjunasagar Dam, this ancient Buddhist site was getting submerged. As a significant move, the structures were relocated to a hill, which now sites as an island on the reservoir. The hill was christened Nagarjuna, the founder of Mahayana Buddhism. A museum on the island, shaped like a Vihara, displays reliquary from the Buddhist centre of Sriparvata and Vijaypuri, while the remnants of a Buddhist University have been relocated to Anupu, 4 km from here. The most important Buddhist site in Andhra is Amaravati which was the capital of the Satavahanas. The largest stupa in India is housed here.
Visakhapatnam-The Port City
This land of the golden beaches was just over half a century ago a small fishing village. It's amazing the way this port city with a natural harbor has transformed into one of the fastest growing city of Asia.
It's an ideal heaven for the religious minded, the Buddhist pilgrim, the fun-lovers and adventure-seekers. With a number of beaches, and a long stretch of road along the sea-shore up to Bheemunipatnam town, Visakhapatnam is the second oldest municipalities in the country. No trip to Vizag is complete without a visit to Araku, 110 km away, a lovely valley nestled amidst the high Eastern Ghats. Place of interest comprise, the Dolphin's Nose, Indira Ghandhi Zoological Park, Kailasagiri Hills & Valleys, the Lawson's Bay beaches, Hyderabad the Ramakrishna Beach, Rishikonda Beach and Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, Simhachalam.
Vijayawada-The Commerce City
About 271 km away from Hyderabad, is stationed this 'commercial capital' of Andhra Pradesh. A city that is busy in its world and has a history of its own. This place is famous for the Kanak Durga Temple, atop the Indrakeeladri hill. Other place of tourist interest includes, the Bhavani Island, located at a distance of 4 km from Vijayawada. It's good picnic spot for nature lovers, with a boat riding facilities.
Warangal-The Arch Town
At a little distance from Hyderabad, lies the fortified capital city of the Kakatiyas-Warangal. This dynasty is credited with some of the finest architectural splendors. Their legacy is still visible in Warangal. On the traveler's list, are the Thousand Pillar Temples, Warangal fort and the Ramappa Temples.
Anantapur-The Pious City
The Prashantinilayam in Puttaparti, the abode of Sri Satya Sai Baba is the most divine place in Anantapur, which million making their way here, every year. The guru's birthday celebrations on the 23rd of November every year attract enormous number of devotees. Penukonda and Rayaduram Forts, the places of historical interest, and Lepakshi (where the Veerbhadra Temple is located) and Dharmavaram, are the other place of religious significance in Anantapur district. An offbeat attraction is the Thimmammam Marrimanu, a banyan tree dating over five-and half centuries.
Tirupati-The Holy Abode
The domicile of Lord Venkateswara, Tirupati, lies in the dense woods, perched atop the Tirumala Hills of Chittoor district. Regarded as India's most prosperous temple, Triupati attractions millions of devotees each year. It is customary for pilgrims visiting. Tirupati to offer their hair to the Lord. And not astonishingly, this has created an industry giving a boot to commerce, with wig-making beings an important occupation. Tirupati, the town at the foothills of the Tirumala Hills, leads the way up to the abode. Places of visit include Sila Thoranam and the Sri Venkateswara Wild Life sanctuary.
Amongst the other temple are Akasa Ganga Temple, Goddess Alamelumanga Temple, Here Rama Hara Krishna Mandir, Kapilatirtham, Kodandarama Swamy Temple, Sri Agastheswara Swamy Temple, Swami Pushkarini and Govindarajaswami Temple.
Natures It's Wealthy
Andhra Pradesh is a haven for those who enjoy the glory of nature. Over 24 national park and wildlife sanctuaries dot the nature map of Andhra Pradesh. The Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Sanctuary lives just 130 km away from Hyderabad. One of the most successful reserve of the project Tiger programme, it's a great place to study the king of the jungle. And for the bird lovers, there's the Manjira sanctuary, 50 km away from Hyderabad.
The Tribes-Meet Them
One of the most unique features of Andhra is the tribal groups it is home to. The gorgeous light-eyed Lambadas (gypsies) with their exotic hair cones embellishing their heads, bedecked in jewellery and bright clothes are a great attractions. These once-upon-a-time wanderers now have farming and animal husbandry as their vocation. Then there are the Gond tribes who still practices the 5,000 year-old 'lost wax' method of making bell metal artifacts. Bringing to us some of the most unbelievable embroidered textiles are the Mathura tribes.
Beaches-The Perfect Gateways
The real beauty of Andhra lies in its picturesque coastline. Get to Visakhapatnam (also called Vizag) for the perfect weekend holiday, where golden sands and blue water of the Bay of Bengal are intoxicatingly fascinating. For the swimmers and water-sport freaks, the pristine beach of Rishikonda, 8 km from Vizag, is an ideal gateway. Machilipatnam, Known for its Kalamkari works, is another place.
Explore the hills of Andhra Pradesh and you are bound to flip for them. Start your sojourn at the Hoarsely Hills (1.265m), near Madanapalle in the hills of Chittoor. Slide over to Araku in Anantagiri Hills, at a height of 976 m. The Eastern Ghats is replete with numerous interesting tunnels, bends and waterfalls on the route. On its way, the hill-train traverses the highest rail point in Asia. At a distance of 15km from Araku are the well-illuminated Borra Caves, with million-year old stalagmites and stalactites. The Araku- Rishikonda-Borra circuit has afew exciting resorts and cruises along the Godavari. Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam (a pilgrimage) is a popular route again.
Festivals - They're Unique
Amongst the festivals, Ugadi is the Teluge New Year day. While a few events showcasing Andhra's rich art and culture have been conceived for tourists. The international kite festival, held every January, the Deccan Festival at the Qutb Shahi Tombs in April, which brings the theater. The there is the Lumbini Festival, held at Hyderabad and Nagarjunasagar, showcases the Buddhist heritage of Andhra.
Hyderabad has lost for the shoppers' delight. The famed pearls, bidriware, lacquer bangles embellished with semiprecious stones, with kalamkari being Andhra's most famous export. This art of printing on fabric with vegetable dyes lives in two districts in Andhra. Then there is Pembarti, 60 km from Warangal, known for sheet metal art. And Cheriyal village in Warangal, for its painting. Not to be missed are the batik wall-hangings and the Nirmal painted pottery. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has conceived many an event to promote local art and crafts as tourist souvenirs and destinations under rural tourism. The DWCRA fair being one of them. The also-includes are Pochampalli (handloom), Kondapalli (toys), Kuchipudi (dance) and Chinchinada and kondakaria Aava (eco-tourism). On the health tourism front, the state's potential is being tapped in a big way. Hyderabad has 14 government hospitals and 60 private ones, which are at par with instates anywhere across the world, and yet extremely affordable. The recent year have witnessed Andhra's immense tourist potential enhancing. Currently, Andhra Pradesh is ranked in the top two destinations for domestic tourism in India.
Andhra Pradesh is a multi-flavor destination with something for everyone.
Come, live the Andhra Pradesh experience. It's the Kohinoor of India.