Andhra Pradesh Tourism Destinations
Like much of India, the history of Andhra Pradesh goes back millennia, with the earliest mention of an Andhra Kingdom in ancient Sanskrit epics dating to the first century B.C. Andhra Pradesh has an extensive history, and there are hundreds of relics of its varied past, with fantastic monuments built by Hindu, Muslim, and British alike. The majority language is Telegu, and it is one of the major hubs of the Indian cinema industry. Recently, new development brought by pharmaceutical companies has changed the region, providing an intriguing contrast of new and old.
Hyderabad should be the first stop for any tourist in Andhra Pradesh. Known as The City of Nizams and The City of Pearls because of the immense wealth of its former rulers who were at one time the richest men in the world, Hyderabad offers an enormity of famous sites. It is also the center of the Telegu film industry, Tollywood, as well as many emergent IT and medical companies, combining new and old in this city of seven million people, one of the largest in India.
Visakhapatnam, or Vizag for short, is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and one of the ten largest cities in the whole of India. While often ignored by tourists visiting the region, Vizag has amazing beaches and is a great staging point for trips into the countryside.
Warangal is not a common destination for most tourists, but it does have many ancient temples worth checking out, with some dating as far back as 2,000 years ago. Perhaps the most interesting site in the city is the Thousand Pillar Temple, built in 1163. If planning to head out to Warangal, check and see if there are any festivals going on: the city has numerous festivals, some that only happen every couple of years.
Tirupati is the richest pilgrimage city in the world, of any religious faith, and it is a premier destination for devout Hindus worldwide. Nested in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, Tirupati is called the City of Temples because of its religious tilt. It is one of the few places where ancient Hindu temples were not destroyed by invading Muslims, making it a great destination for history buffs and art fans.
Puttaparthy is a small village not much different than any other rural town in India, except for one thing: it is the home of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba, considered by millions to be a living God. The town exists entirely around him, with a brilliant temple built to facilitate worship. Millions of people travel here every year to see him and get some peace of mind.
Ringed by nine temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Nandyal is another locus of religion in southern India. If you visit here, make sure to see the Mahanandi temple, which features a natural spring and is one of the most picturesque temples in India. Additionally, in late February and early March there is a large festival, when hundreds of thousands of people show up to celebrate. A great day trip from Nandyal can be made to the Belum Caves south of the city, where one of the largest cave networks in the world is nestled in the mountains. The caves were once inhabited by Jain and Buddhist monks.