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Tourist places in Andhra Pradesh

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. We shall discuss in brief the top 15 places to visit in the State of Andhra Pradesh.


1. Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam, formerly the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and a significant sea port of India, is now set to become the largest city of the state following the creation of Telangana State. With its tropical climate and high humidity year-round, the city boasts abundant attractions and resources, positioning it as one of India’s premier tourist destinations. Its scenic beaches, hilltops, and wildlife sanctuary draw large crowds, while its status as a major port of the Indian National Army underscores its importance. Notable highlights include the picturesque Araku Valley, ideal for picnics and trekking, as well as pristine beaches like Yarada and Rishikonda, frequented by many tourists.

A few key tourist attractions of Visakhapatnam are: Borra Caves, Araku Valley, Yarada Beach, Rishikonda Beach, Katiki Waterfalls, Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Kailasagiri Hill Park and VUDA Park.


2. Tirupati

Tirupati, situated in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh, is a significant cultural and religious pilgrimage destination in India. The city, nestled at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats in the Chittoor district, holds immense historical and spiritual importance. Predominantly a Telugu-speaking region, Tirupati derives its name from the Tamil word ‘Tirupati,’ attributed to the Tamil Vaishnava saint, Ramanujacharya, who founded the city.

The highlight of Tirupati is the revered Sri Venkateswara Temple, dedicated to ‘Balaji,’ a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. With an unknown origin, the temple has been expanded over centuries by various dynasties, including the Chola, Pallava, and Vijayanagar empires. It stands as a major pilgrimage site in India, particularly in the southern region.

In addition to its religious significance, Tirupati offers various attractions such as the majestic Talakona Waterfalls, serene TTD Gardens, picturesque Deer Park, enlightening Sri Vari Museum, ancient Sri Govindarajaswami Temple, sacred Srikalahasti, and historic Kanipakam.


3. Vijayawada

Vijayawada, the third-largest city in Andhra Pradesh, boasts a rich agricultural heritage and has been dubbed the “Global city of the future” by McKinsey. Formerly known as Bezawada, it has a rich history, having been ruled by various ancient South Indian kingdoms. Situated along the River Krishna amidst the hills of the Eastern Ghats, Vijayawada offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. To the west lie the dense jungles of the Kondapalli Reserve Forests, home to diverse wildlife. The city itself is a hub of culture and religion, dotted with temples, monuments, ancient caves, and more. Don’t miss the opportunity to purchase the famous Kondapalli Toys as souvenirs.

Some popular tourist attractions in Vijayawada include the Undavalli Caves, Mogalarajapuram Caves, Prakasam Barrage, Bhavani Island, Victoria Museum, Kondapalli Fort, Kolleru Lake, and Gandhi Hill.


4. 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 and Pulicat Lake.


5. 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.


6. 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 are major places to visit in Anantpur: Penukonda, Ravadurg Gooty Fort, Thimmamma Marrimanu, Dharmavaram, Hemavathi, Aluru Kona, Lepakshi and Raidurga Fort.


7. 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.


8. 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.


9. Srikalahasti

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.


10. 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.


11. Puttaparthi

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 and Chitravathi River.


12. 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 TempleRallabandi Subbarao Government Museum
  • – Pattiseema
  • – Markandeya Temple
  • – Dowleswaram Barrage

13. 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

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

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.

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.