Veerabhadra Temple is situated in the village of Lepakshi and is easily accessible via Anantapur that lies only 15 km from the village. The temple is very famous in South India and devotees from all over the country visit the temple in large numbers every year. The presiding deity at the temple is Lord Veerbhadra.
Veerabhadra Temple was built during the 16th century by the kings of Vijayanagra Empire. The style of architecture of the temple is in keeping with the style employed by the artisans and sculptors of Vijayanagra Empire. The artwork at the temple is a supreme example of the excellent craftsmanship of the Vishwakarma Brahmins who were instrumental in designing the layout of the temple.
The temple defines magnificence with majestic sculptors and intricately carved mandapams. One mandapam at the temple particularly stands out with life-size dancers and musicians sculpted on the pillar. There is a huge statue of the Nandi Bull carved out from one giant stone. The temple is a marvel in itself, and it is little wonder that it attracts so many tourists year after year.
Amaravati Stupa, also known as Mahachaitya, is one of the chief attractions of Amaravathi. It was initially built during the times of Emperor Ashoka who was a great follower of Lord Buddha and had embraced Buddhism during his later years. The work on the stupa was completed by the year 200 CE and the carvings on the stupa depicted the life story of Buddha and his teachings. When Amaravathi became the capital of the Satavahana kings, the stupa was decorated with limestone reliefs and freestanding figures of Buddha were carved on to it. However, with the decline of Buddhism, the stupa also got neglected and was found buried by Colonel Colin Mackenzie, who visited the site in 1796 CE. Once the excavation work started, many other sculptures which once formed the constituent parts of the stupa were also unearthed. Today, the stupa is the only example of an Ashokan pillar to have been found in the whole of South India.
Ameen Peer Dargah is a Sufi shrine in the city of Kadapa. The shrine is visited by people of all religions because of its popularity. The shrine, which is a symbol of communal harmony, is open on all days to tourists and locals alike.
However, the shrine is bustling with activity on Thursdays and Fridays when people of all religions gather at the dargah to seek blessings of two popular sufi saints Peerullah Hussaini and Arufullah Haussaini II.
The shrine contains the dargah or graves of the two saints. It is believed that praying at the dargah will fulfill all your wishes. The descendants of the two saints also work at the shrine and are dressed in saffron to separate their identity from other workers in the shrine.
The devotees of the two saints wear only saffron-coloured caps. Many people believe that Peerullah Hussaini was a descendent of Prophet Mohammed. He would visit the dargahs of all Sufi saints of India, and it was in Kadapa that he was asked to settle.
Bhavani Island is located on river Krishna and covers an area of over 130 acres. The island is located in proximity to the Prakasam Barrage, and the view of the island is splendid. It is one of the largest river islands of the Krishna river. It has emerged as a very popular picnic spot and has wonderful infrastructural facilities in terms of swimming pools and boat rides.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation has maintained the place well and has made boating available at Durga Ghat. The island also takes pride in the adventure sports and water sports facility. A must-visit for all tourist looking for a getaway and some fun time.
Horsley Hills is a very popular summer hill resort situated near the town of Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh. The resort is at an easily accessible distance from major cities of the south like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Tirupati. In fact, the place sees a large influx of tourists from these areas during the months of April and May when summer heat is at its peak.
This scenic hill station provides much needed respite from the hot weather. The hill station was previously known as Yenugu Mallamma Konda. The place was named after a small girl called Mallamma who was looked after by the elephants ever since she was a baby. She would care for the sick people of the nearby tribes.
When she disappeared suddenly one day the tribal people decided to build a temple for her. Later the name of the hill station was changed after a British Officer, W.D. Horsley, made it his summer resort by constructing two houses, the Karachi Room and the Milk Bungalow.
The ISKCON Temple is a popular spot for recreation and worship in Rajahmundry. It is otherwise known as Gouthami Ghat. The temple complex is spread over an area of 2 acres and is the second largest ISKCON temple next to the ISKCON temple in Bangalore.
The ISKCON or International Society for Krishna Consciousness has built this temple on the banks of the Godavari. The temple is also called the Ramananda Raya Gaudiya Math in remembrance of the fact that Lord Sri Chaitanya and Ramananda Raya exchanged dialogue at this site. According to history, the great saint Shri Krisha Chaitanya Maha Prabhu was worshipped at this very site as an incarnation of Lord Krishna around 500 years ago.
Kondaveedu Fort is part of the rich historical past of Guntur city. The fort is situated around 12 km from Guntur and can be reached easily via well-maintained roads.
The construction of this historical fort was commissioned by the Reddy kings during the start of the 14th century. The fort itself contains 21 structures. The structures are in ruin for the most part, but they still offer a deep insight into the mysteries associated with the fort.
Many people visit the fort to enjoy the scenic beauty amidst which the fort has been built. Some tourists also prefer trekking and hiking in the area because the terrain is suitable for doing so.
Very close to the fort is located the Gopinatha Temple and the Kathulabave Temple. These fall en route to the fort along with many other temples. The gateway to the fort is located at the base of the hill on which the fort stands. Along with the gateways, the residential complexes of the fort as well as a huge hall also stand in testimony to the history of the place.
Kurnool Fort, also known as Konda Reddy Buruju is one of the most prominent landmarks of the Kurnool city. Built by Achyuta Devarayalu of the Vijaynagar Empire, the fort is located in the centre of the city and is a major tourist attraction. The only part left of the splendid architectural structure is the Konda Reddy Buruju.
In the very prison of this fort, Konda Reddy took his last breath; hence, the tower was dedicated to his name. Although the fort is largely in ruins, some of the ruined portions are still standing strong. One of them is the Erra Buruju.
Two small ancient temples are located at the foot of this Buruju. The temples are dedicated to Goddess Yellamma. It is believed that there are hidden treasures in this Buruju. Many a failed attempts have been made to discover this treasure. There are also many amusing inscriptions and carvings in this fort.
The Narasimhaswamy Temple in Nellore is located about 13 km away from the heart of the city of Nellore. Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity in this temple. Narasimha, His fourth incarnation or “avatar” is worshipped in this temple.
The temple is also known as Sri Vedagiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. The temple is a famous spot of pilgrimage. Many myths surround the temple. Inside the temple there is the Santhana Vriksha, a tree believed to bless the childless with children. As a reason couples who do not have children come to the temple to offer their prayers.
The Kondi Kasuli Hundi, where people come to offer their prayers, is believed to rid the diseased of the venomous bites of snakes and scorpions. There is a smaller, separate shrine located above the main temple that is dedicated to the worship of Adi Lakshmi. It is highly recommended to visit the temple once you are at Nellore.
Padmapuram Botanical Gardens are a part of the Eastern Ghats and are situated in the Araku road. The garden was built during the time of the Second World War with the aim of growing vegetables for the soldiers who were fighting in the war. It was simply called Botanical Garden back then. However, now there is much more to the gardens than simply growing vegetables.
Padmapuram Botanical Gardens now contain a horticultural nursery that includes exotic and rare species of flowers and trees. Another important feature of the Padmapuram Botanical Gardens is a toy train that is enjoyed by both kids and adults alike. The toy train has been planted within the Gardens, to give the tourists a tour of the entire area.
The garden also has interesting features such as an exclusive rose garden as well as tree-top huts. These huts are available for rent and have to be booked in advance.
Prasanthi Nilayam is the holy abode of Satya Sai Baba. The Name Prasanthi Nilayam literally means ‘abode of peace’ and every year thousands of devotees come to the Ashram to seek peace of mind and soul. The ashram was inaugurated in the year 1950. The Ashram has all the modern facilities including educational institutions, stadiums, etc.
Visitors have to strictly comply with the rules and regulations of the Ashram. The Ashram has an assembly hall where Baba gives Darshan to his devotees. The ashram is also the headquartes of the Sri Satya Sai Seva Organisation and the Sir Satya Sai Central Trust.
Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy Temple of Mantralayam is one of the chief tourist attractions of the region. The guru is believed to be an incarnation of Bhakta Prahlada, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu saved his devotee from the cruel intentions of his father by taking the form of Lord Narasimha and killing the monster father of Prahlada. Sri Guru Raghavendra Swamy chose Mantralayam for forming his Vrindavana.
The temple is very popular amongst the thousands of devotees of the guru who make it a point to visit the temple every year during the time of Guru Jayanti. On the day of the Jayanti, the temple is bustling with activity since it is a day of celebration and thousands of devotees come to participate in the festivities that continue for two days. It is believed by many devotees that the guru still resides at Vrindavana and according to the guru himself, he will continue living at the place for the next 361 years.
Sri Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Srikalahasti is dedicated to Lord Murugan. The temple is located right in the middle of the town and is easily accessible by road. The temple is famous for the Aadi Krithika festival that is celebrated in the temple each year with great devotion and fervour.
The celebrations last for eight days and during this time the temple sees a lot of activities, including dance and music. The temple is decorated with lights and flowers and on the final day of the festival three chariots carrying idols of Lord Subrahmanya Swamy and his consorts, Sri Valli and Devasena are taken outside the temple and driven through the town much like a procession.
The festival of Aadi Krithika holds a lot of importance for the people of the town as well as for the devotees of Lord Murugan who throng to the temple in large numbers to participate in the festivities.
Sri Varaha Laxmi Narasimha Swami Temple of Simhachalam is very popular among the devotees of Lord Vishnu since it is dedicated to Vishnu’s ninth incarnation, Lord Narasimha. The temple is built on the top of the hill that is called Simhachalam or the Lion Hill. The temple is said to be the second richest temple in India after that of Tirupati.
The architecture of the temple showcases an amalgamation of Orissan and Dravidian style. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu took the form of Narasimha in order to save His devotee Bhakta Prahalad from the hands of his cruel father. Prahalad’s father had been granted a boon that he could not be killed by either a man or an animal and that he wouldn’t die either on earth or on space.
Lord Vishnu turned himself into a half-lion, half-man form and killed Prahalad’s father by placing him on His lap and pulling his guts out. The temple is counted among the eighteen Naarasimha Kshetras or the shrines of Lord Narasimha.
It is a belief that earlier when some Muslim invaders sought to destroy the temple, Kumaranatha, a poet piously pleaded with Lord Narasimha; a swarm of copper hornets attacked the invaders and vanished behind the hillock of Simhachalam.
The people of Simhachalam believe that it was the Grace of Lord Narasimha which saved them and the temple from plundering and destruction. The road leading to Simhachalam presents a pretty picture with surrounding greenery. Needless to say, the place where the temple stands is also enchanting.
Srisailam Dam has been constructed across river Krishna, a few kilometres away from the main town of Srisailam. The dam has been strategically built over a deep gorge within the Nallamala Hills. The dam has the distinction of being the second largest hydroelectric project in India. The Srisailam Dam project was started in the year 1960, and it took 20 years to complete the project.
What had started out as a hydroelectric project was also made into a multipurpose facility that includes a generating capacity of 770 MW. Today, the dam provides water for an area covering 2,200 sq km. The inflow into the Srisailam reservoir does not require power generation for storage and hence, water is stored in large quantities.
During the flooding, the Srisailam reservoir gets filled up pretty quick, and the rest of the flood water flows into the Nagarjunasagar Dam that is located at a lesser height. The flood water is not used for power generation.