Andhra Pradesh Temples and Tourist Places

The temples of Andhra Pradesh demonstrate the diverse style of Temple architecture. The Satvahanas, the Ikshvakus, the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kakatiyas, the Ganga Kings of Orissa, the Vijaynagar Empire, each dynasty brought its-own specific style of architecture.

The most important pilgrimage centre in Andhra Pradesh is the Lord Venkateshwara Temple, at Tirumala, Tirupati Lord Vishnu, the presiding deity of this ancient temple is known as Venkateshwara, Balaji or Srinivasa. It is said to be one of the richest temples in the world and is visited by thousands of devotees all through the year.

About 60 km south of Tirupati, Tiruttani is a hill shrine of great antiquity dedicated to Lord Murugan and about 60 km east is Sri Kalahasti is another pilgrim centre dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalams. This temple is also associated with Rahu and Ketu.

In the south-western corner of Andhra Pradesh is Puttaparti, the main Ashram of Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Prashanti Nilayam, the Adobe of Highest Peace. Mantralayam, the sacred adobe of Sri Raghavendra Swamy, is located on the bank of the Madhwa Saint, who attainted his Samadhi here about 300 years ago, attracts thousands of devotees all through the year.

Birla Mandir in Hyderabad is a modern temple, consecrated in 1976. The presiding deity is Lord Venkateshwara. Kurnool is a convenient base to visit the major pilgrim centre of Srisailam and several other important temples in the vicinity. Srisailam is one of the greatest Shaivaite Shrines in India and constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shrines of Lord Shiva.

The western gateway of Sreesailam is considered to be Alampur. The southern, eastern and the northern gateways are Siddavatam in Cuddapah District and Tripurantakam and Umamaheswaram in Mahboobnagar District. Other temples in the vicinity of Srisailam include: Paladhara Panchadhara, the spot where Adi Shankaracharya is said to have meditated, Hatakeswaram, near Paladhara Panchadhara, a Shiva Temple where the Lingam was originally made of gold, Shakthi Ganapathi Temple, an important temple to visit before going to Srisailam, Kailasa Dwaram, the main entrance to Srisailam for those trekking to the temple, Shikharam, a hill temple dedicated to Shiva, Patalaganga, the bathing ghats associated with Srisailam.

Near Kurnool, the nine temples of Alampur, known as Navabrahma Temples are dedicated to Shiva. These are: Taraka Brahma, Swarga Brahma, Padma Brahma, Bala Brahma, Garuda Brahma, Kumara Brahma, Arka Brahma, Veera Brahma and the Vishwa Brahma. These Temples are all enclosed in a courtyard on the left bank of River Tungabhadra.

Ahobilam, near Kurnool, consist of complex of temples enshrining the nine images of Lord Narasimha. Ahobilam is also the seat of the Ahobila Mutt.

There are three distinctive temples in Vijayawada: the Kanakadurga Temple, the Malleshwara Temple and the Vijayeshwara Temple. About 12 km south of Vijaywada, Mangalagiri consist of two temples: one at the foothills dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha and the other on the hill, dedicated to Pankala Narasimha.

Akiripalli, near Vijayawada, beautiful hill temple has a cave shrine dedicated to Vyagra Narasimha and a temple dedicated to Malleshwara Shiva. There are also shrine to Rajyalakshmi and to all the Alwar Saints of Tamil Nadu.

About 200 km from Vijayawada is Bhadrachalam, dedicated to Lord Rama, is built at a spot believed to be where Rama crossed River Godavari, as he proceeded southwards in search of Sita.

North-east of Hyderabad in the Telangana region is Warangal, where the Thousand Pillared Temple is situated on the slope of the Hanumakonda hill. The temple consists of three separate richly decorated shrines, dedicated to Radreshwara (Lord Shiva), Vasudeva (Lord Vishnu) and Surya (Lord Sun).

Palampet, 77 km from Warangal is home to the Ramappa Temple. Yadarigutta, near Bhongir on the Secunderabad – Warangal rail line, has a hill temple enshrining the Narasimha incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Laksmi Narasimha. At a distance of 18 km from the coastal town of Visakhapatnam is the hill temple of Simhachalam. The presiding deity here is Varaha Lakshminarasimha.

Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad

In the bustling and colorful area surrounding the Charminar, in Hyderabad, stands the majestic Mecca Masjid, one of the largest and most impressive mosques in India. Its vast hall can accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers. Also in the vicinity of Charminar is the Jama Masjid, the oldest mosque in Hyderabad. The Chote Hazrat ki Dargah, at Devan Devadi, was built in memory of Prophet Mohammed. The Dargah attracts devotees from all over the country.

Nagarjuna Sagar, 150 km from Hyderabad, is the most important Buddhist centre in South India. Excavations carried out at nearby Amaravati, Bhattiprola, Goli, Ghantasala and several other places have also unearthed Buddhist settlements.

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