Andhra Pradesh (divided recently further into Telangana) is a blend of antiquity and modernity; comprising monuments, memorials, shrines, nature and wildlife. The land of the mighty rivers, Krishna and Godavari, is also known for its rich heritage of the arts, crafts, literature, music, dance and drama. The antiquity of ‘Andhra’ dates back to 236 BC; amid its forts, citadels, archaeological & architectural masterpieces – stately structures that reflect the craftsmanship and culture of the land.
Temples and pilgrimage shrines are some of the main destinations of tourist traffic. Museums and archaeological treasure houses showcase historic collections of antiques, artefacts, weapons and a wide range of objects that symbolise the territory’s history. The state is studded with a host of off-beat centres as well. While ‘Andhra’ has the longest eastern coastline, it also possesses virgin beaches and a trail of sites from the Buddhist period. Hyderabad, the common capital of both states, retains its medieval charm and has emerged as a major educational and IT centre.
Of later development are the theme parks, hi-tech hub, cine city, fun islands, fantasy worlds, golf course, adventure parks, cruises and water sports. Rural tourism is particularly given thrust to showcase arts, crafts, sculpture, handloom, textiles and other skills. Environmental sustainability having assumed larger importance, eco-tourism projects have been developed. Tourism attributed to medical services, health, wellness and education is also growing significantly.
Some of the unique spots worth checking out are: the five ancient Hindu temples of Shiva; the summer resort of Horsley hills; Konaseema on the east Godavari, with its lush paddy fields and coconut groves; Kolleru lake, one of the largest freshwater bodies in the country; the Borra caves near Vishakapatnam, 800-1300 ft. above sea level and known for their million year old stalactite and stalagmite formations; and the 2000-year-old Stupa, Amravathi, the largest in India, locally known as the ‘hillock of lamps.’
The region also boasts of Kuchipudi, the renowned, classical dance form; the Etikoppaka toys with their ages-old tradition of wooden carving; the world’s finest Ponduru khadi; and Budithi brassware, with its charming shapes, created out of alloys. Finally, the state is known for its excellent communication network.
State capital: Hyderabad
Places to visit: Charminar, Salar Jung Museum, Makkah Masjid, Qutb Shahi tomb, temples (Tirumala Venkateswara, Mallikarjuna, Kanaka Durga), Nagarjunasagar-Nagarjunakonda, HI-Tec City, ,
By air: The domestic and international airports are at Begumpet
By rail: Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the two major cities, are connected with major cities of India
By road: Well-connected
Official website: www.aptourism.gov.in