Amaravathi is the most famous tourist destination in Guntur district. It is a pilgrimage for both the Hindus as well as the Buddhists. The temple dedicated to the God Siva is yet another attraction of the town.
Amaravathi used to be the capital of Satavahanas, who reigned from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century during the downfall of Mauryan Empire. For the same reason, the town proudly holds some delightful architectural marvel to tempt every history buff. The town also plays a major role in education for the rural students of the town as well as from the nearby villages.
Among the major tourist attractions are he inscriptions on the walls of the Amareswara temple that portrays the reign of Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu. Famous for his benevolence, munificence and for the construction of a large number of temples and education centers, he ruled before the advent of the British rule. There is a 125 ft Buddhist statue that is the tallest in India.
Watch out for the ancient structures and replicas at Kalachakra museum, also known as Amaravathi Heritage Centre and Museum. The ruins and remains of the stupa and several other constructions make it one of the centrally protected monuments of national importance. One can also enjoy the celebration of Hindu festivals like Mahasivaratri and the Navaratri.
Belum Caves are the largest and the longest cave system in India that is still open for public visits. Famous for their unique stalactite and stalagmite formations, the caves have been formed with the consequent formation of limestone over millions of years. Belum Caves have been centrally protected Monument of National Importance. Only 1.5 km of the cave has been explored by common tourists while 3.5 km has been explored by the archeologists as a whole till date.
There are several long passages, galleries, huge cavities with fresh water and water tunnels along with three amazing sinkholes for some visual retreat. The cave has 16 different pathways that include the main entrance. There are huge deposits of quartz in the caves and formation of black limestone inside the same.
The three sinkholes are every geologist's feast which are formed due to the movement of subterranean water flow. There is a massive 40-foot high statue of Lord Buddha placed outside the caves to pay respect to the monks and to commemorate their roles in the caves. Belum Caves goes as deep as 46 m at a particular spot inside the cave, where it is known as Pataalaganga. There is a mysterious underground steam that flows all year round at this particular point, playing hide and seek in the rock.
Explore the most unusual cave structures formed by black limestone. It is a sheer experience for the adventure seekers to travel through the maze of 16 paths and an entrance chamber. The Saptasvarala Guha or the chamber of seven notes is an interesting rock formation where one can hear the musical sound when struck with the wood, bamboos and knuckles. The Simhadwaram, meaning the doorway for gods is a breathtaking archway that resembles a lion’s head. The Kotilingalu Chamber has thousands of naturally made lingams formed of stalactites.
The Borra Caves are located on the east coast in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku Valley, in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. The caves were discovered by William King George of the Geological Survey of India in 1807, and have been a visual treat for the travelers since then. There are several legends and stories related to the formation and discovery of the caves which the different tribal and locals narrate.
The Borra Caves are one of the largest in the country with the elevation reaching about 2,313 ft in the valley that has an elevation between 2,600 ft and 4,300 ft. The front part of the caves opens with 100 meter on horizontal plane and about 75 meters on vertical plane. The caves spread over an area of 1 sq km with the origin of river Gosthani that flows through the district. These caves are formed as a result of the river Gosthani flowing on the limestone deposits.
The main attractions of the caves are the stalagmite and stalactite formations inside the aphotic and deep caves. There is a particular area where limited light can penetrate. The stalactites are 0.3 to 11.5 ft long, while the stalagmites are 3.9 ft in length with 20 ft * 2.5 ft columns. You will be amazed to see the color variations inside the caves that are originated from thick orange microbial mats with patches of yellow biofilms as long as 9.8 ft extended from the aphotic deep cave orifice.
The Borra Caves are an interesting tourist spot which beautiful formations, colorful hues and the hide-and-seek of lights penetrating from a few places. Watch the main residents of the caves – bats that feed on flowers and fruits. There are several breathtaking stalactite and stalagmite formations that form different unique shapes resembling Shiva-Parvathi, Rishi’s Beard, Mother-Child, Crocodile, Human Brain, Tiger and Cows udder and are named so.
Kolleru Lake or Kolleru Bird Sanctuary is the largest freshwater lake of India. Located at 15 km away from the city of Eluru in Andhra Pradesh, it forms the largest shallow freshwater lake in Asia. The exact location of the lake is right between the deltas of Krishna and Godavari rivers. The lake receives water directly from the seasonal streams of Budameru and Tammileru. It is connected to the Krishna and Godavari irrigation systems by over 67 major and minor irrigation canals.
The lake is one of the major tourist attractions where thousands of migratory birds flock during winter seasons. It was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1999, and was chosen a wetland of international importance in 2002 under the international Ramsar Convention. The total area of the wildlife sanctuary is 308 sq km.
The major attraction of the lake is the migratory birds that fly down every year during winters in thousands. Some of the most regularly migrating birds are Siberian crane, ibis, and painted storks. A house to an estimated 20 million resident and migratory birds, including the grey or spot-billed pelican, the Kolleru Lake also serves as a prime source of water for the locals that reside in the area.
While birdwatching, photography and enjoying nature remain among the main activities followed by the tourists, the navigable water body allows the travelers to relish the activity of boating and swimming. One can watch birds while boating across the lake, which is a divine experience by its own.
Papi Hills or Papikondalu is a breathtaking destination and among the very few hilly areas of Andhra Pradesh. Located entirely in a hill range bounded by River Godavari, Papi hills are a set of three hills which form a beautiful gorge on the Godavari River. The area is ruled by tropical rain forests and is declared as a protected national park. Legends say that the place was visited by Lord Rama and Sita when they were in exile.
The most preferred way to reach Papi hills is by boat from several places like Rajahmundry, Pattisam, Polavaram, Kunavaram or Sriram Giri. The boat route from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam is a wonderful experience and most preferred by tourists especially during the monsoons.
Papikondalu is a sheer treat to the eyes in terms of the natural beauty it offers. It is absolute wonder to watch the hills getting closer while boating while the width of the River Godavari keeps on getting narrower. This view resembles that of the mid-parted hair of a woman and the entire view of the river narrowing, twisting and turning along the hills at the surrounding is a visual treat one should never miss.
One can simply enjoy the views of the surroundings with hills, valleys and river offering one of the most serene and picturesque beauty comparable to that of Kashmir. Apart from these, options like camping and trekking are also quite popularly practiced by the tourists. The waterfall at Munivaatam is a prominent tourist attraction.
Sri Sathya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam is the main ashram of Sai Baba located in the Puttaparthi village of Andhra Pradesh where Sathya Sai Baba was born. The name of the ashram literally means “Abode of the Highest Peace” that is actually felt in the ambiance of the ashram which is tranquil and peaceful.
Prasanthi Nilayam was inaugurated in 1950 and was constructed in the next 2 years. There are several temples inside the ashram complex that include a Ganesha Mandir, Gayatri Mandri, and Subramanya temple to name a few. There are two museums – an eternal heritage museum, and Chaitanya Jyothi museum, one meditation tree planted by Sai Baba in 1950 and branches of banks inside the ashram complex. Multiple canteens, , super specialty hospital, educational institutions, administrative cricket ground, indoor sports stadium buildings, shopping complex, devotee quarters and rooms and halls for lodging are also available in the proximity of the temple.
Located in Srikalahasti town of Andhra Pradesh, Srikalahasti Temple is among the most widely worshipped Shiva temples in South India. Srikalahasteeswara linga is the presiding deity of Srikalahasti Temple. The temple, situated at 36 km from Tirupati is most widely known for its Vayu Linga, one of the Panchabhoota Sthalams, that represents wind (vayu). The temple is also named as Rahu-Ketu kshetra and Dakshina Kailasam.
The Srikalahasti Temple beautifully portrays the Dravidian style of architecture. The interior of the temple was constructed in 5th century during the Pallava period while the exteriors were built later in the 12th century by the Chola kings and the Vijayanagara kings. The temple complex was further expanded and re-constructed, renovated and more structures were added during the rule of the Chola Kingdom during the 11th century and the Vijayanagara Dynasty during the 16th Century.
Located on the top of the Nallamalla Hills in Andhra Pradesh, Srisailam is popularly known for the shrine of Lord Mallikarjun. The town and the shrine date back to the Satvahanas dynasty for their origin. The town of Srisailam is located on the banks of Krishna River between Hyderabad and Kurnool.
The most prominent and popular shrine in the town of Srisailam is the Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple. It is a Hindu temple devoted to the deities Shiva and Parvati, and is referred to as one of the twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva and as one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas of goddess Parvati. It is the only temple in India which is revered as both Jyotirlinga and Shaktipeeth which makes the temple as well as the town popularly visited by tourists from all over the country.
Srivari Mettu is an alternative walking route to reach Tirumala, the other one being Alipiri Mettu which is a longer route. Srivari Mettu is more preferred by a larger number of pilgrims because it is easier to climb, has less number of steps and it is faster to reach through this route.
Located at around 20 km from the city of Tirupati, the total number of steps covered is 2388 to cover a distance of 2.1 km.
Srivari Mettu is the oldest route known, though it was dysfunctional and not preferred by the devotees fearing wild animals and robbery on the way. However, post renovation and with full security provided now, it is safe and a better option to reach Tirumala, as compared to that with Alipiri Mettu. The route is maintained well throughout the stretch and there are shades available to avoid rain and heat and to provide halts to the devotees.
Talakona Falls is located in Sri Sri Venkateswara National Park near Nerabailu Village in Andhra Pradesh. The waterfall is a spectacular sight falling deep into the valley from a height of 270 feet making it the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh. Surrounded by dense forest amidst natural beauty and greenery, the Talakona Falls was declared as a Bio-Sphere Reserve in 1990 because it houses some of the rarest of herbs with healing power and for a wide variety of plant species that thrive in the region.
The forest that houses the waterfall has a variety of endangered species of animals, namely - sambar, porcupine, cheetal, slender loris, panther, golden gecko, Indian giant squirrel and mouse deer to mention a few.
While the waterfall itself is a sight to behold amidst lush green forest, the sight of wildlife is a pure bliss. There is a small temple located close to the waterfall dedicated to Lord Siddeswara Swamy. The temple pulls maximum crowd during the festival of Shivratri. The trekking route between the temple and the falls is 2 km long where no motor vehicles are allowed.
Apart from checking out the beautiful nature amidst dense forest along with its inhabitants, there is a 240 m long canopy rope walk, about 35-40 feet in height, offering a thrilling experience to the travelers who walk over it. One can also explore several caves dotted over the mountains where sages meditate eternally. The trekking route from to Lord Siddeswara Swamy temple to the waterfalls takes 30 minutes (one way) through dense forest and slippery road, and is a thrilling experience for the adventure seekers.
Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary is situated in Uppalapadu, near Guntur City in Andhra Pradesh. It is a wonderful spot to visit with family, and kids. The sanctuary is the home to thousands of migratory as well as residential birds attracting tourists every week from all over the country. The sanctuary is a weekend destination for the local tourists and the nearby visitors.
Thanks to its pristine ambiance and charming natural environment, the sanctuary is a picnic hotspot and a preferred destination of nature lovers and birdwatchers who want to sight some of the rare species of birds. It is also a paradise of the photographers who get to capture some of the most treasured shots in their lenses.
The major attractions of Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary are the painted storks, spot-billed pelicans and few other species that migrate from various countries like Siberia and Australia to use the village water tanks for nesting and thriving. The population of these birds ranges from 7000-12000 among which pelican population is the highest. Different species of black-headed ibis, common teal, pintail duck and jungle crow are also among the major attractions of the sanctuary.
Apart from a regular stroll around the sanctuary and checking out the mesmerizing surroundings, it is a perfect place for picnic, or to get with your family to spend some quality time. Additionally, it is a photographer’s paradise and a birdwatcher’s heaven to find themselves amidst thousands of amazing birds in different hues and sizes. It is from here at Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary that one can easily visit nearby places like Amravati, Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Amareswara Temple, Kondaveedu Fort and Buddhist Stupa to explore the beauty and charisma within the vicinity of the sanctuary.
The Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha temple is a Hindu temple situated on the Simhachalam hill near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to one of the trinity deities Vishnu, worshipped as Varaha Narasimha here. All days, except on Akshaya Tritiya, the idol of the deity is smeared with sandalwood paste to make it resemble a Shiva Lingam.
Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha temple is one of the important pilgrimage centers and an important centre of Vaishnavism. The temple looks like a fortress in the exterior with three outer courtyards and five gateways. The architecture style is a perfect blend of the styles of the Kalinga Architecture/Odishan(Orissan), Chalukyas and the Cholas. The temple faces west instead of east, unlike most other temples in the country, to signify victory. The temple comes next to Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh in terms of wealth and income earned.
The Lepakshi Temple, also known as the Veerbhadra temple is one of those in Indian history that have lots hidden inside them as treasures. Lepakshi is a small village in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh where the hidden gem – Lepakshi temple is located as an epitome of excellence in architecture and art.
The Lepakshi Temple was constructed in the Vijayanagara Empire and was dedicated to the shrine of Veerabhadra who is worshipped here. It is significant mainly for its rich cultural and archaeological display which exhibits timeless art reflected in the murals and frescoes of the construction. There are several miraculously hanging pillars in the Lepakshi Temple and a cave chamber where, legends say, Sage Agasthya had lived. It is believed that Goddess Sita had come down to this temple and she had left her footprints here which is marked prominently making the site unique.
Venkateswara Temple is a famous landmark Vaishnavite temple located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu. Legends say the lord had appeared here to protect mankind from the troubles that Kali Yuga could bring on. While the temple is known by several other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple, the deity too is known by several other names like Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.The temple is located at Tirumala Hills which are a part of Seshachalam Hills range at 2,799 ft above sea level. The temple was constructed in Dravidian architecture over a period of time starting from 300 AD. The deity is in standing posture facing east in Garbhagriha (Sanctum Sanctorum) named Ananda Nilayam. The temple is considered as the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth possessed. Every day about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims visit the temple, while on special days and festivals the number climbs up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world.
Visakhapa tnam is also called the “Jewel of the East Coast” and is the largest city of Andhra Pradesh – both in terms of population and area – located on the coast of Bay of Bengal. It is also known as Vizag and the coastal city witnesses the maximum tourist footfall every year in the region. The city has lots of demographic variations to offer and at the same time is affordable in terms of money, which makes it one of the most favorite for the tourists.
Vizag must be avoided during the summers for its humid and scorching heat. The monsoons bring down the temperature and the winters are the most favorable for visiting and sightseeing in places like Simahachalam Temple, Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Rushikonda Beach, Kailasagiri etc. The port of Vizag is the 5th busiest cargo port in India and the home to the headquarters of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Command and South Coast Railway zone.
There are several places to visit in Visakhapatnam that include Pavurallakonda, Sankaram, Bavikonda, Thotlakonda to name a few. Pavurallakonda is a hillock located 24 km from Vizag where 16 rock-cut cisterns are placed for collecting rainwater. Sankaram is a Buddhist site where the three major schools of Buddhism (Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) flourished. Another important Buddhist heritage site is Bavikonda located on the hill about 15 km northeast from the main city. Apart from these, there are places like Srisailam and Araku Valley which are must visits from the main city.
Travelers can visit to the different nearby sites to enhance their interest in history and archaeology, or to try out their adventurous side with valleys and hills. Right in the city, one can simply take a stroll by the beautiful beaches of the city adorned with mountain ranges in the surroundings.