Capital: Amaravati (de facto) Hyderabad (de jure) Largest city: Visakhapatnam
One of the many surprises that are in store for tourism across all sectors in the India is in Andhra Pradesh. It is the 8th largest state with great many varieties to see and these include cultural, historical, religious, economical, flora and fauna, caves, waterfall and many more unique sightseeing opportunities for the right minded people who think that tourism is not just exploring the past, but footsteps leading to a just future as well instilling oneself with positive thoughts that the world is as diverse and myriad as one can imagine. The overall benefit of tourism is beneficial for the body and mind and helps you to learn more about other cultures. In the light of all these the Andhra Pradesh tourism department has set out with concrete goals and plans to make the state one of the major hot spots of both domestic and foreign tourism.
Size and location of Andhra Pradesh
The modern Andhra Pradesh after splitting with new Indian state of Telengana is 8th largest in size and covers 160,205 square kilometers. Its erstwhile capital was Hyderabad and it continues to be the capital (de jury) for now but after the formation of Telengana, the proposed capital city of Andhra Pradesh is Amaravati (de facto) in Guntur district. It is 10th largest state in population and shares borders with the newly formed state of Telengana in the northwest. With others it has Odisha in the northeast, Chhattisgarh in the north, Karnataka in the west, Tamil Nadu in the south and flanked on the east by the Bay of Bengal. There is also a spot which is like a small enclave in the northeast which is the union territory of Pondicherry.
The state of Andhra Pradesh has the 2nd longest coastline and therefore has beautiful and scenic seaside views for tourists from any parts of the country as well as outside. Although Telegu is the most spoken language there are other languages too and Hindi is also followed by most of the urban population of the state the latter performing like a link language with English too spoken by the educated.
The people here have a long history and claim to be coming down from the Vedic ages. As per the Rig Veda the Andhra people have migrated south to this place after the Aryans came and established themselves in the north. In fact studies have revealed that the root of the Telegu language dates to the Cholas of the 5th century CE.
The Indian plate along with Australian plate while drifting north towards the Tethys Ocean encircled it and closed in on the Tibetan plateau which gave rise to the Himalayas. These are called the new fold mountain ranges and cover the whole of North India. The original plate that survived comprises of the peninsular India which is in fact the oldest and the most stable part geologically. This extends up to the Satpura and the Vindhya ranges in the central India and contains within it the sea coast of Gujarat in the western side while Chota Nagpur plateaus in the east. The remaining portion is in the south and is called the Deccan Plateau and the rocks here are seen to be not less than a billion years old.
It is therefore quite a geological marvel and eye opener if you visit Andhra Pradesh and study the rock formation as well as the surrounding landscapes. Tourists would at once remain wonderstruck at the innumerous caves and natural rock structures including man made monuments constructed out of the rocks here.
Important Tourists places to see and enjoy
You may find Andhra Pradesh full of tourist attraction as the place is full of caves, seaside views, flora and fauna and natural forests. Apart from these you may find religious tourism too an excellent way to explore the culture and its people. People here are friendly and full of fun and you will easily find your way in and out as most of the folks here wouldn’t ever like to see a hesitant and confused tourist.
You will find that most of the cultural, historical and religious tourist centers are well connected with airport, rail and road and therefore all you need to have is a good tourist map while going about your way.
You may find Vishakhapatnam among the top tourist center as it is a sea port and business center too. Although it is a sprawling populated city it has numerous famed beaches on its sea coast where an average tourist may find comfort and solitude far away from the crowded city life. Then there are hilltop views that are quite rare and enchanting.
There is a wildlife sanctuary nearby and you may be able to gasp in wonders at the famous Borra caves and the Katiki waterfalls. You may also go to the Indira Gandhi Zoological Garden as well Submarine Museum and the Dolphin nose all in one day. It would be better if you stay at one of the affordable or star hotels in the city before you cover the place as you may need two or three days here.
Tirupathi is one of the most important religious centers of the state and is visited by the most number of tourists from across the country. It is the home of the famed Sree Venkateswara one of the famous form of Lord Vishnu. It still remains as one of the richest temples of India.
Vijayawada is yet another scenic town and is also the 3rd largest in Andhra Pradesh. The beauty of the city is that the river Krishna runs through it providing several beautiful spots on its banks. It too has its several temples, religious monuments, ancient canal and other tourist sites. You will also love the famed Kondapalli Toys.
You ought not to forget the several caves, Bhavani Island, Victoria Museum, Kondapalli Fort, Kolleru lakes and not the least the Gandhi Hills while you are at Vijayawada.
Among the other places of importance is Nellore which has Forts and bird sanctuary and numerous bird lovers and ornithologists visit this place to study different wings of color. You may simply enjoy the ambience if you have no ideas about birds and would surely feel enchanted by the scenery.
Apart from these there are hundreds of small and big tourist spots and you may easily get their names if you browse through the Internet. It is better to locate good cities and book your hotel room before taking tours as it may consume your time and you may need a good rest too.
Unusual and not much visited spots
In Andhra Pradesh you are likely to find more unseen yet marvelous spots that have not been visited than any other place. This is because the region simply has just about enough surprises or spots that could baffle a tourist like you. These are mysterious and you may at once cry out in surprise why these spots have been left out. Perhaps due to improper road transport or absence of star staying facilities nearby these spots may have been overlooked.
One of these unique spots is the Lanbasinghi which is situated in Vishakhapatnam and is rather unusual place to be in a hot place like Andhra where the tropical heat is overwhelming at times. In sharp contrast this spot has a temperature that may be as low as 0 degrees and also receives good snowfall. It is also nicknamed as the ‘Kashmir of South India’.
Another unusual spot although having human habitation is Pochampally which is actually a weaver’s village exclusively. You will be mesmerized by the designs by these expert weavers on cotton and silk cloths and this is done with the help of either mechanized or pit looms. While there you may purchase some of the cloths at highly discounted price for the same may be twice as much elsewhere and try to visit some other tourist spots.
For instance, you may visit the Spartan museum, Chenethakala kendram and a temple for Vinobha Bhave Nagarjuna. If you plan well then your Andhra Pradesh visit may be strategized from each of the important cities that you may be staying. You may either use bus, rail or motor vehicle transport as then you may cut down your expenses significantly.
Other centers that you ought not to miss
Among the other busy center from where you may carry souvenirs to your friends and relations back home these places are hot spots not mentioned above as the same may already have grabbed the headlines in the tourist map that you may have received from your agents. Yet these are great spots and would give you as much thrill as you did when you traveled to other parts of the state.
There are several yet among the ones that stand up conspicuously as a hot spot for tourists is the ancient city of Warrangal and the Osmania University, the latter is one of the oldest universities in India. For those religiously inclined Puttaparthy of Sai Baba is a good place and quite unique too.