Andhra Pradesh is the third largest state in India with an area of 275,000 sq. km. A state in the southern region of India, Andhra Pradesh is bordered on the south by Tamil Nadu , on the west by Karnataka, on the north and northwest by Maharashtra, on the northeast by Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal.
The northern area of Andhra Pradesh is mountainous. The highest peak Mahendragiri rises 1500 m above the sea level. The climate is generally hot and humid. Annual rainfall: 125 cm. The Krishna and Godavari are the major rivers in the state.
Andhra Pradesh has a single-chamber Legislative Assembly of 295 seats. The state sends 60 members to the Indian national parliament: 18 to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and 42 to the Lok Sabha (lower house). It has 23 local government administrative districts.
Society Art and Culture
Over 85% of the population of Andhra Pradesh speaks Telugu. Tamil is widely spoken in the extreme south region, and on the border of Karnataka there are few Kanarese or Kannad speakers. In Hyderabad there are large numbers of Urdu speakers who make up about 7% of AP’s population.
Hindu festivals such as Dasara, Deepavali, Sri Ramanavami, Krishna Janmastami, Vinayaka Chavithi (Ganesh Chaturthi) and Maha Sivarathri are celebrated in the State. Similarly, Muslim festivals such as Bakrid and Id-ul-Fitr and Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Day are also celebrated with gaiety. But the celebrations of Ugadi (Telugu New Year’s day), Sankranti, Dasara, and Vinayaka Chavithi in the state are unique.
As the home of rich folk tradition, Andhra Pradesh offers a variety of performing arts unique to its culture. Kuchipudi is the classical dance form of Andhra Pradesh. Lacquer toys, anakapalli articles, nirmal painted pottery, bidri-lead inlaid black metal trinklets, palm and slate articles, as well as Gadhwalk, Pochampalli and Dharmvaram silk saris are some of the amazing handlooms and handicrafts the state is renowned for.
Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh has a distinct flavor and is relished by many epicureans. Rice is the staple food and chilies dominate the native taste. The ubiquitous Andhra pickle, spicy in taste and flavor is the most appetizing dish. Even Gongura chutneys enhance the basic flavor of a meal. Papads roasted or fried are an often-preferred addition. To round off a sumptuous lunch, kheers, a variety of sweets and pans are veritable specialties.
Tourism of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is rich in historical monuments and many holy temples. Tirupati in Chittoor district houses one of the most famous temples in India. The presiding deity is known as the Venkateswara. The main temple is situated on a hill top, Tirumala, and is a masterpiece of south Indian architecture.
The main tourist attraction is the capital of the state, Hyderabad. The capital is in reality the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad linked together by the Hussain Sagar Lake. Places of interest are the Char Minar built in 1591, Osmania University, State Museum and Art gallery, Health Museum, Public Gardens, Birla Mandir and Macca Masjid.
The Nehru Zoological Park, near the Mir Alam Tank in Hyderabad is a natural habitat, supporting a teeming wildlife population. It has to its credit the first lion safari park of South Asia. The Pakkal, Tadvai and Ethurnagaram sanctuaries abound in tigers, panthers, wild boars, jackals, muntjacks, foxes, gaura, wild dogs and the sloth bears. Kawak Wildlife Sanctuary in Adilabad district lies 50 km from Mancheral railway station.
The largest of the country’s Tiger Reserves, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Sanctuary is spread over an area of 3568 sq. km. Adjoining the reserve is the great reservoir of the Nagarjunasagar Dam on the Krishna river.
Another important centre of tourism is Golconda, about 8 km from Hyderabad. The capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultans in the 16th century, Golconda is rich in historical monuments which include the famous Golconda fort. Golconda was known the world over as rich mine of diamonds in the medieval times. The famous diamonds Kohinoor and Pitt came from the mines of Golconda.
The unpolluted and serene hill stations of Andhra Pradesh offer a cool respite from the heat and din of the plains. Nestled in the Eastern Ghats are the charming little resorts of Anantagiri and Araku. Laid out amidst picturesque coffee plantations, the road to Anantagiri is literally enveloped with mango groves and waterfalls that gush and flow into the ravines. Araku is a group of five valleys. The abode of 19 different tribes, life in the valley displays a distinctive culture. Situated south east of Andhra, on the Karnataka border and around 165 km from Bangalore, the Horsley Hills is another popular resort. This serene hamlet offers stunning views of sylvan valleys, offering adventurous forays through sandalwood, eucalyptus, teak and mango plantations.
Fringed by the Bay of Bengal, many alluring beaches are tucked away along the coastline. The sea face of Visakhapatnam, besides its bustling harbor, has a single massive rock jutting into the ocean at a height of 174 m. Referred to as the Dolphin’s Nose, the gigantic cliff has a powerful lighthouse that sends signals as far as 65 km. The beach front of Visakhapatnam is peaceful and enticing. Rishikonda and Bhimli are calm, making them aquatic playgrounds. Bhimunipatnam, 24 km from Visakhapatnam is a pleasure resort at the mouth of the river Gosthani. The idyllic beaches at Bapatla, Kalingapatnam, Maipad and Manginapudi are ideal picnic spots.
One of the world’s best equipped film studios is situated in Andhra Pradesh, Ramoji Film City, at an hour’s distance from Hyderabad, is spread over 1000 acres.
Hill Stations in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh has a couple of hill stations, which are also popular as tourist destinations. Some important and famous hills stations are Araku Valley, Anantagiri Hills, and Horsley Hills.
Temples of Andhra Pradesh
There are a number of temples in this state and for this reason, Andhra Pradesh is also considered as a popular pilgrimage center in India. Some popular temples in India are Alampur Navabhrama Temples, Ghanpur Temples, Birla Mandir, Malleswaraswami Temple, Amaravati Temple, Amareswara Temple, Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, Undavalli Cave Temple, Ramappa Temple, Ramalingeswara Temple, Tiruchanur Padmavati, Sri Kalahasteeswara temple, Vijayeswara Swami Temple, and Veerbhadra Temple.