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Historical places in Andhra Pradesh

Discussion in 'South India' started by LizzyJohnson, Oct 12, 2016.

  1. LizzyJohnson

    LizzyJohnson New Member

    I am studying history and will soon be writing a dissertation on the historical places in Andhra Pradesh. Coincidently my holiday this year was to be planned for India as well, and I will make sure that I will visit Andhra Pradesh as well.

    I do need some help from people living in India in giving me some brief information about the historical places in Andhra Pradesh, so I can go and visit them, and support my information with some pictures and also learn further about the places from the locations and guides there.

    Many thanks everyone.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Overview

    Andhra Pradesh lies close to the state of Karnataka and the newly formed state of Telangana. It has the second longest coastline in India, after Gujarat, which is why it has several port areas as well. The state has varied landscapes, with hill stations, beaches, paddy fields and many more. It is even dubbed as the Rice Bowl of India as it is the largest producer of rice in the country. But what about the history lovers, are there destinations around Andhra Pradesh that can be of interest to them? Certainly! Having been conquered by empires such as Mauryans, Chalukyas, Cholas and many more, the state has a long history behind it. This list would guide you through the most important heritage destinations in Andhra Pradesh.

    Historical Places to Visit in Andhra Pradesh

    1. Hyderabad - Technically, Hyderabad is the capital of the newly formed Telangana state. But for the next 10 years, it would still be the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad is one of the most developed cities of Andhra Pradesh, boasting of major IT hubs and wide roads. The city has a long history too, having been ruled by the Mauryans, Kakatiyas and the Qutb Shahis. Actually, the prime attraction of the city, the Golconda Fort, was built by the Kakatiyas. It was renovated by the Qutb Shahi dynasty though and most of the inner structures within it can be attributed to the same empire. It is a great example of the architectural prowess of both dynasties as the design of the fort in itself is ingenious and was able to withstand attacks of enemies for many times. There's also the Taj Falaknuma Palace, built at the end of the 18th century and took about 9 years to complete. It used to be owned by Sir Vicar, once a prime minister of Hyderabad and then changed owners into Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI. Now though, the palace has been preserved by the Taj Group of Hotels and converted it into a heritage hotel. The Chowmahalla Palace is yet another must visit historical attraction in the city, showcasing different architectural styles of different dynasties. The influence of Persian and Mughal designs are evident in the palace though. And lastly, there's the Charminar, the most important landmark of the city, built around the end of the 15th century. It is both a mosque and a monument, which until now, the reason for its building is not yet known. It has four towers, hence the name, with a prominent Islamic influence in the design.
    • Must visit attractions - Golconda Fort, Taj Falaknuma Palace, Chowmahalla Palace and Charminar.
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    Golconda Fort in Hyderabad (Image Courtesy of Holiday IQ)

    2. Nagarjuna Konda - Once upon a time Nagarjuna Konda was the centre for Buddhism in South India. In fact, the place was named after Acharya Nagarjuna, the founder of the Mahayana sector of Buddhism. During its peak, the city has numerous Buddhist schools and monasteries which people from nearby and distant countries go to, just to learn more about Buddhism. After the decline of the Ikshvaku dynasty, the city met its fall as well. Now, only an island remains of the once Buddhism centre that flourished. You can reach the island by a boat ride from the Nagarjuna Sagar Lake. The Ruins of Nagarjuna Konda can be found in the island, where you can view the remains of the old monasteries and schools. The Archeological Museum is also located here, where all the artefacts excavated during the construction of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam are displayed. The most prized possession of the museum is the monolithic statue of Buddha, although it is partly in ruins now. Other Buddhist artefacts like statues depicting the different life stages of Buddha can also be found here. You can also find items depicting the life style of the people from the Stone Age era here. The museum is open daily except Fridays, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. You can allot a whole day here for exploring the island and maybe exploring the nearby city of Nagarjuna Sagar as well.
    • Must visit attractions - Ruins of Nagarjuna Konda and Archeological Museum.
    3. Tirupati - While Tirupati is mainly a pilgrimage destination, there's a reason it has made it to this list. The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is claimed as the richest temple in the world and because of that, it has landed numerous lists and has become a part of history already. It is believed that the temple receives over 12 crores in donation every year. That is over 120 million US dollars already and does not include yet all the other assets of the temple. As such, visiting the temple is not only considered as a pilgrimage but a blessing to devotees. Crowds throng to the temple everyday, with an estimate of over 60,000 crowds daily. Since the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is dedicated to Sri Balaji, you must also visit the Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, dedicated to the other half of the Lord, which is Goddess Padmavathi. Other temples around Tirupati worth visiting are the Sri Govinda Raja Swami Temple and the Sri Varaha Swami Temple.
    • Must visit attractions - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Sri Govinda Raja Swami Temple and Sri Varaha Swami Temple.
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    Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati (Image Courtesy of Focuz Tours via Pinterest)

    4. Vijayawada - Once the home of the mighty empire of the Chalukyas, Vijayawada is another heritage destination in Andhra Pradesh. It mainly has three important heritage attractions. The first one is the Undavalli Caves, the largest rock cut temple in Vijayawada. Although the city has many rock cut structures around its different hills, the Undavalli Caves have the most intricate and elaborate designs. It is comprised of four floors, but the second floor has many small idols of Lord Ganesha while the third floor has a huge idol of Lord Vishnu in the lying position. The rock cut temple was once a Buddhist monastery which was later turned into a Hindu temple, hence the combination of the architectural styles of both can be viewed here. There's also the Mogalarajapuram Caves, another rock cut temple in the city. It is believed to be the first rock cut temple in South India, built around the 5th century. It is famous for its carving of Ardhanarishwara, an androgynous form of both Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. And lastly, there's the Victoria Jubilee Museum, built by the end of the 18th century. The facade itself is that of the European style, which stands out because there are only a few like it in the city. Inside, it houses artefacts related to the British era, like portraits of viceroys, Christian items and armoury used during that time.
    • Must visit attractions - Undavalli Caves, Mogalarajapuram Caves and Victoria Jubilee Museum.
    5. Nellore - Nellore was ruled by many dynasties but the Cholas can probably regarded as the one who ruled the city for the longest time. Nellore is blessed with scenic and natural attractions but it also has a few historical places worth visiting. First is the Udayagiri Fort, although it is located about 100 kilometres away from Nellore. The fort was built around the 14th century by the Gajapatis, although the Vijayanagars contributed to the structures within it as well. Inside the fort, you can find various structures depicting the different styles of architecture of different empires, from mosques, temples and even mandapams. The fort can be accessed by foot only though, as there are no roads proper in the hill. Next is the Venkatagiri Fort, although not as complex or as big as the Udayagiri Fort, it has this serene vibe to it. It is located in the city centre though so easily accessible. Around Nellore, you can also visit the Nellapatty Sanctuary and Mypadu Beach. Nellore might not have as many historical sites but the ones it has are quite important as they showcase the unique blend of styles of different empires who ruled the city.
    • Must visit attractions - Udayagiri Fort, Venkatagiri Fort, Nellapatty Sanctuary and Mypadu Beach.
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    Udayagiri Fort in Nellore (Image Courtesy of Wikimedia)

    6. Kurnool - With a history dating back to about 40,000 years ago, Kurnool is an ancient city that deserves a mention on this list too. Having been ruled by dynasties like the Cholas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagars and even the Mughals, it also has a very rich influence of these different empires. The Kurnool Fort, built around the 16th century by the Vijayanagar empire, is the main historical attraction of the city. Much of the fort is already in ruins but the Konda Reddy Buruju still remains, where Konda Reddy was detained and imprisoned. There's also a bastion which still stands tall today and underneath, it has a tunnel leading to Gadwal. This tunnel is already closed though sometime in the 1990's. On the remaining parts of the walls of the fort, you can find several carvings of animals and even deities. The Yaganti Temple in Kurnool is also interesting. It has three cave temples within it, two is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. There's a separate temple here as well, known as the Uma Maheshwara Temple, where there's a natural rock formation resembling that of Shiva and Parvati. And lastly, the Nandi statue here, believed to be growing in size, as confirmed by even the Archeological Survey of India. And lastly, although it takes a few days to complete, the Ahobilam Temples are also worth visiting. These temples are all dedicated to Lord Narasimha and are spread over a forest area. If you have the time, a visit to the Belum Caves is also a must although they are naturally made, you can enjoy the stalactite and stalagmite formations here built over thousands of years ago.
    • Must visit attractions - Kurnool Fort, Yaganti Temple, Ahobilam Temples and Belum Caves.
    7. Lepakshi - The Lepakshi Temple is an architectural marvel that has fascinated pilgrims and even experts around the world. Built during the reign of the Vijayanagar empire, it encompasses several unique parts that make it stand out. For example, almost every part of the temple has carvings of Hindu deities and even dancers, musicians and drummers. The painted ceilings, the walls and the pillars are all exquisitely designed. Also unique to the temple is its hanging pillar, which from a distance looks the same as the other pillars. Upon closer inspection, you would see that it has a small gap in the bottom where you can pass thin items through like papers or fabrics. Outside the temple, there's the huge Lepakshi Nandi statue, overlooking the city. It is believed to be the largest of its kind in India. And oh, don't forget to view the two red marks in the western side of the wall of the temple. These marks are believed to be of Virupanna's action of blinding himself, after being accused of stealing from the royal treasury.
    • Must visit attractions - Lepakshi Temple and Lepakshi Nandi.
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    Lepakshi Temple (Image Courtesy of Yatras to Temples)

    8. Secunderabad - The twin city of Hyderabad is underrated when it comes to historical attractions yet it also has a few that are worth exploring. The city was mainly ruled by the Chalukyas and Kakatiyas, before the colonial era. It is connected to Hyderabad through the Hussain Sagar Lake, which is incidentally, a man-made heart-shaped lake built around the 15th century. One of the best sites to see in the city is the Saidanima's Tomb, which unfortunately, isn't as well maintained as the other attractions in the state. The main tomb houses that of the remains of Hazrath Saidanima Saheba. The tomb, despite the negligence, has this evident blend of Mughal and Qutb Shahi. Another must visit here, the Trimulgherry Fort, built during the reign of the British, is still intact. You can spot barracks, a military hospital and other structures that can take you back to the bygone era. And lastly, another example of British work of art, is the Clock Tower of Secunderabad. It was built in the 18th century and still stands strong today as a landmark of the city.
    • Must visit attractions - Hussain Sagar Lake, Saidanima's Tomb, Trimulgherry Fort and Clock Tower of Secunderabad.
    9. Chandavaram - A sleepy little village in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, Chandavaram has made its mark in history because of the Buddhist stupas excavated here. The Maha Stupa excavated here, located on top of a hillock, which is named the Singara Konda, resemble that of the stupas built under the Hinayana sector of Buddhism. Although the Maha Stupa is the main stupa, you can also find other smaller stupas and also other structures located quite close to it. The Ruins of a Monastery Complex comprising of a maha chaitya, vihara and other structures can also be found. There's also a Museum here displaying the collected artefacts from the excavations done in the region. For the history lovers, and even the devout Buddhists, a visit to Chandavaram is a must.
    • Must visit attractions - Maha Stupa, Ruins of a Monastery Complex and Museum.
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    10. Kadapa - Kadapa has a long history behind it, having been ruled by many, many rulers like the Mauryans, Satavahanas, Cholas and Pallavas. India's very own version of the Grand Canyon can be viewed from the Gandikota Fort. The fort was built during the reign of the Chalukyas during the 12th century. The fort is mainly in ruins but you can still see the combination of the Qutb Shahi and Vijayanagar architectural styles. You can visit the two temples within the fort, one is dedicated to Madhava and the other is dedicated to Ranganatha. You can even spot an ancient granary in the fort premises. The main draw here though is the view of the Pennar River along with the fantastic gorge between the mountain ranges. About 25 kilometres away from Kadapa is the Sidhout Fort, built around the 13th century. The main attraction of the fort is that it has numerous temples within its premises dedicated to Hindu deities such as Durga, Brahma and Siddheshwara. Lastly, the Ameen Peer Dargah, built around the 16th century, with its pure white facade is also worth a visit here. The dargah exudes serenity and even harmony between different sectors.
    • Must visit attractions - Gandikota Fort, Sidhout Fort and Ameen Peer Dargah.
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    View from Gandikota Fort (Image Courtesy of Ramesh Ekambaram)

    I hope this helps you.:)
     

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