Of all the places to visit in Andhra Pradesh the capital city of Hyderabad would top the list for its architectural gems.
The thin red soil of the hot and desolate interior of Andhra Pradesh was once the stage for some of the world’s wealthiest men. The Deccani sultans – whose fetish for jewels was sated with the diamonds quarried from rich local seams and whose ears dripped with pearls – left a landscape dotted with their courtly pleasure gardens and palaces. India’s largest Muslim-ruled princely state was integrated into the Indian union when the army quashed its claims for independence, but much of the splendour of their architecture remains, particularly in Hyderabad and its nearby fortress city of Golconda. And the city’s fortunes have revived along with the success of the software industries who have their headquarters at the glass-and-chrome satellite town of ‘Cyberabad’.
Andhra Pradesh’s varied cultural heritage is visible in its monuments. Of all the places to visit in Andhra Pradesh the capital city of Hyderabad would top the list for its architectural gems: ornate tombs, mosques, palaces and homes from the past tucked away in corners all over the Old City.
Rural Andhra, on the other hand, holds the ancient Buddhist centres of Nagarjunakonda and Amaravati and one of India’s most important modern Hindu pilgrimage centres, Tirumala which attracts more pilgrims than most other Hindu pilgrimage centres in India.
Large areas of the northwest also hide the secretive Maoist Naxalite movement, a rebel army whose often violent opposition to aid and development has lead to the blocking of road-building efforts and several attempts on the state’s former chief minister’s life.
The state’s distinctive handicrafts include superb woven ikat textiles, pearl jewellery and inlaid metal bidri work. Hyderabad is the centre of the pearl jewellery industry and your itinerary should include a visit to a pearl jewellery shop in Laad Bazaar.
Not many tourists venture past Hyderabad but it’s worth exploring other Andhra Pradesh tourist places for their rich cultural heritage steeped in history and colour.
Andhra Pradesh Highlights
- Marvel at the genius design of Golconda Fort in Hyderabad
- Revel in the carnival beach atmosphere at Visakhapatnam‘s beaches
- Absorb the meditative vibrations of monks past at Sankaram, Bavikonda and Thotlakonda
- Admire incredible carved images at Veerbhadra Temple in Lepakshi
- Join millions of Hindu pilgrims taking darshan (deity viewing) at Tirumala
- Sit back and enjoy the view on one of India’s most scenic train trips to Araku
- Learn about the state’s rich ethnic diversity at the tribal museums in Hyderabad and Araku