Think serene springs, juicy mangoes and mouthwatering deserts and Vijayawada is the name that will come to mind. The name Vijayawada literally means 'the place of victory' and it has the biggest railway junction in the south. Vijayawada is also very important in religious terms. The Kanaka Durga Temple has magnificent architectural wealth and will leave you spellbound. Amravati, a town at a distance of about 33 kilometres from Vijayawada, is a growing tourist destination. It has a stupa that is perhaps bigger than the one at Sanchi. There are also some great examples of rock-cut architecture at the Undavalli Caves. A visit to Vijayawada is not only inspiring but also educating. It is famous for its heritage and grand history. Treat yourself to some good food and delicious sweets, and do not forget to buy at least four to five kilograms of juicy mangoes – an intrinsic part of the experience of Vijayawada.
Warangal is a land famous for its architectural feats. Though not really a tourist spot, the ancient city has multitudes of experiences to offer by way of its beautiful temples, wildlife sanctuary, a grand fort and a serene lake to satisfy the thirst of travellers. The most famous spot is the star-shaped, 800-year-old Thousand Pillared Temple with its uniquely carved stone pillars. Warangal is replete with temples such as the Ramappa temple, Sri Vidya Saraswathi Shani temple, Sri Veeranarayana temple, the most beautifully located being the Bhadrakali Temple. The exquisite carvings, arches and pillars of the Warangal fort are noteworthy along with its South Indian architectural style. The turquoise blue manmade lake of Pakhal amidst the lush greens forests is where you want to be for the most breathtaking sceneries. If you’re visiting during September or October, you may get to witness the vivid festival of flowers celebrated by the Hindu women, Bathukamma. You may not find the most opulent hotels, but there are decent ones to spend a night at, such as City Grand or Grand Gayathri. Try the local eateries for their lip-smacking ghee idlis and dosas.
Located in Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool is home to some of the most sacred temples of India, including the Shrine of Srisailam, Peta Anjaneyaswami and Birla Mandir. Kurnool being a developing city, you will find spots with construction going on in full swing. Belum Caves is one such attraction. Considered to be one of the longest caves in India, it is a great way to spend your day. The caves demand a lot of walking around, so do wear comfortable shoes when you head here. The oxygen here is a little low so don't take toddlers with you and also avoid if you are claustrophobic. Ugra stambham is another lovely sightseeing spot with great views. It's definitely worth a visit, though you should avoid going in the afternoon since it can get very hot.
On the border of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka lies the saintly city of Mantralayam. The city revolves around the much prestigious saint, Shri Guru Raghavendra Swamy. Being a relatively small place and unpopular among tourists, it makes sense that most of the visitors here are his disciples. The Samadhi Temple or Brundavan is the site where Swamy is believed to have entered his tomb, alive. Inside the complex of the temple is the main shrine of the saint. Devotees still believe that he dwells in his holy form. Being the site of utmost devotion, it is very restricted in its approaches. Men who want to perform aarti are supposed to wear only dhotis and women only sarees. This dress code is strictly followed when you want to go near the Brundavan. Food or bhog is served to all devotees and visitors during the afternoon. In a place named Raichur, 20 km from Mantralayam, the temple of Panchamukha commemorates the place where Shri Guru Raghavendra meditated for 12 years at a stretch. Overall this place holds the aura of an earthly experience rather than serving as a vacation.
Srisailam is a prominent religious destination located on the banks of Krishna River in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Well known for the Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple, which is one amongst the 12 Jyotirlinga temples of India, Srisailam draws countless religious travellers every year. Another reason for its popularity is the Srisailam reference in the Vedic stories of Mahabharata. Some of the prominent attractions here are Bhramaramba Devi Temple, Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, Hemareddy Mallamma Temple, Akkamahadevi Caves and Srisailam Sanctuary. Akkamahadevi Caves is one of those places where the journey is as amazing as the destination. The Ista Kameshwari Temple, located 16 km from Srisailam, is another unmissable place. After crossing the temple, you can head to some beautiful waterfalls and valleys around the region.
Located in Telangana, Karimnagar has seen rapid development in the last couple of years. Known for its monuments and historical relevance, it is the perfect destination if art and architecture interest you. The famous Veera Hanuman temple is situated in the district along with a few other sightseeing spots.
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