A fascinating blend of the Hindu and Muslim cultures, every frame of Hyderabad - the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, pulsates with vivid heritage. The metropolitan section of the city comprises of the hilltop Golconda, the modern city of Secunderabad and the old city of Hyderabad which are separated by an artificial lake - Hussain Sagar. On the western end lies the Hi-Tech city or the cyber hub of the city. One of the main attractions of the old Hyderabad city are its frantic bazaars swarming with chai and spice traders. This is a major contributing factor to Hyderabad’s tourism. Among the other places to visit in the city, the iconic Charminar built in 1591 to commemorate Hyderabad’s founding, the opulent Chowmahalla palace and one of the world’s largest mosques - the Mecca Masjid are the most popular. The art enthusiasts could head to the Kalakriti and Birla art galleries. As one of the must-dos in the city, plan a day trip to the Ramoji Film City (Telangana’s film industry - Tollywood). Also, no trip to Hyderabad city will ever be complete without the delectable trifecta of Irani chai, Osmania biscuits and the quintessential biryani.
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.
Known all over the country for the sacred Sri Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati is located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is actually located in Tirumala along with a number of other temples, though Sri Venkateshwara Temple or Tirupati Balaji is the main attraction for visitors. Tirumala is always bustling with energy owing to the many tourists as well as the number of festivals celebrated here. Legend has it that one should visit Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting Sri Venkateswaraswami. Varahaswami owned the seven hills and agreed to give them to Sri Venkateswaraswami with the demand that he too should be worshipped. And for this, Sri Venkateswaraswami asked his pilgrims to visit the Sri Varahaswami temple before visiting him. For first timers there are a few things you should keep in mind including appropriate clothing, no alcohol and carrying extra locks for your rooms as well as vehicles. Before visiting the temple, you'll need darshan tickets, which are available at various TTD counters across the country. A beautiful place with immense spiritual energy, Tirupati is a must visit.
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.
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