|Char Minar, Hyderabad, India|
|Tsunami hit areas of Andhra Pradesh, India|
Andhra Pradesh bordered by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the East, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west. Andhra Pradesh is historically called the "Rice Bowl of India". More than 77% of its crop is rice.
Two major rivers, the Godavari and the Krishna run across the state.
Andhra Pradesh was formed by merging Telugu speaking areas of Hyderabad State and the Telugu speaking part of the Madras Presidency on November 1, 1956.
Royal, rustic, romantic are just a few terms to describe Hyderabad, but one has to be present here to truly experience the exotic enchantment of this historic city.
The piercing calls of the muezzins from the minarets of mosques. The peal of temple bells accompanied by smells of incense. The mesmerizing fragrance of musky Attars (perfumes). Appetizing aromas from Tandoors (ovens), Dekchis (huge pots) and brewing Irani Chai (tea).
Teeming crowds flowing in and out of twisting, narrow by lanes. Hyderabad, the vibrant rainbow of cultures and potpourri of faiths, is unique and glorious.
Hyderabad - the territory of the richest man in the world, the Nizam, is also rich in history, arts, architecture and culture. Like the Kohinoor diamond which was mined here, the city is multi-faceted and a shining example of valued traditions. More than 400 years of history is preserved and exists along with the ultra modern infrastructure. Known as the City of Pearls, it is now globally famous as an IT hub. Enigmatic, vibrant and alluring, Hyderabad has a mystic charm attached to the various historic monuments, mosques, minarets and museums, which abound here.
Founded in 1591, the history of Hyderabad is rooted in romance. Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah of the Qutub Shahi dynasty fell in love with Bhagyamati, a Banjara (tribal) girl and married her. Initially the city was called Bhagyanagar, but after her conversion to Islam she became Hyder Mahal, hence the present name Hyderabad.
The Qutub Shahi kingdom, which took over the rule of Hyderabad (1512) from the Bahamani kings, was followed by the Mughal rule (1687) under Aurangazeeb. After the fall of the Mughal Empire, the Asaf Jahi kingdom came into power under Asaf Jahi who established the Nizam lineage. By this, the power of the Deccan kingdom grew in strength and area. The Nizams became amongst the richest rulers in the world. The different dynasties along with British influence added variety to the culture and cuisine of the region.
To the modern tourist, Hyderabad offers unrivalled excitement and excellent entertainment that includes Heritage, Nature, Wildlife, Cultural and Shopping sites. A seamless 360 degrees of activity makes time fly yet the aura of timelessness lends tranquility to the ambience.
The hospitality at Hyderabad is unmatched and the laid-back "Nawabi" style of living is totally relaxing. The range of yummy foods, the availability of various types of accommodation, the plethora of places to visit, astounding and affordable shopping options offering pearls, gems, handicrafts, fabrics, garments, branded merchandise and the different colours of culture & festivals make Hyderabad one of the most memorable tourist destinations.
Tirupati is located at a distance of about 525 km from Hyderabad. Situated at the southern edge of the Eastern ghats in Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati, is surrounded by seven picturesque hills, which have perennial water falls, forests and superb views of valleys.
While Tirupati is the town at the foot of the seven hills, Tirumala is the temple township located on top of the hills. The age old temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara located here, is considered to be the richest temple in the whole world... The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are covered in a sheet of pure glittering gold... what a splendid sight to behold! The drive up the winding ghat road is a delightful experience as you get to enjoy fresh air and some breathtaking views. Now, Tirupati is a great holiday destination and pilgrimage center, thanks to its serene beauty and the facilities available.
Horsley Hills is a scenic hill-station at about 150 km from Tirupati. Here you can enjoy some great adventure sports, or just sit back and relax amidst the clouds. Visit Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park and wildlife sanctuary or enjoy trekking at Mamanduru, a truly refreshing experience. Visit the historic Chandragiri Fort and marvel at the architectural prowess of the Vijayanagar Dynasty. There is no end to the fun you can have here... Tirupati, will charm you indeed!
The third largest city in Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada also know as Bezawada, is bordered by the scenic Indrakiladri Hills on the west and the Budameru River on the north. Located at a distance of about 275 km from the state capital, this enchanting city has emerged as a major tourist, trading and business center.
Vijayawada translates to mean "place of victory". According to the legends, Arjuna performed penance on these hills to appease Lord Shiva, who appeared before him and bestowed him with the prized weapon 'Pasupathasthra'. Also Goddess Durga is believed to have rested here after slaying the wicked demon Mahishasura in a fierce battle. The famous Kanaka Durga shrine located on top of the hills and overlooking river Krishna, is thronged by hundreds of devotees daily.
The impressive Prakasam Barrage, which is 1223.5 mt long across the river Krishna has created a beautiful reservoir lake, and is also responsible for irrigating lakhs of acres of land. Vijayawada is also home to some of the best varieties of mango, which are available here in plenty during the summer months. The Kondapalli village, which is located close to the city is a favourite picnic spot, and home to the famous light weight Kondapalli toys, painted in vibrant colours.