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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is the seventh-largest Indian state by area and the tenth-most populous state (with a population of over 4 crore, i.e., 40 million).

It is bordered by  Chhattisgarh on the north, Odisha on the north-east, Telangana to its north-west, Tamil Nadu to the south, Karnataka to the west and the Bay of Bengal to its east.

It is the only state in India with three proposed capitals. Visakhapatnam is the executive capital while Amaravati is he legislative capital and Kurnool - the judicial capital.

History

Between 12th century and early 14th century, this land was ruled by kings and emperors of Kakatiya dynasty, who brought the Telugu people and regions under a unified rule. And during the period, the Telugu language emerged as a literary medium, and the land was called Telugu land.

The Telugu became an independent state under Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Empire, between 14th century and 17th century, but the foundation for modern Andhra state was laid during the struggle for Indian independence under Mahatma Gandhi, while it was a part of Madras Presidency. Post-independence, after 1947,  some campaigns and struggles led to the formation of Andhra State, with Kurnool as its capital.

In 1956, Andhra State was merged with the Telugu-speaking portion of another state called Hyderabad State (which also had some portions ruled by Nizams) to create the state of Andhra Pradesh and eventually, Hyderabad was made its official capital.

After another elaborate struggle and various campaigns, the formation of a separate state Telangana  with ten selected districts of Andhra Pradesh was approved on 18 February 2014, resulting in a smaller part of the then Andhra Pradesh state becoming the current Andhra Pradesh, with three proposed capitals, while Hyderabad became the capital of Telangana.

Cities

Andhra Pradesh has 31 major cities and towns, of which Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam are the most populated ones.

Visakhapatnam is the largest city and commercial hub of the state, and is the executive capital of the state. Amaravati is a new addition to the state – this city was founded by former Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu in the year 2014 as the Greenfield administrative capital city of the newly formed Andhra Pradesh state, after Telangana state was separated from it. Amaravati’s foundation stone was laid by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on 22 October 2015.

Other cities in Andhra Pradesh include: Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool, Kakinada, Tirupati, Ongole, Anantapuram, Tenali, Machilipatnam, Chittoor, Srikakulam, Eluru.

People

Andhra Pradesh has a population is 9.17 Crore people. Hindus Muslims (7.32%) and Christians (1.38%) forms three largest religious groups in the total population of the state. Most people of all religions speak Telugu language in the state.

More than 90% of the people in the state are Hindus, followed by more than 7% of Muslims and about 1.5% Christians. Other religions followed by people in the state include Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism which come to less than 1% of the population.

Culture

Andhra Pradesh has a large number of Hindus and some Christians and Muslims as well. Telugu literature is abundant here – consisting of poems, songs, and prose.

In music - Carnatic music and Telugu film music is predominant here, while popular dance forms include Kuchipudi – one of India’s most popular classical dances, and many shows are performed based on this throughout the year in the state. Besides this, Andhra Pradesh also has various regional folk dance forms such as Perani, Prenkhana, Suddha Nartana, Rasaka, Danda Rasaka, and so on – which are mostly performed during specific festivals or cultural occasions.

Other cultural elements are art which Bapu's paintings – Bapu is a well-known artist in Telugu literature and art scene. Andhra’s fashion scene has also stood the test of time – its cotton sarees and garments and pearl harvesting and jewellery is popular in many places.

Language

Telugu is the primary language spoken across Andhra Pradesh, and is the official language of the state. It is spoken in various dialects in different regions of the state. Apart from this, English is also widely spoken, by people in professional environments (especially Information Technology and communications).

Food

The staple grain in Andhra Cuisine is Rice – which is the center of their main course. Along with this, popular Andhra dishes include:

  • Pulusu (a stew/curry with spices and vegetables, sometimes meat or fish)
  • Pickles (Like Avakaya, Gongura)
  • Gutti Vankaya Koora (Stuffed brinjal cooked in spicy gravy)
  • Pesarattu (Savoury green lentil crepe) and Allam Pachadi (Ginger-Jaggery Chutney)
  • Punugulu (Little deep-fried balls, prepared with Idli/Dosa batter – a blend of soaked rice and black gram)

Andhra chicken Biryani (with marinated chicken and vegetables) and Ulavacharu Biryani (Vegetarian variant – using horse gram stew and vegetables) are also famous in the state – these are local versions of the Persian inspired long grain rice dish Biryani.

Popular sweet dishes include:

  • Bobbatlu - unleavened refined flour dough flatbreads stuffed with a mixture of jaggery and cooked lentils.
  • Sunnundalu – Balls made with roasted and powdered Urad Dal (white lentil/black gram), cardamom and sugar.
  • Putharekulu – A wrap of wafer-thin rice starch layer that resembles a thin sheet of transluscent paper, stuffed with powdered sugar or jaggery along with dry fruits and nuts sometimes. 

Travel/Transportation

Trains, Planes and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Andhra Pradesh. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.

Airports – Most big cities in Andhra Pradesh have their own airports, connecting to cities within the state as well as other parts of the country. Some have international airports, which also connect to other countries, and these are hubs where the people from nearby cities also need to travel to catch flights to other countries, based on the connections available.

International Airports in AP:

Domestic Airports in AP:

  • Kadapa Airport, Kadapa
  • Kurnool Airport, Kurnool
  • Rajahmundry Airport, Rajahmundry

Railway Stations – The state has many train terminals/railway stations (at least one for each city/town, and more than 1 in bigger cities) that connect to other cities within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the popular train terminals and junctions in the state are:

  • Vijayawada Junction Railway Station
  • Visakhapatnam Junction Railway Station
  • Tirupati Railway Station
  • Rajahmundry Railway Station
  • Gudur Junction Railway Station
  • Vizianagaram Junction
  • Renigunta Junction
  • Eluru Railway Station
  • Anantapur Railway Station
  • Samalkot Junction
  • Bhimavaram Railway Station
  • Guntur Junction
  • Kadapa Railway Station

Bus Terminals – Inter-city buses are another mode of transportation between cities. These can be taken from the popular bus hubs of each city like:

  • Kurnool Bus Station, Kurnool
  • Bhimavaram Bus Station, Bhimavaram
  • Nellore Bus Station, Nellore
  • Rajahmundry Bus Station, Rajahmundry
  • Tirupati Bus Station, Tirupati
  • Tuni Bus Station, Tuni

Attractions

Some delightful places worth visiting in Andhra Pradesh are:

  • Araku Valley and Borra Caves (near Visakhapatnam) – for nature lovers
  • Anantagiri Hills
  • Gandikota
  • Lepakshi (for the monolithic temple and handicraft shopping)
  • Kurnool (for Historic sites)
  • Srikaalahasti (For its namesake temple – with an intriguing history)
  • Tirupati Balaji Temple (the richest temple in India – also the most visited)

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Andhra Pradesh has some incredible places for a perfect weekend getaway from busy cities like Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Nellore, etc. Some of the best places for a weekend getaway in the state include –

  • Rajahmundry – A city on the banks of River Godavari, which is one of the longest rivers in south India. The city is full of culture and offers fun-filled activities like boating and sightseeing.
  • Belum Caves – The second largest (deepest) caves in all of India, located near to the city of Kurnool, a road trip to these caves in indeed a great option for a weekend getaway.
  • Srisailam – A small scenic town situated amidst the Nallamala Hills in the state and settles on the shore of Krishna River- another large and popular river in South India. The town also has many Hindu religious centres, for which it is known.
  • Araku Valley – A stunning valley with beautiful natural as well as man-made wonders - A little more than 100km away from Visakhapatnam.
  • Visakhapatnam – This stunning city is by itself a great vacation/getaway spot. The people living close to this city can spend 1 or 2 days here doing fun things like visiting the beaches, Kailashgiri (a park on top if a hill) and other scenic spots and viewpoints that the city has.

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

Some of the best activities and things to do for adventure lovers in Andhra Pradesh are -

  • Water-based sports like angling, boating, river cruises in Rajahmundry, Sangli and Ongole.
  • Swimming & Surfing at Rishikonda and Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam.
  • Trekking and Hiking at Araku Valley
  • Exploring Wildlife, which is an important part of the state – at sanctuaries and national parks having several species of animals and birds (Lankamalleswara, Krishna sanctuary, Rollapadu bird sanctuary, Kambalakonda, and so on).

HISTORICAL PLACES

  • Srikaalahasti (Famous for its namesake temple – with an intriguing history)
  • Kurnool (A city known for its incredible Historic sites)
  • Lepakshi (A small town with its popular historical monolithic temple, large statue of the Nandi (bull god) and shops with artefacts having handicraft works, esp. wooden)