Pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh
Nagarjunasagar and Nagarjunakonda
Known as Vijayapuri in ancient times, an island set in the middle of a man-made lake Nagarjunasagar, is an important Buddhist site, located 150 km. from Hyderabad. It was named after Acharya Nagarjuna, a famous Buddhist teacher in the Andhra kingdom. Relics of the Buddhist civilisation found here, date back to the III century A.D. The excavated reins were reconstructed and are carefully preserved here.
Amaravati is famous for its world famous Buddhist sculptures and the Lord Amareswara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said that three principal things that make Amareswaram so sacred are River Krishna, on whose banks it is situated, an important Kshetra with a 'Sthalamahatyam' and the Sri Mahalinga Murthy, which is said to have embodied three sacred principles in one. It is said that in this temple, Lord Siva is in the form of five lingas that have been named as Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara. However the principal deities of the temple are Lord Amareswara and his consort, Bala Chamundika, the fourth of the 18 goddesses.
152 km of Chennai, Tirupati, the abode of the Hindu god Venkateshvara or the Lord of Seven Hills, is the backbone of Andhra Pradesh plgrimage and tourism industry. The world-renowned temple is situated at Tirumala hill, 10 km from Tirupati, at an altitude of 750 m above sea level. The strict rituals followed here are evident from the fact that until late 19th century, non-Hindus were not permitted to ascend the hill itself. The ancient shrine have blossomed with the generous aids and contributions of the all the kings from great dynasties of the southern peninsula including the Pallavas of Kancheepuram, the Cholas of Thanjavur, the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings of Vijayanagar empire.
Birla Mandir, Hyderabad
Overlooking the Tank Bund, the Birla Mandir presents an arresting sight when illuminated in the evening. This magnificent structure built entirely out of marble from Rajasthan, stands atop the Kala Pahad, the twin hillock of the Naubat Pahad. Built by Birla Foundation over a span of ten years, the main temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatehwara.
Lord Venkateswara Temple, Tirupati
Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati requires no introduction to any Hindu in any part of the world. Situated on Tirumala Hill, 10 Km away from Tirupati, the temple is the second most visited worshiping place after The Vatican. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara and according to the legends, the idol of Lord Vishnu is self manifested. The temple is the richest religious place in the world by the virtue of offerings and gifts presented by millions of pilgrims visiting the temple.
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad
Situated just few yards southwest of Charminar, Mecca Masjid is among the most revered site for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh. The mosque is named Mecca Masjid, because the bricks for building the central arch were brought from Mecca. The construction of the Mosque was started by the Qutb Shahis in 1617, but they could not finish the building.