Friday, January 29, 2010

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is a state situated on the south-eastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Hyderabad. The State has the second longest coastline (972 km) among all the States in India.

Andhra Pradesh lies between 12°41' and 22°N latitude and 77° and 84°40'E longitude, and is 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; Andhra Pradesh produced 17,796,000 tonnes of rice in 2006. Two major rivers, the Godavari and the Krishna run across the state. The small enclave (12 sq mi (30 km²)) of the Yanam district of Puducherry (Pondicherry) state lies in the Godavari Delta in north-east of the state.

Historically the region comprising the state was known as Andhraapatha, Andhradesa, Andhraavani, and Andhra vishaya. 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.

The climate of Andhra Pradesh varies considerably, depending on the geographical region. The major role in determining the climate of the state is played by monsoons. Summers last from March to June. In the coastal plain the summer temperatures are generally higher than the rest of the state, with temperature ranging between 20°C and 41°C.

July to September is the season for tropical rains in Andhra Pradesh. The state receives heavy rainfall during these months. About one third of the total rainfall in Andhra Pradesh is brought by the North-East Monsoons. October and November see low-pressure systems and tropical cyclones form in the Bay of Bengal which, along with the north-east monsoon, bring rains to the southern and coastal regions of the state. Winters in Andhra Pradesh are pleasant. November, December, January and February are the winter months in AP. Since the state has a long coastal belt the winters are not very cold in those regions. The range of winter temperature is generally 12°C to 30°C.

Andhra Pradesh has many museums, including the Archaeological Museum at Amaravati near Guntur City that features relics of nearby ancient sites, the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, which features a varied collection of sculptures, paintings, and religious artifacts and the Visakha Museum in Visakhapatnam, which displays the history of the pre-Independence Madras Presidency in a rehabilitated Dutch bungalow. Victoria Jubilee Museum in Vijayawada has a good collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery and inscriptions.

Tirupati or Tirumala is a very important pilgrimage for Hindus throughout India. It is the richest piligrimage city (of any religious faith) in the world. Its main temple is dedicated to the god Venkateswara. Tirpuathi is located in Chittoor district. Satyanarayana swamy temple famous in Annavaram in East Godavari district. Simhachalam is another very popular pilgrimage of national importance. Simhachalam is said in mythology to be the abode of the savior-god Narasimha, who rescued Prahlada from abusive father Hiranyakashipu. Kanaka Durga Temple is one of the famous in Andhra Pradesh which is situated in Vijayawada city. Srikalahasti is one of the important ancient siva temples and is located on the banks of river Swarnamukhi in Chittoor district.others being sri sailam templein kurnool district a very famous shiva temple.

Simhachalam is a hill shrine 16 km away from Visakhapatnam on the other side of the Hill on the north of the city. One of the most exquisitely sculpted shrines of Andhra Pradesh, it is located among thickly wooded hills. The beautifully-carved 16-pillared Natya mantapa and the 96-pillared Kalyana mantapa bear testimony to the architectural brilliance of the temple. The image of the presiding deity, Sri Lakshminarasimha Swamy, is covered by a thick layer of sandalwood paste. This is one of the oldest temple in India dedicated to Lord Narasimha, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, built in 11th century by Kullotunga, a Chola king. One Vijaya stamba is erected by Sri Krishna Deva Raya emerged victorious over the Gajapati kings of Orissa. One will find ancient Telugu inscriptions in this temple. This temple is one of the most famous temples in India. Its architecture is Dravida (South Indian). There is a popular belief that this lord is protecting Vizag from natural disasters like floods, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis. Not even a single death occurred due to natural calamities to this date. Couples just before marriage go to this temple as a ritual. This temple is one of the most crowded temples of Andhra Pradesh.

Srisailam is another major temple in Andhra Pradesh of national importance. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the locations of the various Jyotirlingams. The Skanda Purana has a chapter called "Srisaila Kandam" dedicated to it, which points to the ancient origin. This is confirmed also by the fact that Tamil saints of the past millennia have sung praises of this temple. It is said that Adi Shankara visited this temple and at that time he composed his "Sivananda Lahiri". Shiva's sacred bull Vrishabha is said to have performed penance at the Mahakali temple till Shiva and Parvati appeared before him as Mallikarjuna and Brahmaramba. The temple is one of the 12 hallowed jyotirlingas; Lord Rama himself installed the Sahasralinga, while the Pandavas lodged the Panchapandava lingas in the temple courtyard. Srisailam is located in Kurnool district.

Bhadrachalam is known for the Sri Rama temple and the Godavari River. This is the place where the famous Bhakta Ramadasu (originally – Kancherla Gopanna) wrote his devotional songs dedicated to lord Rama. It was believed that lord Rama spent some years on the banks of river Godavari here in Tretayug. Legend says that Bhadra (a mountain), after a severe penance asked Rama to have a permanent residence on him. Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana are said to have settled on Bhadragiri. Bhadrachalam is located in Khammam district. Gopanna constructed the temple for Rama by raising funds from the people during the reign of Tanisha in 17 th century. He started celebrating the marriage of lord Rama and Sita. From then Sri Rama Navami is celebrated every year. Government of Andhra Pradesh sends pearls for the event at Bhadrachalam every year.

Basar - Saraswathi temple is another famous place for Saraswathi — goddess of education. Basara is located in Adilabad district. Yaaganti Caves is also an important pilgrim center in Andhra Pradesh. Apart from that Mahanandi, Kurnool Dt is another piligrim center which is full of greenary. The famous Hindu Birla Mandir and Ramappa Temple, Muslim Mecca Masjid and Charminar as well as the statue of Buddha on the Hussain Sagar Lake are wonderful religious monuments in Andhra Pradesh.

Kanakadurga temple is a famous temple in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is located on the Indrakeeladri hill in the city of Vijayawada on the banks of Krishna River. According to a legend, the now verdant Vijayawada was once a rocky region strewn with hillocks that were obstructing the flow of River Krishna. The land was thus rendered unfit for habitation or cultivation. Invocation to Lord Siva led to His directing the hills to give way to river Krishna. And lo! the river started flowing unimpeded with all its might, through the tunnels or "Bejjam" bored into the hills by Lord Siva. That is how the place got its name Bezawada.

One of the many mythologies associated with this place is that Arjuna prayed to Lord Siva on top of Indrakeela hill to win His blessings and the city derived its name "Vijayawada" after this victory. Yet another popular legend is about the triumph of goddess Kanakadurga over the demon king Mahishasura. It is said that once upon a time, the growing menace of demons became unendurable for the natives living in this region. Sage Indrakila performed severe penance and when the goddess appeared, the sage begged Her to reside on his head and keep vigil on the wicked demons. As per his wishes, after killing the demons, goddess Durga made Indrakila Her permanent abode. Later, She slayed the demon king Mahishasura, freeing the people of Vijayawada from the evil clutches of the demon. Special pujas are performed during Dasara also called Navratri. The most significant are Saraswati puja and Theppotsavam. The festival of Dasara for Goddess Durga is celebrated here every year. A large number of pilgrims attend the colourful celebrations and take a holy dip in the Krishna River.

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