Andhra Pradesh is undeniably a pilgrimage hub, attracting several tourists every year. As India’s fourth largest state, it boasts an array of sacred temples that hold great religious significance and impressive architectural marvels that fascinate archaeologists from around the globe. Situated on the southeastern coast of India, the region is steeped in a rich cultural heritage and dotted with historical monuments that showcase our traditions. If you’re planning a trip to southern India, we highly recommend adding Andhra Pradesh to your itinerary. In this article, we’ll explore some of the must-see temples and their highlights, including the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Lepakshi Temple, Yaganti Temple, Kanaka Durga Temple, Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple, Siva Mallikarjuna Temple, and many more.
The Ultimate Temple Tour: 9 Most Popular Temples to Visit in Andhra Pradesh-
- Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
- Lepakshi Temple
- Yaganti Temple
- Kanaka Durga Temple
- Siva Mallikarjuna Temple
- Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple
- Simhachalam Temple
- Ahobilam Temple
- Arasavalli Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
1. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple – A Sacred Abode of Lord Venkateswara
The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is known as the richest temple in the world representing the Hindu Religion. Located in Chittoor District, the temple was built by the Pallava Queen of the Pallava Dynasty in the 9th century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara, who came to save mankind. The monument is under the government of Andhra Pradesh. The temple has gone through many renovations and updates from different eras. The saints of the temple have been providing free meals to pilgrims for years as Trimula Venkateshwara is said to be the richest temple in terms of donations. There are many other deities worshipped here which are referred to as Pancha Beramulu. The temple comes in a list of the best tourist destinations in Andhra Pradesh.
The Architecture of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
- The Maha Dwarama is the starting point or the entrance of the temple, giving access to Sampangi Pradakshinam. You will be able to notice two metal statues or idols of Sankanidhi and Padmanidhi on either side of the main gate.
- Sampangi Pradakshinam is a circular pathway (prakaram) where people usually walk as one of the cultural practices. You will find several storerooms here. Legends say that the place worked as a shelter for the deity Srirangam, Ranganathan Swamy.
- Vendi Vakili is called the second entrance of the temple joining the inner walls to Vimana Pradakshina. You will see three storied Gopuram above the entrance built in the 12-13 centuries.
- Just like Samangi Pradakshina, Vimana Pradakshina is a circular pathway around Ananda Nilayam Vimana. Just by entering the location, you will find many small idols of Sri Ranganatha Swamy in a sleeping position. All the idols in the pathway are called Chuttu Gullu.
- Ananda Nilayam Vimana, a tower with a golden roof will be visible to you, the main house of the deity. You witness the most beautiful idol of the deity in golden crowns and earrings. The tika on his forehead covers most of his eyes, slightly outstretched right palm pointing toward the ground. The idol gives eternal bliss to devotees.
- After witnessing the main temple, you will find many other interfaces like Bangaru Vakili, Garbhagriha, Phuskarni, and Akhlanda with beautiful lamps working like a jewel for the monument.
Visiting Hours: 6:00 AM to 7:30 PM every day.
2. Lepakshi Temple – The Architectural Marvel of Andhra Pradesh
The Lepakshi Temple is a hub of all the creativity and unique architecture from historical India. The temple is also known as Veerbhadra Temple and is located in the little town of Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. There is a hall that is believed to be the reception hall for the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the astonishing fact is that there is a footprint in the entrance which is manifested as the footprint of Maa Parvati. The temple has culturally and archaeologically become an exhibition of art with all the famous carvings and murals in it. We would recommend taking a torch with you if you are going there in the evening. Wear respectable clothes and take a water bottle to escape from the humidity and heat inside.
The Architecture of Lepakshi Temple
- The temple is divided into three parts named Mukha Mandapa, Arda Mandapa, and sanctum sanctorum. The outermost part of the temple has three grand entrances and the inner one is the entrance to the assembly hall.
- You will be able to witness several sculptures and 2D paintings at the entrance of Sanctum Sanctorum. The carvings include the divine beauty of saints, musicians, and dancers. There is a legendary footprint of Maa Sita at the entrance of the assembly hall.
- The hall is full of the decorations of horses and soldiers, which are carved on the pillars and in walls in block columns. You will be able to witness the life image of Lord Veerabhadra armed with several skulls.
- The paintings on the ceilings above the mandap represent the hard-working builders. They are depicting the devotion of several hard enough to make this beautiful temple. There’s a hanging pillar that is barely touching the ground, people usually check their curiosity by sliding the paper or cloth in between the pillar and the ground to check the credibility of this legend.
Visiting Hours: The temple opens at 6 AM and closes at 7 PM.
Also Read: Pilgrimage Tourism in India
3. Yaganti Temple – A Gateway to Ancient Hindu Mythology
If you want to see the most exotic idol of Lord Shiva, this destination was made for you! The temple was constructed by Harihara Bukka Raya of the Sigma Dynasty. There are many historical tales about the significance of the temple. One of the most famous is about sage Agastya, who wanted to build a temple to worship Lord Venkateswara but due to some damage in his idol, the Kanchipuram needed to replace it with Lord Shiva. It is believed that bathing in a Pushkarini Pond is beneficial and can evaporate all the impurities from your body and mind. The water flows through the mouth of Nandi, but till the present day, no one could find where this source of the flowing water. If you are someone who loves exploring mysterious places, then don’t miss out on Yaganti Temple.
The Architecture of Yaganti Temple
- Pushkarini, a small herbal pond is located on the premises of the temple. The water flowing through the mouth of Nandi from the hills shows the creativity of Vishwakarma Sthapathis. The statue of Nandi is always expanding, because of the nature of the rock, from which it is made.
- Agastya Cave is a cave with an idol of devi, who is worshipped by several devotees. It is said that saint Agastya stayed here to worship Lord Shiva.
- You will be able to see Venkateswara Cave with a damaged idol of Lord Venkateswar. The cave is easy to reach as the stairs are steep. It is said that the idol was present there when the Tirumala Temple was constructed. But because it was damaged, it could not bworworshippedording to the customs of Hindus.
Visiting Hours: You will be able to visit the temple from 6 AM to 1 PM and from 3 PM to 8 PM.
4. Kanaka Durga Temple- A Scenic Temple with a View of River Krishna
The Kanaka Durga Temple is one of the most famous shrines devoted to Goddess Durga. Situated in Vijayawada, a district in Andhra Pradesh, this temple represents the Dravidian art style of India. If you read Vedic Literature, then you must have seen the mention of this sacred temple in Vedic books. Surrounded by Indrakeeladri hills and the Krishna River, this place gives off some of the most scenic landscapes to visitors. It is believed that Kanaka Mahalakshmi, a form of Maa Durga, slayed the demon king Mahishasura to free mankind from his torture. It is suggested to wear respectable clothes before entering the temple. It gets too hot because of the open roofs so don’t forget to bring your sunglasses and caps with a water bottle.
Special Travel Tips
- You can explore and take a food tour of the town. You can learn about exotic local delicacies, which are famous among tourists.
- We would suggest opting for public transportation as you will get an idea of the local culture. Sometimes local buses and trains offer you exhilarating and scenic landscapes that you might miss by taking public transport.
- Visit during festivals!! When it comes to Kanaka Durga temple, nothing is better than experiencing Navaratri celebrations here.
Visiting Hours: You will able to explore the temple from 6:15 AM to 10:00 PM.
Also Read: Char Dham Yatra Travel Guide
5. Siva Mallikarjuna Temple – A Place of Tranquility
Siva Mallikarjuna Temple is one of the most famous temples and Jyotirlingas of Lord Siva in India. Situated at the hills of Nallamala in Srisailam, the temple attracts several tourists every year. There is some evidence of carvings from the Satavahana Dynasty, in the 2nd century. Most of the renovations were done by the emperors in modern history. There are many myths and legends behind the temple, it is said that if someone sees the Shikhareshwaram Temple, he will never get rebirth. Like other temples, the Siva Mallikarjuna Temple is under the administration of Andhra Pradesh. The temple holds and represents two prominent sects of Hinduism named Shivam and Shaktism. You will get to influence the fresh and sweet water of the Krishna River which surrounds the ideal of Lord Siva.
The Architecture of Siva Mallikarjuna Temple
- The Linga is protected by a three-hooded cobra sculpture. The temple is full of towers and courtyards in Dravidian Style architecture.
- As the temple has gone through many renovations during Kakatiya and Vijayanagara Kingdoms. This enormous temple covers about two hectares of land including four towers.
- You will be able to find many shrines of Mallikarjuna and Bhramaramba with a big hall named Mukh Mandap in the temple. Built during the Vijayanagar Kingdom this temple is famous for its architectural significance.
Special Highlights: The Maha Shivratri is a very significant festival celebrated in festivals.
Visiting Hours: You are allowed to explore the temple in the morning between 6:00 AM to 3:30 PM and in the evening from 6 PM to 10 PM.
Also Read: Panch Kailash Yatra of Himalayas
6. Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple – Where Faith Meets the Divine
The Temple is a gem of the Chola Kingdom built around the 11th century by King Kulothunga Chola. People believe that the idol of Vinayaka expands every year. The temple is devoted to Lord Ganesha, the deity is situated in the well. According to the myths, there were three brothers with disabilities. One was blind, the second one was deaf and the last one was mute. They were trying to dig a well for their field and that’s when they witnessed the idol of Shri Ganesh in the well. Astonishingly their disabilities were cured in an instant. It is said that no one could find the end of the idol even after digging deep enough. Water is said to cure most health issues and according to research, water has some beneficial minerals and herbs which is good for calming one’s mind and anxiety.
Special Travel Tips
- We would recommend visiting the temple during festival seasons. Brahamotsavam, an enormous annual festival that is held for 21 days will leave you in a daze.
- The ideal time to visit the temple is during August and September. It will take at least half a day to explore the temple, so it is advised to bring your water bottles inside.
- If you have some extra time, we recommend visiting Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple and Sri Varadaraja Swamy temple nearby.
Special Highlights: The exotic celebration of Vinayaka Chavithi (festival).
Visiting Hours: It starts at 6:30 AM and ends at 7:15 PM.
Also Read: Panch Kedar Yatra Travel Guide
7. Simhachalam Temple – Where Devotion Meets Majesty
Simhachalam Temple is devoted to Lord Narasimha. The name has a significant influence from Simhachalam Hill, which is approx 300 meters above the sea level where this temple is located. It is believed that Lord Vishnu transformed into half lion and half human form to save his devotee, a child named Prahalad from his father Hiranyakashipu. The style of the architecture represents the historical creativity of Odisha, Chalukyas, and Cholas from the 13th century. There are 32 significant pilgrimages of Narasimha here and Simhachalam Temple is one of them. You might confuse the temple as a fortress with courtyards and gateways, mainly because of the architectural style here. Simhachalam temple is the second largest temple in Andhra Pradesh after Tirumala, which we have already discussed earlier.
The Architecture of Simhachalam Temple
- The temple is located 800 meters above sea level on a small hill that ranges. The architecture in the temple represents the tales of many dynasties from the past.
- You will have to climb up about 1,000 steps on the hill Ratnagiri to reach the entrance of the temple. There’s a square plain that rises above the ground where the central shine is established.
- The walls resemble the Konark Temple of Odisha and represent the culture of the Vesara Dynasty. The inner wall possesses many carvings of deities in the Dravidian Style.
Visiting Hours: You will be able to explore the temple from 7 AM to 4 PM and then from 6 AM to 9 PM.
Also Read: Yamunotri Temple Information
8. Ahobilam Temple – A Spiritual Haven in the Lap of Nature
If you are someone who wants to click pictures with those scenic landscapes in your background, then this temple is an ideal destination for you. The temple was built by the maharajas of Vijayanagara between the 15th to 16th centuries. It was often disturbed by the Mughals during the battles but again was restored by many emperors at the time. Located in Anantapur, a district in Andhra Pradesh, this place has become one of the most visited temples in Andhra Pradesh. The main deity here is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy with a huge statue worshipped by many people. The place is popular to perform marriages because of the sacred influence it has. People believe that the place is ideal to start a new life with your significant other. You will witness nine other forms of the Lord Narasimha here in Ahobilam excluding the statue.
The architecture of Ahobilam Temple
- You will see all 9 Narasimha in the temple. Every deity has its temple located in the mountains of Ahobilam.
- There is an idol of Prahalad at the base of the mountains. Many people come here to worship him.
- The temple was first built in Dravidian style but because of the continuous renovations during the Vijaynagar Kingdom, you will find many other architectural styles here.
Visiting Hours: You will be able to visit the temple from 6:30 AM to 7:00 PM.
Also Read: Gangotri Temple Information
9. Arasavalli Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
The Suryanarayana Swamy temple comes in the list of the most significant temples in Andhra Pradesh. Located at Arasavalli, it was built in the 7th century by Devendra Varma who was the ruler of the Kalinga Dynasty at the time. So, you can say that this is one of the oldest sun temples in all over the country. The main charm or deity of this place is Surya Bhagavan (Sun God). People from all over the world come here to worship Sun God. The temple has gone through many renovations since the 18th century. The Monument is recognized as one of the archaeological achievements in the history of India. The place has become a landmark to celebrate many festivals where devotees and government contribute to make it a beautiful destination to explore.
Highlights of Arasavalli Suryanarayana Swamy Temple
- This temple comes in the list of rarest temples in India, mainly because it’s hard to find Vishnu temples in his non-human avatar.
- A small village named Salihundam nearby represents the first Buddhist settlement here.
- Kalingapatnam Beach, a famous attraction for many tourists, is located near the temple.
- You will be able to explore an ancient temple dedicated to Sri Endala Mallikarjuna Swamy in the village of Ravivalasa.
Visiting Hours: You can visit this temple from 4 AM to 8 PM.
Also Read: Shri Hemkund Sahib Yatra Travel Guide
Andhra Pradesh is a treasure trove of rich Indian heritage, with a plethora of sacred temples that are a must-visit for all religious and heritage enthusiasts. In this article, we’ve shared some of the popular temples that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Andhra Pradesh. Stay tuned, as we’ll soon be updating this blog with more beautiful temples to visit. Follow our blogs for regular updates and plan your trip to experience the divine aura of these mystical temples.
Looking to explore the beautiful temples of Andhra Pradesh in South India? Book your Andhra Pradesh temple tour with Bon Travel India and avail up to 30% early bird discount. For more information, reach out to us via phone or WhatsApp at +91-8802149265. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh!
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