Andhra Pradesh is a land of deep-rooted culture and ardent faith that is manifested in the form of its gamut of pilgrimage places. Its plethora of temples, shrines, mosques, and cathedrals are epitome of the allegiance shown by devotees to their venerated devotees and saints. The natural tendency of man to look up to higher powers to seek divine blessings and seeking tutelage resulted in creation of numerable pilgrimage centers; since time immemorial, a plethora of such sacred sites were actualized.
As the state is inhabited by different religious sects like Hindus, Muslims, and Christians; the pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh are associated with different communities. These holy sites are also renowned for their magnificent architecture and intricacy. Chennakesava temple is a nice example in this regard. A massive idol of the deity in black granite is the highlight of the shrine. Adorned with a splendid Vimana that rests atop it adds to the grandeur of the place. The consecrated site of Amravati is famous throughput India for its larger-than-life sculptures of Lord Shiva and other deities. An important center of Buddhism, a magnificent Buddhist stupa is the main highlight here.
Mallikarjuna Swami Temple, built with Chalukya architecture, was built by Thribhuvan Malla in 10th century. At Lepakshi, you will be able to admire historical art and mural paintings; it is one of the most popular pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh. There are three shrines at Lepakshi that you can pay a visit to. These shrines are dedicated to deities Shiva, Vishnu, and Virabhadra. Ranganatha Temple of Srirangapuram is held in high esteem by local inhabitants; Lord Vishnu is worshipped in its premises.
Warangal district of the state houses another renowned shrine, named, Thousand Pillar Temple. Thronged by millions, the temple's resplendent architecture will catch your fancy. It houses shrines dedicated to numerous Hindu deities including Nandi bull. The mystic aura present at the temple premises captivates you completely. Yet another enticing edifice that is a big draw for the tourists is RudreshwaraTemple of Warangal. Constructed by Kaikatya rulers using light bricks, the shrine is a worshipping place of Lord Shiva.
Bhadracahalam is among those pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh that are related to Lord Rama. A vivid description of it is also given in epic Ramayana and is associated with several legends. Birla Mandir of Hyderabad is known for its quaint surroundings and tranquil atmosphere. This marble temple is a recent development and is a dedication to Lord Venkateshwra whose 11 feet granite idol has been installed in the premises. Dharmapuri is an ancient pilgrimage village that was frequented by saints and other learned pundits who arrived here to gain spiritual enlightenment.
The amazingly charming Neelkantheswara Temple of the state is located atop a hillock. This Jain pilgrimage place is adorned with nice elegant architecture and its Shiva lingam gets bathed in sunrays every morning. Famous for its old banyan tree, Thimmamma Marrimanu is a venerated tree and is the highest one in entire South India. A shrine rests in the shade of the tree and is associated with legendary stories. Words fail to express the grandeur and popularity of Tirupati Temple which excels among all the pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh. Also considered as the richest temple of the world, Tirupati is visited by a big crowd of tourist who wait for hours in order to have the glimpse of their revered deity. A number of powerful dynasties played a crucial role in refurbishing this magnificent temple; it is, in fact, bestowed with ostentatious gifts received from them. While waiting for the sacred "darshan", devotees are offered with facilities like eating joints, television, and many more. The darshans offered by the temple are of varied type.
Among the other important Hindu pilgrimage centers that adore the land of Andhra Pradesh are Simhachalam, Puttaprtahi, Srisailam, Ryali, Padmavati Temple, Mantralaym, Arasavalli, Chjezerla, Antarvedi, and Umakamandeleshwara Temple. A few mosques are also present and are visited in large numbers by Muslim devotees. Jumma Masjid is a nice example of Islamic architecture which is popular for its simplicity of design. On every Friday, devotees arrive in the premises to offer prayers. Initially a Hindu temple, Deval Masjid is another place of Muslim worship. Constructed in the shape of a star, this mosque carries inscriptions related to Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. No major modifications were done while transforming the temple into a mosque. Mecca Masjid is also popular among the worshippers.
Among the Churches that are present and form important pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh are St. Mary's Church, St. Joseph's Cathedral, and Medak Church. Blessed with several archeological antiquities, Medak Church is a nice place to visit. The royal grandeur of the place along with the sylvan atmosphere characterizes this splendid edifice. It has the ability to accommodate about 5000 people at a time. At Gundala Church, Mother Mary is worshipped; the premises attracts large chunk of Christian population on festive occasions like Christmas and New Year Eve.
The pilgrimages of Andhra Pradesh are symbol of faith and devotion of teeming millions; apart from serving as a source of divinity; they also form nice tourist places.