The Temples of Andhra Pradesh  

The State of Andhra Pradesh abounds in archeological remains and religious monuments. The Satavahanas of the 1st century AD left behind them many works of art, the remains of which are seen at Amaravati near Guntur. The Ikshvakus succeeded the Satavahanas and the monuments left behind by them were discovered at excavations at Nagarjunakonda.Some of the best known Budhist monuments of Andhra Pradesh such as the Mahastupa and some Hindu temples were found in these excavations.

The oldest temples in the State, Tirupati Venkateswara Temple and the Kalahasteeswara Temple date back to the pre Christian times. The Chalukyas of Badami (Karnataka) of about the 6th century built the Alampur Bhrama temples.These are excellent examples of Chalukyan art and sculpture. The Vengi Chalukyas ruled coastal Andhra Pradesh from the 7th to the 11th centuries. 

The Badami Chalukyas of Deccan were succeeded by the Rashtrakutas and the later Chalukyas. The Kakatiyas who succeeded the later Chalukyas and ruled from Warangal (11th - 14th century AD) constructed several beautiful temples that show a profuse display of sculptural work.. The North Eastern region of Andhra Pradesh was under the rule of the Ganga Kings and the temples of this region show influences of the Orissa style of architecture. 

The Vijayanagar Empire caused a number of monuments to be built and patronized in the State. Mention must be made of the Sree Sailam temple and the ornate Lepakshi temples. The flat stuccoed granite ceilings of the Vijayanagar Empire provided a suitable background for frescoes as seen at Lepakshi.

Thus, the temples that line the length and breadth of the State stand in silent acknowledgement of centuries of history and the patronage of various kingdoms such as the Cholas and Pallavas of Tamilnadu, the Chalukyas of Deccan , the Eastern Gangas and the Vijayanagar Kings. Some of these temples have been visited and sung by the Alwar (Vaishnavite) and the Nayanmar (Saivite) Saints of Tamilnadu. 

The following list is a pointer to some of the temples in Andhra Pradesh. 

Navabhrama Temples at Alampur near Kurnool  
Deities: Navabhramma (Shiva)

This shrine is considered to be a gateway to Sreesailam, and it has a cluster of 9 temples dedicated to Shiva - called the Bhrama temples. These were built by the Badami Chalukyas (7th century AD).The entire complex is a treasure house of history and art. These temples do not follow the Dravidian temple style and are closer to the Northern and Western Indian styles of architecture. Alampur is known as Dakshina Kashi. A Suryanarayana Temple and a Narasimha temple are also in the complex.

Access and Accomodation: Kurnool 

Amaravati Amareswara Temple at Amaravati near Vijayawada 
Deities: Amareswara (Shiva)

This ancient temple dedicated to Shiva enshrines a 15 feet high white marble Shiva Lingam and is surrounded by massive walls with towers. The Satavahanas and the Vijayanagar kings have made great contributions to this temple.This temple constitutes one of the five Pancharama Kshetrams in Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is known for its archeological remains of the ancient Budhist era.

Access and Accomodation: Vijayawada 

Annavaram Satyanarayana Swami Temple at Annavaram near Kakinada  
Deities: Satyanarayana

This temple dedicated to Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swami is built atop the Ratnagiri hills and is accessed by a motorable road and a flight of steps. The presiding deity installed along with Shiva represents the oneness of Shiva and Vishnu.The temple is built to resemble a chariot and it attracts innumrable pilgrims statewide.

Access and Accomodation: Kakinada 

Basar Saraswathi Temple at Basar near Nizamabad
Deities: Saraswathi

This is an ancient temple dedicated to Saraswathi - one of the few of its kind all over India. It is said to have been installed by Sage Vyasa in the days of the Mahabharata. Another legend relates it to Valmiki the author of Ramayana.The current structure dates back to the Chalukya period. There is an image of Lakshmi beside Saraswathi. Mahakali temple, Papahareswar Temple and Pathaleswar Temple are the other places of worship here.

Access and Accomodation: Nizamabad 

Bhadrachalam Rama Temple at Bhadrachalam near Khammam 
Deities: Rama

Significance: This ancient shrine is built on a hill, accessed by a flight of steps. It is vast in size and is well visited. The Vimanam, and the mandapams within are of exquisite craftmanship. This temple is associated with Bhadrachala Ramadas an ardent devotee of Rama.This shrine has been visited by Kabir. Legend has it that Rama's hermitage in exile was situated here at Bhadrachalam.This temple is associated with Bhadrachala Ramadas an ardent devotee of Rama.This shrine has been visited by Kabir. Legend has it that Rama's hermitage in exile was situated here at Bhadrachalam.

Antiquity: This temple underwent a lot of renovation in the 17th century.

Other shrines in the vicinity: Parnasala, 32 km near Bhadrachalam is said to be the site of the hut where Rama, Sita and Lakshman lived in exile. Ushnagundam, a hot water spring 6 km near Bhadrachalam is another site visited by these personalities from the Ramayana.

Access and Accomodation: Khammam 

Birla Mandir at Hyderabad  
Deities: Venkateswara
Location: Hyderabad the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Significance: This is a modern temple built of white marble on top of a hill, dominating the skyline of Hyderabad. The Birlas (industrialists who have also built several temples in India in this century) built this temple. The presiding deity here is Venkateswara (Vishnu).

Antiquity: This is a modern temple consecrated in 1976.

Architecture: This temple displays a mixture of architectural styles. A Rajagopuram built in the South Indian style greets the visitors. The tower over the main shrine of Venkateswara called the Jagadananda vimanam is built in the Orissan style while the towers over the shrines of the consorts are built in the South Indian style. The brass flagstaff rises to a height of 42 feet. The granite image of the presiding deity is about 11 feet tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella for this image. There are several carvings in marble, in the adjoining mukha mandapam - depicting scenes from Indian mythology. The temple is floodlit at nights.

Other shrines in the temple: The consorts of Venkateswara Padmavathi and Andal are housed in separate shrines.

Worship and festivals: Although modern in construction worship is carried out as per the traditional Agama rules, the Pancharatra Agama in particular.

Access and Accomodation: Hyderabad 

Kotilingam Temple at Panchadarla near Anakapallee 
Deities: Shiva

This temple is situated close to the 'five fountains' - five jets of water fed by a perennila spring. The presiding deity Shiva has 12 rows of 85 lingams carved on a lingam. This temple has inscriptions dating back to the 15th century Eastern Chalukyas.

Access and Accomodation: Anakapallee 

Mangalagiri Narasimhaswami Temple at Mangalagiri near Vijayawada  
Deities: Narasimha

This is a rock cut shrine on a hill dedicated to Narasimha. The deity is also referred to as Panakala Narasimha, as panaka made of jaggery is offered to the deity. It is said that the entire shrine is free of ants & flies although mounds of jaggery and sweets are stored within. This temple has been visited by religious leaders such as Sankara and Ramanuja. At the foot of the hill is the ancient Rajya Lakshmi Narasimhaswami temple, with an imposing Raja Gopuram, supposedly the tallest in Andhra Pradesh.

Access and Accomodation: Vijayawada 

Mukhalingam Temple at Mukhalingam near Sreekakulam  
Deities: Shiva

This is a group of 3 temples built by the Eastern Ganga Kings in the 10th century AD. The deities are Mukhalingeswara, Bhimeswara and Someswara. All these temples show evidence of the Orissa style of architecture. The Mukhalinga temple is a veritable art gallery. The temple entrances are marvels in themselves.There is a plethora of sculptural work and perforated windows. The Bhimeswara temple lacks such grand splendour. Someswara temple is rich in sculptural work.

Access and Accomodation: Sreekakulam 

Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati  

Significance: Tirupati/Tirumala is a pilgrimage center of great significance and is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji as the presiding deity Vishnu is known, is enshrined in this temple, located on a range of the Eastern Ghats, called the Seven Hills.It is an ancient temple and its glory has been sung by the saints of the yesteryears. 

Said to be the richest temple in India, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history spanning several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country and it is not unusual for pilgrims to stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds. 

TTD, or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam manages the affairs of the temple, the well being of the pilgrims, the upkeep of the environs in and around the Tirumala hills and sponsors several undertakings that are religious, charitable, social and educational in nature. 

References to Tiruvenkatam abound in early Tamil literature(Tolkappiam and Silappadikaram) . Explicit reference to the Lord of Tiruvenkatam is found in the works of the early Tamil Saint Poets Poigai Alwar, Bhuthathu Alwar and Pay Alwar as well as in the poems of the later Alwars. The great religious leader Ramanuja Acharya is said to have visited here in the 11th - 12th century AD. 

References to Venkatachalam are also found in several of the Puranas. Tirumalai constitutes one of the 108 Sri Vaishnava Divya Desams - sacred shrines in the Sri Vaishnavite tradition. Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar Empire is said to have visited this temple 7 times. An image of his is also found in the temple. The Venkatesa Itihasa Mala and the Varaha Purana contain several legends connected with Tirumalai.

Location: Tirupati is a town in the Chittoor district of the Southern portion of Andhra Pradesh and is at a convenient train journey away from Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamilnadu. Tirumalai, on the last of the seven Hills, is home to this temple and is connected by a well maintained and picturesque mountain road constructed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam.

Veerabhadraswami Temple at Lepakshi near Anantapur   
Deities: Veerabhadra

This temple dates back to the 16th century AD and is built on a mount. The shrine abounds in sculptural wealth in its intricate mandapams, The Natyamandapam has pillars with life sized images of dancers musicians etc. The monolithic Nandi here is also of significance. The ceilings have works of art too. The mural paintings hold the visitors spell bound. This temple is an excellent specimen of Vijayanagar art. Lepakshi is situated near Hindupur in Anantapur District. Bangalore is the closest large city.

Access and Accomodation: Anantapur, Bangalore 

Rudreswara Temple at Palampet near Warangal 
Deities: Rudreswara (Shiva)

This temple dedicated to Shiva was built by the Kakatiyas in the 13th century AD. This temple is an art gallery in itself with beautifully carved works of art, exquisite ceilings and columns adding beauty to the grand architecture.The man made lake from the Kaktaiya period is of significance and so are the other temples in this town.

Access and Accomodation: Warangal 

Some of the places of worship
Temples of Tamil Nadu
Temples of Karnataka
Temples of Orissa
Temples of Maharashtra
Temples of Kerala
Temples of Andhra Pradesh
Temples of Madhya Pradesh
Temples of the Gangetic Plains