Andhra Pradesh is a mesmerizing state in India with something to suit every type of traveler. The state is renowned for its rich history, culture, and heritage. You can spend time witnessing architectural marvels, exquisite temples, amazing nature scenes, and delectable cuisine. River Godavari and River Krishna flows through the state and it has earned the title of ‘food bowl of South India’. It also boasts of the 2nd largest coastline in India.
The state has few majestic hill stations which serve as the perfect gateway to overcome the scorching heat and pollution of city life. They are popular among tourists and locals, as the soothing weather, green landscapes, and picturesque details act as wonderful stress-busters.
1. Araku Valley
Araku Valley is the most famous among Andhra hills for its tribal culture, soothing beaches at foothills, and enchanting waterfalls. The overall untouched and enigmatic beauty of the hill station lures tourists with its serenity. You can enjoy the pleasant weather with cool nights and warm days.
Located at 1,200 meters in the verdant Eastern Ghats, Araku Valley is also known for its aromatic coffee plantations and striking green countryside. You can explore the Museum of Tribal Arts, Borra and Tyda tribal caves, Tadimada Waterfalls, Padmapuram Botanical gardens, Chaparai Waterfalls, Matsyagundam, Bheemili Beach, and Katiki Falls.
You will love the archaeology and million-year history of the Borra caves. The pictures, symbols, and texts are carved on them. It also features the 1st sustainable coffee brand grown by tribal farmers.
Besides being a serene spot to unwind, it is also a well-admired trekking and hiking destination. You can click innumerable photos of this quaint and charming place. You should try the scrumptious Dhimsa or chicken cooked in bamboo. Purchase assorted coffee-based chocolates as souvenirs from the coffee museum.
One of the significant holy shrines of Lord Shiva, Srisailam is famous for the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga. It is also well-known as one of the 18 Shakti Peethas, dedicated to Devi Parvati. Situated on the Krishna River bank, it is a popular weekend getaway.
It boasts of being one of the cleanest and best-organized temples in India. The ancient temple has spectacular Dravidian-styled Vijayanagara architecture. The rare combination of Jyotirlingam and Mahashakti in the form of Bhramarambika enthralls devotees and tourists alike. You should come here during February and March for the Mahashivarathri and Brahmotsav festival celebrations.
Other attractions in Srisailam include Pathala Ganga, Siddi Ramappa Kolanu Waterfalls, Srisailam Dam, Akka Mahadevi Caves, and Shikareshvara Temple. Wildlife lovers can also visit the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary which is India’s largest tiger reserve. Be awed by the exotic flora and fauna of the Nallamala forest range.
Srisailam is also popular for trekking, hill climbing, forest research, and exploration. The peak season to visit Srisailam is from September to December and February to May. Being a temple town, most restaurants only serve vegetarian food.
3. Horsley Hills
Situated at a height of 1290 meters, Horsley Hills in Andhra Pradesh offers breathtaking views of a series of hills tucked away in the mountains and valleys. The blue sky, grey clouds, vast landscape, and green flora soothe the eyes. You can experience nature’s pristine beauty from very up close. The place is serene, picturesque, and clean.
You can also perform a wide range of activities like shooting, sightseeing, water walking, trampoline, spirituality, trekking, bow and arrow, rappelling, swimming pool, fish spa, mini zoo, and relishing authentic Andhra food in Horsley Hills. Take a look at the rabbits, peacocks, and crocodiles at the Horsley Zoo. Watch the perennial Kaigal Falls gushing from 40 feet height onto a huge rock.
Pray to Lord Vishnu at the Chennakesava Temple. Spot the 150-year-old Eucalyptus tree, named Kalyani, and the largest Banyan tree. In the surrounding dense forests, you can also discover more than 113 species of birds. April to June and September to December are the best months to visit Horsley Hills. You can find decent holiday homes, resorts, and hotels for accommodation with beautiful views all around.
4. Nagari Hills
One of the best scenic spots in Andhra Pradesh, Nagari Hills is the ideal summer destination. However, since it lacks accommodation facilities, it is best suited for a one-day expedition. The highest peak of the range called the Nagari Nose or Nagari Murkonda reaches 855 meters. This mellowest and towering cliff resembles a human nose. It had served as a lighthouse during medieval times for the ships touching Chennai.
You can also visit the Gurramkonda Fort and Kailasakona Falls. Lying on the Kusasthali river bank, it attracts nature lovers and enthusiasts, photographers, and adventure junkies. Even those who wish to unwind and relax, are also welcome. Mountaineering activities like rock climbing, hiking, hill running, cycling, and trekking on the natural trails are extremely popular.
You can camp around the lake on the grasslands. It takes around 3 hours to reach the Falls and the Temple. You can eat the temple food or prasad and drink fresh water. Nearby attractions include Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple, Thiruthani, Tada Falls, Kailasakona Falls, Sriperumbudur, Sai Baba Temple, and Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple.
A small hamlet in the Araku Valley of the Eastern Ghats, Lambasingi Hill Station is located at a height of 1000 meters. It is an off-beat travel destination. It is often known as the ‘Kashmir of Andhra Pradesh’ because of its paradisical ambiance and scenic beauty. The place is easily accessible from Vizag. It is one of the coldest places in Andhra with temperatures plummeting to 0˚C in the winters.
The thick forests and freezing temperatures make it an ideal spot for picnic and relaxation. Under the clear night sky, you can enjoy overnight camping. Go for trekking and rock climbing and push your limits. Wander off to the deciduous cover of the pine and eucalyptus trees. You will love the gorgeous views, the imposing mountains, and the gurgling rivers and streams.
Lambasingi also features colorful and landscaped gardens where you can stroll and give yourself a much-needed break from city life. You should visit Susan Garden, Thajangi Reservoir, and Kothapalli Waterfalls to capture picture-perfect moments with your friends and family. You can wander through Ghat Road, visit the coffee estates, marvel at the misty cloudy gardens, and walk through apple orchards.
Located at a point, where it is believed that Lord Vishnu resided in the Kal Yuga, Tirumala is one of the most revered shrines in India. It is also endowed with rich natural beauty. You will admire the majestic and cool waterfalls, the greenery, and trekking sites. You can also plan a one day tour to Tirumala in a private car from multiple cities across South India.
Situated at 980 meters, it is a purely vegetarian town. Alcohol and tobacco consumption is also strictly prohibited in the sacred hill town. It is also one of the oldest Indian cities mentioned in the Vedas and the Puranas. Tirumala is famous for Tirupati Balaji Temple which is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. You can offer prayers to the 8-feet tall idol and relish the Prasadam.
You can visit the gorgeous Akasa Ganga Waterfall, the ISKCON Temple, Sri Kalahasti Temple, the Kondandarama Temple, the Parashurameshwara Temple, and Sri Govindarajaswami Temple. The geological wonder, Silathoranam is another revered natural arch formed out of rocks.
Hindu festivals are celebrated in the temple town with much fanfare. You must especially visit the Sri Venkateswara Bramhotsavams during September and October. You can buy pooja items and idols as souvenirs. Take home the famous Tirupati Laddu which has also received the GI tag.
7. Nallamala Hills
Formed of parallel hills and valleys, the Nallamala Range is a delightful sight to behold. It is a part of the Eastern Ghats that spreads over several districts of Andhra Pradesh. Bordered by the Krishna and Pennar rivers, Nallamala Hills offers stunning views to tourists. The landscape is filled with dense forests, ridges, deep valleys, and gorgeous grasslands.
You can explore the Nallamala forest which is home to extensive wildlife like Neelgai, Antelopes, Leopards, and Chinkaras. Visit the other sightseeing places such as Mahanandi temple, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Ahobilam Nava Narasimha Temple, Mallela Theertham Waterfalls, Cumbum Lake, and Srisailam Temple. Cumbum Lake is one of Asia’s oldest man-made lakes, built by the Gajapati Kings of Orissa.
You will also love the sunflower cultivation at the foot of Cumbum Lake. If you love adventure you can climb the scenic trails reaching up to 4000 feet. You can soak in the charming surroundings and click numerous photos. The best time to visit Nallamala Hills is from September to November and March to May. You can comfortably stay in the widely available homestays, dormitories, hotels, and lodges.
Although the Papi Hills is a lesser-known tourist destination in Andhra Pradesh, Papikondalu is a must-visit site known for its gorgeous scenery and serene ambiance. Legend has it that during their exile, Lord Rama and Sita visited this place. You can also see River Godavari flowing through the region and the dense cover of rainforests. Take a boat ride in the small streams from Rajahmundry to Papikondalu. The route itself is scenic.
The chief attractions of the Papikondalu Hills are National Park, the Gandi Pochamma Temple, Perantapalli Village, and the Jamalapuram Temple. Pattisam Island, Kinnerasani Wildlife Sanctuary, Munivaatam Waterfalls, and Bhadrachalam Temple are also popular venues.
Stay in the unique Kolluru bamboo houses by the shore to experience the true essence of the Hills. Spend a leisurely evening watching the natural beauty. Hire a local tour guide for comprehensive sightseeing and exploring the forest area.
October to March is the best time to visit the hills. For a satisfying holiday, you can stay at a resort amidst the verdant forests. You can trek through the natural trails, and camp at the designated zones.
Located in the Chittoor district, the Nagalapuram or the Nagala Hills is a less-explored hidden gem amidst the lush forests of Andhra Pradesh. Situated in the Eastern Ghats, it shelters a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can come across deer, monkeys, bears, porcupines, and rabbits. You can spot small fishes in the gurgling streams and other reptiles such as snakes and lizards. The colorful blooms and chirping birds will also catch your attention.
You can rejuvenate in the quiet atmosphere and soak in the enchanting setting. To add a dash of excitement you can participate in thrilling adventures like trekking the bumpy trails and biking on the rocky hills. Nagalapuram is famous for the multi-level Nagalapuram Falls trekking. It is equally well-known for Sri Vedanarayana Swamy Temple. People flock to the grand shrine for the Vijayanagara architecture and the celebration of the 3-day Surya Pooja.
Other attractions consist of Shiva Temple Falls, Sri Pallikondeswara Temple, Kailasakona Waterfalls, Mini Courtallam, and Ubbalamadugu Waterfalls. You can stay in resorts and hotels and enjoy the secluded scenic charm. October to March is the best time to visit Nagalapuram.
An important landmark of Andhra Pradesh’s heritage, Silathoranam is a popular religious place in South India and is well-known for its archaeology. It is a natural rock formation with 2 dissimilar sets of rocks with a thin connecting link. The arch is a national geo-heritage monument located on the Tirumala Hill Temple, near the Chakra Teertham. It resembles a conch, a serpent’s hood, and a discus.
Dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, it has been carved out of Quartzite of Cuddapah. Intense climate changes and wave action are believed to be the factors that have resulted in its formation. It measures 3 meters in height and 8 meters in width. It is also assumed that the Tirumala Temple has the same height as the natural arch.
You must visit it in the early morning to witness its true charm. Relax in the well-maintained garden in front of the arch. You can also wait there until the fog clears. The arch looks striking and magical in the light of the setting sun. It also appears mystifying during a full moon night. Click photos of this mysterious rock formation for an unforgettable experience.