Pradesh has some of the most beautiful temples of South India. The
language of the state, Telugu, considered to be one of the classical
languages, is the one in which most devotional songs exist. A recent
study by the Anthropological Survey of India has revealed that many
Indians follow more than one religion. In most parts of India, Buddhism,
Jainism and Hinduism flourished at the same time (from the last
few centuries of the pre-Christian era to the 10th-11th century
AD). Thereafter, Islam also joined the three religions and the interactive
culture, architecture and traditions became all the richer for it.
Andhra Pradesh presents a wonderful opportunity to observe the sharing
of religious spaces. The rise of both Buddhism and Jainism in Andhra
desa, as in other parts of India, was marked by the many prayer
houses they left behind, called differently as stupas and basadis.
Muslim rulers built many new mosques and converted some temple complexes
into mosques. Andhra has been able to preserve a wonderful form
of Hinduism too. Many ancient Hindu texts have been translated into
Telugu from Sanskrit since ancient times.
Chalukyan, the Dravidian, the Nagara, and the Orissan styles of
temple architecture can be seen in Andhra Pradesh. The Tirupati
is the most visited pilgrim center and the richest temple. It is
an ancient temple, which has the idol of the Lord Balaji or Venkatachalapati.
The Sree Sailam temple is famous because it is one of the 12 jyotirlingas
of Shiva. Sree Sailam is near Kurnool and has the idol of the Mallikarjun
in an ancient style. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya composed
the Sivandalahiri in this temple. The Alampur Nava Brahma temple
has 9 ancient temples were constructed from 7th century onwards.
It is the gateway to Sree Sailam. They are dedicated to the Lord
Shiva. The Drakashrama is famous for one of the Pancharama temples.
According to the legends, the Shivalingam held by demon Tarak broke
into 5 pieces and fell at 5 Pancharama kshetram. Simhachalan means
'hill of lion'. The southern Chola kings and Gangas of Orissa patronized
this temple. The Sree Kalahasti temple is one of the Panchabhoota
temples of Shiva. The idol in the temple is the Vayu Lingam. It
represents wind out of the five essential elements Agni, Vayu, Aakash,
Jalam and Prithvi.
The Ahobhilam temple has the shrine of the Nava Narsimha. People
have a lot of faith in this temple.The Dharmapuri temple near Karimnagar
has the idol of the Yoga Narsimha, which is the manifestation of
the Vishnu and the Ramlingeshwara, which is related to the legend
from the Ramayana. Mangalagiri near Vijayawada has a hill temple,
which bears the shrine of the Panala Narsimha and the Lakshmi Narayan.
hill temple at Yadagirigutta near Bhongir has a hill temple dedicated
to the Narsimha who is the manifestation of the Vishnu. Vijayawada
has 3 important temples of the Kanakdurga, the Malleshwara and the
Vijayeshwara. Palampet has the Ramappa temple dating back to the
Kakateya period. The sculptures are rich in carvings. The Thousand
Pillared temple at Hanumakonda is a fine example of workmanship.
The Hanumakonda is the ancient capital of Kakatiyas of Warangal.
Bhadrachalam has the temple of Rama at a place where Lord Rama supposedly
crossed the River Godavari to go southwards in search of Sita.
The Rajeshwar temple at Vemulawada is quite old and can be dated
back to Vemulawada Chalukayas. The ancient capital of the Kalinga,
Mukhalingam have 3 beautifully built temple in the Orissan style.
Kotipalli (Kumaravana) in coastal Andhra Pradesh has the shrine
of Someshwara. It is an ancient pilgrim center. The Amreshwara Shiva
temple is in the ancient city of Amravati. Temple of Bhimeswara
can be seen in Bhimarama or Kumararama at Simalkota. It has some
very interesting sculptural work. The modern Birla Mandir is built
of marble. It is situated in Hyderabad and has become an integral
part of the city.