Every place has a tale. Every region has a history. The difference lies in the richness of history of a place, its culture, its civilization and how it has been preserved today. Some boast of a rich past but unfortunately you are left to see only the ruins or nothing that indicate the glorious past. Some places develop to present a different face altogether, which would make an interesting visit. Some maintain the essence of the past by blending it with the present and hence provide an in depth into the past life and attract with the present state. Anantapur, the largest district in the state of Andhra Pradesh has many historic monuments to highlight its significant past. It plays an important role even today as it is famous for silk trade and contributes towards the growth of economy. Let us have a look at the top 8 attractions of Anantapur.
Penukonda is referred to as Ghangari in local inscriptions. The place is rich in temples as you will find that it has 365 temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman apart from other temples for different gods. Penukonda Fort was constructed by Vira Virupanna Udaiyar of Vijayanagar. The fort is situated 70 kms away from Anantapur and it is famous for its architectural brilliance with stunning sculptures. The fort is not in the best of state but gives you a great feeling to be inside it after a challenging trek. The fort houses many temples and the two famous attractions here are Gagan Mahal Palace and Babayya Darga. Gagan Mahal was constructed in 1575 AD and it throws light on the life and style of King Krishna Devaraya. Babayya Darga stands proof of the harmony existed between Hindus and Muslims.
2. Ravadurg Gooty Fort
Ravadurg Gooty Fort belonging to the 7th century is a stunning example of the architectural excellence of the past. Shell shaped Gooty fort is one amongst the oldest hill forts in Andhra Pradesh. The fort, located at an altitude of 300 meters houses 15 forts inside and rightly earns the name ‘King of Forts’. Built by Vijayanagar kings, the fort was conquered by Haider Ali and was eventually won over by British when Tipu Sultan was defeated. A pavilion in the fort offers panoramic view of the land beneath.
3. Thimmamma Marrimanu
Amidst man made wonders, which show the excellence of human brains, we find that Anantapur houses one of the excellent wonders of bestowed by nature on this land. Thimmamma Marrimanu is a banyan tree, which is the biggest in South India. Situated 100 km from Anantapur, the tree’s branches spread across 5 acres of land. The tree was named after a woman called Thimmamma, who committed sati after her husband’s death. The belief that childless couple will be blessed with children on visiting this place makes it a top tourist attraction.
Dharmavaram, famous for cotton and silk sarees, is situated 46 km away from Anantapur. This ancient place attracts tourists from all parts of the world owing to its contribution in the weaving industry. Silk sarees weaved in Dharmavaram are exported to various countries including France and Germany. The architectural excellence of the place is evident in Sri Lakshmi Chennakesava Swamy and Ramalingeswara Temple. Both these temples have perennial water sprout. The sculptures and the pillars are excellently carved. The pillars in Ramalingeswara Temple produce musical notes when you strike them gently.
Hemavathi is an ancient place, which has historic significance. It was the capital of Pallava kings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Hemavathi Fort, one of the ancient forts in Andhra Pradesh is ruined but some of the temples namely Doddeswara Swamy Temple, Siddeshswara Swamy Temple and Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple stand proof of the excellence of artisanship of the Chola and the Pallava era.
6. Aluru Kona
Aluru Kona is a small village, which is famous for Ranganathaswamy Temple. This temple, situated on hilltop was constructed in the year 1334 AD. The waterfall here flows through out the year. The picturesque view from the temple spell bounds you. Devotees and nature lovers love this place for what it has to offer.
Lepakshi is situated 110 km from Anantapur. If you have an eye for architecture and historical places, you need to visit Lepakshi. The place has 108 Shiva temples. Lord Veerabhadhra Temple belonging to the 16th century displays fine architectural skills. The intricately carved pillars and rock sculptures speak volumes of architectural brilliance possessed by the artisans. The murals on the temple’s ceilings are amazing. It is indeed an architect’s delight.
8. Raidurga Fort
Yet another fort in Anantapur that played a dominant role in the history of the district. Mostly in ruins now, the fort was once invincible. It houses many famous temples. The splendid architecture of the fort and the temples take you back to the times when the fort was at its peak of glory. Some of the famous temples here include temples for Hanuman, Narasimhan and Jambukeswara.
If you are the type that cannot help being involved in what you see, you are sure to feel a touch of sadness when you visit the famous forts of this place. The impregnable forts losing all its power and won over by the passing of centuries is a crude reminder to the fact that material wealth is not permanent. However, the forts stand proof of the valor of the rulers of the past and the architectural brilliance of the artisans of the bygone era, which nothing could destroy.
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