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  Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh is the third largest state in India with an area of 275,000 sq. km. A state in the southern region of India, Andhra Pradesh is bordered on the south by TamilNadu state, on the west by Karnataka state, on the north and northwest by Maharashtra state, on the northeast by Madhya Pradesh and Orissa states, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. The northern area of Andhra Pradesh is mountainous. The highest peak Mahendragiri rises 1500 m above the sea level. The climate is generally hot and humid. There are many holy temples which attract a large number of pilgrims and tourists. The main languages that are spoken in Andhra are Telugu, English, Urdu, Hindi.

Having a number of holy temples, the state constitutes a great attraction for pilgrims, besides other visitors. Tirupati, Having presiding deity Venkateshwara, the temple of Sriramchandra, Bhadrachalam, Mallikarjunaswami, temple, Srisilam, and srikummam temple are among the most famous temples of Andhra Pradesh. The capital of Hyderabad is beyond doubt, the main tourist attractions be it Char Minar or state Museum, Art Gallery or Salarjung Museum - All of them have expositions connected with history, art and culture, especially of the Nizam Period. Once noted for its mines of diamond, Golconda has some famous historical monuments. Alas! the place from where the Kohinoor and Pitt diamonds came, does not have these precious pieces to put an exhibit. The Nagarjuns Sagar dam is also a popular tourist spot. So are the Yadagir Gutta, Nalgonda, Thousand Pillar temple, Warangal and Vemulwada, Karinagar. Last but not the least, the largest tiger reserve in India. Nagarjuna Srisailam Sanctuary, is the perfect travelmasti for wildlife freaks.

Fairs of Andhra Pradesh

Fairs are a part of a living heritage in Andhra Pradesh. These are events that are awaited throughout the year and careful planning goes into them, which offers a thrilling experience to one's travel. In Andhra Pradesh many temple fairs are organized, of which the Brahmotsavam at Tirupati and the Sri Rama Navami Festival at Bhadrachalam are very popular. Devotees in large numbers attend these fairs. Andhra Pradesh Tourism organizes fairs like the Lumbini Fair, Vishaka Utsav and Deccan Festival etc. that bring together the arts, crafts and cuisine of the various regions of the state.

Location: Bhadrachalam, Khammam District
Month: March-April
Occasion: Lord Srirama's Birthday
Unique Feature: Srirama Kalyanotsavam Is Being Practised From About 400 years continuously

The Srirama Navami Festival at Bhadrachalam is celebrated for ten days from 'Chaitra Suddha Saptami' to 'Bahula Padyami'. It is Sri Rama's birthday and the Kalyanotsavam celebrated during then attracts about three lakhs of devotees. It is a day of festivity for "Ramabhaktas".

The Grand Wedding Celebration
The temple celebrates the celestial wedding between Rama and Sita in a grand scale mimicking the actual event. The commentators role-play by arrogating themselves to either the bride's (Sita's) family or the bridegroom's (Rama's side). The role-play is complete in every aspect and includes every small detail, as much as human feelings are attributed to the deities - such as "Sita being shy and her cheeks blushing pink as she approaches Rama".

These celebrations are being practiced from about 400 years ago, introduced during Tana Shah's rule continued even through the Nizam's rule and still continue to this day. All the jewels used are those made by 'Ramadas' and the natural sea water pearls used during the wedding ritual of 'Talambralu' still comes from an endowment created by the Nizam's trust.

This event is telecast live both on All India Radio and on Television for nearly three hours with good description in the commentary. The chief minister of the State also attends the Kalyanotsavam.

Location: Nagarjunasagar, Hyderabad
Month: 2nd Friday Of December

Lumbini festival is organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, in Nagarjunasagar and Hyderabad for three days from the 2nd Friday of December every year.

This festival highlights the 'Buddhist Heritage' of Andhra Pradesh. It is an excellent opportunity to discover the heritage that takes you back 2000 years in time.

Timing: Once In Twelve Years
Venue: Rajahmundry For Godavari Pushkaram, Vijayawada For Krishna

Pushkaram And Kovur town In Nellore District For Pennar Pushkaram.

Pushkaram is held once in twelve years on the banks of the rivers Godavari, Krishna and Pennar in Andhra Pradesh. The Hindus consider a holy dip in these rivers sacred and so people gather in large numbers on the banks of these rivers, when the Pushkaram is held. Even before sunrise people take the sacred bath and offer prayers to the Lord.

Various rituals are performed and it is believed that a holy dip will wash away all their sins. Cultural programs are organized. Many shops come up in the nearby area selling jewelry, sweets, decorative items etc.

"Rajahmundry" is the venue of 'Godavari Pushkaram', Vijayawada for Krishna Pushkaram and Kovur town in Nellore district for 'Pennar Pushkaram'.

Location: Visakhapatnam
Timing: Third Friday to Saturday of January

Visakha Utsav is organized by A.P. Tourism every year from the third Friday to Sunday of January i.e. for three days in Vishakhapatnam. It's the festival special for 'Vizagites', in the cold month of January.

The festival is organized to bring together the arts, crafts and cuisine of Vishakhapatnam district . Visakha Festival comprises of a variety of cultural programmed, sport events, food fair, exhibitions, fashion shows, etc.

Location: 120-kms From Hyderabad
Held: Annually
Formerly Known As: Omkaram, Ahankarapattanam
Timing: October - November

Kohir town is situated at a distance of 12-km from Zahirabad and 120-kms from Hyderabad . This place was originally called as "Omkaram" and "Ahankarapattanam", but was changed into "Kohir" during the rule of the Muslims.

There is a famous Dargah of Hazrat Ali and the 'Urs' of the saint are held annually over here during the months of October - November and is attended by about 5,000 devotees.

Location: Hyderabad
Month: February
Duration: Five Days
Another Festivity: Pearls & Bangles Fair

Deccan Festival will be held at Qutub Shahi Tombs Hyderabad on Second Friday, Saturday & Sunday of April every year.

This festival brings the choicest talent from the field of Music, Dance and Theatre. Ghazals, Mushairas, Qawwalis, Classical dances and Music. Reverberate in the air of Hyderabad. The Festival reflects the love the Hyderabad always had for art and Literature. The Deccan Festival essentially mirrors the glorious Qutub Shahi epoch.
Deccan festival is an exclusive festival sponsored by the Andhra Pradesh Department of Tourism in the month of February. This is a five-day festival reflecting the culture of the Deccan.

Cultural programs organized include Ghazals, qawalis and mushairas, poetry etc., typical of the city. Various renowned singers and dancers are invited for performances and this is a not to miss for every person who visits Hyderabad.

This Deccan festival also includes the Pearls and Bangles Fair .
Hyderabad is also known as "The city of Pearls". Hyderabad pearls have long been cherished and famed for their quality and luster. Mention the name of pearls to anyone in the jewelry trade in India and the name that strikes to mind is Hyderabad. The city is a one-stop-destination for the rare, luminescent, soft, tear drop pearls. Wide range, price and superior quality are some of the factors, which make the city a true pearls paradise. From cultured pearls to the rare 'Basra', the city has all of them.

A Royal Heritage
The pearl trade was prospered here for centuries under the royal patronage of the Qutub Shahi kings and the Asaf Jahis. Legend has it that pearls were showered on the people by the kings at the time of ceremonies as gifts. The affluent lifestyle beckoned many a craftsman from distant parts of the world, especially the Arabian Gulf where the rare original pearls are found in abundance. Hence, Hyderabad became the one-stop-destination for pearls.

This festival celebrates the spirit of this heritage - Pearls and Bangles fair, displaying creations in lustrous pearls and multi-hued bangles that are local specialties, and a Food Fair, with items covering both Andhra and Hyderabadi cuisine. Cultural programs, food stalls, arts and craft shops etc. are well organized.

All India Festival Of Arts & Crafts At Shilparamam
Location: 14-km From Hyderabad
Month: December
Significance: Exhibits Arts And Crafts From All Parts Of The Country

Shilparamam, a Crafts Village set amidst lovely rocks, rippling waterfalls and gorgeous lawns, about 14-km from Hyderabad . Shilparamam plays host to myrid traditions of arts and crafts of India.
An International Event
It has become internationally famous for the Annual Crafts Festival that is being organized in the first two weeks of March every year since 1995. During these Festivals, craftspersons from across the country come here to display their exclusive creations.

Here buyers come and pick up objects directly from the makers with out having to deal with middlemen. In the past six years, the Arts and Crafts Festival elicited tremendous response. While the first such Arts and Crafts festival attracted people in tens of thousands the festival now attracts hundreds of thousands of people every day. Crafts people from all over the country sell their creations for crores.

Location: Nampally, Hyderabad

Held: Annually From 1st January To 10th February

Started In: 1938

Significance: One Of The Biggest Show-Window In The Country For Trade, Commerce And Industry.

The All India Industrial Exhibition is organized by the Exhibition society at Nampally grounds in Hyderabad . This exhibition is held annually from 1st of January to 10th of February. It is one of the most prestigious events of Hyderabad city and it is customary for every Hyderabadi to make a visit to the exhibition with their family and friends.
Started in 1938 as a local exhibition, i.e. "Numaish", to display the indigenously produced goods in the erstwhile Hyderabad state.

A Trade Fair
The All India Industrial exhibition has today come to be recognized as one of the biggest show-window in the country for trade, commerce and Industry. This exhibition has become so popular, that its scope increased enormously both in its coverage and content. Traders from all over India put up their stalls and there are around 2600 stalls, and over 25 lakh visitors in the form of consumers, exhibitors, traders, etc.

Today almost all the state and central Government directly or through their undertakings are represented in this exhibition. It is a big open-air shopping mall with garments, handicrafts, electrical goods, glassware, furniture, kitchenware etc. There are also stalls selling popcorn, chat varieties, sweets, cool drinks, fleecy pink candy made of sugar etc. Children enjoy the joy rides like Gaint wheel, Tora Tora, Dragon ride and more.

It is open throughout the day, but usually people come in large numbers in the evenings. The shops are open up till midnight.

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