Blessed with some of the finest tourist attractions in India, starting from the pristine beaches of Visakhapatnam, the backwaters of Dindi, to the beautiful Araku Valley; Andhra Pradesh has all the elements that goes in making of a world class tourist destination.
The state tourism promotion strategy is loaded with twin objectives. The first objective is to develop the state as the most preferred destination globally and second objective is to attract global stakeholders in the tourism sector to investment in tourism projects and be a part of a wonderful growth story. According to V Ratna Kumar, Director – Religious Tourism, Revenue Endowments Department, Andhra Pradesh- one of the greatest attraction that attract scores of discerning travellers to the state are its divine temples. Andhra Pradesh in totality is the land of world renowned temples that are steeped in rich cultural and traditional beauty. Some of these shrines hold fascinating histories that date back to a thousands of years.
Key to promoting religious tourism in Andhra Pradesh is to create ease of access to these sites. Andhra is working on creating state-of-the-art multi modal transportation arrangements including an ambitious proposal to establish 14 airports. “Andhra Pradesh’s temples are well connected even today to facilitate international and Indian tourists to witness the splendour of divinity and embark on a spiritual journey that will forever remain a profound memory. To start with, we are the land of Tirumala Balaji, whose temple has more footfalls than even the Vatican. To reach Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, Tirumala-Tirupati, one can take a direct flight from Hyderabad, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Vijaywada and Vishakapatnam,” said Kumar.
“Likewise, the other leading divine religious attraction in Andhra Pradesh are also well connected be it the sacred ground of the Pancharaman temples, where five fragments of the Shiva Lingam are worshipped, or privileged home for deities like the Sun God at the Suryanarayana Temple in Arasavalli and the turtle avatar of Lord Vishnu,” added Kumar. Living up to its core ambitions, the Endowment departments has also worked out three religious circuits. “We have named one of these special circuits as Hampi to Tirupathi during the Vijaynagar Dynasty, which features the Sri Bugga Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple, Sri Chintala Venkata Ramana Swamy Temple, and Sri Yaganti Umamaheswara Swamy Temple among others,” informed Kumar.
“The second circuit is called Visakhapatnam to Puri, Kalingandhra Corridor that features Sri Varaha Lakshminarshimha Swamy Temple, Sri Venugopal Swamy Temple and Sri Madhukeswara Swamy Temple among others. The third circuit named Trilinga Yatra covers Srisailam, Srikalahasti and Draksharaman,” he adds.
Like the endowment department, the tourism department is also pro at promoting the state to high end tourists. In 2017, it has already wrapped up a road show in Madrid in January 2017 highlighting Andhra Pradesh also as a vibrant conglomeration of people, culture and festivals.