Andhra Pradesh abbreviation A.P. is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the country's southeastern coast. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh is bordered by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west.
Andhra Pradesh is the home of many religious pilgrim centres. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati is according to believers the abode of Hindu god Venkateswara. Srisailam, nestled in the Nallamala Hills is the abode of Mallikarjuna and is one of twelve Jyothirlingas in India. Amaravati's Shiva temple is one of the Pancharamams, as is Yadagirigutta, the abode of an avatara of Vishnu, Lakshmi Narasimha.
The Ramappa Temple and Thousand Pillars Temple in Warangal are famous for their temple carvings. The state has numerous Buddhist centres at Amaravati, Nagarjuna Konda, Bhattiprolu, Ghantasala, Nelakondapalli, Dhulikatta, Bavikonda, Thotlakonda, Shalihundam, Pavurallakonda, Bojjannakonda (Sankaram), Phanigiri and Kolanpaka. The Vijayanagara Empire built number of monuments, including the Srisailam Temple and Lepakshi temples.
The Belum Caves in Kurnool District have a length of 3,229 metres (10,594 ft), making them the second largest natural caves on the Indian subcontinent. The Belum Caves derive their name from Bilum, the Sanskrit word for caves. In Telugu, the caves are known as Guhalu. The caves have long passages, spacious chambers, freshwater galleries, and siphons. The caves' deepest point is 120 feet (37 m) from the entrance and is known asPatalganaga.
Andhra Pradesh has many museums, the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, which features a varied collection of sculptures, paintings, and religious artifacts, including the Archaeological Museum at Amaravati near Guntur City that features relics of nearby ancient sites, and the Visakha Museum, in Visakhapatnam, which displays the history of the pre-Independence and thotla konda which depicts the age old budhist stupa's and cultural style, Madras Presidency in a rehabilitated Dutch bungalow. Victoria Jubilee Museum in Vijayawada has a good collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery and inscriptions. Other ancient sites include dozens of ancient Buddhist stupas in Nagarjunakonda which is now an island in Nagarjuna Sagar, an artificial lake that formed after the construction of Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. The Island has a large museum that houses many Buddhist relics.
Classical dance in Andhra can be performed by both men and women; women tend to learn it more often. Kuchipudi is the state's best-known classical dance form. The various dance forms that existed through the state's history are Bonalu, Dappu, Chenchu Bhagotham, Kuchipudi, Bhamakalapam, Burrakatha, Veeranatyam, Butta bommalu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi, Dhimsa, Kolattam, and Chindu. Jaanapadam theenmar is a popular folk dance.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in the town of Tirumala in Chittoor district is a very important pilgrimage site for Hindus throughout India. It is the second richest pilgrimage city of any religious faith in the World after Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the Indian state of Kerala. Its main temple is dedicated to the god Venkateswara. In 1517, Vijayanagara ruler Sri Krishna Deva Raya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels, enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. Statues of Sri Krishna Deva Raya and his spouse stand in the premises of the temple.
The five ancient Hindu temples of Lord Shiva, known as Pancharama Kshetras, are located at - Amararama, Draksharama, Somarama, Ksheerarama and Kumararama. The Sivalingas at these temples are made from a single Sivalinga.