The further south you travel from the fertile lands watered by the great Krishna and Godavari rivers, the less hospitable the terrain becomes, especially in the rocky southwest of the state. For Hindus, the main attraction in southern Andhra Pradesh is the Venkateshvara temple, outside Tirupati, India’s most popular Vishnu shrine, where several thousand pilgrims come each day to receive darshan. Puttaparthy, home of spiritual leader Sai Baba, is the only other place in the region to attract significant numbers of visitors. Both Tirupati and Puttaparthy are closer to Chennai in Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru in Karnataka than to other points in Andhra Pradesh.Read More
- Tirupati and Tirumala Hill
Deep in the southwest of the state, amid the arid rocky hills bordering Karnataka, a thriving community has grown up around the once insignificant village of PUTTAPARTHY, birthplace of spiritual leader Sai Baba. Centring on Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Peace), the ashram where Sai Baba resides from July to March, the town has schools, a university, hospital and sports centre which offer up-to-date and free services to all. The ashram itself is a huge complex, with canteens, shops, a museum and library, and a vast assembly hall where Sai Baba gives darshan twice daily. Queues start more than an hour beforehand, and a lottery decides who gets to sit near the front. The museum contains detailed displays on the world’s major faiths.