Andhra Pradesh is a state bordering India’s southeastern coast. Major cultural landmarks include Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, an ornate hilltop shrine to Hindu’s Vishnu, in the southern part of the state. It’s visited by tens of millions of pilgrims annually. The major northern port of Visakhapatnam has popular beaches like Ramakrishna and Rishikonda lining the Bay of Bengal, offering spots for swimming and surfing.
In the central town of Vijayawada, the gold-leafed Kanaka Durga Temple is dedicated to its namesake Hindu goddess. Across the Krishna River are the Undavalli Caves, monastery cells carved in a limestone cliff. Buddhist and Hindu artifacts can be seen, including a large Vishnu sculpture. Inland is the scenic Araku Valley, with coffee plantations and waterfalls, and the Borra Caves, featuring notable stalactite and stalagmite formations. Wildlife sanctuaries throughout the state harbor tigers, panthers and a wide range of birds. Tropical forests, rivers, hills and caves make it a popular ecotourism destination.
When to Visit: Tirumala is popular with pilgrims during the mild, dry winter (Dec–Jan). Beach season in Visakhapatnam and along the coast is Dec–May, when the weather’s dry and increasingly warm. Inland, the Araku Valley and Vijayawada are also popular Dec–May. Temperatures become very hot statewide Mar–May. Monsoon season is Jul–Nov.