Andhra Pradesh represents a synthesis of religious customs and traditions. It has the temple of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala – one of the most venerated Hindu temples in India, ancient mosques, a towering 61-metre high Cathedral in Medak and the remains of Buddhist structures at Nagarjunakonda going back to the 2nd century BC. It also has a rich heritage in arts and crafts including its own classical dance form, the energetic Kuchipudi, and traditional art form Kalamkari painting that uses a pen and brush technique to paint the narratives of religious legends.
Telugu, the language of the state is often called the ‘Italian of the East’ because of its melodious pebbly sound. Andhra Pradesh women are known for their long, black hair and big, expressive eyes.
There is a mixture in Andhra Pradesh – from Hyderabadi food that is a mix of South Indian and Mughlai foods, to the people who are a mix of Brahmin and Reddys, to many film stars who mix into politics because of their ready-made mass appeal!
Shopping in Andhra Pradesh
The by lanes around the city’s landmark, Charminar, as well as Laad Bazaar and Pearl Bazaar, are literally a treasure trove where you can shop for beautiful clothes and the finest jewellery – precious stones set in gold and silver, pearls, glass embedded bangles, antique ‘kundan’ and enamel ornaments, temple sarees and Pochampalli silks.
The city is also a centre for traditional handicrafts from around the Andhra Pradesh. These include bidriware (black gun metal inlaid with fine silver wire in delicate patterns), filigree work (jewellery made of twisted silver wire having a delicate trellis-like appearance), bags and belts embroidered by the Lambadi gypsies with sparkling mirrors and beads, and Nirmal lacquerware.
Abid’s, Nampally, Basheerbagh and Sultan Bazaar are the other important shopping areas in the city.
Andhra Pradesh Food
Andhra Pradesh food is characterised by the liberal use of red chilly powder earning for the people the sobriquet of ‘the Fire eaters of the South’. Rice is the staple grain eaten with ‘sambhar’ (a lentil and vegetable curry) and vegetables, or with curried sea foods, popular in the coastal districts.
The famous holiday beaches are Ramakrishna Beach and Lawson’s Bay Beach at Vizag, Rishikonda (8 kms north of Vizag where facilities for water skiing and windsurfing are available), Bhimunipatnam (24 km north of Vizag) and Manginapudi (near Machilipatnam, 350 km SE of Hyderabad).