The Anantagiri Reserved Forest and Sunkarimetta Reserved Forest are part of the Araku Valley. This valley is surrounded by mountains like Galikonda, Raktakonda, Sunkarimetta and Chitamogondi. Jindhagada Peak, the tallest peak in Eastern Ghats and the tallest inAndhra Pradeshis situated near Araku. The Anantagiri hills on the way to Araku Valley are famous for coffee plantations. The hill is also popular for its forests, lovely orchards and the serene environment. The valley is also a perfect place for trekking and it offers several interesting trails. Most known and popular trekking trails go through dense forests to the summit but a few adventurous trails go through many streams and are ideal to view breathtaking waterfalls like the Katiki waterfall.
Tirupati is one of the most ancient and sacred pilgrimage sites in India. Tirumala, the home of Lord Venkateswara is at a distance of 22 km from Tirupati. However, Tirupati is the town and transport hub to Tirumala at the bottom of the hill. The initial temple at Tirumala was built by the Tamil king Thondaimaan. The Pallavas of Kanchipuram (9th century), Cholas of Tanjore (10th century), Pandyas of Mathura and Vijayanagara Kings (14th & 15th centuries) regularly visited the temple and contributed largely to the temple. Especially, Sri Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara Empire contributed a lot to the temple. Now the temple is under the maintenance of TTD.Spread over an area of 450 sq. km, Tirupati offers a magnificent religious and natural delight to devotees as well as tourists. Apart from Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, Varahaswami temple, Tiruchanur temple of Goddess Padmavati, Govindaraja temple, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Avanakshamma temple, ISKCON Lord Krishna Temple etc. are the important temples in Tirupati. Kapila Theertham, Parasurameswara Temple in Gudimallam, Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Chandragiri Fort,Kanipakam,Srikalahastiand Talakona Falls are the famous Tirupati tourist places.
Lepakshiwas founded in the 16th century during the reign of the Vijayanagara king, Aliiya Rama Raya. Virupanna, the royal treasurer was accused of drawing funds without the king's permission from the state treasury to build the Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi. However, he blinded himself to avoid the king's punishment. Even today one can see two dark stains upon the wall near the Kalyana Mandapa, which are said to be the marks made by his eyes. Hence the village is called 'Lepa-akshi', means a village of the blinded eye.Lepakshi is the centre of some of the finest temple architecture and paintings. Lepakshi consists of three important shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra, of which Veerabhadra temple is the most important place to visit in Lepakshi (this is also referred as Lepakshi Temple). The temples of Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Srirama, Veerabhadra and Durga are located in the same complex on a hillock named as Kurma Saila (tortoise shaped hill).The Vijayanagar styled temple has several wonderful paintings on the ceiling. The hanging pillar supported from the top is a surprise for the visitors. To the south of the main shrine is a huge Nagalingam, standing on a granite block, shrouded by a seven-headed cobra, magnificently carved out of single rock. The monolithic Nandi in Lepakshi village is another remarkable feature.The handicrafts of Lepakshi are also quite popular among women all over the country.
The original name for this hill range was 'Papidi Kondalu'. Papidi is a rough translation for partition in Telugu. It is believed that the place was visited by Lord Rama and goddess Sita during their exile.Papi Kondaluhas to be reached by boat from Rajahmundry, Pattisam (35 km from Rajahmundry), Polavaram (40 km from Rajahmundry), Kunavaram (50 km fromBhadrachalam) or Sriram Giri (60 km from Bhadrachalam). The boat service fromRajahmundryto Bhadrachalam is a wonderful experience and it is operated in post monsoon season.Apart from enjoying the view of the hills, valley and waterfalls, tourists can engage in activities like camping and trekking. There are several sights that fall on the way like Perantallapalli, Gandipochamma Temple and Pattiseema. Several tribal communities have made their dwellings on these hills whose main occupation is agriculture, fishing and making handicrafts. There is a waterfall at Munivaatam that is a popular tourist attraction.
Gandikota is a small village spread in and around the historical Gandikota Fort. According to history, Gandikota area was first identified and made Sand fort in 1123 CE by Kapa Raja of nearby Bommanapalle village and a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. The village transformed into major fort after the emergence of the Kamma kings, who ruled Gandikota more than 200 years. The fort fell into hands of Qutub Shahis of Golconda in 1650 CE. The medieval fort of Gandikota is named after the adjoining gorge which means gandi in Telugu. It is also believed that Vemana, the Telugu poet lived in Gandikota area for a short period.Known to few ardent travelers, Gandikota is not the usual tourist hub as it is neither a world heritage site, nor is it marketed well by state tourism agencies. This untouched and unexplored place is worth a visit for history buffs as well as nature lovers. A frozen in time village in the middle of centuries old structures such as forts and temples is known for its spectacular gorge formed by river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills, also known as Gandikota hills. This stunning piece of Nature's architecture has come to be known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India by travelers who visit and get bewitched by its beauty.