THE ESSENCE OF INCREDIBLE INDIA
ourism is considered an engine of development and a catalyst for economic prosperity in a state. Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, talks to Puja Banerjee about the forward leap taken by Andhra Pradesh Tourism.
With beautiful locations and sites for tourists, what are the tourist areas with potential for further development?
There are many. If there is one state in India that is renowned for its diversity of wildlife it is Andhra Pradesh. The state is strategically located in the central region of India and is a true representative of the magnificent flora and fauna of the country. With varied topography, right from the hills of Nallamala and the Eastern Ghats to the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh supports diverse ecosystems, which, in turn, support a rich variety of wildlife. The vegetation in the state is mostly dry deciduous, with a blend of Pterocarpus, Teak, Anogeissus, Terminalias and Dalbergias. This vibrant state has temples, historical monuments, music, dance, religious practices, fine cuisine, art and painting. Andhra Pradesh is recognized for its, rich literature, legendary dynasties, classical music and dance and its natural beauty. The Godavari River, besides being a holy river for the Hindus, is also the home of saltwater crocodiles, fishing cats and many other animals. The Kolleru Bird Sanctuary with its lush vegetation is a riot of colours because of the migrating birds from far-off Siberia and Australia. Andhra Pradesh is blessed with cascading waterfalls, misty hills, verdant forests, shimmering rivers, undulating mountains and azure coastline.
Are there interesting tourist attractions on the rural front?
Pristine, peaceful, colourful, vibrant and lush are some adjectives for rural Andhra Pradesh. The simple lifestyle and traditional practices of the people in rural areas can be an enlightening experience. People are warm-hearted and honest. There are many opportunities to enjoy bird watching, fishing, bullock cart rides, boating, trekking and experiencing first-hand how the artisans weave baskets and create pottery and other handicrafts. The ancient forts and temples, the placid lakes and shimmering rivers and seas, are other delights that rural Andhra Pradesh has to offer, in areas like Guntur, Kadapa, West Godavari and Nellore. The ancient Sangameswara Temple in Kurnool, located close to Muchumarri, at the confluence of the Bhavanasi and Krishna rivers, is on the foreshore of the Srisailam Reservoir. Boating is available in our lakes & rivers.
Tell us about the Andhra artefacts?
Andhra Pradesh’s craftsmen are cultural artists designing artefacts with total focus on enriching the national heritage. Traditional symbols in artefacts have religious overtones, including Hindu, Muslim and other religious meanings. Artefacts reflect our true cultural ethos and striking peacock blue colors symbolise our heritage. Children love possessing Kondapalli toys and adults also treasure them. Buddithi Brassware is simply elegant and look fantastic on one’s mantelpiece. Kajeeravaram sarees, Dharamvaram sarees, Gadwal sarees, Uppada sarees and Mangalgiri cotton sarees enhance women’s exotic beauty. Lamabadi women add glamour as the tribal women are adorned with silver jewellery and wear ghagras and cholis. One can aesthetically decorate one’s home with an ikat carpet, decorative hand crocheted lace, Kalamkari paintings and designs, Butta Bommalu, or attractive basket puppets made of bamboo strips and decorated with attractive multi-colored attire, Buddithi Brassware or exquisite Bronze religious statues, Durgi Stonecraft, Lacquerware and intricate silverware.
What are the other attractions?
Dance in the land of Andhra Desa is highly creative, including Kuchipudi, Butta Bommalu, a folk dance, Vilasini Natyam, dance of the devasis, Burrakatha, our oldest dance form, lively Dappu dance, as well as the Dhimsa and Kollattam dance, are all part of the gaiety and festivals of Andhra Desa. The ragas and the musical presentation of Tgayaraja Bhajans, highly scintillating ragas of Shyama Shastri, Venkatadri Swami, religious kirtanans, lyricists and instrumental composers have all added to our musical repertoire. Krishnamacharyulu is a popular musicologist, versatile in composing kritis. The renderings of Balamurlaikrishna have definitely made classical music very popular, not to forget Chitti Babu. Carnatic music concerts are a regular pastime, where music lovers spend hours. Religious music is a major attraction during Ganesh Chaturthi, Annamacharya Dusshera, & Ramanavami. Cities such as Puttaparthi, Machilipatnam, Tirupati, Vishakapatnam, Viziyanagaram, have striking architecture, be it ancient Hindu, European, Islamic or modern. Several dynasties made spectacular contributions to art, architecture, music, etc. such as the Mauryas and the legendary city of Amravati, ruled by the Satyavahanas.
Neerabh Kumar Prasad