It is not surprising that Andhrites are highly religious and are avid temple-goers. But what is surprising is that they visit only those temples which are high on mind-recall. Temples like Tirupati, Shirdi, Sabarimala etc. They are also fascinated by Tamil nadu temples like Kanchi, Madhura Meenakshi, Chidambaram etc.
There are many temples in Andhra which have a long history, or located so beautifully or have some exquisite featurres like wonderful gopurams etc. But since they are not very popular, they are mostly visited by people of the nearby towns only. You will agree that many people in Andhra would not have heard about Vontimitta (Kadapa district) and Ramateertham (Vijayanagaram district) till bifurcation took Bhadrachalam away from Andhrites.
Here is small random list. (None of the temples which are fairly well known across the state are included here. Only those, which are not frequented by non-same district devotees are mentioned here). This is neither complete nor indicative of any one particular factor of importance. The idea is only to bring the readers attention to the fact that we have many temples in Andhra Pradesh which deserve non-district visitors.
Andhra Maha Vishnu Temple – Srikakulam – Krishna District
It is perhaps one of the most ancient temple sites in the country. Available evidence seems to suggest that Andhra Viṣhṇu ruled before the time of the Satavahanas. The main sanctum of the temple survived at least since the time of the Satavahana emperors, perhaps from 2nd or even 3rd century BC. Krishnadevaraya is said to have written his Amukta Malyada after visiting this temple. The following poem by Krishna Devaraya was dedicated to Andhra Vishnu.
తెలుఁగ దేల నన్న దేశంబు దెలుఁగేను
తెలుఁగు వల్లభుండఁ దెలుఁ గొకండ
యెల్ల నృపులగొలువ నెరుఁగ వే బాసాడి
దేశభాషలందుఁ తెలుఁగు లెస్స
—శ్రీ ఆంధ్ర విష్ణు
Jonnawada – Mallikarjuna Swamy and Kamakshi – Nellore district
It is famous for Sri Mallikarjuna swamy and Kamakshi temple constructed in the year 1150. The goddess Kamakshi is believed as an incarnation of Shakti. A ‘Sri Chakram’ was installed here by Sri Jagadguru Adhi Sankaracharya. It is located on the banks of river Pennar and is 12 km from Nellore.
Devuni Gadapa – Venkateshwara temple – Kadapa Town
Name of the town Kadapa is derived from the word Gadapa. And Gadapa here comes from the temple “Devuni Gadapa” which is now well within the Kadapa town. “Devuni Gadapa” means “Entrance for The Lord Venkateswara Swamy”. The Idol of the Lord Venkateswara has been established by Kripacharya, hence the ancient name of Devuni kadapa is also mentioned in puranas as “Kripavathi Kshetram”.
Sri Lakshmi Venkateshwara Temple stands as an example of Vijayanagara architecture. It is said that Tallapaka Annamacharya visited this place and all the Sankaracharyas of the Advaita Mutt and the great poet Kshetrayya also visited this place.
Sri Mukhalingam – Srikakulam district
Sri Mukhalingam is one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage centers in Andhra Pradesh. It was also capital of Eastern Ganga kings of Kalinga (ancient Orissa). The temple was built by Kamarnava II in 8th century AD of the Eastern Ganga dynasty. It is beautiful place located on the banks of River Vamsadhara.
And a temple for its sheer scenic beauty and serenity
Vedadri – Krishna District
Right on the banks of Krishna, where the borders of Krishna, Guntur and Nalgonda districts converge, this is the shrine of Laxmi Narasimha Swamy . Other than the presiding diety, Sri Laxmi Narasimhaswamy, Sri Yogananda Narasimhaswamy also is presided over there on the top of the hill. People used to believe that there is an underground way from this temple to Kanaka Durga temple, Vijayawada and Srisailam temple.