Amaravati – The ancient town of Amaravati, in Andhra’s Guntur district, is famous for a multitude of reasons: it was the prosperous capital of the Sat-avahanas and was then occupied by a succession of dynasties before being passed into the hands of the Kakati-yas. This was also where Gautama Buddha is said to have preached and conducted the ‘Kalachakra’ ceremony, according to the Kalachakra Tantra. The sacred town also houses a temple dedicated to Shiva as Lord Amareswara… in short, it is a fabled city steeped in spiritual and sovereign power—which is why it lends its name to the new, upcoming capital of the newly sundered Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is 32 km from Guntur.
ARAKU VALLEY – Located about 900-1,400m above sea level, Araku Valley is one of those ‘salubrious’ places they always talk about. The valley is home to a number of indigenous tribes that were some of the earliest inhabitants of the peninsula, and the contiguous tracts of these forests still ring with their ways and traditions. Quite naturally, the British, who had a nose for these hidden gems, introduced coffee to these hills in the 1920s. A fine way to see Araku is to take the train to Ki-randul: 58 tunnels, 84 bridges, waterfalls, streams, thick forests and the incomparable Anantagiri Hills. Araku is 112km/4 hours from Visakhapatnam by road. The Visakhapatnam-Kirandul Passenger runs daily.
GODAVARI – The second longest river in India, Godavari meanders through the heart of the country. Although she presents many different facets on her journey through Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, the prettiest stretch is in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh, where the river twists and turns sinuously between the Papi Hills. The 100-kilometre cruise from Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry gives you a rare glimpse into the lush verdure of the extremely fertile coastal region: from paddy fields to coconut plantations, mango trees and cashew groves. Past Rajahmundry, the Godavari river bifurcates into the Gautami and Vasistha rivers. Rajahmundry is well connected to well-known cities like Hyderabad and Vijayawada.