The world is an open book. No matter how much ever you see, it is still not sufficient. A single lifetime is not enough to see the world. Even Andhra Pradesh, my mother land. It has many tourist and important pilgrimage places. Unfortunately, we lag in promoting those places. Many of us don't even know that there are sufficient number of tourist places. Unless somebody tells us or we read about them we don't even know that they exist.
My curiosity arose when I first visited places like Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupathi, Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Salarjung Museum, Light and Sound program in Golconda, Falaknuma Palace, Chowmallah Palace, Ramoji Film City, Budha Statue, Taramati Baradari, Golconda Fort, Snow World, Living and Dead in Snow World Compound, Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Prasad I Max, Uppal Stadium, Alankrita, Pragati Resorts, Dholaridhan Dhaba, Birla Mandir, Sanghi Temple, Jalvihar, Dakshin restaurant in Hotel Kakatiya Sheraton, Serangiti Restaurant, Gufa Restaurant, Metro Restaurant, Hotel Paradise Biryani Restaurant, a Spa in Ella Compass Hotel, Durgam Cheruvu, Satyan Sivam Sundaram Gaushala in Hyderabad, Rishi Konda, Araku Valley, Borra Caves, Tida, Horsely Hills, Submarine Museum, Ropeway in Vishakapatnam, Thousand Pillars Temple in Warangal, Jain Temple in Aleru/Warangal District, Medak Church, Buddha Centre near Nagarjunasagar, Nagarjunasagar bridge, Annaravaram Temple, Prakasham barrage in Rajahmundry, Saraswati Temple in Basar to name a few. They left a long lasting impression on me. I felt like going back to those places again and again. I am sure the state has many such places to see, visit and cherish forever.
These 'Must to see 100 places in Andhra Pradesh' are solely of my personal choice. Many may not agree with my list or differ from this list and can have their choice of places. Starting this month, I will write about these places, why I was impressed with them and why they found a place in my 100 list. These places will be described randomly without any particualar order as suitable and convenient to me. You as a reader may also suggest or propose any of your choicest places, if found interesting and I may consider writing about them. Thus they may also figure in this list. Though initially I start with 100 places, the list may grow in future. I visited these 100 places personally not just alone but many times. I also keep talking about these places whenever I get an opportunity.
The inspiration for this project came from Patricia Schultz's book "1000 Places To See Before You Die" that I had picked up at a Book Stall in the Goa Airport in the year 2005. Since then I longed to do a similar effort, but in a smaller scale restricting my self to my state of Andhra Pradesh. I shared my idea with many of my friends and well wishers. They liked it. They started sharing information about some places which they liked most. The list is not just about tourist importance places, pilgrimages, but also hotels, restaurants, eat outs, entertainment places, festivals, melas, jataras, picnic places, knowledge centres, pubs, shopping malls and other places of interest. Some unique places like Hyderabad International Convention Centre, a Spa and foot massage centre in Hotel Ella Compass etc. also are being featured. I have no particular interest in any particular place. The places are selected purely out of great impact they made on me as a tourist. I have no other connection or liking towards any particular place.
Hope you will enjoy reading my choice of '100 palces to see or visit in the state of Andhra Pradesh before you die'. These, according to me are the 100 best places A.P has to offer you. While some of these places are wides featured by many writers, others are totally unkown and unwritten before. So let us get set go.
Let me start this project with lessor known places so that you have more inquisitiveness to know more about them. This is none other than Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gaunivas located at Gaganpahad on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gau Nivas
Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gau Nivas is on a mission to protect India's most revered animal 'Cow'. Cows rescued from slaughter houses in Hyderabad not only get a fresh lease of life, but also a royal treatment at the city's Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gau Nivaas which is claimed to be South India's biggest and best maintained Gow Shala. It is now celebrating its 6th anniversary.
One man, Dharam Raj Ranka, has been taking up this cause to make a difference to mute animals which are rescued / have escaped from the jaws of their death. Thanks to his efforts today more than 3100 such animals take shelter under his supervision and the number is increasing by the day.
Gau Shala set up by him claims to be the biggest in South India and well maintained in the country. Satyam Shivam Sundaram Gow Nivaas is the most hygienic Gow Shala one can ever see in the country. It was inaugurated several years back by the the then Governor of A.P Sushil Kumar Shinde. 3100 cattle rescued from slaughter houses are housed here. It requires Rs 30 lakh a month, 120 workers, 10 tonnes a day kutti and 38 tonnes of greens grass a day to maintain and feed those most reverred animals.
In India 'cow' is considered a sacred animal. It is worshipped and revered. Reverence for the cow is an important feature of India's biggest religion Hinduism. For Hindus, the killing of cow is a serious crime. The 'Arthashashtra' refers to the killing of cattle as a crime worthy of death. This explains why during the Second World War, American servicemen in Calcutta were instructed that if a traffic situation arose in which the driver had a choice of striking a cow or a human, hit the human and proceed without stopping to a police station. Such is the reverence of the Cow in this nation. But, off late they have been slaughtered and its beef is exported.
How do you expect a cowshed with few animals to be? What if there are thousands of animals housed? You expect it to be full of Cow Dung everywhere and smelling rotten. But, Ranka keeps the entire place clean and tidy. It is kept clean continuously all through the day by about 120 workers. They clear the cow dung in a pushcart. The three lorries load of cow dung collected every day is sent to poor formers' fields as a bio-pesticide free of cost. After removing cow dung, the place is washed with phenyl, spread with haldi powder and chunna to prevent insect bites to the animals. Occasionally the place is covered with a fresh soft soil to accommodate smooth walking for the cows' hoofs.
They are fed three times a day 8am in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and 6 in the evening. Their feed comprises of green grass cut into small pieces mixed with Kutti and other ingredients. Five feeding sheds are arranged for their feeding. A green grass cutting machine is put in place. Besides these feeding sheds, 128 huge tubs and 35 plus big bowls are put to use for the convenience of smaller animals who do not compete with big animals and eat in feeding sheds. The responsibility of procuring 10 tonnes of Kutti and 38 tonnes of greens grass a day is handed over to a contractor. Their monthly fodder bill runs into several lakhs (approximately Rs 30 lakh) which is being contributed by philatrophists. The discipline (standing in a row) with which these animals eat their food is worth seeing (a photo is enclosed for your perusal). Besides the fodder being provided in house, Gau Nivas is inundated with fruits and fresh vegetables from individuals who come along with trucks loads of them to feed cows as part of Gau Puja.
To take care of these 3100 plus animals' health are two veterinary doctors and a hospital housed at Shamsherganj. No Cow is milked, nor done any business with their milk. The total milk is left to the babies of the cow, thus maintaining zero infant mortality rates, informs Dharam Raj Ranka, Secretary of Shiv Mandir Goshala.
Ranka who has dedicated his life for the welfare of these animals invested his own money to a great extent. And always enjoys support of his family members. His two sons, three daughters and wife were always there when it deserved their time, help and cooperation.
Address: Shiv Mandir Goshala at Peddammagadda, Gaganpahad, R.R. Dist Tel: 65608773 Mobile: 98663 11298 / 99853 85399 / 939130 19501 (Mr. Praveen).