Nellore was part of the Mauryan Empire, ruled by Ashoka during the third century BC. Since then it came under several rulers such as the Pallavas, Cholas and Satayahanas. Consequently, the varied artistic influences on Nellore is apparent in the structure and architecture of its temples.The city of Nellore is the administrative stronghold of Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Nellore District (previously Nellore District) and the sixth most populated city in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Nellore is located on the banks of the Penneru River, 453 kms from Hyderabad, 168 kms from Chennai and 386 kms from Bangalore. It is renowned for producing handmade gold jewellery, mica and lime. Nellore is also a leading producer of agricultural and aquaculture products, predominantly rice. Known as VikramaSimhapuri till the 13th century AD, the word Nellore derives from a combination of the two Tamil words ‘nelli’ and ‘ooru,’ meaning ‘paddy’ and ‘village,’ respectively. After India gained her independence, the Telugu patriot PottiSriramulu set up the state of Andhra Pradesh from his base in Nellore, giving his name to the district. Today, Nellore boasts of some of the state’s best infrastructure with rapid growth and modernization.
Nellore holds close proximity to time-honored temples like the NarasimhaSwamy Temple and the Someswara Temple. The temple of Sri MulasthaneswaraSwamy, built 1400 years ago at the site where the Lord appeared under a Nelli tree is located to the west of Nellore. The 600-year-old TalpagiriRanganathaswamy Temple is a main attraction for tourists to Nellore sporting a 70 footgaaligopuram, or ‘wind tower,’ that holds 10 feet of gold-plated vessels. During the months of March and April, Nellore plays host to a grand 11-day-long festival held at the Ranganathaswamy Temple called Brahmotsavam, celebrating the life of Lord Rama. Other major temples in and around Nellore include thePenchala Kola, Ayyapa Temple, Jonnavada, KamahshiAmavari, Rajarajesjwari and the GolgamundiVenkayaSwamy Temples.
Nature lovers can find many places to take reggae in and around Nellore such as Pulicat Lake and the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, which hosts many rare and exotic bird species. A 165 km coastline adorns Nellore with serene beaches such as Krishnapatnam, Ramayapatnam, Kodur and Mypadu, among many others. The Prabhagiripatnam ruins, 45 kms from Nellore, contain the ruins of a temple housing Lord Shiva and PerumallaSwamy, belonging to 1512 AD. The island of Sriharikota is also found between Pulicat Lake and the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Space Research Organization’s rocket launch site that launched India’s mission to Mars.
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