Andhra Pradesh

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Andhra Pradesh
Map of India with Andhra Pradesh highlighted.
17.22° N 78.26° E
Largest city Hyderabad
Population (2001)
75,727,000 ( 5th)
• 275/km²
275,068 km² ( 4th)
• 23
Time zone IST ( UTC +5:30)
Chief Minister
Legislature (seats)
October 1, 1953
Rameshwar Thakur ( list)
Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ( list)
Unicameral (295)
Official language(s) Telugu, Urdu
Abbreviation (ISO) IN-AP

Seal of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh ( Telugu: ఆంధ్ర ప్రదేశ్; Āndhra Prādesh), is a state in south-eastern India and is part of the linguistic-cultural region of South India. It lies between 12°41' and 22°N latitude and 77° and 84°40'E longitude, and is bounded by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west. Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest state in India and it forms the major link between the north and the south of India. It is the biggest and most populous state in the south of India. It is considered the rice bowl of India. The state is crisscrossed by two major rivers, the Godavari and Krishna. ("Pradesh" means "region" or "state".)


Andhra society is one of the ancient societies of India. One can encounter several tales about Andhras in epics like Mahabharatam and Ramayanam, in great puranas, and Buddhist Jataka Tales. This confirms the ancient nature of Andhra society. The name Andhra is ancient and remained unchanged throughout history. Sanskrit writings from the 7th century BCE describe the Andhra people as Aryans from the north who migrated south of the Vindhya Range and mixed with Dravidians.


Charminar or Four Minarets in Hyderabad. Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam kingdom and later the Nizam dominion.
Charminar or Four Minarets in Hyderabad. Hyderabad was the capital of the Nizam kingdom and later the Nizam dominion.

It is only in the Mauryan age that there is historical evidence of the existence of Andhras as a political power in the southeastern Deccan. Megasthenese, who visited the Court of Chandragupta Maurya (322-297 BCE), mentioned that Andhra country had 30 fortified towns and an army of a million infantry, 2000 cavalry and 1000 elephants. Buddhist books reveal that Andhras established their kingdoms on the Godavari belt at that time. Asoka referred in his 13th rock edict (232 BCE) that Andhra region is under his rule.

After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the history of the Andhras, as a continuous account of political and cultural events, commences with the rise of the Satavahanas as a political power. According to Matsya Purana there were 29 rulers of this dynasty. They ruled over the Andhradesa including Deccan for about 400 years from the 2nd century BCE to beyond the 2nd century CE.

The decline and fall of the Satavahana empire left the Andhra country in a political chaos. Local rulers as well as invaders tried to carve out small kingdoms for themselves and to establish dynasties. During the period from 180 to 624 CE, Ikshvakus, Brihatphalayanas, Salankayanas, Vishnukundins, Vakatakas, Pallavas, Anandagotras, Kalingas and others ruled over the Andhra area with their small kingdoms. Perhaps most important among these small dynasties were the Ikshvakus. Nagarjunakonda was their capital and they patronised Buddhism, though they followed the vedic ritualism.

The period of Andhra history, between 624 and 1323, spanning over seven centuries, is significant for the sea-change it brought in all spheres of the human activity; social, religious, linguistic and literary. During this period, Desi, the indigenous Telugu language, emerged as a literary medium overthrowing the domination of Prakrit and Sanskrit. As a result, Andhradesa achieved an identity and a distinction of its own. This change was brought by strong historical forces, namely, the Eastern and Western Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas and the early Cholas.

The Eastern Chalukyas was a branch of the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakesin II, the renowned ruler of Chalukyas conquered Vengi (near Eluru) in 624 CE and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624-641 CE) as its ruler. His dynasty, known as the Eastern Chalukyas, ruled for nearly four centuries. Vishnuvardhana extended his dominions up to Srikakulam in the north and Nellore in the south.

The Eastern Chalukyas occupied a prominent place in the history of Andhra Pradesh. Since the time of Gunaga Vijayaditya, inscriptions show Telugu stanzas, culminating in the production of literary works. Later on, in the 11th century, the great epic Mahabharata was translated partly by the court poet Nannaya under the patronage of the then-Eastern Chalukya king Rajaraja

The 12th century was a period of chaos. The Western Chalukyas of Kalyani, who were at first successful in overthrowing the Eastern Chalukyas, were driven out after 17 years by the Imperial Cholas with the help of local chiefs. But the latter did not rule directly and thought it prudent to leave the kingdom to the feudatories themselves in lieu of nominal allegiance. The Velanati Cholas of Tsandavolu ( Guntur district) were the foremost among the feudatories. Between 1135 and 1206, several minor dynasties ruled over parts of Andhra Pradesh recognising the authority of the Velanati Cholas nominally.

The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiyas. They were at first the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyana, ruling over a small territory near Warangal. A ruler of this dynasty, Prola II, who ruled from 1110 to 1158, extended his sway to the south and declared his independence. His successor Rudra (1158-1195) pushed the kingdom to the north up to the Godavari delta. He built a fort at Warangal to serve as a second capital and faced the invasions of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The next ruler Mahadeva extended the kingdom to the coastal area. In 1199, Ganapati succeeded him. He was the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after the Satavahanas to bring the entire Telugu area under one rule. He put an end to the rule of the Velanati Cholas in 1210.

The Kakatiya period was rightly called the brightest period of the Telugu history. The entire Telugu speaking area was under the kings who spoke Telugu and encouraged Telugu. They established order throughout the strife torn land and the forts built by them played a dominant role in the defence of the realm. Kakatiya art preserved the balance between architecture and sculpture, that is, while valuing sculpture, it laid emphasis on architecture where due. The Kakatiya temples, dedicated mostly to Siva, reveal in their construction a blending of the styles of North India and South India which influenced the political life of the Deccan.

In 1323, the Delhi Sultan Ghiaz-ud-din Tughlaq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan to conquer the Telugu country and lay siege to Warangal. The disastrous fall of the Kakatiya capital in 1323 brought the Andhras, for the first time in their history, under the yoke of an alien ruler, the Muslims. In 1347, an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani kingdom, was established in south India by Alla-ud-din Hasan Gangu in a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. By the end of the 15th century, the Bahmani rule was plagued with faction fights and there came into existence the five Shahi kingdoms. Of these, it was the Qutbshahi dynasty that played a significant and notable role in the history of Andhras.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the Andhra country for about two hundred years from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the dynasty, served the Bahmanis faithfully and was appointed governor of Telangana in 1496. He declared independence after the death of his patron king, Mahmud Shah, in 1518. Qutb Shahi rulers adopted religious tolerance and local customs to a great extent. They treated Hindus equal with Muslims as well and maintained cordial relations between the two throughout. They encouraged the local language Telugu besides the Deccani Urdu. The socio-cultural life of the people during the rule of the Qutb Shahis was marked by a spirit of broad-mindedness and catholicity based on sharing and adopting of mutual traditions and customs. The Deccani architecture, is a combination of Persian, Hindu and Pathan styles. Charminar, citadel of Hyderabad, is the most remarkable of all the Qutb Shahi monuments.

Aurangazeb, the Mughal emperor, invaded Golconda in 1687 and annexed it to the Mughal empire. He appointed a Nizam (governor) and thus for about a period of 35 years this region was ruled by Mughal Nizams. Aurangazeb died in 1707 and the administrative machinery of the Mughal imperial regime began to crumble and it gradually lost control over the provinces. It enabled two foreign mercantile companies to consolidate themselves as political powers capable of subsequently playing decisive roles in shaping the destiny of the nation. They were the East India Company of England and the Compagnie de Inde Orientale of France.

The Colonial Era

During the 17th century, the British acquired the Coastal Andhra region along the Bay of Bengal, then known as the Northern Circars, from the Nizams, which became part of the British Madras Presidency. The Nizams retained control of the interior provinces as the princely state of Hyderabad, acknowledging British rule in return for local autonomy.

The provinces were at the time governed in a feudal manner, with zamindars in areas such as Kulla and other parts of the Godavari acting as lords under the Nizam. The feudal or zamindari system was removed after independence.

The Andhra (or Telugu) were at the forefront of Indian nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Potti Sriramulu fought for independence alongside Mahatma Gandhi, and later fought for Andhra unification.


India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, but his state was forcibly integrated into India in 1948 as Hyderabad state. In 1953, the northern, Telugu-speaking portion of Madras State voted to become the new state of Andhra Pradesh, the first of India's linguistic states. The state acquired its present boundaries on November 1, 1956, when Hyderabad State was partitioned along linguistic lines and its Telangana region was added to Andhra Pradesh.

(See also Hyderabad)


  • Satavahana
  • Shakas
  • Ikshvakus
  • Eastern Chalukyas
  • Vengi
  • Kakatiyas
  • Musunuri Nayaks
  • Vijayanagar
  • Reddys[ citation needed]
  • Qutb Shahi
  • Nizam



Andhra Pradesh can be broadly divided into three regions, namely Coastal Andhra (Konaseema), Telangana and Rayalaseema.

Coastal Andhra occupies the coastal plain between Eastern Ghats ranges, which run the length of the state, and the Bay of Bengal.

Telangana lies west of the Ghats on the Deccan plateau. The Godavari and Krishna rivers rise in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and Maharashtra and flow east across Telangana to empty into the Bay of Bengal in a combined river delta.

Rayalaseema lies in the southeast of the state on the Deccan plateau, in the basin of the Penner River. It is separated from Telangana by the low Erramala hills, and from Coastal Andhra by the Eastern Ghats.

The Krishna and Godavari rivers together irrigate thousands of square kilometres of land, and create the largest perennial cultivable area in the country. Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of rice ( paddy) and is called India's Rice Bowl.

Languages in Andhra Pradesh

Telugu is the regional and official language of the state, spoken by 84.86% of the population. The major linguistic minority groups in the State include the speakers of Urdu (7.86%), Hindi (2.65%) and Tamil (1.27%). The minority language speakers who constitute less than 1% are the speakers of Kannada (0.94%), Marathi (0.84%), Oriya (0.42%), Malayalam (0.10%), Gondi (0.21%), and Koya (0.30%).

The state government has notified the areas where the population of linguistic minority constitutes 15% or more of the local population. 38% of Urdu speaking population in Andhra Pradesh is bilingual in Telugu as well.

Important Cities/Towns

  • Hyderabad is the capital of the state and, along with its twin town of Secunderabad, is the largest city.
  • Visakhapatnam is the second largest city, India's fourth largest port, an important Naval Centre and an industrial hub.
  • Tirupati features the famous Venkateswara temple, is a major pilgrimage center.
  • Vijayawada is the third largest city and an important trading center and a prominent railway junction.
  • Guntur is the fourth largest city of A.P, it is the heart of the tobacco, cotton industry, features the famous Amaravati.
  • Warangal was the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty.
  • Nellore is famous for its sea food and rice quality. Also famous for mica industry and space research centre.
  • Kurnool was the capital city of the Andhra state.
  • Kakinada is the hub of natural gas exploration and industrial activity.
  • Rajahmundry is known for the Godavari barrage which is the largest bridge in the state.
  • Ramagundam is an industrial town in the upper Godavari valley


Districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Districts of Andhra Pradesh.

23 districts of Andhra Pradesh

  • Adilabad
  • Anantapur
  • Chittoor
  • Cuddapah
  • East Godavari
  • Guntur
  • Hyderabad
  • Karimnagar
  • Khammam
  • Krishna
  • Kurnool
  • Mahbubnagar
  • Medak
  • Nalgonda
  • Nellore
  • Nizamabad
  • Prakasam
  • Rangareddy
  • Srikakulam
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Vizianagaram
  • Warangal
  • West Godavari


Andhra Pradesh has a Legislative Assembly of 294 seats. The state has 60 members in the Indian national parliament: 18 in the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and 42 in the Lok Sabha (lower house).

Andhra Pradesh had a row of Congress governments till 1982. Kasu Bramhananda Reddy held the record for the longest serving chief minister which was broken by Nara Chandrababu Naidu. P.V. Narasimha Rao also served as the chief minister for the state, who later went on to become the Prime Minister of India. Among the notable chief ministers of the state are Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, Kasu Bramhananda Reddy, Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy , Kotla Vijaya Bhasker Reddy , N T Rama Rao and Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

The Beginning of Multi-Party Politics

1982 saw the rise of NT Rama Rao (or NTR) as the chief minister of the state for the first time introducing a formidable second political party to Andhra politics and thus breaking the virtually-single party monopoly on Andhra politics. Nadendla Bhaskar Rao attempted a hijack when NTR was away to the United States for a medical treatment. After coming back, NTR successfully convinced the governor to dissolve the Assembly and call for a fresh election. NTR won by a large majority. His government's policies included investment in education and rural development and in holding corrupt government offices accountable.

1989 assembly elections ended the 7-year rule of NTR with the congress being returned to power and Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy at the helm. He was replaced by N. Janardhan Reddy who was in turn replaced by Kotla Vijaya Bhasker Reddy.

In 1994 Assembly saw NTR becoming the chief minister again, but he was soon thrown out of power by his finance minister and son-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu. Naidu won a second term before he was defeated by the Congress-led coalition in the May 2004 polls.

Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy of the Indian National Congress (INC) is the current chief minister of the states. Rajasekhara Reddy fought the 2004 Assembly elections in an alliance with a new party called Telangana Rashtra Samithi (or TRS), which hopes to form a separate state called Telangana.

See Andhra Pradesh Politics
See Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh
See List of political parties in the state


Major road links of Andhra Pradesh
Major road links of Andhra Pradesh

Recent Economic Progress

In the last decade, the state has emerged at the forefront of India's progress in fields like

  • Information Technology,
  • Biotechnology,
  • Pharmaceuticals,
  • Business Management, and
  • Construction,

and has emerged as a land of immense business opportunities.

In spite of some liberalization since 1990, Andhra's economy still faces many challeges, especially in the drought-hit agricultural sector.

Agriculture has been the chief source of income for the state's economy. Two important rivers of India, the Godavari and Krishna, flow through the state. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, mirchi, and tobacco are the local crops. The state has also started to focus on the fields of information technology and biotechnology.

Urban Centers of Economic Importance

Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, is the fifth largest cosmopolitan city in India, rich in culture, enduring history and industrial growth. It is unique in being one of the few cities where tradition and technology co-exist. Hyderabad, like Bangalore, has become a center for outsourcing. Notable amongst the multinational companies in Hyderabad are Microsoft, Google, Bank of America, Intergraph and Oracle.

Vizag, Andhra's main port, is home to the Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command. The city's shipyards, fisheries, docks, and steel works make it an economic powerhouse. Recently, Vizag has seen a rise in investment as industry in Andhra begins to turn towards the lucrative export market. Also, because of its highly valuable geographic location, and because of recent political movement towards a creation of a separate Telangana state, Vizag has seen a massive rise in investment in the city's real estate market.



Telugu (తెలుగు) is the state's official language. Telugu is the second most widely spoken language in India after the national language, Hindi. It is known for its mellifluous nature and has also been called Italian of the East. An Urdu-speaking and predominantly Muslim minority lives mostly in Hyderabad. Among the many tribal languages, Banjara, Koyi, and Gondi have the greatest number of speakers.


Andhra has 1,500 movie theaters, the second-most in India. The state also produces about 100 movies a year. Now it also houses IMax theatre with a big 3D screen and also 3-5 multiplexes


The state has a rich cultural heritage. The great composers of carnatic music Annamacharya, Tyagaraja and many others were of Telugu descent who chose Telugu as their language of composition, thus enriching the language.


Nannayya, Tikkana, and Yerrapragada form the trinity who translated the great epic Mahabharatha into Telugu. Modern writers include Jnanpith Award winners Sri Viswanatha Satyanarayana and Dr. C.Narayana Reddy.


Classical dance in Andhra can be performed by both men and women, however women tend to learn it more often.

Kuchipudi is the state's best-known and widely practiced classical dance form.

Another classical dance form, Andhra Naatyam, was historically a dance that defined Andhra's culture. Danced since antiquity at both Buddhist and Hindu temples, it has seen a resurgence in recent years, after nearly dying out.

Cultural Institutions

Andhra Pradesh has many museums, including the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, which features a varied collection of sculptures, paintings, and religious artifacts, and the Visakha Museum in Vizag, which displays the history of the pre-Independence Madras Presidency in a rehabilitated Dutch bungalow.


Andhra Pradesh has several newspapers. Prominent among them are

Telugu Newspapers - Eenadu , Vaartha, Andhra Jyothi, Prajasakti, Andhra Bhumi, Visalandra,

English Newspapers - Deccan Chronicle, The Hindu,The Times of India

Other elements of Culture

Bapu's paintings, Nanduri Subbarao's Yenki Paatalu (Songs on/by a washerwoman called Yenki), mischievous Budugu (a character by Mullapudi), Annamayya's songs, Aavakaaya (a variant of mango pickle in which the kernel of mango is retained), Gongura (a chutney from Roselle plant), Atla taddi (a seasonal festival predominantly for teenage girls), banks of river Godavari, Dudu basavanna (The ceremonial ox decorated for door-to-door exhibition during the harvest festival Sankranti) have long defined Telugu culture.


  • Sankranthi in January.
  • Ugadi or the Telugu New Year in March/April.
  • Vinayaka Chavithi in August.
  • Dasara in October.
  • Deepavali in November.
  • Bonalu in Sravanam.


The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is reputedly the spiciest of all Indian cuisine. Foods include both the original spicy Andhra cooking and Muslim-influenced Hyderabadi cuisine.

Pickles and chutneys are particularly popular in Andhra Pradesh and many varieties of pickles and chutneys are unique to the state. Chutneys are made from practically every vegetable including tomatoes, brinjals and an aromatic green called ' Gongura'. A mango pickle, 'Aavakaya', is probably the best known of the Andhra pickles.

Rice is the staple diet and is used in a wide variety of ways. Typically, rice is either boiled and eaten with curry, or made into a batter for use in a crepe-like dish called dosas, or rice cakes called idlis.

Meat, vegetables and greens are prepared with different masalas into a variety of strongly flavoured dishes.

Hyderabadi cuisine is influenced by the Muslim population, which arrived in Andhra centuries ago. Much of the cuisine revolves around meat. It is rich and aromatic, with a liberal use of exotic spices and ghee, not to speak of nuts and dry fruits. Lamb, chicken and fish are the most widely used meats in the non-vegetarian dishes. The biryanis are perhaps the most distinctive and popular of Hyderabadi dishes.


The temple town Tirumala lit during the night
The temple town Tirumala lit during the night

Andhra Pradesh is the home of many religious pilgrim centers. Tirupati, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, has the richest and most visited Hindu temple in India. Srisailam, the abode of Sri Mallikarjuna, is one of the twelve Jyothirlingams in India and Yadagirigutta, the abode of an avatara of Vishnu, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. Puttaparthi hosts the ashram of popular guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Ramappa temple at Warangal is famous for some fine temple carvings. The state has numerous Buddhist centers at Amaravati, Bhattiprolu, Nagarjuna Konda, and Phanigiri.

The one-million-year old limestone caves at Borra, picturesque Araku Valley, hill resorts of Horsley Hills, Godavari racing through a narrow gorge at Papi Kondalu, waterfalls and rich bio-diversity at Talakona, the beaches of Vizag are some of the natural attractions of the state.

Charminar, Golconda Fort, Chandragiri Fort, and Falaknuma Palace are some of the monuments in the state.

Famous personalities from Andhra Pradesh

See List of Telugu People

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