Andhra Pradesh

Tirumalai-Tirupati Hills Tirumalai-Tirupati Hills
Capital : Hyderabad
Largest city : Hyderabad
District(s) : 23
Population : 76,210,007 (5th)
Density : 277/km² (717/sq mi)
Language(s) : Telugu, Urdu
Established : November 1, 1956


Andhra Pradesh is the "Rice Bowl of India", is a state in southern India. It is bordered 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 4th largest state in India by area and population. It is the largest and most populous state in South India. There are two major rivers flowing through Andhra Pradesh: the Godavari and the Krishna.

History
The first historical records appear in the Buddhist text Anguttara Nikaya Andhra was mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana(800 BCE) and Mahabharata (400 BCE). The Natya Shastra written by Bharatha (1st century BCE) also mentions about the Andhra people. The roots of the Telugu language have been seen on inscriptions found near the Guntur district  and from others dating to the rule of Renati Cholas in the 5th century CE. Inscriptional evidence showed that there was a kingdom in coastal Andhra ruled by Kuberaka with Pratipalapura (Bhattiprolu) as his capital in 5th century BCE. This probably was the oldest known kingdom in south India.Megasthenes, a Greek traveller and geographer who visited the Court of Chandragupta Maurya (322–297 BCE), mentioned that the region had three fortified towns and an army of 100,000 infantry, 200 cavalry, and 1,000 elephants. Buddhist books reveal that Andhras established their huts or tents near the Godaveri River at that time.

Srisailam Dam Srisailam Dam

In Colonial India, Northern Circars became part of the British Madras Presidency. Eventually this region emerged as the Coastal Andhra region. Later the Nizam had ceded five territories to the British which eventually emerged as Rayalaseema region. The Nizams retained control of the interior provinces as the Princely state of Hyderabad, acknowledging British rule in return for local autonomy.

India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, but his state of Hyderabad was forced to become part of the Republic of India in 1948 as Hyderabad State.

In an effort to gain an independent state, and protect the interests of the Telugu people of Madras State, Amarajeevi Potti Sriramulu fasted until death. Public outcry and civil unrest after his death forced the government to announce the formation of a new state for Telugu speakers. Andhra attained statehood in October 1953 with Kurnool as its capital.

On 1 November 1 1956 Andhra State merged with the Telangana region of Hyderabad State to form the state of Andhra Pradesh, which would be mainly Telugu-speaking. Hyderabad, the former capital of the Hyderabad State, was made the capital of the new state Andhra Pradesh.

Geographical Regions
Andhra Pradesh has the longest coastline in India of 970 kilometres and can be broadly divided into three unofficial geographic regions, namely Kosta (Coastal Andhra), Telangana and Rayalaseema.

Telanagana
Telangana region marked in white.Telangana or Telingana (Telugu) is an unofficial region in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The region lies on the Deccan plateau to the west of the Eastern Ghats range, and includes the ten northwestern interior districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddi, Warangal and the state capital, Hyderabad. The Krishna and Godavari rivers flow through the region from west to east making these lands fertile.

Kosta
Kosta occupies the coastal plain between Eastern Ghats ranges, which run the length of the state and the Bay of Bengal. It includes the nine districts of East Godavari, Guntur, Krishna, Nellore, Prakasam, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and West Godavari.

Rayalaseema
Rayalaseema lies in the southeast of the state on the Deccan plateau, in the basin of the Penneru River. It is separated from Telangana region by the low Nallamalla forest and from Coastal Andhra by the Eastern Ghats. It includes the four districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, Kurnool, and Kadapa, formerly known as Cuddapah.

Rivers and Hills
The state is dotted with hill ranges from the north to the south, running erratically down the middle of the country dividing it into western and eastern or coastal Andhra. These hills form integral geographical entities of Andhra life and history. In the north, there are Simhachalam and Annavaram hills, in the middle country there are the Srisailam hill ranges and in the south are the Tirumalai-Tirupati hills.

Srisailam Temple Srisailam Temple
The Krishna and Godavari rivers together irrigate thousands of square kilometres of land and create the largest perennial cultivable area in the country. Nearly 75% of the state territory, is covered by the basins of three big rivers - Godavari, Krishna and Pennar and their tributaries. In addition, there are 17 short rivers like Sarada, Nagavali, Musi and other streams. Andhra Pradesh has considerable topographical variations with dense forest in the north east, flat paddy lands in the coastal plains, several noteworthy beaches along the Bay of Bengal and the stark boulder-strewn region around Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of rice (paddy) and is called India's Rice Bowl.



Temples in the state
Tirupati: Tirupati is the abode for the famous Hindu temple of Lord Venkateswara. It is the richest Hindu religious institution and second richest in the world after the Vatican[citation needed]. It records an annual income of about 100 Billion Rupees (2.5 Billion US Dollars), mostly from offerings by the devotees.

Vemulavada: Notable for the Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Temple complex, a site of pilgrimage for both Hindu (particularly devotees of Vishnu and Shiva) and Muslim worshippers. Built by Chaluka Kings between AD 750 and 975, the complex is named for its presiding deity Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy, an incarnation of Shiva. It houses several temples dedicated to other deities including Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Lakshmi, Ganapathy, Lord Padmanabha Swamy and Lord Bhimeshwara. The complex also contains a 400 year old mosque.

Vijayawada: Vijayawada houses the second biggest and equally famous temple of Goddess Durga also known as Kanaka Durga.

Narayanpet: Sri Sri Sri Sadguru Avadhuth Narasimha Swami Math is located in Narayanpet of Mahabubnagar dist. www.srisadguru.com

Srisailam: Abode for Lord Siva worshipped with the name of Mallikarjuna and Goddess Parvathi, worshipped with the name of Bhramaramba. Srisailam has a unique distinction amongst the Hindu temples of the world; it is the only place to be one of 18 Shaktipithas and one of 12 Jyothirlingas. Huge hydro-electric multi-purpose dam has also been constructed at this place on river Krishna.

Bhadrachalam: Abode for Lord Rama. The legend goes back a few hundred years. There was a devotee by name Bhakta Ramadas, who was a tax collector in Taneesha (a Muslim ruler of Golkonda)'s government. Apparently he spent all the tax collection money on building a temple for lord Rama, eventually was put in prison by the Taneesha. Bhakta Ramdas has offered his prayers to lord Rama in the form of Kirtanas, and one fine day, lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana come in disguise to re-pay the money to Taneesha. Taneesha finally realized his mistake and from that day, not only freed Bhakta Ramadas, but also agreed to supply the required alms for the temple at Bhadrachalam. Till date, in independent India, the state administration maintains the ritual.

Srikalahasti: SriKalahasti is one of the Panchabhoota Sthalams signifying the 5 elements, 1) wind (Kalahasti), 2) water (Thiruvanaikaval), 3) fire (Tiruvannamalai), 4) earth (Kanchipuram) and 5) space (Chidambaram) that Siva embodies.

Ahobilam: Ahobilam or Ahobala is a complex of 9 temples of Lord Narasimha. Tandur : Sri Bhavigi Bhadreshar Temple in Tandur Rangareddy Dist of Andhra Pradesh

Festivals
New Year in January
Sankranthi in January.
Srikalahasti Temple Srikalahasti Temple
Maha Shivaratri in February/March.
Ugadi or the Telugu New Year in March/April.
Rama Navami celebrated in March/April 9 days after Ugadi.
Good Friday in March/April.
Varalakshmi Vratham in August.
Vinayaka Chavithi in August.
Dasara in September/October.
Atla Tadde 3rd day in bright half of Aswiyuja month (falls in September/October in Gregorian calendar)
Deepavali in October/November.
Bonalu in Sravanam. (Celebrated in Telangana region).
Bathukamma celebrated during September/October in Telangana region.
Christmas celebrated in December all over the state.