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Andhra Pradesh

CAPITAL

HYDERABAD

AREA IN 1000 Sq. km

275

PRINCIPAL LANGUAGES

TELUGU, URDU

Andhra Pradesh is the third largest state in India with an area of 275,000 sq. km. A state in the southern region of India, Andhra pradesh is bordered on the south by Tamil Nadu state, on the west by Karnataka state, on the north and northwest by Maharashtra state, on the northeast by Madhya Pradesh and Orissa states, and on the east by the Bay of Bengal. The northern area of Andhra Pradesh is mountainous. The highest peak Mahendragiri rises 1500 m above the sea level. The climate is generally hot and humid. Annual rainfall: 125 cm. The Krishna and Godavari are the major river systems in the state.

Andhra Pradesh has a single-chamber Legislative Assembly of 295 seats. The state sends 60 members to the Indian national parliament: 18 to the Rajya Sabha (upper house) and 42 to the Lok Sabha (lower house). It has 23 local government administrative districts.

History

Centuries ago, Andhra Pradesh was a major Buddhist centre and part of Emperor Ashoka's sprawling kingdom. Not surprisingly, traces of early Buddhist influence are still visible in several places in and around the state. After the death of Emperor Ashoka, the Satavahanas established their kingdom in this region.

During the 7th century, the Chalukyas held sway over Andhra Pradesh until the 10th century, when the Cholas seized power. In the 14th century, Muslim power reached this southern state and for centuries ruled over this princely state and finally was taken over by a General of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1713.

The successors of the General, known as Nizams, ruled the state till Indian Independence.

Successive dynasties from the Ikshvakus, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagaram kings, Qutb Shahis, Mughals and the Asaf Jahis, have contributed significantly to the State's rich cultural tapestry and have left behind a heritage studded with spectacular monuments, temples, mosques, palaces all vibrant with arts, crafts, dance and literature.

Society, Art and Culture

Over 85% of the population of Andhra Pradesh speak Telugu. However, there are important minorities. Tamil is widely spoken in the extreme south region, and on the border of Karnataka there are pockets of Kanarese or Kannada speakers. In Hyderabad there are large numbers of Urdu speakers who make up about 7% of AP's population.

Hindu festivals such as Dasara, Deepavali, Sri Ramanavami, Krishna Janmastami, Vinayaka Chavithi (Ganesh Chaturthi) and Maha Sivarathri are celebrated in the State. Similarly, Muslim festivals such as Bakrid and Id-ul-Fitr and Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter and New Year's Day are also celebrated with gaiety. But the celebrations of Ugadi (Telugu New Year's day), Sankranti, Dasara, and Vinayaka Chavithi in the state are unique.

As the home of rich folk tradition, Andhra Pradesh offers a variety of performing arts unique to its culture. Kuchipudi is the classical dance form of Andhra Pradesh. Lacquer toys, anakapalli articles, nirmal painted pottery, bidri-lead inlaid black metal trinklets, palm and slate articles, as well as Gadhwalk, Pochampalli and Dharmvaram silk saris are some of the amazing handlooms and handicrafts the state is renowned for.

Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh has a distinct flavor and is relished by many epicureans. Rice is the staple food and chillies dominate the native taste. The ubiquitous Andhra pickle, spicy in taste and flavor is the most appetising dish. Even Gongura chutneys enhance the basic flavor of a meal. Papads roasted or fried are an often-preferred addition. To round off a sumptuous lunch, kheers,
a variety of sweets and paans are veritable specialties.

Economy and Infrastructure

Agriculture is the most important sector of Andhra Pradesh's economy. About 70 percent of the population works in agriculture, and the state is one of India's main rice-producing areas. The main crops are rice, maize, millets, pulses, castor, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, groundnut and banana. The covered forest area in the state is about 23 percent, and important forest products include teak, eucalyptus, cashew, bamboo and soft wood. Some of the major industries in the state are machine tools, synthetic drugs, pharmaceuticals, heavy electrical machinery, ships, fertilizers, electronic equipment, aeronautical parts, cement and cement products, chemicals, asbestos, glass and watches. Important minerals found in the state are copper ore, manganese, mica, coal and limestone. Andhra Pradesh has an extensive road and rail network, a major port in Vishakhapatnam, minor ports in several other cities, and airports at Hyderabad, Tirupathi, Vijayawada, and Vishakhapatnam.

Tourist Spots

Andhra Pradesh is rich in historical monuments and many holy temples. Tirupati in Chittoor district hoses one of the most famous temples in India. The presiding deity is known as the Venkateswara. The main temple is situated on a hill top, Tirumalai, and is a masterpiece of south Indian architectucture.

The main tourist attractions is the capital of the state, Hyderabad. The capital is in reality the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad linked together by the Hussain Sagar Lake. Places of interest are the Char Minar built in 1591, Osmania University, State Museum and Art gallery, Salarjung Museum, Health Museum, Public Gardens, Birla Mandir and Macca Masjid.

The Nehru Zoological Park, near the Mir Alam Tank in Hyderabad is a natural habitat, supporting a teeming wildlife population. It has to its credit the first lion safari park of South Asia. The Pakkal, Tadvai and Ethurnagaram sanctuaries abound in tiger, panther, wild boar, jackal, muntjack, fox, gaur, wild dog and the sloth bear. Kawak Wildlife Sanctuary in Adilabad district lies 50 km from
Mancheral railway station.

The largest of the country's Tiger Reserves, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Sanctuary is spread over an area of 3568 sq. km. Adjoining the reserve is the great reservoir of the Nagarjunasagar Dam on the Krishna river.

Another important centre of tourism is Golconda, about 8 km from Hyderabad. The capital of the Qutb Shahi Sultans in the 16th century, Golconda is rich in historical monuments which include the famous Golconda fort. Golconda was known the world over as rich mine of diamonds in the medieval times. The famous diamonds Kohinoor and Pitt came from the mines of Golconda.

The uncrowded and serene hill stations of Andhra Pradesh offer a cool respite from the heat and grime of the plains. Nestling in the Eastern Ghats are the charming little resorts of Anantagiri and Araku. Laid out amidst picturesque coffee plantations, the road to Anantagiri is literally enveloped with mango groves and waterfalls, that gush and flow into the ravines. Araku is a group of five valleys. The abode of 19 different tribes, life in the valley displays a distinctive culture. Situated south east of Andhra, on the Karnataka border and around 165 km from Bangalore, the Horsley Hills is another popular resort. This serene hamlet offers stunning views of sylvan valleys, offering adventurous forays through sandalwood, eucalyptus, teak and mango plantations.

Fringed by the Bay of Bengal, many an alluring beach is tucked away along the coastline. The seaface of Visakhapatnam, besides its bustling harbour, has a single massive rock jutting into the ocean at a height of 174 m. Referred to as the Dolphin's Nose, the gigantic cliff has a powerful lighthouse that sends signals as far as 65
km. The beach front of Visakhapatnam is peaceful and enticing. Rishikonda and Bhimli are calm, making them aquatic playgrounds. Bhimunipatnam, 24 km from Visakhapatnam is a pleasure resort at the mouth of the river Gosthani. The idyllic beaches at Bapatla, Kalingapatnam, Maipad and Manginapudi are ideal picnic spots.

One of the world’s best equipped film studios is situated in Andhra Pradesh, Ramoji Film City, at an hour’s distance from Hyderabad, is spread over 1000 acres.