Andhra Pradesh is situated on the Deccan (south) plateau - one of the oldest geological formations in India and is sprawled over an area of 276,754 sq. km. The mighty Godavari and Krishna rivers cut their way through the plateau, forming large deltas before entering the Bay of Bengal. Andhra Pradesh, situated south of the Vindhyas, is surrounded by Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, the Bay of Bengal in the east and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in the south and by Maharashtra in the west. It is the fifth largest state in India in area and population. With a 970 km coastline, it has the largest coastline in India. The port of Vishakapatinam caters to Madhya Pradesh and Orissa too. Andhra Pradesh was, in fact, created by combining the old princely state of Hyderabad with the Telegu speaking portions of the former state of Madras. Beautiful crafts, vibrant religious festivals, a varied cuisine and the sonorant mother tongue, Telugu, are some of the indelible impressions of this state. Kuchipudi is the famous classical dance form of Andhra Pradesh. Tribal dances contribute in equal measure to the artistic heritage of Andhra Pradesh. Tholubommalaata, a shadow puppetry theatre is a fascinating folk art of Andhra Pradesh. Architecture in Andhra Pradesh ranges from prehistoric cairns to Buddhist Setups; Hindu and Jain temples of great importance to imposing churches, secular monuments such as the Charminar of Hyderabad to some of the most beautiful mosques and Islamic tombs of India. Andhra Pradesh has a wide variety of wildlife and natural beauty. The state is home to India's largest tiger reserve, in the Nallamai forest. The Godavari river delta is famous for reptiles like the salt water crocodile, fishing cats and other exotic animals. The medieval city of Hyderabad is its capital. The state can be divided into three important regions-the coastal region, comprising of nine districts, generally called Andhra; the interior region, consisting of four districts collectively known as Rayalaseema; and the Telengana region, consisting of the capital Hyderabad and nine adjoining districts. Eight of its 23 districts have direct access to the sea. Famous beaches are Visakhapatnam Bheemunipatnam, Kakinada, Chirala, Kalingapatnam and Mypad. The legislature in A.P is unicameral, the legislative assembly has 295 seats. The A.P Legislative Council was abolished in 1985.
The word Andhra is equally applicable to the land, the people and the language although the language in course of time developed a name of its own, Telugu. Telugu alongwith Urdu is the main language of communication. Andhra Pradesh is a rich mosaic of cultures. Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus live in relative peace and harmony. The Banjaras (or the gypsies), the Gonds, the Sarvas, the Bagatas, the Mandulas, the Yenadis, the Chenchus, the Gadabas and the Mathuris are the well known tribes of the state. Pulihara, or tamarind rice, is the main course in Andhra Pradesh, and green chilies add spice to the cuisine. The Andhra pickle, sharp and extremely hot, is a favorite all over the country. Papads, roasted or fried, are another popular condiment. Due to the rule of the Nawabs and Nizams, there is also a strong Muslim influence on the cuisine in the form of rich, spicy local dishes, especially in the area around the capital. A wide variety of fruit, like custard apples, grapes like the Anab-e-shahi, apricots like the Khobani, provide a neutralizing effect over the spicy food. Andhra Pradesh is the home of a rich cultural heritage, that led to the birth of varied handicrafts. The craftsmen of Andhra have contributed greatly - Kalamkari vegetable dyed textiles, lacquer paintings, wood craft, Pochamapalli silks, Hyderabad pearls and an extremely attractive and glittering array of glass bangles.
Population of Andhra Pradesh is around 74 million and more than 70 per cent of its population live by agriculture, growing rice, jowar, bajra, ragi, small millets, cotton, sugarcane, pulses, groundnut, bananas, and tobacco. Agricultural sector accounts for 50% of the state income. The state accounts for about 55% of the country's production of castor, and about 94% of Virginia tobacco. Andhra Pradesh is irrigated by the mighty Krishna and the Godavari rivers and is aptly termed the Rice Granary of India. Nearly 23% of the state's total land mass is covered by forests. The major forest products are teak, eucalyptus, cashew, casuarinas, bamboo, soft wood, etc. Accounting for more than 98% of the country's production of barites, Andhra Pradesh has almost a monopoly on "Chrysotile asbestos". The important minerals found here include copper ore, manganese, mica, coal, and limestone. The famous Singaneri coal mines are located here. The state ranks fourth in industrial investments. Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam are the centers for several important industries like machine tools, fertilizers, ships, drugs and pharmaceuticals, heavy electrical machinery, cement, electrical equipment, aeronautical parts, glass, etc. Telugu films have topped the list of films produced in India since 1994. The important power projects include Nagarjunasagar, Nizamsagar hydel power project, Sileru, Vijaywada, etc. With its recent foray into information technology, through the new hi-tech centre on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh is promoting itself as the 'No 1 State'.
The climate is generally hot and humid. The summer temperatures vary from 20C to 40C, while in winter it is between 13C and 32C. The South-West monsoons play a major role in determining the climate of the state. The North-East monsoons are responsible for about one-third of the total rainfall in Andhra Pradesh. June to December are the monsoon months and the weather remains hot and sultry. October to February is the best season.
The best place to begin a tour of Andhra Pradesh is Hyderabad, the capital. Hyderabad is very well - connected by air, rail and road to all major cities of India. The other major cities of the state are Secunderabad, Visakhapatnam, Waltair and Vijayawada. An efficient road and rail network connects every district to the state capital. Only Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada and Tirupati are airlinked.
|Andhra Pradesh at a glance:|
|Area||276,754 sq km|
|Languages||Telugu and Urdu|
|Rivers||Krishna and Godavari|
|Power (Installed Capacity)||6110 MW|
|Industrial employment||8.5 lakhs|
|No. of Industrial units||21,028|
|People per telephone||117.5|
|Climate||Hot and humid|
|Summer||41 C to 20 C|
|Winter||32 C to 13C|
|Monsoon||June to December|
|Annual Rainfall||125 cm|
|Best Time to visit||October to February|
- World's tallest masonry dam, Nagarjunasagar a 380 sq.km reservoir, and a 124 meter tall across the river Krishna, Andhra Pradesh's lifeline.
- World's largest one man collection, Salar Jung Museum at Hyderabad.
- World's highest broad gauge rail track, Eastern Ghats rail route from Visakhapatnam to Anantagiri is one the highest broad gauge tracks in the world.
- World's richest temple, Tirumala - Tirupati is the most venerated Vaishnavite shrine of Lord Venkateshwara and his consorts.
- South Asia's first lion safari, Nehru Zoological Park in the vicinity of Mir Alam Tank is picturesquely landscaped in its 120 hectares of rock strewn scrubland.
- Million year old caves, Borra Caves near Visakhapatnam believed to be a million years old.
- Arc of Triumph of the East, Charminar is Hyderabad's Landmark.