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