Andhra Pradesh is India’s fourth-largest state and has the fifth largest population of people on the subcontinent. Its capital is Hyderabad, and it is surrounded by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, the Bay of Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Andhra Pradesh is well-known for its long coastline, which stretches for 972 kilometres. It is also known for its abundant rice supply; in fact, almost 80% of its annual crop is rice.

Ancient texts that date back as far as 800 BCE (Before our Common Era) mention Andhra tribes and people. Even Greek travellers made note of these tribes in the areas that they explored upon arrival to India. The Mauryans ruled over the Andhra folk during the fourth century BCE, until the Satavahanas gained their independence in the following century. Thereafter, several kingdoms and dynasties took control and it was only when British rule began that India was split into formal regions and areas. This is when this area became known as the Coastal Andhra region. Finally, India gained independence in 1947. However, Andhra only attained statehood in 1953, when Potti Sreeramulu fasted until he starved himself to death to achieve this major goal.

Andhra Pradesh consists of the eastern part of the Deccan Plateau and the plains that are just east of the Eastern Ghats. The Krishna River runs through the state. This countryside is characterised mainly by shrubs, forests and coastal plains. There are certain parts of it that are semi-arid, giving it a diverse geography. These areas all experience different climates. The coastal areas get quite a bit hotter than those that are more towards the interior, reaching midday highs of over 40 degrees Celsius. Between July and September, tropical rains fall heavily.

Popular cities within this state include its capital, Hyderabad, as well as Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry,
Image of Side view of the famous charminar building in Hyderabad India
Side view of the famous charminar building
in Hyderabad India
Tirupati and Machilipatnam. Approximately 90% of the people in this state are Hindu, while Muslims make up just less than 10%. Telugu is the official language of Andhra Pradesh.

Farming and agriculture are the main sources of income in this state. These benefit from the Godavari, Krishna, Penna and Tungabhadra rivers, which are important sources of water for the irrigation of the crops. The main crops include rice, tobacco, chilli peppers, mangos, cotton and sugarcane. Information technology and biotechnology are also important industries in Andhra Pradesh, especially during recent years. It has one third of the country’s limestone reserves as well as an abundance of natural gases, coal and petroleum.

Because of its fascinating history, Andhra Pradesh is home to many museums, which tell the story of its past in fascinating exhibitions and displays. Its cuisine is of the hottest in India, in terms of spiciness. This state is known for its pickles and chutneys. Almost all dishes are prepared using a blend of strong spices, and are usually enjoyed with rice. Meat is used extensively. Biryani is Hyderabad’s signature dish.

Although Hindus make up the vast majority of the population in this part of India, other religions, such as Islam, Buddhism, Jainism and Christianity are present. There are several festivals held on an annual basis, only a few of which are Sankranth, Maha Shivaratri, Ugadi (Telugu New Year in March/April) and Vinayaka Chavithi.

The following sights are popular tourist attractions for their natural splendour as well as their cultural significance:

Araku Valley
The Borra Caves
The Belum Caves
Rishikonda beach
Horsley Hills
The Ettipotala waterfalls
Godavari River

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