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The state of Andhra Pradesh occupies a large section of south-eastern India, from the dry lands of the Deccan Plateau to the Bay of Bengal coastline, where the Krishna and Godavari Rivers splash out in rich but cyclone prone deltas. Inland lied the relatively poorer region known as Telangana which became a new state in 2014. The Andhra people are linked by their language, Telugu. In 1956, Andhra Pradesh became the first state in India to have its boundaries drawn along linguistic lines, despite economic differences.

The state is named after the kingdom of Andhras, also known as the Satavahanas, who ruled most of the Deccan from the 2nd century BC until the 3rd century AD. As part of Emperor Ashoka’s vast kingdom, the region was also a major Buddhist centre. However, the most striking facets of modern Andhra’s character are Islamic in origin. Beginning in the 16th century, Andhra Pradesh was ruled by Muslims, first under the independent Golconda Sultanate, then briefly as part of the Mughal Empire, and finally under the Nizams, who ruled at Hyderabad under British protection from 1723 until 1948. When India gained Independence in 1947, Nizam Usman Ali initially refused to cede his lands to the new nation. After a year-long standoff, the state was annexed into India. This was later merged with other Telugu speaking areas to form Andhra Pradesh. After the creation of the new state of Telangana, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad became part of the new state. As a result the new de facto capital of the state was transferred to Vijayawada, although Hyderabad continues to be the De jure capital of the state. Stupas dot the landscape in Nagajunakonda; the site of a 2nd century Buddhist sangha, and much farther southeast, the richly endowed temple at Tirupati evokes Hindu religious fervour and financial contribution unparalleled in South India.

 

Map of Andhra Pradesh

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