Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh
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Amaravati Montage Clockwise from top left: Amareshwara Swamy Temple, Closeup shot of Dhyana Buddha Statue, River Krishna, Amaravati Maha Stupa
|Elevation ||36 m (118 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Amaravati is a town in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is also referred as Amareswaram, for its famous Amareswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is one of the famous Pancharamas. It was formerly known as Andhra Nagari. Krishna River passes through the east side of Amaravati.
The recorded history of Amaravati and nearby Dharanikota dates to 2nd century BCE. It was the capital of Andhra Satavahanas who ruled from 2nd century BCE to 3rd century CE. After the decline of Satavahanas, Andhra Ikshvakus and later Pallava kings ruled Krishna river valley. Subsequently, Eastern Chalukyas and Telugu Cholas held sway over the region. Kota Kings were in control of Amaravati during the medieval times. Kota kings were subdued by Kakatiyas in 11th century CE and Amaravati became part of the unified Telugu empire. The Skanda Purana gives a picture of the place and the Siva temple located here.
The region between Krishna and Godavari rivers was an important place for Buddhism from the 2nd century BCE with Amaravati being one of them. Buddhist stupa was built during the reign of Ashoka in 200 CE, was carved with panels that tells the story of Buddha. During the period of the decline of Buddhism, this stupa was also neglected and it was buried under rubble. There is a 14th-century inscription in Sri Lanka which mentions repairs made to the stupa and after that it was forgotten. The stupa is related to the Vajrayana teachings of Kalachakra, still practiced today in Tibetan Buddhism. Dalai Lama of Tibet conducted a Kalachakra initiation at this location in 2006.
Art historians regard the Amaravati art as one of the three major styles or schools of ancient Indian art, the other two being the Gandhara style and the Mathura style. Some of the Buddhist sculptures of Amaravati betray a Greco-Roman influence that was the direct result of the close trade and diplomatic contacts between South India and the ancient Romans. Indeed, Amaravati has itself yielded a few Roman coins. The Government Museum at Egmore (Madras Museum) and British Museum, London host the "Amaravati Gallery".
Chinese traveller and Buddhist monk Hiuen Tsang (Xuanzang) visited Amaravati in 640 CE, stayed for sometime and studied 'Abhidhammapitakam'. Xuanzang wrote a glorious account of the place, Viharas and monasteries that existed.
In Amaravati, situated in the eastern Deccan, a different type of art form evolved and flourished for nearly six centuries commencing from 200-100 BC. Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus and also by other groups (feudatories, officials, and merchants), four periods of activity are easily discernible.
The Amaravati school of art occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of Indian Art. With its beginning in 3rd century BC the Amaravati unfolds its chapters through the galaxy of sculptural wealth that once adorned the Mahachaitya the majestic monument of the Buddhists situated here with its history extending over a period of a millennium and a half.
The Amareswara (Shiva) temple walls have lot of inscriptions that give information about the kings who ruled over the area. The present holy shrine of Amaralingeswara (Lord Shiva) temple is associated with the reign of Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu who ruled the region before the advent of the British rule (See Amararama). He was well known for his benevolence, munificence and construction of a large number of temples and education centers in the Krishna river delta.
It is reachable by road or by boat / coracle on the Krishna River. Amaravati is located 31 km northwest of Guntur city. It is connected by the Amaravati road from the heart of Guntur. It is 46 km south west of Vijayawada. Gannavaram, north of Vijayawada is the nearest airport.
The people speak Telugu. The common traditional clothing for women is a Saree and for men a Panche or a Lungi and Uttariyam. The town was given a hagiographic portrayal in the famous short story series Amaravati Kathalu by Satyam Sankaramanchi. The stories describe the contemporary culture of local people during the reign of Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu and also post-independent times.
The town is a center of pilgrimage to both Hindus and Buddhists. Amaravati is also famous for the temple dedicated to the god Shiva. The main Hindu festivals celebrated are Mahashivaratri and the Navaratri. The 30th Kalachakra festival, a popular Buddhist ritual was held at Amaravati in the first week of January 2006.
- "Other name of Amaravathi". Guntur district website. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Amaravathi Museum". AP Tourism Department. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Elevation for Amaravati". Veloroutes. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Census 2011". The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- The Hindu : Magazine / Events : On a mission for enlightenment
- The History of Andhras, Durga Prasad
- Skanda Purana In: Puranic Encyclopedia, 1975, Vettam Mani, Motilal Banarsidas, New Delhi
- Kilty,G Ornament of Stainless Light, Wisdom 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0
- Sculptures from Amaravati in the British Museum, D. Barrett, 1954, Trustees of the British Museum, London
- Travels of Xuanzang: http://www.odiseos.net/XTWeb/index.html
- Maps, Weather, and Airports for Amaravati, India
- Sri Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu, 1973, K. Lakshminarayana, Ponnuru (http://www.openlibrary.org/details/rajavasireddyven022548mbp)