Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh

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Amaravati
అమరావతి
Amareswaram[1]
Andhra Nagari[2]
Town
Amaravati Montage Clockwise from top left: Amareswara Swamy Temple, Closeup shot of Dhyana Buddha Statue, River Krishna, Amaravati Maha Stupa
Amaravati Montage Clockwise from top left: Amareswara Swamy Temple, Closeup shot of Dhyana Buddha Statue, River Krishna, Amaravati Maha Stupa
Amaravati is located in Andhra Pradesh
Amaravati
Amaravati
Location in Andhra Pradesh, India
Coordinates: 16°34′22″N 80°21′27″E / 16.57278°N 80.35750°E / 16.57278; 80.35750Coordinates: 16°34′22″N 80°21′27″E / 16.57278°N 80.35750°E / 16.57278; 80.35750
Country India
State Andhra Pradesh
District Guntur
Mandal Amaravati
Elevation[3] 36 m (118 ft)
Population (2011)[4]
 • Total 13,400
Languages
 • Official Telugu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Telephone code +91–254
Vehicle registration AP–7

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 Siva, which is one of the famous Pancharamas.[1] It was formerly known as Andhra Nagari.[2] Krishna River passes through the east side of Amaravati.[5]

History[edit]

Holy relic sites map of Andhra Pradesh

The recorded history of Amaravati and nearby Dharanikota dates to 2nd century BCE.[6] It was the capital of 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.[7]

Amaravati Stupa relief at Chennai Museum, India

The stupa[edit]

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. The discovery, misuse and destruction of the sculptures, preservation, distribution to various museums (Chennai, Calcutta, London, Masulipatnam etc.) have been poignantly described by Shimada.[8] 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.[9] Dalai Lama of Tibet conducted a Kalachakra initiation at this location in 2006.

Distribution of the Edicts of Ashoka[10]

Ancient art[edit]

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".[11]

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.[12]

Amaravati School[edit]

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.[13]

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.[14]

Geography[edit]

The city is located at 16°34′N 80°22′E / 16.567°N 80.367°E / 16.567; 80.367[15] on the south bank of Krishna river.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2011 Census of India, the town had a population of 13,400. The total population constitute, 6,432 males and 6,968 females —a sex ratio of 1083 females per 1000 males. 1,321 children are in the age group of 0–6 years, of which 647 are boys and 674 are girls —a ratio of 1042 per 1000. The average literacy rate stands at 71.34% with 8,617 literates, significantly higher than the state average of 67.41%.[4][16]

Tourist places[edit]

Front view of Amareswara temple Gopuram

The Amareswara (Siva) temple walls have lot of inscriptions that give information about the kings who ruled over the area. The present holy shrine of Amaralingeswara (Lord Siva) 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.[17]

Transport[edit]

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.

Culture[edit]

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 Siva. The main Hindu festivals celebrated are Mahasivaratri and the Navaratri. The 30th Kalachakra festival, a popular Buddhist ritual was held at Amaravati in the first week of January 2006.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Other name of Amaravathi". Guntur district website. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Amaravathi Museum". AP Tourism Department. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Elevation for Amaravati". Veloroutes. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Census 2011". The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  5. ^ The Hindu : Magazine / Events : On a mission for enlightenment
  6. ^ The History of Andhras, Durga Prasad
  7. ^ Skanda Purana In: Puranic Encyclopedia, 1975, Vettam Mani, Motilal Banarsidas, New Delhi
  8. ^ Early Buddhist Architecture in Context: The Great Stūpa at Amarāvatī (ca. 300 BCE-300 CE) by Akira Shimada, Brill, 2012, 322 pages; ISBN 9004233261, 9789004233263
  9. ^ Kilty,G Ornament of Stainless Light, Wisdom 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0
  10. ^ Reference: "India: The Ancient Past" p.113, Burjor Avari, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-35615-6
  11. ^ Sculptures from Amaravati in the British Museum, D. Barrett, 1954, Trustees of the British Museum, London
  12. ^ Travels of Xuanzang: http://www.odiseos.net/XTWeb/index.html
  13. ^ http://www.preservearticles.com/2011101815589/what-were-the-salient-features-of-amaravati-school.html
  14. ^ http://asi.nic.in/asi_museums_amravati.asp
  15. ^ Maps, Weather, and Airports for Amaravati, India
  16. ^ "Literacy of AP (Census 2011)" (PDF). Official Portal of Andhra Pradesh Government. p. 43. Retrieved 5 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Sri Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu, 1973, K. Lakshminarayana, Ponnuru (http://www.openlibrary.org/details/rajavasireddyven022548mbp)