History of Andhra Pradesh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Part of a series on
History of Andhra Pradesh
Warangal fort.jpg
Chronology of Telugu people & Andhra history
Andhra States
Geography  ·  Political history

The recorded history of Andhra Pradesh can be traced to the period of the Assaka Maha-Janapada (700–300) BCE, [1] an ancient Indian kingdom located between the rivers of Godavari and Manjira in the present day a part of Andhra Pradesh, in southeastern India. Accounts of people in the region as descendants of Vishawamitra are littered in all versions of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas and Jataka tales (Buddhist literature).

Modern day Andhra Pradesh is one of the 28 states of India.

Historical Overview[edit]

The Assaka was one of the sixteen kingdoms in the 6th century BCE. The Assaka period was succeeded by the Satavahana Empire (230 BCE - 220 CE). This empire built the great city of Amaravathi and reached its zenith under Satakarni. They were instrumental in ushering in the era of Ashokan Buddhism in Andhra. At the end of Satavahana Empire, a divided Telugu region was ruled by many of the Satavahana feudatories. The Andhra Ikshvakus ruled the eastern Andhra country along the Krishna river during the later half of the 2nd century. The Pallavas extended their rule from southern Andhra to Tamil regions and established their capital at Kanchipuram around the 4th century. They rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668) and dominated the southern Telugu and northern parts of Tamil region until the end of the 9th century.

Between 624 and 1323, a significant change came about in social, religious, linguistic and literary spheres of Andhra society. The Kakatiya dynasty emerged as the largest state which brought the entire Telugu land under unified rule. During this period, the Telugu language emerged as a literary medium subsuming the predominance of Prakrit and Sanskrit with the contributions of Nannaya. The Chalukya Chola dynasty ruled the Cholas from 1070 until the demise of the empire in the second half of the 13th century. In 1323, the Delhi Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan (who later ruled as the Delhi Sultan under the name Mohammad bin Tuglhluq) to conquer the Telugu country and lay siege to Warangal.

The end of the Kakatiya dynasty started the next era under the competing influences of Turkic kingdoms ruling Delhi, the Chalukya Chola dynasty ruling the south, and the sultanate of central India (Persio-Tajik). The struggle for Andhra ended with the dramatic victories of Musunuri Nayaks over the Turkic Delhi Sultanate allowing for the emergence of the next era of independent Telugu way of life under the Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1646), ruled by Krishnadevaraya. The retreat of the Delhi Sultanate from the south after battles with Musunuri Nayaks allowed for an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani Sultanate to be established in central India by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah as a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. The tolerant Qutb Shahi dynasty of the Bahmani Sultanate held sway over the Andhra country after the demise of the Vijayanagara Empire and patronized the Telugu way of life for about two hundred years from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century.

The arrival of Europeans, notably the French under Bussy and English under Robert Clive, ended another era of Andhra history. In 1765, Lord Robert Clive, the then existing Chief and Council at Vishakapatnam obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. In 1792 the British got complete supremacy when they defeated Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapathi Raju of Vizianagaram.

The foundation for modern Andhra was laid by the struggle for Indian independence under Mohandas Gandhi. The struggle for an independent state by Potti Sriramulu, and social reform movements by Tanguturi Prakasam Panthulu and Kandukuri Veeresalingam. A fully democratic society with two stable political parties, modern science and economics emerged under the Chief Ministership of N. T. Rama Rao.

India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, but was forced to accede his kingdom to India in 1948 as the Hyderabad State. Andhra State was the first state in India that has been formed on a mainly linguistic basis by carving it out from Madras Presidency in 1953. Andhra State was later merged with the Telugu speaking area of Hyderabad state to create Andhra Pradesh state in 1956.

After the passing of NTR and a brief period of prosperity during the reign of his successor Dr. Y.S Rajashekar Reddy, the next chapter in the history of Telugus started with the Lok Shabha of India approving the formation for Telangana from 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh on the 18th February 2014.

Pre-Satavahana Period[edit]

There are several references about an Andhra kingdom and a people called Andhras in the Sanskrit epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, Puranas, and the Buddhist Jataka Tales. Rukmini from the Mahabharata hailed from Vidarbha, the Kingdom stretching through the Deccan Plateau, around the Vindhya ranges which includes the present day Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka regions, including the little-known, now apparently submerged archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. Rama in his exile is said to have lived in the forests around the present day Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh.

Evidence for a flourishing kingdom in coastal Andhra Pradesh relates to the visit of Buddha to Amaravati in the Guntur district. Lord Buddha preached at Dharanikota and conducted a Kalachakra ceremony, which takes the antiquity of Amaravati back to 500 BC.[2] Taranatha, the Buddhist monk writes: "On the full moon of the month Caitra in the year following his enlightenment, at the great stupa of Dhanyakataka, the Buddha emanated the mandala of "The Glorious Lunar Mansions" (Kalachakra).[3] The recorded history of Amaravati and nearby Dharanikota is from the 2nd century BC.[4]

Although there are signs that the history dates back to several centuries BC, we only have any authentic archaeological evidence from the last two millennia. The Kingdom of Pratipalapura (5th century BC), identified with Bhattiprolu, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh appears to be the earliest known kingdom in South India. We also have an inscriptional evidence to show that king Kubera ruled over Bhattiprolu around 230 BC followed by the Sala Kings. The script of Bhattiprolu inscriptions was the progenitor of Brahmi Lipi that later diversified into modern Telugu and Tamil scripts.

Satavahana Period[edit]

Around the Mauryan age, there is historical evidence of Andhra as a political power in the southeastern Deccan. Megasthenes, who visited the Court of Chandragupta Maurya (322-297 BC), mentioned that Andhras had 30 fortified towns and an army of a million infantry, 2000 cavalry and 1000 elephants.[5] Buddhist books reveal that Andhras established their kingdoms in the Godavari Valley at that time. Asoka stated in his 13th rock edict (232 BC) that Andhra was under his rule.

Buddhist and Jain Heritage Sites of Andhra Pradesh
An aniconic representation of Mara's assault on the Buddha, 2nd century, Amaravati.

The continuous political and cultural accounts of Andhra Pradesh commences with the rise of the Satavahanas as a political power. According to Matsya Purana, there were 29 rulers of this dynasty. They ruled over the Andhra desa for about 456 years from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. According to an inscription at Nasik, it was under Gautamiputra Satakarni, the 23rd Satavahavana, the kingdom included most of the southern peninsula and some southern parts of present Indian states like Maharastra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. The court language used by Satavahanas was Prakrit. Buddhism flourished throughout this age, and several Buddhist Stupas including Amaravati, Chaityas and Viharas were constructed during this time, although the kings followed Vedic religion.

The fall of the Satavahana empire left Andhra in political chaos. Local rulers carved out small kingdoms for themselves. From AD 180-624, Ikshvaku, Brihatpalayana, Salankayana, Vishnukundina, Vakataka, Pallava, Ananda Gotrika, Kalinga and other small kingdoms dominated parts of Andhra. Most important among these small dynasties was the Ikshvaku. Nagarjuna Konda was their capital and they practiced Buddhism, though they followed the Vedic ritual. Sanskrit mostly replaced Prakrit as the language of the inscriptions.


The Andhra Ikshvakus (Sanskrit: इक्श्वाकू) were one of the earliest dynasties of Andhra Pradesh. They ruled the eastern Andhra country along the Krishna river during the later half of the 2nd century AD. Their capital was Vijayapuri (Nagarjunakonda). Some scholars have suggested that this dynasty was related to the ancient Ikshvakus of Hindu epics. Rama of Ramayana, who is considered as the incarnation of Vishnu belonged to the line of Ikshvaku. According to Hindu epics, Ikshvaku, who was the Manu and father of Kukshi, was the founder of the Suryavanshi dynasty, reigning from Ayodhya at the commencement of the Treta Yuga.

Archaeological evidence has suggested that the Andhra Ikshvakus immediately succeeded the Satavahanas in the Krishna river valley. They left inscriptions at Nagarjunakonda, Jaggayyapeta, Amaravati and Bhattiprolu. Although the Ikshvaku rulers practiced the Vedic religion, they were also great sponsors of Buddhism, which reached its height in the Andhra country during their reign.

Oriental scholars such as Buhler and Rapson have expressed the view that the northern Ikshvakus might have migrated south. According to the Vayu Purana, Manu, the great patriarch of ancient India, had nine sons of whom Ikshvaku was the eldest. His capital was Ayodhya. He had one hundred sons, and the eldest Vikushi succeeded his father as the ruler of Ayodhya. Of the rest, fifty sons founded small principalities in Northern India. Forty eight of his sons migrated to the south and carved out kingdoms for themselves.

Buddhist literature refers to the penetration of the Ikshvakus into South India and declares that they founded the Asmaka, Mulaka and other principalities. These Kshatriyas settled down in the south and merged with the races there. Jain literature also refers to the exodus of northern Indian princes to the south. The Dharmamrita mentions that during the lifetime of the 12th Tirthankara, a prince named Yasodhara hailing from the Ikshvaku family came from the Anga kingdom to Vengi in the south. The prince was so impressed with the beauty of the region and the fertility of the soil that he made it his permanent home and founded a city called Pratipalapura (Bhattiprolu). Inscriptions have also been discovered in the Nagarjunakonda valley, Jaggayyapeta and Ramireddipalli attesting this fact. The Puranas (epics) mention Andhra Ikshvakus as the Sriparvatiyas, Rulers of Sriparvata and Andhrabhrityas (Servants of the Andhras).


Andhra Ikshvakus were originally feudatories of the Satavahanas and bore the title Mahatalavara. Although the Purana state that seven kings ruled for 100 years in total, the names of only four of them are known from inscriptions.

  • Vasishthiputra Sri Santamula (Santamula I), the founder of the line, performed the Asvamedha, Agnihotra, Agnistoma and Vajapeya sacrifices. Santamula performed the Asvamedha sacrifices with a view to proclaim his independent and imperial status. It had become a common practice among the rulers of the subsequent dynasties to perform the Asvamedha sacrifice in token of their declaration of independent status. From this fact, it can be inferred that it was Santamula I who first declared his independence and established the Ikshvaku dynasty. Santamula's mother was Vasishti, as evident from his name.
  • Virapurushadatta was the son and successor of Santamula through his wife Madhari. He had a sister named Adavi Santisri. He took a queen from the Saka family of Ujjain and gave his daughter in marriage to a Chutu prince. Almost all the royal ladies were Buddhists. An aunt of Virapurisadata built a significant stupa at Nagarjunakonda.
  • Virapurushadata's son Ehuvula Santamula (Santamula II) ruled after a short Abhira interregnum. His reign witnessed the completion of a Devi Vihara, the Sinhala Vihara, a convent founded for the accommodation of Sinhalese monks, and the Chaitya-griha (Chaitya hall) dedicated to the fraternities (Theriyas) of Tamraparni (Sri Lanka). Ceylonese Buddhism was in close touch with Andhra. The sculptures of Nagarjunakonda, which include large figures of Buddha, show decided traces of Greek influence and Mahayana tendencies.
  • Rudrapurushadatta was the name of an Ikshvaku ruler found in inscriptions from Gurajala in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. He could have been a son of Ehuvula Santamula. Rudrapurushadatta ruled for more than 11 years. He was probably the last important ruler of the Ikshvaku family. After him there were three more unknown rulers according to the Puranas. Around AD 278, the Abhiras might have put an end to the Ikshvakus.

Patrons of Buddhism[edit]

Most of the inscriptions of the Andhra Ikshvaku period record either the construction of the Buddhist Viharas or the gifts made to them. All the donors and builders of the Viharas were the female members of the Ikshvaku royal family. Although Santamula I is reported to have performed the Vedic sacrifices, nothing is known about the religious leanings of his successors.

This was the period during which Andhra became a flourishing centre of Buddhism and a place of pilgrimage for the Buddhists. The patrons were ladies from the royal household, the merchants and artisans and the people at large. The great stupas of Jaggayyapeta, Nagarjunakonda and Ramireddipalle were built, repaired or extended during their reign. Buddhist pilgrims and scholars visited the Buddhist centre at Nagarjunakonda. The attraction for this Buddhist centre can be accounted for from the sea trade which was carried on between Lanka and the Ikshvakus though the ports situated on the mouths of the river Krishna and the Godavari.


In the 3rd century AD, Brihatpalayana ruled Northern Andhra with Kodur in Krishna District as his capital, after the Ikshvakus, a part of the Andhra region north of the river Krishna, was ruled over by Jaya Varma of Brihatpalayana gotra.


The Ananda Gotrikas (335-425) ruled coastal Andhra with Kapotapuram as their capital. Historians[who?] are unsure of their affiliation.


The Salankayanas (c. 300 to 440) ruled over a part of the East Coast with Vengi as their capital. Salankayanas and Vishnukundinas were two of the many dynasties that succeeded the Ikshvakus Both Salankayanas and Vishnukundinas were vassals under Pallava rulers who ruled from southern Telugu and northern Tamil lands. From their time, the script for Telugu and Kannada languages began clearly separating from that of the other south Indian and north Indian dialects. Salankayanas were succeeded by Vishnukundinas from Vinukonda.


The Pallava Empire (Telugu: పల్లవులు; Tamil: பல்லவர்) was an ancient South Indian kingdom. The Pallavas, feudatories of Andhra Satavahanas, became independent after the decline of that dynasty in Amaravati. Initially they ruled southern Andhra Pradesh, also known as Palnadu, situated in the Guntur district. They later extended their rule to Tamil regions and established their capital at Kanchipuram around the 4th century. They rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571 – 630) and Narasimhavarman I (630 – 668) and dominated the southern Telugu and northern parts of Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.

Throughout their reign they were in constant conflict with both Chalukyas of Badami in the north and the Tamil states of Chola and Pandyas in the south and were finally defeated by the Chola rulers in the 8th century.

The Pallavas are most noted for their patronage of Dravidian architecture, still seen today in Mahabalipuram. They established the foundations of classical Dravidian architecture, leaving behind magnificent sculptures and temples. A Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang, visited Kanchipuram during Pallava rule and extolled their benign rule.


The Vishnukundinas were a dynasty that ruled over the Deccan and South India. It played an important role in the history of the Deccan during the 5th and 6th centuries.

According to Edward B. Eastwick, the Maharaja of Vizianagaram descends from the Maharajas of Udaipur and is of the Sisodia branch of the Gehlot tribe. A brother of the Maharaja of Udaipur migrated to Oudh in the 5th or 6th centuries, and relatives of this line migrated into the Deccan and settled at various times in Indra-Pala-Nagara in the Nalgonda district and in Vinukonda in the Guntur district. The early rulers of the dynasty were feudatory of the Vakatakas with whom they had marital alliances as well as with the Rashtrakutas.

In 529, a descendent, Madhava Varma, and four other clans gained independence and solidified their position by defeating the Salankayanas in coastal Andhra. They had different capitals such as Amaravati and Bezwada until they eventually settled into Vizianagaram. Over the centuries the other four clans served as feudatories to the Vizianagaram rulers as well as subsequent dynasties such as the Chalukyas. One of the forts later traditionally connected to Rajus is Kalidindi in Krishna district, which was under the Vishnukundin sway for a long time.

In 1512, the Maharaja of Vizianagaram was conquered by the Golkonda dynasty and was made Subahdar of the Northern Circars. The title was conferred by Emperor Aurangzeb, who gave him a two-edged sword (Zulfikar), which is still used in the coat-of-arms of the family. Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapati Raju III, in 1845 had several honours conferred on him by the British Government. Lord Northbrook conferred the title of His Highness. His son was born 31 December 1850 and a daughter was married to His Highness Maharaj Kumar Singh, cousin and heir apparent of H.H. Maharajah of Rewah. The Rajahs of Vizianagaram obtained the title of 'Gajapathi' after the 16th century battle of Nandapur in the Northern Circars.

Kalachuris of Chedi[edit]

The Matsyas, Chedis, Perichedis, Haihayas and Kalachuris seem to share a common Vedic ancestry. They all seem to share a common origin myth but it would be difficult to make a conclusive link between the myth and currently available historical information. In the Puranas the Matsya (Sanskrit for fish) was the name of a tribe Meenas and state found in the Vedic civilization of India. It was founded by a fisherman who later attained kingship. Mahabharata (V.74.16) refers to a King Sahaja as the son of a Chedi king named Uparichara Vasu who ruled over both the Chedis and the Matsyas, implying that Matsya once formed a part of the Chedi Kingdom. Other than this Matsya kingdom the epic refers as many as six other Matsya kingdoms. The Pandya Kingdom in the extreme south also bears the icon of a fish on its official banner, which may indicate some connection with the Matsya kings, and a branch of Matsya is also found later in the Visakhapatnam region.

The Chedi kingdom was one among the many kingdoms ruled during early periods by Paurava kings and later by Yadav kings in the central and western India. It falls roughly in the Bundelkhand division of Madhya Pradesh.

The Haihaya kingdom was one of the many kingdoms ruled by Chandravanshi Kshatriya kings in central and western India. It had the powerful ruler Kartavirya Arjuna who defeated Ravana. Its capital was Mahishmati (modern city of Maheswar) on the banks of river Narmada in Madhya Pradesh.

Kalachuri is the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan) and were called Chedi or Haihaya and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka. They claim common ancestry.


  • Haihaya is supposed to be derived from haya (horse).
  • They believe they are descendants of a prince of the Lunar race.
  • The Vishnu Purana represents them as descendants of Haihaya of the Yadu race, but they are generally associated with outlying tribes.
  • In the Vayu and other Puranas, five great divisions of the tribe are named as Talajanghas, Vitihotras, Avantis, Tundikeras, Jatas, or rather Sujatas.
  • According to the Mahabharata, they were descended from Saryati, a son of Manu.
  • Kaartaveerya-Arjuna, of a thousand arms, was king of the Haihayas; he was defeated and had his arms cut off by Parasurama.
  • The southern branch of Haihayas (Kalachuris) further adds to the legend:
    • Kalli, meaning "long moustache", and Churi, meaning "sharp knife", is the source of their dynastic name.
    • An 1174 record says the dynasty was founded by one Soma who grew beard and moustache, to save himself from the wrath of Parashurama, and thereafter the family came to be known as "Kalachuri".
    • Their emblem was Suvarna Vrishabha, or the golden bull.
    • They worship Krantivirya Sahasrarjun who killed Bhagwan Parshurama's father Rishi Jamdagni.

Historians such as P. B. Desai are emphatic about the central Indian origin of the Kalachuris. They were also referred to as Katachuris (shape of a sharp knife), Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara (Lord of Kalanjara) and Haihaya (Heheya). Mount Kalanjara is in north central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain. The Vindhya Mountains would seem to have been the home of these tribes; and according to Colonel Todd, a tribe of Haihayas still exists "near the very top of the valley of Sohagpur, in Bhagelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and though few in number, still celebrated for their valor."

Before the arrival of Badami Chalukyas, the Kalachuris had carved out an extensive empire covering areas of Gujarat, Malwa, Konkan and parts of Maharashtra. However, after their crippling defeat at the hands of Badami Chalukya Magalesa, they remained in obscurity for a prolonged period of time.

Historians have also pointed out that several Kalachuri kings were related to Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas by matrimonial alliances and had ruled from places like Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, Rajpur[disambiguation needed]. By the time they are mentioned in the Telugu epic "Battle of Palnadu", they referred to as the Haihaya family of the Kona region (Amalapuram and Razole Taluqs of the present East Godavari District) and the Haihaya family of Palanadu and were modest feudatories of the Chalukyas.

In the same tale the Perichedis are also mentioned also as minor feudatories of the Chalukyas. According to V. Rama Chandra Rao, they have been linked to the ancient Chedi Kingdom. They had two branches with Kollipaka and Bezawada as their capitals. He also mentions that the Vastsavai dynasty of Peddapuram may be related to the Matsya dynasty as there is evidence of a branch found in the Vishakapatnam area.

All these clans were important participants in the battle and from circumstantial evidence we may be able to surmise that they were branches of a common ancestor separated over time.

Eastern Chalukyas[edit]

Between 624 and 1323, a significant change came about in social, religious, linguistic and literary spheres of Andhra society. During this period the Telugu language, emerged as a literary medium subsuming the predominance of Prakrit and Sanskrit. As a result, Andhra achieved an identity and a distinction of its own.

The Eastern Chalukyas were a branch of the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakesin II conquered Vengi (near Eluru) in 624 and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624-641) as its ruler. His dynasty, known as the Eastern Chalukyas, ruled for nearly four centuries in all. Vishnuvardhana extended his dominions up to Srikakulam in the north and Nellore in the south.

The Eastern Chalukyas occupied a prominent place in the history of Andhra Pradesh. Since the time of Gunaga Vijayaditya in 848, inscriptions show Telugu stanzas, culminating in the production of literary works in the coming centuries. Later in the 11th century, the Mahabharata was translated partly by the court poet Nannaya under the patronage of the then Eastern Chalukya ruler Rajaraja Narendra. Throughout this period and up to the 11th century, the Telugu language was written in old Telugu script. Al-Beruni (1000) referred to old Telugu script as "Andhri" in his "Kitab Al-Hind". The emergence of the Telugu script from the old Telugu script started around the 11th century and culminated in the 19th century.

After a brief period of sovereignty under Gunaga Vijayaditya, the Vengi region again came under the Rashtrakuta rule and later the Kalyani Chalukya rule from the beginning of the 10th century to the 11th century, when the Cholas managed to wrest control from the Chalukyas. However by 1118, with the defeat of the Kulottunga Chola at the hands of Vikramaditya VI of the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty and the victory of Hoysala ruler Vishnuvardhana over the Cholas at Talakad, Vengi once again came under Chalukya rule. The Kalyani Chalukya power itself went into decline after the death of Vikramaditya VI. By the end of the 12th century, their empire was split into several local kingdoms, namely the Hoysala Empire, the Kakatiya Kingdom and the Yadavas.


The Chalukya Chola dynasty ruled the Chola Empire from 1070. until the demise of the empire in the second half of the 13th century. This dynasty was the product of decades of alliances based on marriages between the Cholas and the Eastern Chalukyas based in Vengi and produced some of the greatest Chola emperors such as Kulothunga Chola I.


The 12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the Kakatiya dynasty. They were at first the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani, ruling over a small territory near Warangal. A ruler of this dynasty, Prola II (1110–1158) extended his sway to the south and declared his independence. His successor Rudra (1158–1195) pushed the kingdom to the east up to the Godavari delta. He built Warangal Fort to serve as a second capital and faced the invasions of the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri. The next ruler Mahadeva extended the kingdom to the coastal area. Ganapati Deva succeeded him in 1199. He was the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after the Satavahanas to bring almost the entire Telugu area under one unified empire. (Unlike Satavahanas, Kakatiyas are native Telugu kings who used Telugu as court language.) He put an end to the rule of the Velanati Cholas in 1210 and extended his empire till Anakapalle in the north. The most prominent ruler in this dynasty was Rani Rudrama Devi (1262–1289), one of the few queens in Indian history. An able fighter and ruler Rudramba defended the kingdom from the Cholas and the Seuna Yadavas, earning their respect. She remains one of the few female powers of the South India for all time. On the death of Rudrama, her grandson Prataparudra, who was adopted by her as son and as heir apparent on the advice of her father Ganapatideva, ascended the throne at the beginning of the year 1290. Prataparudra had to fight battles throughout his reign against either the internal rebels or the external foes. Prataparudra expanded borders towards the west till Raichur and in the south till Ongole and Nallamala Hills, whilst introducing many administrative reforms, some of which were also later adopted in the Vijayanagar empire.

The Kakatiya dynasty faced Muslim onslaughts from 1310 and came under the control of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323. A brief period of 50 years of independence was enjoyed under Musunuri Nayaks who rebelled and liberated Telugu land from the rule of Delhi. Although short-lived, the Musunuri Nayaks rule was a watershed in the history of south India. Hakka (Harihara) and Bukka, who were previously treasury officers in the court of Prataparudra drew inspiration from them and consolidated Hindu opposition to Muslim invaders. Eventually, after the fall of the Kakatiyas in 1370, the Vijayanagara Empire, considered the last great Hindu and Kannada empire, swept across the Telugu land and the present day Karnataka (1336–1450). Small parts of Telugu region were under Reddys of Kondavidu and Rajahmundry, who were content to be vassals of Muslim kingdoms.[6]

Musunuri Nayaks[edit]

The short rule of Musunuri Nayaks was an example of Telugu pride and assertion of independence. Subsequent to the capture of Prataparudra, the invasian by the Muslims demoralized the common people who were unfamiliar with the methods adopted by the invaders.[7] Two Telugu people, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva, united the Nayaks and instilled a sense sacrifice to protect the Telugu country and Hindu Dharma. A Nayak man from Vengi (in modern-day West Godavari district), Musunuri Prolayanayak (Prolaaneedu), was chosen as their leader.[8] Prolaneedu galvanized the Nayaks with his organizational skills.[9][10] Battles were fought at a great cost, and Telugu independence was achieved. Prolaneedu liberated Warangal by 1326 and drove away Muslims from Telugu country.[11] Many of the inscriptions glorified the victories of Prolaya and the statecraft he practised.[12] Inspired by the victories of Prolaneedu and his cousin Kaapaneedu, other states like Kampili, Hoysala, Dwarasamudram and Araveedu also asserted independence. The cousins actively assisted other kings to achieve freedom from the Sultanate. Harihara and Bukka who were captured at Warangal by Ulugh Khan and converted to Islam were sent by the Sultan to suppress the rebellion of the Hoysala ruler. The brothers, however, switched sides and went on to establish the Vijayanagara Empire. The Sultan was enraged and personally led a huge army southward. He reached Warangal but had to make a hasty retreat. Historians opined that a great epidemic prevalent during that time and a formidable resistance by the Nayaks were the reasons for the retreat. Kaapaneedu wanted to utilize the opportunity to liberate the whole of Andhra Pradesh including Bidar. He sought the help of the Hoysala ruler in this endeavour. Kaapaya succeeded in capturing the Warangal fort and liberating Andhra Pradesh from the invaders. The flag of Andhradesa was again unfurled on the Warangal fort. Kaapaya was given the titles "Andhradesaadheeswara" and "Andhrasuratraana". The Telugu land now extended from Srikakulam to Bidar and Siripur to Kanchi.

A revolt by a group of Muslim nobles against Muhammad bin Tughluq that began in Devagiri in 1345 culminated in the foundation of the Bahmani Sultanate by Hasan Gangu. He assumed the name Alauddin Bahman Shah and moved his capital to the more centrally located Gulbarga in 1347. Alauddin was an ambitious man and his goal was to conquer the whole of Dakshinapatha (Deccan). The unity fostered by the Musunuri cousins among the Nayaks started showing strains fueled by envy. Recherla Nayaks led by Singama raided Addanki which was under the control of Vema Reddy. He sought the help of Kaapaneedu who intervened and forced Singama to accept the confederation. Singama was unable to reconcile to this act. Kaapaneedu also helped Bahmani sultan in good faith to ward off Delhi Sultan's attack. He would soon find Alauddin turn ungrateful. Singama and his sons induced Alauddin to interfere in the affairs of Warangal. The Bahmani sultan was only too eager to oblige. Kaapaneedu's army fought an unexpected but heroic battle in vain. He concluded a treaty with Alauddin and surrendered Kaulas fort. This was the first setback to the unified Telugu state. The death of Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1351 emboldened Alauddin to achieve his goal of expanding his sultanate in the Deccan.He reurned to Gulbarga and died in 1359. Mohammed Shah succeeded Alauddin. At this time Kaapaneedu sent his son Vinayaka Deva to liberate Kaulas and Bhuvanagiri from the Bahmanis. The Vijayanagar emperor Bukka Raya actively assisted him in this campaign. Vinayaka Deva had initial successes but was eventually defeated, captured and killed in a ghastly manner. Kaapaneedu was disheartened but his goal was to destroy the Bahmani Sultanate. Along with Bukka Raya he planned a great expedition against the Bahmanis, Golconda and Warangal were subdued. Bukka Raya died during this time. Lack of support from Vijayanagar and jealous designs of Devarakonda and Rachakonda Nayaks contributed to the fall of Warangal. Historians feel that Rachakonda Nayaks surreptitiously helped the Bahmani sultan. Golconda was chosen as the border between the Bahmani and Warangal kingdoms in 1365. Musunuri Kaapaaneedu had to present the turquoise throne and large amounts of tribute to Mohammed Shah. Singamanayaka of Recherla and his sons took advantage of the situation and declared independence. They marched against Warangal ruled by a weakened and disheartened Kaapaneedu. The treasury was empty and the army was war-weary. Kaapaneedu met Singama's army at Bhimavaram and died a martyr's death. Thus ended the short but glorious reign (1326–1370) of the Musunuri clan which united the Telugu country, its people and its warriors, and protected the Hindu Dharma. The valor, dedication and undaunted spirit of sacrifice of Musunuri Nayaks are unparalleled in the history of Telugu land[citation needed].

Reddy Dynasty[edit]

The first of the Reddy clans came into prominence during the Kakatiya period. During this time the Reddys carved out for themselves feudal principalities. After the death of Pratapa Rudra II and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire, the Reddy chiefs became independent and this led to the emergence of the Reddy kingdom.[13][14][15][16]

The 19th-century writer Edgar Thurston in his book, Castes and Tribes of Southern India stated that Reddys were the village chiefs and listed them under the section Kapu.[28] The village chiefs were given the title "Reddy".

The Reddy dynasty (1325–1448) ruled some parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh for over a hundred years.[15][17][18][19][20] Reddys became independent after the death of Pratapa Rudra II and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya Dynasty. Thus emerged the Reddy Kingdom.[13][14][15][16] Prolaya Vema Reddy was the first king of the Reddy dynasty.[21] The capital of the kingdom was Addanki which was moved to Kondavidu and subsequently to Rajahmundry.[22] His reign was characterized by restoration of peace, patronage of arts and literature, and all round development. Errana, the translator of Ramayana, lived during this period.

Origins of Reddys: The Rashtrakutas and Reddys seem to share a similar origin, from the great "Rattas" or "Rathis" or "Rashtrikas"[12][15] who ruled the Deccan from ancient times.[16] The "Rathis" ruled over small principalities in the Deccan plateau before 200 BCE, before the Satavahanas and Mauryas. The word "Rathi" or "Ratti" is found under various forms such as Reddi, Ratta, Rashtrakuta, Rahtor, Rathaur.[28] They left coins in northern Andhra Pradesh, Kurnool district, and near Pune. Coins were found in the levels between the megalithic to Satavahana periods in excavations. The usage of the word Reddy specifically was first seen in the inscriptions made during the Renati Chola period (7th century CE).[29] Reddys are believed to be an offshoot of the Rashtrakuta dynasty. After the decline of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, the ruling clan broke off and settled in North and South India. Rashtrakutas were a Rajput clan. The settlers in the north are called Rathods/Rathores, and ruled Marwar in western Rajasthan, while the southern settlers were called Reddys.

Vijayanagar Empire[edit]

The Vijayanagara Empire, one of the greatest empires in the southern India, was founded by Harihara (Hakka) and Bukka, who either served as Treasury officers in the administration of the Kakatiya dynasty or as Hoysala commanders. When Warangal fell in 1323, the two brothers were captured, taken to Delhi and converted to Islam. They were sent to the Deccan as governors of Kampili by the Delhi Sultanate with the hope that they would be able to deal with the local revolt and invasions by neighboring Hindu kings. Their first campaign was against the neighboring Hoysala emperor, Veera Ballala III of Dwarasamudra. Later, the brothers reconverted to Hinduism under the influence of the sage Vidyaranya and proclaimed their independence from the Delhi Sultanate. However, this theory of conversion to Islam, wars against the Hoysalas and their reconversion to Hinduism has been rejected by other historians who claim the founders were Kannadigas and were stationed in the Tungabhadra region by Hoysala Veera Ballala III to fight the Muslim invasion. Harihara I (reigned 1336–56) then established his new capital, Vijayanagar, in an easily defensible position south of the Tungabhadra River, where it came to symbolize the emerging medieval political culture of South India. The Vijayanagara empire reached its peak under Emperor Krishnadevaraya in the early part of 16th century. Telugu literature reached new heights during this time. Fine Vijayanagar monuments were built across South India including Lepakshi, Tirupathi and Sri Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh. The largest and most famous ensemble of Vijayanagara monuments are at Hampi in modern Karnataka.

Mughal era[edit]

In 1323 the Delhi Sultan Ghiaz-ud-din Tughlaq sent a large army under Ulugh Khan to conquer the Telugu country and lay siege to Warangal.

In 1347, an independent Muslim state, the Bahmani Sultanate, was established in south India by Ala-ud-Din Bahman Shah as a revolt against the Delhi Sultanate. By the end of the 15th century, the Bahmani rule was plagued with faction fights and there came into existence the five Shahi sultanates. Of these, it was the Qutb Shahi dynasty that played a significant and notable role in the history of Telugu land.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the Andhra country for about two hundred years from the early part of the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. Sultan Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the dynasty, served the Bahmanis faithfully and was appointed governor of the Hyderabad State in 1496. He declared independence after the death of his patron king, Mahmud Shah, in 1518. Aurangazeb, the Mughal emperor, in 1687 invaded Golconda and annexed it to his empire. He appointed a Nizam (governor) and thus for about a period of 35 years this region was ruled by Mughal Nizams. Aurangazeb died in 1707 and the administrative machinery of the Mughal imperial regime began to crumble and it gradually lost control over the provinces. It enabled two foreign mercantile companies to consolidate themselves as political powers capable of subsequently playing decisive roles in shaping the destiny of the nation. They were the East India Company of England and the Compagnie des Indes Orientales of France.

Beginning of the Colonial era[edit]

Colonial era

In 1753, a decree of Asif ad-Dawlah Mir Ali Salabat Jang, Subedar of Deccan conceded to General Bussy the paragons of Chicacole, Ellore, Rajahmundry etc. with an annual revenue Rs.200,000 for the maintenance of the French troops in the Subah in recognition of the help of these Circars amounted up to 1 million Rupees per year. Bussy helped Salabat Jang to be the Subedar of Deccan. The agreement made between the French and Salabat Jang in Aurangabad bears the signature of Said Loukshur, Minister of Salabat Jang. Yanam acquired considerable importance during the occupation of the Northern Circars by the French.

Another important event in the history was the war between the French and the English fought at Chandurthi (now in Gollaprolu mandal) in East Godavari district) in 1758 in which the French were defeated by the combined armies of British and Maharaja Ananda Gajapathi Raju- 2 of Vizianagram. Salabat Jang made a treaty with the British and gave the Northern Circars under a firman to the English. Later, Nizam rebelled against the English. A second treaty was the result of war and the Northern Circars remained permanently under the control of the British. After 1760 the French lost hold in South India, especially on Northern Circars. In 1765, Lord Robert Clive, the then existing Chief and Council at Vizagapatam obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. In 1792, the British got complete supremacy, when they defeated Maharaja Vijaya Rama Gajapathi Raju of Vizianagaram. During rules of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Kingdom of Mysore followed expansionist policy against Marathas, Nizam and the English and made incursions of Rayalaseema regions.

Madras Presidency[edit]

Then Northern Circars became part of the British Madras Presidency. Eventually that region emerged as the Coastal Andhra region. Later, the Nizam had ceded 5 territories (Datta Madalālu) to the British which eventually emerged as the Rayalaseema region. The Nizams retained control of the interior provinces as the Princely state of Hyderabad, acknowledging British rule in return for local autonomy.

The provinces were at the time governed in a feudal manner, with Zamindars in areas such as Kulla and other parts of the Godavari acting as lords under the Nizam. The feudal or zamindari system was removed after independence.

Telugu Districts in Madras Presidency[edit]

The Andhras (or Telugu) were at the forefront of Indian nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Zamindaris in Famous Madaras state

Zamindaris in Famous Madaras state is Ruled by Padamanayakas


India became independent from the United Kingdom in 1947. The Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to retain his independence from India, he was forced accede his state to India in 1948 as the Hyderabad State. When India became independent, the Telugu-speaking people (although Urdu is spoken in some parts of Hyderabad and in few other districts of Hyderabad State) were distributed in about 22 districts, 9 of them in the Hyderabad State region of Nizam's Dominions (Hyderabad State) and 12 in the Madras Presidency and one in French controlled Yanam. Andhra State was the first state in India that has been formed on a purely linguistic basis by carving it out from Madras Province in 1953. Andhra State was later merged with Telugu speaking area of Hyderabad State to create Andhra Pradesh state in 1956. In 1954, Yanam was liberated and it was merged with Puducherry in 1963.

Madras Manade movement[edit]

However, in 1953, Telugu speakers of Madras Presidency wanted Madras as the capital of Andhra Pradesh state including the famous slogan "Madras Manade" (Madras is ours) before Tirupati was included in Andhra Pradesh. Madras at that time was an indivisible mixture of Tamil and Telugu cultures. It was difficult to determine who should possess it. Panagal Raja, Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency, in the early 1920s said that the Cooum River should be kept as a boundary, giving the northern portion to the Andhra and the southern portion to the Tamils. In 1928, Sir C. Sankaran Nair sent a report to the Central Council discussing why Madras does not belong to the Tamils. But finally, it was decided that Madras would remain in the Tamil region. According to the JPC report, (Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya, C. Rajagopalachari) Telugu people should leave Madras for Tamils if they want a new state.

Creation of Andhra Pradesh State[edit]

In an effort to protect the interests of the Telugu people of Madras state, Amarajeevi Potti Sriramulu attempted to force the Madras Presidency government to listen to public demands for the separate Telugu speaking state (Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra) from Madras Presidency to form the Andhra state. He went on a lengthy fast, and only stopped when Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised to form Andhra state. However, there was no movement on the issue for a long time. He started fasting again for attaining statehood for Andhra in Maharshi Bulusu Sambamurthy's house in Madras on 19 October 1952. It started off without fanfare but steadily caught people's imagination despite the disavowal of the fast by the Andhra Congress committee.

The government of the day however did not make a clear statement about the formation of a new state despite several strikes and demonstrations by Telugu people. On the midnight of 15 December (i.e. early 16 December 1952), Potti Sriramulu died and laid down his life trying to achieve his objective.

In his death procession, people shouted slogans praising his sacrifice. When the procession reached Mount Road, thousands of people joined and raised slogans hailing Sriramulu. Later, they went into a frenzy and resorted to destruction of public property. The news spread like wildfire and created an uproar among the people in far off places like Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Eluru, Guntur, Tenali, Ongole and Nellore. Seven people were killed in police firing in Anakapalle and Vijayawada. The popular agitation continued for three to four days disrupting normal life in Madras and Andhra regions. On 19 December 1952, the Prime Minister of the country Jawaharlal Nehru made an announcement about formation of a separate state for Telugu speaking people of Madras Presidency.

House no. 126, Royapettah high road, Mylapore, Madras is the address of the house where Potti Sriramulu died and it has been preserved as a monument of importance by the state government of Andhra Pradesh.

On the basis of an agitation, on 1 October 1953, 11 districts in the Telugu-speaking portion of Madras State (Coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema) voted to become the new state of Andhra State with Kurnool as the capital. Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu became first Chief Minister of thus formed Telugu State.

The formation of linguistic states is the single most important event in the history of South Indian languages, as it provided an opportunity for these languages to develop independently, each of them having a state to support.

Merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra[edit]

In December 1953, the States Reorganization Commission was appointed to prepare for the creation of states on linguistic lines.[23] The commission, due to public demand, recommended disintegration of Hyderabad state and to merge Marathi speaking region with Bombay state, Kannada speaking region with Mysore state and Telugu Speaking region in Andhra Pradesh. (SRC) was not in favour of an immediate merger of Telugu speaking region of Hyderabad state with Andhra state, despite their common language. Para 378 of the SRC report said "One of the principal causes of opposition of Vishalandhra also seems to be the apprehension felt by educated people of the coastal areas and educationally backward Telugu speaking people in Hyderabad State.

The Chief Minister of Hyderabad State, Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, supported to merge Hyderabad State Telugu speaking people. the voting in assemblies of Hyderabad State and Andhra gave result 2/3 majority to merge Telugu speaking people. Andhra state and Hyderabad State was merged to form Andhra Pradesh state on 1 November 1956.

Telangana Decision and the era of multiple telugu states[edit]

The key players in kicking of this new era of multiple Telugu states are Mrs. Sonia Gandhi the president of Congress Party, Kaluwakurty Chandrashekar rao the president of TRS, Chandrababu Naidu the leader of TDP, Sushma Swaray and Venkiah Naidu for the BJP. Chandrashekar rao was the leader of a political movement to bifurcate the state. Chandrababu Naidu, Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj had led parties that have approved the bifurcation of the state as a part of their party agenda. Various political leaders such as the chief minister of the state Kiran Kumar Reddy, Vijayawada Member of Parliament Lagadapati Rajagopal etc., worked hard to convince the people of Seema Andhra not to agitate and that the leaders were capable of stopping the bifurcation. The bifurcation was hence completed without any blood shed.

The passing of the bifurcation legislation by Congress(UPA)was the most acrimonious incident in the Parliament of India since independence. The acrimony resulted in the suspension of all of the Andhra MPs from the parliament during the passing of the legislation. Parliament doors needed to be closed, and the broadcast of the proceedings shutdown to pass the bill.

During this period, The Krishna river water tribunal allocated additional water to the upper river state of Karnataka without any contest. The offshore oil and gas fields of the Krishna-Godavari delta was sold off to the British Company of British Petroleum.

The key bifurcation decisions were to leave Hyderabad and its revenue to Telangana. Bhadrachalam to be left with Telangana with land needed for irrigation project on Godavari to be transferred to the Residuary State of Andhra. Some verbal promises were made by the retiring Prime Minister of India (Dr. Manmohan Singh) to help both the new states develop after bifurcation.


  1. ^ http://www.archive.org/stream/ancientindiantri032697mbp#page/n105/mode/2up
  2. ^ Buddha's Preaching of the Kalachakra Tantra at the Stupa of Dhanyakataka, H. Hoffman, in: German Scholars on India, Vol. I, 1973, PP. 136-140, Varanasi
  3. ^ Taranatha; http://www.kalacakra.org/history/khistor2.htm
  4. ^ The History of Andhras, Durga Prasad (http://igmlnet.uohyd.ernet.in:8000/gw_44_5/hi-res/hcu_images/G2.pdf
  5. ^ Ancient India by Megasthenes and Arrian; Translated and edited by J. W. McCrindle, Calcutta and Bombay: Thacker, Spink, 1877, p. 30-174
  6. ^ Pre-colonial India in Practice, Cynthia Talbot, 2001, Oxford University Press, p. 181, ISBN 0-19-513661-6
  7. ^ Sarma, M. Somasekhara; A Forgotten Chapter of Andhra History 1945, Andhra University, Waltair
  8. ^ History of the Andhras up to 1565 A. D., Durga Prasad, 1988, p. 168
  9. ^ A Forgotten Chapter of Andhra History, M. Somasekhara Sarma, 1945, Andhra University, Waltair
  10. ^ Pre-colonial India in Practice, Cynthia Talbot, 2001, Oxford University Press, pp.177-182, ISBN 0-19-513661-6
  11. ^ Administration and Society in Medieval Andhra (AD. 1038-1538), C. V. Ramachandra Rao, 1976, Manasa Publications, p.36
  12. ^ Pre-colonial India in Practice, Cynthia Talbot, 2001, Oxford University Press, pp.177, ISBN 0-19-513661-6
  13. ^ a b Eṃ Kulaśēkhararāvu (1988). A history of Telugu literature. For copies, M. Indira Devi. p. 96. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Government Of Madras Staff; Government of Madras (1 January 2004). Gazetteer of the Nellore District: brought upto 1938. Asian Educational Services. p. 51. ISBN 978-81-206-1851-0. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c Gordon Mackenzie (1990). A manual of the Kistna district in the presidency of Madras. Asian Educational Services. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-81-206-0544-2. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  16. ^ a b K. V. Narayana Rao (1973). The emergence of Andhra Pradesh. Popular Prakashan. p. 4. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  17. ^ Pran Nath Chopra (1982). Religions and communities of India. Vision Books. p. 136. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  18. ^ M. D. Muthukumaraswamy; Molly Kaushal; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts; National Folklore Support Centre (India) (2004). Folklore, public sphere, and civil society. NFSC www.indianfolklore.org. pp. 198–. ISBN 978-81-901481-4-6. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  19. ^ Mallampalli Somasekhara Sarma; Mallampalli Sōmaśēkharaśarma (1948). History of the Reddi kingdoms (circa. 1325 A.D. to circa 1448 A.D.). Andhra University. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  20. ^ Andhrula Sanghika Charitra, Suravaram Pratapa Reddy, (in Telugu)
  21. ^ A Sketch of the Dynasties of Southern India By Robert Sewell
  22. ^ Sheldon I. Pollock (2003). Literary cultures in history: reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press. pp. 385–. ISBN 978-0-520-22821-4. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  23. ^ "SRC submits report". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 1 October 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2011. 

External links[edit]