Rayalaseema (Telugu: రాయలసీమ Rāyalasīma) is a geographic region in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It includes the southern districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool. It has a total area of 67,299 km2 with a population of 15,174,908 (2011 census). These Telugu-speaking districts were part of the Madras Presidency until 1953, when Telugu-speaking districts of the Presidency were carved out to form Andhra State. From 1953-6, this region was part of Andhra State. In 1956, the Telangana region was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh State. Earlier, Bellary district was part of Rayalaseema. With the formation of states based on languages, Bellary was joined to Karnataka. The city of Bellary, which has large numbers of both Kannada and Telugu speakers, was included in Mysore after protracted debate and controversy.
Rayalaseema was ruled by Sri Krishna Devaraya. Rayalaseema was the original home of the Eastern Chalukya Empire, which gradually extended their sway over Karnataka under pressure from the Chola kings. Although Rayalaseema is a small region compared to the rest of Telugu-speaking areas, its contribution to Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, and Urdu arts, culture and literature is immense.
Before and around the period of Chalukya, i.e., 7CE period, it is also called "Hiranyaka Rastramu". Only during and after the Vijayanagara era is it called Rayala seema.
During the British era, the Nizam of Hyderabad ceded this area to the British, and is also called Ceded Districts'. After Independence, it was renamed as Rayalaseema as 'seema' was an administrative unit of the Vijayanagara Empire similar to today's districts.
Origin of the Name
The name Rayalaseema became popular only in 20th century. Earlier this region was known as Datta Mandalalu or Datta seema(means ceded region) as these districts were ceded to the British rulers by the Nizam of Hyderabad in gratitude for British help in several wars in 1802. But at the beginning of the 20th century many intellectuals of this region were under the opinion that this name was insulting to the prestige of the public at large. On 17 and 18 November 1928 the Andhra Maha Sabha meeting was held in Nandyal town. Here a serious discussion came about on the naming of this region among the participant leaders. Chilukuri Narayana Rao suggested the name Rayalaseema as the Rayala Dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire ruled mainly this region and a culture with a proud heritage had flourished. (Earlier it was thought that this name was given by Gadicherla Harisarvottama Rao. This statement was in debate for long time but after thorough research it was found that Chilukuri must be credited.) The name "Rayalaseema" was widely accepted and well received by the intellectuals and people at large. When coastal Andhra leaders started a "separate Andhra" movement to secede from Madras state, the Rayalaseema leaders did not support it initially mainly due to the doubts about the development of this area if united with Andhra after the separation. To clear the doubts of the Rayalasema people the "Sribagh pact" was made on 16 November 1937.
Telugu culture reached its zenith during the Vijayanagara rule under Sri Krishnadevaraya. Amongst Ashta Diggajas, Allasani Peddana, Dhoorjati, Nandi Timmana, Maadayyagari Mallana and Ayyalaraju RamaBhadrudu are from this region.
Poets like Vemana, Sri Potuluri Virabrahmendra Swami from Kadapa district played a great role in educating the common people through their literary works. It is also claimed by some experts that Pothana, who penned Andhra Mahabhagavatham, was actually born at Ontimitta village of Kadapa District.
Bellary has had a rich past in Telugu drama, with famed dramatists like Bellary Raghava, Dharmavaraṃ Rāmakr̥ṣṇamācāryulu and Kolachalam Srinivasa Rao contributing to the Telugu literary drama from Bellary, supported by a number of drama theatres in the town. Today, the Raghava Kala Mandir in the town is named after Bellary Raghava.
Notable Urdu Literary personalities from this region, Qaisi Qamarnagari, Kareem Roomani, Barq Kadapavi, Ahmadnisar Madanapalle, Qamar Ameeni, Abdul Azeem, Saghar Jayyadi, Sathar Faizi, N.M.Jalib Saaqui Kadapa.
Music and Actors
Tyagaraja - Ancestors of Tyagaraja, the celebrated composer amongst the Carnatic Music Trinity are from this area. Tyagaraja, a Mulakanadu Brahmin (a sub-sect originally prevalent only in RayalaSeema), in one of his compositions declares about the ancestors belonging to "Kakarla" village in the current day RayalaSeema.
Annamayya (a.k.a. Tallapaka Annamacharya) - born in Kadapa district and credited to have composed about 32,000 Keerthanas on Lord Venkateswara, which are popular even today among the music lovers. Apart from the songs on Sri Venkateswara, he also composed lullabies like Chandamama Raave, jaabilli raave, which every Telugu mother sings.
Tarigonda Vengamamba - Belongs to Tarigonda near Tirupati and composed many songs and poems on Tharigonda Narasimha Swamy and Lord Venkateswara.
SriPada Pinakapani - Settled in Kurnool (21st Century). He is guru of other Telugu stalwarts like Oleti Venkateswarlu, Nedunuri Krishnamurti, Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Malladi Brothers and others.
Chitturu Nagayya or Chittor V. Nagaiah birth name - Vuppaladadiyam Nagayya (వుప్పలదడియం నాగయ్య) (28 March 1904 – 30 December 1973) was an Indian actor, composer, director, producer, writer and playback singer of Telugu film industry, Andhra Pradesh, India. Indian film journalist and the editor of Film India, Baburao Patel, described Nagiah as ‘The Paul Muni of India’. Nagaiah acted in about 200 Telugu films, and 160 films in Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.
Rayalaseema has many important places of pilgrimage for Hindus.
- Tirumala Venkateswara Temple - Abode of Lord Venkateswara.
- Srisailam - Abode of Mallikarjuna (Lord Shiva).
- Adoni - Sri Mahayogi Lakshmamma Avva Temple
- Ahobilam - Where Narasimha blessed Prahlada.
- Srikalahasti - Temple of Lord Shiva
- Mahanandi - Lord Shiva temple
- Yaganti eswara - Lord Shiva temple
- Mantralayam - One of the most important pilgrim places for Madhva sect of Brahmins.
- Puttaparthi - Abode of Sri Satya Sai Baba.
- Kanipakam - Temple of Lord Ganapathi
- Kadiri - Lord LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SWAMY [Along with Prahalada].
- Kasapuram, Guntakal - Sri Nettikanti Anjaneya Swamy Temple, built during Krishna Devaraya regime.
- Lepakshi nandi temple in Ananthapuram district
- KonetiRayala Swamy Temple Famous for the temple of Lord Venkateshwara in Keelapatla Village, Chittoor Dt.
- Ontimitta - Famous for the temple of Sri Rama, where on the Sri Ramanavami day, Mutyalatalambralu is accorded to the lord by the state government along with Bhadrachalam.
- Bramhamgari Matam Famous for the temple Sri Pothuluri Veera Bramhendra Swamulavaru, Kandimallayapalle Village Kadapa district.
- Pushpagiri Famous for the temple Sri Chennakesava Swamy beside of Penna River
- Tallapaka birthplace of annamayya
- Tadipatri Famous for the temple of Lord Sri Rama and shiva
- Narayanavanam Famous for the temple of Lord Venkateswara
- Ardhagiri Famous for the temple of Lord Sri veeranjaneya
- Brahmagundam - Lord Brahmagundeswara swamy temple
- Gandi-Anjaneya swamy temple where lord rama moulded the idol of anjaneya
- Sanghameswaram - Lord shiva temple near pagidyala mandal nandikotkur, kurnool (this is the place where the 7 rivers are mixing together)
- D.P Palayam - Famous for Sri Veera Vijaya Anjaneya Swamy temple, located near Tamil Nadu border which lies in between Chittoor and Gudiyattam State Highway 88, people in and around chittoor, vellore visit this temple every fullmoon day.
- Bhanukota - Lord siva temple,it is very oldest temple located at near Ahobilam village,simhadripuram mandal,YSR Kadapa dist.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple - Abode of Lord Venkateswara. The temple is the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world.
Gandikota-One of the famous fort in A.P. Gandikota was founded in 1123 by Kakaraja, a subordinate of Ahavamalla Someswara I, the Western Chalukyan king of Kalyana. The town played a significant role during the Kakatiya, Vijayanagara and Qutub Shahi periods. Gandikota is a small village (Lat. 14° 49'5" N and Long. 78° 16'58 E) on the right bank of the river Pennar, 15 km from Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, Andhra Pradesh in India. Now Gandikota project is being built for the sake of kadapa district agriculture as the part of jalayagnam and developing tourism Eco-center.
Shahi Jamia Masjid, Adoni- One of the oldest construction in South India. The Jamma Masjid is located within the fort it's a fine piece of Muslim architecture. It was built somewhere around 1662 AD by Siddi Masood Khan, who was an Adil Shahi Governor.
Penukonda fort - One of the big fort in Rayalaseema. Second capital of Vijayanagara samrajyam. People believed it as Sri Krishnadevaraya's summer spot. Gagan mahal, Khilla, thimmarasu samdhi, jine temple. From Anantapur 75 km, from Banglore130 km. Nagaloor Anjeneyaswamy (8 feet height) temple in Nagalore (just 14 km from Penukonda), villagers recently reconstructed the temple, they believe its around 800 years old.
Thimmama Marrimanu - World's largest occupied banyan tree, it covers 5.2 acres (21,000 m2).The tree is said to be 550 years old. It holds a Guinness Book record. It is situated Near Kadiri, 120 kilometres from Anantapur.
Kadiri Sree Khadri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Kadiri, Anantapur Dist.
From Anantapur 90 kilometers, From Hindupur 85 kilometers, From Madanapalle 80 kilometers.
Penna ahobilam Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Penna ahobilam, Uravakonda, Anantapur Dist.
From Anantapur 39 kilometers, From Uravakonda 11 kilometers, From Bellary 60 kilometers.
- Annamayya - Spiritual guru also had written songs on Lord Sri Venkateswara, an interesting mention of the lullaby Chandamama Raave, jaabilli raave, which every Telugu mother sings.
- Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji - Pontiff of Avadhoota Datta Peetham, is from Bommeparthy (Jayalakshmipuram) in Anantapuram district.
- Swami Poornananda ji - Avadhoota Swami of Srisailam.
- Yogi Vemana - Poet
- Sri Pothuluri Veerabramhendra Swamy - Poet and clairvoyant.
- Puttaparti Satya Sai baba - Spiritual and religious savant.
- Jiddu Krishnamurti - Philosopher, Madanapalle.
- Mumtaz Ali - The Satsang Foundation, Madanapalle.
Mahanandi Temple:- Mahanandi temple is famous for lord siva with special temple architecture. The interesting thing about this temple is that there is a swimming pool inside the temple to which the water will be continuously provided from a water spring which will never dry out. The temple is near to nallamalla forest. Surrounding this temple eight more siva temples are there that is why the nearby town is called Nandyal (mean—combination of nandi alayas)
Old Rayalaseema Region
Parts of present Andhra Pradesh state
Parts of present Karnataka state
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Rayalaseema is underdeveloped compared to the Coastal Andhra region of the state. The growing movement in Telangana to secede from Andhra Pradesh, as well as southern India's long droughts have caused several movements to coalesce around Rayalaseema's grievances. All of these movements are calling for greater official attention for the region, especially in the form of new water projects to harness the Krishna and Godavari rivers to the aid of the region's beleaguered farmers. Since Rayalaseema comprises only four districts, some people of Rayalaseema want to advocate the inclusion of neighbouring coastal Andhra districts of Nellore and Prakasam and even the Kannada-speaking district of Bellary in Karnataka and demand for a separate Rayalaseema State, though people of coastal districts refuse for such proposal.
Various organizations like Rayalaseema Hakkula Ikya Vedika promoted by Sri T G Venkatesh are demanding the establishment of second capital in Kurnool. Kurnool is an important city in the Rayalaseema region. It was the capital of Andhra State from 1 October 1953 to 1 November 1956 and at present is the headquarters of Kurnool District.
Though the area comprises 4 districts, several chief ministers came from this region. They include Neelam Sanjiva Reddy the former President of India, previous Chief Ministers Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Damodaram Sanjivayya, Nara Chandrababu Naidu and even the current chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy are from Rayalaseema region.
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The peculiar phenomenon of factionism in Rayalaseema dates back to the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. Village chieftains known as Poligars (to be clear Paalegarlu) were crucial for the survival of the kingdom. Vijayanagara rulers depended upon these chieftains for military support in times of crisis and granted a fair degree of autonomy. The British tried to eradicate factionism in the region by executing a couple of the chieftains publicly, but failed . Land reforms to distribute land and wealth usurped by Palegars have met limited success, which resulted in another violent phenomenon known as Naxalism. Factionism has political patronage and is a flourishing activity today.
Factionism has been hindering the growth of Rayalaseema. Even today, many politicians or their families are associated with factionism, spends their valuable time and resources to retaliate with their opponents.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (December 2009)|
- "Rayalaseema's bane" on Frontline
- "The Killing Fields of Rayalaseema" on Rediff
- Article in the Deccan Herald on the Rayalaseema separatist movement
- page 7 of Rayalaseema Mukhachitram
- page 118 of History of modern Andhra by P.R. Rao
- a publication of T.T.D.in 2009 on the eve of Annamacharya's 400th birth anniversary celebrations