Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh

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Not to be confused with Amaravati (capital city).
Amaravathi
అమరావతి
Amareswaram
Andhra Nagari
Village
Buddha statue at Amaravati
Buddha statue at Amaravati
Amaravathi is located in Andhra Pradesh
Amaravathi
Amaravathi
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
Area
 • Total 214 km2 (83 sq mi)
Elevation[1] 36 m (118 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 67,481
 • Density 320/km2 (820/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Telugu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 522 020
Telephone code +91–254
Vehicle registration AP–7

Amaravati is a village in Guntur district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located in Amaravati mandal of Guntur revenue division.[3] It is located on the banks of Krishna River, north of Guntur City.[4] Amaravati has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.[5]

Etymology[edit]

Amaravathi translates to The town lives forever in the local language.[6] It is also referred as Amareswaram, for its famous Amareswara temple dedicated to Lord Siva, one of the famous Pancharamas.[7] It was formerly known as Andhra Nagari.. .[8]

History[edit]

The recorded history of Amaravati and nearby Dharanikota dates to 2nd century BCE. 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.[9]

Holy relic sites map of Andhra Pradesh
Amaravathi Stupa relief at Chennai Museum, India

Amaravati was part of Delhi Sultanate, Musunuri Nayaks, Bahmani Sultanate, Vijayanagara Empire, Sultanate of Golconda and Mughal Empire successively before the founding of the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1724. It was ceded to France in 1750 but was captured by England in 1759. Guntur returned to the Nizamate in 1768 but was ceded to England again in 1788. It was briefly occupied by Hyder Ali. It was part of Madras Presidency during the British colonial period.

The stupa[edit]

The region between Krishna and Godavari rivers (where Amaravati lies) was an important place for Buddhism from the 2nd century BCE onwards. A Buddhist stupa was built during the reign of Ashoka in 200 BCE, was carved with panels that tell the story of Buddha. The story of the sculpture, including their discovery, misuse and destruction and subsequent preservation & distribution to various museums (Chennai, Calcutta, London, Masulipatnam etc.) has been poignantly described by Shimada.[10] During the period of the decline of Buddhism, this stupa was neglected and was buried under rubble. A 14th-century inscription in Sri Lanka 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.[11] Dalai Lama of Tibet conducted a Kalachakra initiation at this location in 2006.

Distribution of the Edicts of Ashoka[12]

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 Mathura style, and the Gandhara style. The Amravati school of art had great influence on art in Sri Lanka and South-East Asia as products from here were carried to those countries. It also had influence over South Indian sculpture. The Government Museum at Egmore (Madras Museum) and British Museum, London host the "Amaravati Gallery".[13]

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.[14]

Amaravati School[edit]

A different type of art form evolved and flourished in Amaravati for nearly six centuries, commencing from 200-100 BCE. Patronized first by the Satavahanas and later by the Ikshvakus and other groups (feudatories, officials, and merchants), four periods of activity are easily discernible.[15]

The Amaravati school of art occupies a pre-eminent position in the history of Indian Art. With its beginning in 3rd century BCE, 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.[16]

Geography[edit]

The city is located at 16°34′N 80°22′E / 16.567°N 80.367°E / 16.567; 80.367[17] on the south bank of Krishna river.

Demographics[edit]

As of 2001 Census of India, the town had a population of 26,800. The total population constitute, 12,864 males and 13,936 females —a sex ratio of 1,083 females per 1,000 males. 2,642 children are in the age group of 0–6 years, of which 1,294 are boys and 1,348 are girls —a ratio of 1,042 per 1,000. The average literacy rate stands at 71.34% with 17,234 literates, higher than the state average of 67.41%.

Tourist places[edit]

The town is a center of pilgrimage to both Hindus and Buddhists, with a famous temple dedicated to the god Siva. The walls of the Amareswara (Siva) temple have lot of inscriptions providing 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 for the construction of a large number of temples and education centers in the Krishna river delta.[18]

Dhyana Buddha statue of Amaravathi

Transport[edit]

It is connected by the Amaravati road from Guntur.

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 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. ^ "Elevation for Amaravati". Veloroutes. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Census 2011". The Registrar General & Census Commissioner, India. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Adminsistrative divisions of Guntur district" (PDF). guntur.nic.in. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "On a mission for enlightenment". The Hindu. 
  5. ^ "Introduction". HRIDAY official website. 
  6. ^ "Andhra Pradesh’s capital city Amaravathi". Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad). 6 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Other name of Amaravati". Guntur district website. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Amaravati Museum". AP Tourism Department. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Skanda Purana In: Puranic Encyclopedia, 1975, Vettam Mani, Motilal Banarsidas, New Delhi
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Kilty,G Ornament of Stainless Light, Wisdom 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0
  12. ^ Reference: "India: The Ancient Past" p.113, Burjor Avari, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-35615-6
  13. ^ Sculptures from Amaravati in the British Museum, D. Barrett, 1954, Trustees of the British Museum, London
  14. ^ Travels of Xuanzang: http://www.odiseos.net/XTWeb/index.html
  15. ^ Reshma Rai. "What were the salient features of Amaravati School?". preservearticles.com. 
  16. ^ "Archaeological Museum, Amaravati - Archaeological Survey of India". asi.nic.in. 
  17. ^ "redirect to /world/IN/02/Amaravati.html". fallingrain.com. 
  18. ^ Sri Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu, 1973, K. Lakshminarayana, Ponnuru (http://www.openlibrary.org/details/rajavasireddyven022548mbp)