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Hiranyaka Rastram, Renadu
Region of Andhra Pradesh
Map of India with Rayalaseema highlighted in red
Map of India with Rayalaseema highlighted in red
Country India
State Andhra Pradesh
 • Total 67,526 km2 (26,072 sq mi)
Population (census 2011)
 • Total 15,184,908
 • Density 226/km2 (590/sq mi)
 • Official Telugu
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Largest city Kurnool (By population)
Kadapa (By area)

Rayalaseema (Rāyalasīma) is a geographic region in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It includes the southern districts of Anantapur, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool. With an area of 67,526  km2 (42.00% of the state territory), Rayalaseema is larger than Kerala, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and nine other states in India. It has a population of 15,184,908 (2011 census), which is 30.03% of the state population. Rayalaseema borders the state of Tamil Nadu to the south, Karnataka to the west, Telangana to the north and the Coastal Andhra region of Andhra Pradesh to the east. The region contributes 52 assembly segments to Andhra Pradesh state legislature and 8 parliamentary constituencies to the Indian parliament. These Telugu-speaking districts were part of the Madras Presidency until 1953, then they were carved out to form Andhra State.[2] From 1953 to 1956, the region was part of Andhra State. In 1956, the Telangana region was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh State.[3] However, in 2014 this area was split off again to form a separate 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 Western Chalukyas, which gradually extended their sway over Karnataka under pressure from the Chola kings. Rayalaseema's contribution to Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, and Urdu arts, culture and literature is immense.

During the British era, the Nizam of Hyderabad ceded this area to the British, and hence was called Ceded Districts'. Independence, it was renamed as Rayalaseema as 'seema' was an administrative unit of the Vijayanagara Empire similar to today's districts.


Rayalaseema comprises

Parts of present Andhra Pradesh state

  1. Kadapa district
  2. Kurnool district
  3. Anantapur district
  4. Chittoor district

Parts of present Karnataka state

  1. Bellary district
  2. Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district
  3. Harapanahalli taluk
  4. Kolar taluk

Origin of the name[edit]

The name Rayalaseema became popular only in the 20th century. This region was known as Datta Mandalalu or Datta seema (ceded region) as districts of present Rayalaseema were ceded to the British rulers by the Nizam of Hyderabad in gratitude for British help in several wars in 1802. 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. On 17 and 18 November 1928 the Andhra Maha Sabha meeting was held in Nandyal town. 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. (It was thought that this name was given by Gadicherla Harisarvottama Rao. This statement was in debate for long time; after thorough research it was found that Chilukuri must be credited.)

Sources of Economy[edit]

Rayalaseema is rich in minerals - Asbestos, Barytes, China clay, Calcite, Dolomite, Diamonds, Green Quartz, Iron ore, Lime stone and Silica sand. It also has rich forest wealth like the rare Red sandalwood which is highly economical, and main revenue source for the state, and other forest sources include non timber resources, medicinal plants etc. The region has the TTD board, the richest religious board in the country.


Pre Historic Mid Krishna-Tungabhadra Valley sites
Rayalaseema consists of many Important Jain Heritage sites such as Adoni, Pedatumbalam, Chippagiri, Konakondla, Penugonda, Kambadur, Rayadurg, Hemavathi, Rolla, Tadipatri, Danavulapadu, Peruru, Chandragiri
Rayalaseema consists of some Important Buddhist sites such as Nandalur, Belum Caves, Jonnagiri, Erragudi


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 written by most experts (per Kandukuri Viresalingam etc) until 1930s that Pothana, who penned Andhra Mahabhagavatham, actually belonged to Ontimitta village of Kadapa District. It was later that Tamil-Telugu Srivaishnava poets of Arcot like Vanamamalai who settled in Warangal (Orukal) started attributing him to Orukal and to a so-called village bommera (not bammera) in Nalgonda (not in Warangal). The true Ekasilanagaram was Ontimitta which in Telugu means so. Orukal is a tamil word meaning single rock. Most old books mention ontimitta as ekasilanagaram and ever since orukal was interpreted mistakenly as ekasilanagaram in tamil, the ontimitta was forgotten.Palakuriki Somanna (Palakuriki town is close to Srisailam in Rayalaseema as per the maps of India until 1956, later attributed to Palkurthy by Nizam state poets). Recently, even Ramaraju Bhushanudu of Rayalaseema was attibuted to the Nizam's region in their text books. The Rayalaseema Rachayitala Sangham condemned it.

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. Recently Kolachalam was attributed to Kolcharam of Medak of Nizam state and Kolachalam Mallinatha and Kolachalam Srinivasa Rao are attributed to that place.

Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti and Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy - an essayist, poet and educationist are from this region.

Music and actors[edit]

Annamayya (a.k.a. Tallapaka Annamacharya), a Nandavareeka Brahmin (a sub-sect prevalent in Rayalaseema and Kolar districts)- 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.

Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma - Sangita Kalanidhi, a musicologist and scholar from Ananthapuram area.[1]

SriPada Pinakapani - Settled in Kurnool (21st Century). He is guru of other Telugu stalwarts like Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Malladi Brothers and others.

Chitturu Nagayya or Chittor V. Nagaiah birth name - Vuppaladadiyam Nagayya (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.


The Penna near Gandikota

Gandikota is one of the oldest fort dating back to 1123. Belum Caves are the second largest cave in Indian sub-continent and the longest caves in plains of Indian Subcontinent. It is located at Belum Village of Kurnool District. Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary is the only Sanctuary in the world which provides home for a bird called Jerdon's courser. Gurramkonda, Chandragiri, Horsley Hills, Kuppam and Talakona of Chittoor district.

Thimmama Marrimanu, world's largest banyan tree, covering 5.2 acres (21,000 m2) and 550 years old. It holds a Guinness record. It is situated Near Kadiri, 120 kilometres from Anantapur.[citation needed]

Religious destinations[edit]

Rayalaseema has many important places of pilgrimage. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, abode of Lord Venkateswara is the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world. The other being Srisailam, Ahobilam, Srikalahasti, Mahanandi, Mantralayam, Puttaparthi, Lepakshi, Ontimitta, Bramhamgarimatham etc. Shahi jamia masjid in Adoni is one of the oldest construction in South India, built around 1662 AD by Siddi Masood Khan,[4] Ameen Peer Dargah, a famous Sufi Shrine in India.


JNTU is the top university in Rayalaseema region, some of the best engineering colleges in Rayalseema include SVNE located 15 km away from Tirupati,RGMCET located at Nandyal,G Pulla reddy located at Kurnool . SV University is located in tirupati which is considered to be a hub for education in Rayalaseema.

Rayalaseema universities including


Rayalaseema along with other aspirational states in the country

Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Damodaram Sanjivayya, Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy,N. Chandrababu Naidu, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and N.Kiran Kumar Reddy are the people who served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, hails from the Rayalaseema region of the state, with N. Chandrababu Naidu being the present one. The region saw as many as 6 chief ministers for the state.[5]

Sri Baghpact[edit]

Based on Sri Bagh Pact signed on 15 November 1937, Kurnool was made as the capital of the new state after the division of Andhra state from the Madras state.[6][7] As per the second State Resolution Commission, capital was shifted to Hyderabad upon the formation of Andhra Pradesh.[8]

Notable personalities[edit]

Major cities and towns in the region[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]