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Hiranyaka Rastram
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)
Demonym(s) Rayalaseemite, Seemite
 • 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, when Telugu-speaking districts of the Presidency 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. 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[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.)

Sri Baghpact[edit]

The name "Rayalaseema" was widely accepted and well received by the intellectuals and people at large.[4] When 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. The signatories of Sri Baghpact were K. Koti Reddy, Kalluri Subba Rao, L. Subbarami Reddy, Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetharamayya, Konda Venkatappyya, Pappuri Ramacharyulu, R.Venkatappa Naidu, H. Seetharama Reddy'

The main points of the pact were:

Whenever an Andhra state is formed, the capital city would be located in Rayalaseema region The High Court will be located in Coastal Andhra region. However, not withstanding with the pact, the present-day A.P. government decided to locate both the capital city and High Court in coastal andhra region, a move which clearly violated the Sribagh Pact.

Sources of Economy[edit]

Rayalaseema is rich in minerals - Asbestos, Barytes, China clay, Calcite, Dolomite, Diamonds, Green Quartz, Iron ore, Lime stone, Silica sand, and what not. Even the rarest metal Purallin, lighter than cotton and sturdier than steel is found in Mangampet of Kadapa district. It is useful in curing cancer, AIDS, and as bullet-proof material.

Rayalaseema 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,has deposits worth thousands of crores of rupees. The region has close proximity to sea ports like krishnapatnam port,Dugarajapatnam port,both are located within the parliamentary limits of rayalaseema region.Especially,the krishnapatnam port port is well on its way in becoming the largest automated port for exports and imports in South Asia.


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 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.

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.[4] 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.

Rallapalli Anantha Krishna Sharma - Sangita Kalanidhi, a musicologist and scholar from Ananthapuram area.[2]

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.


The Penna near Gandikota

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.[5]

Ameen Peer Dargah - A famous Sufi Shrine in India.

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.

Belum Caves - the second largest cave in Indian sub-continent and the longest caves in plains of Indian Subcontinent. It is located at Belum Village in Kolimigundla Mandal of Kurnool District.

Gandi, Kadapa District.

Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary, Kadapa - It 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 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.

Spiritual proponents[edit]

  • 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)
  • Yaganti Temple - Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple or Yaganti (Telugu: యాగంటి) is a temple to Lord Shiva in Kurnool District in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. A feature of this temple is its Pushkarini, a small pond of water on the temple premises. Water flows into this Pushkarini from the bottom of hill through the mouth of a Nandi (bull). The water is fresh and sweet, as it comes from the hills. No one knows how the water reaches the pond all year round and this temple architecture in terms of its sculpture shows the skills of ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis. Devotees find that a holy bath in Pushkarini is highly beneficial. After taking a bath in Pushkarini, they pay tributes to Lord Shiva.

Parts of present Andhra Pradesh state[edit]

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

Parts of present Karnataka state[edit]

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


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


Rayalaseema along with other aspirational states in the country

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.

Rayalaseema JAC,a pressure group in the region, earnestly feel that the regions’ progress and development is linked with the formation of a separate Rayalaseema State. According to them, as long as rayalaseema is part of the present Andhra Pradesh or bifurcated Andhra,the region's demands would fall on deaf ears. A separate state with four districts of Kurnool, Kadapa, Anantapur and Chittoor can be formed and it will be a state bigger more than 10 states in the country. With abundant mineral and forest wealth, with funds from TTD worth thousand of crores of deposits, if judiciously used along with the Central funds, and setting up other major educational institutions like IIM, IIT and AIIMS,Rayalaseema can become a state of acclaim. Rayalaseema can soon develop into a wealthy state. The construction of capital itself provides jobs to lakhs of people.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]