Rice Bowl of India – Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is a state in south-eastern India and is part of the linguistic-cultural region of South India. It lies between 12°41′ and 22°N latitude and 77° and 84°40′E longitude, and is bounded by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in the north, the Bay of Bengal in the east, Tamil Nadu to the south and Karnataka to the west. Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest state in India and it forms the major link between the north and the south of India. Andhra Pradesh lies in the south eastern part of India, with its coastline stretching for over a distance of 1200 kilometers, from Orissa to Tamil Nadu. The state of Andhra Pradesh was the first state to be formed on 1st November 1956, by combining the old princely state of Hyderabad, with the Andhra state. The state of Andhra had been formed in 1953, when the Telugu speaking areas were separated from the composite Madras state. It is the biggest and most populous state in the south India. It is considered the rice bowl of India. The state is crisscrossed by two major rivers, the Godavari and Krishna. (“Pradesh” means “region” or “state”.)
Sanskrit writings from the 7th century BC describe the Andhra people as Aryans from the north who migrated south of the Vindhya Range and mixed with Dravidians. They are mentioned again at the time of the death of the great Mauryan King Ashoka, in 232 BC. This date has been held to be the beginning of the Andhra historical record. The Andhras are first mentioned in the Aitareya Brahamana. They first rose to prominence under the Satavahana Dynasty. Various dynasties have ruled the area, including the Andhra (or Satavahana), Ikshvaka, Badami Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Chalukyas of Kalyana, Eastern Chalukyas, Kakatiya, Vijayanagaram, the Qutb Shahi, and the Nizam (princes) of Hyderabad.
Andhra Pradesh can be broadly divided into three regions, namely Coastal Andhra (Konaseema), Telangana and Rayalaseema. Coastal Andhra occupies the coastal plain between Eastern Ghats ranges, which run the length of the state, and the Bay of Bengal.Telangana lies west of the Ghats on the Deccan plateau. The Godavari and Krishna rivers rise in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and Maharashtra and flow east across Telangana to empty into the Bay of Bengal in a combined river delta .Rayalaseema lies in the southeast of the state on the Deccan plateau, in the basin of the Penna River. It is separated from Telangana by the low Erramala hills and from Coastal Andhra by the Eastern Ghats. The Krishna and Godavari rivers together irrigate thousands of square kilometers of land and create the largest perennial cultivable area in the country. Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of rice (paddy) and is called India’s Rice Bowl.
The State experiences tropical climate with slight variations depending on the elevation and maritime influence. The Eastern Ghats separate the Deccan plateau from the coastal belt. The plateau slopes from the interior towards the east from elevations of less than one kilometer and is drained by two major river systems of the Godavari and Krishna which scoop out the vast low lying areas. In the south, in Chittoor, Cuddapah and Anantapur districts, the Eastern Ghats break into various ranges, namely, the Veligondas, the Nallamalas and the Palakondas; form a general plateau with elevations rising to one kilometer.
In the north, in Visakhapatnam district, the Eastern Ghats are more cohesive and have higher elevations of about two kilometers. The low lying coastal belt extends to about 100 kilometers in the south and narrows to 40 kilometers in the north. The wide deltaic region of the Godavari and the Krishna forms the central part of the coastal belt. These aerographic features influence, to some extent, the climate of the State, with the plateau regions experiencing more temperate climate than the low lying valleys and the coastal belt.
Agriculture is the main occupation of about 70 percent of the people in Andhra Pradesh. The main crops are rice, maize, millets, pulses, castor, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, groundnut and banana. The covered forest area in the state is about 23 percent, and important forest products include teak, eucalyptus, cashew, bamboo and soft wood. Some of the major industries in the state are machine tools, synthetic drugs, pharmaceuticals, heavy electrical machinery, ships, fertilizers, electronic equipment, aeronautical parts, cement and cement products, chemicals, asbestos, glass and watches. Important minerals found in the state are copper ore, manganese, mica, coal and limestone.
Being the capital of a state with a very rich cultural heritage, Hyderabad offers a glimpse of a variety of performing arts, which are unique to Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi, a classical dance form, derives its name from a village just north of the Krishna delta. Historically, Kuchipudi presented scenes from the Hindu epics and mythological tales through dance-dramas that combined music, dance and acting. The lyrics are mostly Telugu, although Sanskrit is also used.
Shadow puppetry is another famous folk art. Perforated leather puppets depicting mythological characters from the Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharatha, are handled with bamboo sticks against a brilliant lamp – lit background. This is performed to the accompaniment of perfection instruments and Lyrical narrations. Nineteen tribes inhabit the ArakuValley, which is 115 kilometers from Visakhapattanam. Their repertoire of colorful dances and folk songs, an essential part of religious processions and harvest celebrations are another facet of the state’s cultural traditions.
Language and Literature:
Telugu, the official language of Andhra Pradesh, is described by C.P. Brown as the “Italian of the East “. It has been influenced by Sanskrit. The prominent poets of Telugu include Nannaya, Tikkana, Sri Krishna Devarayulu and a host of others. Urdu is a later addition to the Deccan, late in the 15th century. It flourished during the reign of the Qutubshahi Dynasty. The 17th century was the golden age of Urdu, with poets like Mohammed Quli, Mulla Wajhi, and Sheikh Ahmed contributing their literary pieces.
Folk dance and drama:
There are many folk dance forms like Harikatha, Burrakatha, Dappu, Tappeta Gullu, Lambadi Dance, Bonalu, Dhimsa Dance, Butta Bommalu, Yaksha Gana and Kolatam etc. All are distinct in their style and narration.
Drama is called Naatakam in Telugu. During the earlier stages drama based on Hindu mythology used to be very popular. These dramas used to be held overnight. They were mostly poem based. The Telugu used in these dramas was highly sanskritized. People used to love the actors and actresses reciting poem after poem in their melodious voices. These were called Padya Natakams. The popular drama company for this type of drama was ”Surabhi” group.
The social dramas used to be called Gadya Naatakam. There was a play in 1890 titled ” Vyavahaara Dharma Bhodini” based on the writings of the social reformer Kandukuri Veereshalingam Panthulu. The most popular political satire was ” Chintaamani”. Nagabhushanam’s political satire” Raktha Kanneeru” was also very popular at a later stage. Nagabhushanam a well known character actor of Telugu Cinema was well known for instant improvisation of dialogues based on the political scenario prevailing in the State at that time. Later ” Parishad Plays” used to be staged. These dramas became very famous based on the realistic conditions of the State.
Banda Kanakalingeswara Rao, Sthanam Narasimha Rao, Ballari Raghava, Ravi Kondala Rao and Peesapati Narasimha Murthy, Addanki Srirama Murthy and Eelapaata Raghuramayya are some of the prominent Drama artistes of Andhra Pradesh who were household names in those days.
Fairs and Festivals:
Hindu festivals such as Dasara, Deepavali, Sri Ramanavami, Krishna Janmastami, Vinayaka Chavithi (Ganesh Chaturthi), VaralLakshmi Vratham, Nagula Chaviti and Maha Sivarathri are celebrated in the State. Similarly, Muslim festivals such as Bakrid and Id-ul-Fitr and Christian festivals like Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Day are also celebrated with gaiety. But the celebrations of Ugadi (Telugu New Year’s day), Makara Sankranti, Dasara, and Vinayaka Chavithi in the state are unique.
A widely known festival in Telangana area that falls on Asvayuja Shuddha Dasami (Sep/Oct) is the Batakamma Panduga. It is celebrated for nine days by married women in memory of a Vaisya married woman, who was killed by her own brother when instigated by his wife. The murdered woman is believed to have manifested herself in her grave as a flowering tree. The Mahankali Jathara in the twin cities is celebrated at the onset of summer to propitiate the local village deities so that pestilence does not strike. These festivals are celebrated with gaiety with night-long bouts of dancing, singing, and feasting.
Arts and Craft:
Each region of India abounds in handicrafts reflecting the genius of its local craftsmen. Andhra Pradesh in the south has the distinction of having all important categories of handicrafts practiced in their traditional locations spread over different parts of the state.
Karimnagar is well known for silver Filigree of superior quality created by master craftsmen.
Bidri is another prized product of Andhra Pradesh popular in different parts of the world.
The skills of artisans can be seen in caskets, vases and trays. While places like Nagarjunakonda and Amaravathi have influenced the growth of stone-carving in places like Durgi. Wood-carving received its impetus from the temple sculptures. This has made possible the creation of a variety of products in the shape of both figurines and panels that depict them from temple chariots and Gopuram (typical Hindu temple domes).
Metal ware has found a new expression in the context of Andhra Pradesh with exquisite pieces of sheet-metal art deriving its motifs from the historic monuments of the Kakatiya sculpture. At the same time, the art has successfully adapted itself to imbibing the use of Persian and other motifs. This has resulted in the evolution of a whole range of utility-***-decorative items like plant pots, vases, wall decorations and stationery items. Cast art metal ware, including icons and temple sculptures depicting various themes, is also produced in certain parts of the state. Nirmal painting, unique for reproducing motifs from the well-known art schools, has greatly expanded its market by evolving a number of household items which include large-size furniture for drawing, dining and bedrooms.
Leather puppet-making is yet another specialty which has made its way into Andhra Pradesh and developed its roots in different parts of the state. Originally conceived to meet the needs of the shadow puppet troupes, this technique is being increasingly adapted to evolve articles of home decoration.
Andhra Pradesh has created a niche for itself in the wooden toy industry, especially Kondapally toys, combining both carving and painting to present interesting themes, such as village occupations, models of mythological figures, and animals in both stylished and natural form
Andhra Pradesh has its claim on some of the most distinguished crafts like the Kalamkari work with its origins traced back to antiquity. Kalamkari, with its resist process and application of vegetable dyes has made an impact in various parts of the world. The Kalamkari craft, as it has recently evolved in Srikalahasti, offers themes in the form of small and large decorative panels ideal for household and office decoration.
Andhra Pradesh has a rich tradition of handloom textile which has attracted attention from both within and outside the country. By carefully assimilating some of the best features of weaving styles and techniques without sacrificing on the originality, and showing a high degree of flexibility to change, the artistic handloom weaving industry of Andhra Pradesh has emerged as a potent source of some of the most unique products made in the country. The world-famous Tie and Dye cloth with its more recent innovation in furnishing fabrics, the well-known brocade and silk saris of Kothakota and Gadwal, the famous Narayanpet saris and superfine Venkatagiri saris, besides Pondur Khadi are among the better known handloom textiles from the state.
The mirror embroidery of the style practiced by the tribal women Banjaras or Lambadis nomenclature “Banjara Embroidery” is another important craft. It offers possibilities for the profitable use of embroidery skills of this economically backward community in the state.
Andhra Pradesh has a place of pride in floor coverings too. Carpets of Eluru and Warangal have long been known not only within the country but also in many parts of the world. All natural-wool pile carpets produced in these places are a specialty. The artistic Durry industry evolved in and around Warangal. Durries with floral and figurative motifs have contributed significantly to exports.
“Lepakshi”, the well-known temple town in Andhra Pradesh, is a repository of stone sculpture and frescoes of a high order attained during the Vijayanagaram period. Lepakshi as a name has thus aptly been chosen by the Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporation as a name for its Marketing Wing. Lepakshi serves as a vital link between the lover and buyer of objects of beauty and the legendary handicrafts of Andhra Pradesh. “Lepakshi” Emporia have endeavored to project the artistry and elegance of Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts in order to create an impact on markets within the country and abroad.
TOURISM IN ANDHRA PRADESH:
Andhra Pradesh is rich in historical monuments. It possesses many holy temples with architectural beauty, which attract large numbers of pilgrims and tourists from inside and outside the country.
The places of tourist importance in the State are:
Hyderabad: the fifth largest city in the country, is the capital of Andhra Pradesh and has several prominent places in and around it. It has a Hindu-Muslim culture with a number of monuments of historical importance like Charminar, Golconda, SalarjungMuseum, Mecca Maszid, Osman Sagar and OsmaniaUniversity. The capital is in reality the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad linked together by the Hussain Sagar.
Charminar: constructed in 1591 is worth seeing for its grandeur and architectural beauty. The minarets are 48.77 metres high and they spring from the abutments of open arches facing the four cardinal points. Mecca Maszid is to the south of Charminar.
Golconda: about 8 km from the city, the capital of the Qutb Shahis in the 16th century, is rich in historical monuments, which include the famous Golconda Fort. Golconda was known the world over as a rich mine of diamonds in medieval times. Qutb Shahi tombs are nearer to this fort. These tombs mark the third and final stage of architecture that flourished during the 16th-17th centuries A.D.
Salarjung Museum: was constructed by the Prime Minister Salarjung III of the erstwhile Nizams but was later shifted in 1968 to the new imposing building constructed on the southern bank of the river Musi. The museum consists of a vast and varied art mass collected from several countries in the world.
The `PublicGarden’ in the heart of the city is another tourist attraction with State Museum and Art gallery, Jawaharlal Bhavan, Health Museum, Assembly Buildings, Lalita Kala Toranam. On the other side, on the hillock, there is the Birla Mandir and the Planetarium. The State Museum displays prehistoric implements, sculptures, paintings, inscriptions, illuminated manuscripts, coins, old arms, Bidri and old Chinaware and textiles. It is an impressive building with four minarets, two large and two small. Its most unusual features are the lofty pillars supporting the arches and the prayer niche carved in single slabs of granite. FalaknamaPalace is a castle built on a hill by Sir Vicar-ul-Umra, one of the Prime Ministers of the Nizam’s Dominions. The Nehru Zoological Park on the Bangalore National Highway is spread over 300 acres of undulating landscape, which preserves the beauty of the boulders in all its pristine glory.
Warangal: It lies on the Vijayawada — Hyderabad section of the South Central Railway. It was the capital of the Kakatiya during the 13th century AD. Warangal with its historic monuments, temples and fort attracts a variety of people including pilgrims, historians and archaeologists. The thousand- pillared temple at Hanumakonda, near Warangal is the best example of the architecture of the Kakatiya period.
RamappaTemple: This is located at Palampet near Mulug in Warangal district. This is of tourist importance owing to the existence of the renowned and exquisitely carved sculptures of the RamappaTemple, and the RamappaLake constructed at the time of Kakatiya Ganapati. The temple, built of black basalt with splendid carvings, is 12.19 metres high. The RamappaLake is a magnificient irrigation work of the 13th century AD, and the place, where the lake stands, is surrounded by thick forests and presents a beautiful natural scenery making it a popular holiday resort.
Nizamsagar: At a distance of about 144 km north-west of Hyderabad, a reservoir known by the name Nizamsagar was constructed across the Manjira river, a tributary of the Godavari, between Achampet and Banjapalle villages of Nizamabad district. The most outstanding feature of the project is the gigantic masonry dam sprawling across the river for 3 km with a motorable road of 14ft width over it. There are excellent boarding and lodging facilities for the tourists at this project.
Kuntala: It is situated in Adilabad district, 22 km from Boath on the bank of the Kadam river. Here the river falls from a height of about 45 metres and enters Khanapur. The waterfall known as “Kuntala Waterfalls” is the highest in Andhra Pradesh. It affords picturesque scenery.
Basara (Adilabad district): It is on the bank of the Godavari on the Secunderabad-Manmad metre-gauge line of South Central Railway. It has one of the two temples dedicated to Goddess Saraswati in India, the other being at Kashmir.
Vemulavada: is in Karimnagar district and situated about 32 km., from Karimnagar on the road to Kamareddy. The village is an ancient one and has been in existence from the time of the Western Chalukyas. It is famous for the temples of Rajarajeswaraswami and another for Vaddegesvara. It is also a place of great historical importance and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
Bhadrachalam: This temple-town on the left bank of the river Godavari in Khammam district is considered a holy spot since Lord Rama is supposed to have lived here for some time. It owes its importance to the temple dedicated to Lord Rama, which is said to have been constructed by His ardent devotee, Kancherla Gopanna, popularly called as “Ramadas”. He was an official in the Taluk Office during the reign of the last Qutb Shahi ruler, Abul Hasan Tana Shah.
Vijayawada: It is one of the biggest cities and business centres in the State situated on the northern bank of the river Krishna. It is also the biggest railway junction in the South Central Railway leading to many major cities in the country like Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi and Hyderabad.Visitors and tourists to this place make it a point to see the MogalrajapuramCaves, KanakadurgaTemple, Prakasam Barrage and Gandhi Hill.
The Gandhi Hill:In the centre of Vijayawada is a unique monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. A fifty-two feet column of red marble was built and various figures representing the cottage industries were carved on it. Below this column, a Gandhi Memorial Library and a Seminar Hall were constructed. On the slopes of the hill, replicas of Mahatma Gandhi’s house at Porbandar in Gujarat, his Phoenix Ashram in South Africa, his Sabarmati Ashram at Ahmedabad and his Sevagram Ashram near Wardha were built. A medium size planetarium was installed in an attractive building near the main entrance to the Gandhi Hill. A telescope and a camera were in the observatory set up on the Gandhi Memorial Library. It provides an opportunity to the visitors to have the thrill of seeing the distant stars in the universe and the grand scenery around the Hill.
Vijayawada is surrounded by picturesque hills, important of which are the Sitanagaram (on the southern bank of the river Krishna), and Indrakiladri. The city is a pilgrim centre for the Hindus on account of its location on the bank of the Krishna, and three important temples, namely, Kanakadurga, Bhramaramba Malleswara and Vijayeswara. The Krishna Pushkaram, celebrated once in twelve years, attracts Hindu devotees from all over the country. Prakasam Barrage, constructed on the river Krishna, is a scenic attraction.
Amaravati: It is an important tourist centre at a distance of 32 km north-west of Guntur owing to its world famous Buddhist stupa and antiquities of the 2nd century B.C. The Stupa here is the biggest with its dome measuring 49 metres and it rises to a height of 29 metres. Amaravati is a byword for sculpture among the plastic arts of the world as the Buddhist sculptures found here are perfect specimens of what is called the Andhra or Amaravati style of sculptures.Amaravati and its neighbouring village Dharanikota were the seats of the rule of the Satavahanas and these places are full of antiquities of great archaeological values depicting scenes from the life of Buddha, embodying various Buddhist emblems and symbols, and also inscriptions in Pali character. The lofty temple of Amareswara stands on the southern bank of the river Krishna, and is considered sacred and holy. It attracts a large number of pilgrims, especially on the Sivaratri day.
Ettipothala Water falls: located six km northwest of Macherla in Guntur district is one of the many beautiful scenic spots in the State. The rivulet Chandravanka joins the Krishna falling from a height of 21 metres and the waterfalls offer a delightful view.
Nagarjunakonda: is at a distance of 24 km both from Macherla and Nagarjunasagar Project. It is of significance on account of its ancient Buddhist culture. The museum, located on a hilltop on the right side of the NagarjunasagarCanal, is housed with excavated antiquities.
Undavalli (Guntur district) lies on the south bank of the river Krishna about two kilometres from Prakasam Barrage at Vijayawada. There are the famous UndavalliCaves associated with the Vishnukundin kings of A. D. 420–620. These caves were dedicated to Anantapadmanabha and Narisimhaswami. From the point of sculptural and architectural excellence, these caves compare very well with those of Ajanta.
Nagarjunasagar Dam, the highest masonry dam in the world, is at a distance of about 150-km from Hyderabad. It is constructed on the river Krishna, bordering on Nalgonda and Guntur districts. The first Prime Minister of the country Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of this dam. It is one of the biggest multipurpose projects in India.
Srisailam: This is known as a sacred place of pilgrimage in India, located at an altitude of over 1,500 feet above the sea level in a most picturesque natural surroundings in the northernmost plateau of the Nallamala Hill range. Atop the hill, there is the temple of Siva known as Mallikharjunaswami temple, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in the country. Another temple at this place is that of the goddess Bhramaramba, the consort of Mallikharjuna. The temple abounds in sculpture and there are many inscriptions in and around it. Apart from the religious importance, Srisailam is also a place of scenic beauty and one of the most important tourist spots in the country.
Mantralayam: situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra in Kurnool district is about 15 km. from Mantralayam Road Railway station on the Chennai-Mumbai line. It is also well connected by road from Hyderabad, Kurnool and other important centres. It is famous for Raghavendraswami Matt or Brindavan. It is here that Raghavendraswami, a great follower of Madhvacharya, entered samadhi after preaching the Madhva cult or Dvaita philosophy. There is no idol of Raghavendraswami but his Brindavan (samadhi) is worshipped.
Lepakshi: lies at about 14 km east of Hindupur in Anantapur district. It is of great historical and archaeological importance in the State. This place is a repository of the best mural paintings of the Vijayanagara Kings. The best specimens of the Vijayanagara style of sculpture and mural paintings are found in the temples here. There is a colossal stone Nandi, reputed to be the largest of its kind in the country.
Tirupati and Tirumala: In Chittoor district Tirupati and Tirumala are two sacred places not only for Andhra Pradesh but also for India. The presiding deity here is Lord Venkateswara, who is also worshipped as `Balaji’ by the north Indians. Tirumala comprises of seven hills lies in the midst of the Seshachalam hills, which are 2,000 feet above the sea level. It has also worldwide importance as a major tourist centre. Tirumala temple is said to be the second richest temple in India. The temple administration manages an university of its own. Alivelu Manga temple, Govindaraja Swamy temple and Srinivasa Mangapuram are located in Tirupati.
Srikalahasti: (Chittoor district) is also a famous pilgrim centre and the temple here is dedicated to Lord Siva known as Vayulingam and considered as Dakshina Kasi. According to the legend Sri(Spider), Kala(Serpent) and Hasti(Elephent) worshipped the presiding deity and hence it got the name Srikalahasti.
Horsley Hills: about 16 km from Madanapalle in Chittoor district, lies at a height of 1,265.53 metres above the sea level and forms the most elevated table land in the south of Andhra Pradesh. This is the coolest place and is a summer resort.
Rajahmundry: It is situated on the left bank of the river Godavari in East Godavari district. It has a hoary past and is said to have been constructed by the Eastern Chalukya ruler Rajaraja Narendra in A.D. 1022. The town has some traces of fine palaces, fort walls, etc., of the 11th century A.D. Nannaya, the poet laureate, who was called `Adi Kavi belonged to this place. The Asia’s largest rail-road bridge on the river Godavari linking Kovvur and Rajahmundry is considered to be an engineering feat. There are a number of temples here and the Kotilingala temple on the bank of the Godavari is one of the most important temples. The Godavari Pushkaram, celebrated once in twelve years, attracts a large number of pilgrims from all over the country. At a distance of seven kilometers south of Rajahmundry, there is the Dawaleshwaram an cut across the Godavari.
Ryali lies at a distance of 25 km from Rajahmundry. It is famous for the temple of Jaganmohini-Kesavaswami. The idol of the deity is beautifully carved on black stone and it is worth seeing for its sculptural beauty and grand appearance.
Visakha Patnam: this coast-city is on the Chennai-Howrah broad-gauge line of SouthEastern Railway and is a big railhead. The city has grown in importance educationally, commercially and industrially. It is the seat of the AndhraUniversity. The places of interest in the city include harbor, Dolphin’s Nose, a light-house, Hindustan Ship Building Yard, Caltex Oil Refinery, Coromandal Fertilisers Factory, Steel Plant, Circuit House on the Hill, a beautiful beach called Ramakrishna beach and an airport. Visakhapatnam harbour is considered to be one of the best natural harbors in the world, and the Ship building Yard has a nation-wide importance. It has Eastern Naval Command as its headquarter.The city is worth visiting by both the Indian and foreign tourists as well. Bheemunipatnam beach, nearer to the city, is a place meant for a short holiday.
Simhachalam: 16 km from Visakhapatnam, is an important pilgrim centre owing to the existence of the Varaha Lakshmi Narasimhaswami temple on a hill, which is 800 feet above the sea level.
Araku Valley:is about 115 km, from Visakhapatnam. The valley extending over 36 sq.km is situated at an altitude of 610 to 915 metres above the sea level. The valley, with its bracing climate, orchards and the Ananthagiri Hills present an enchanting view attract Indian and foreign tourists.
Borra Caves: in Vijayanagaram district have archaeological importance due to the discovery of some palaeolithic implements.
Vijaynagaram: 64 km from Visakhapatnam, is a place of historical importance. It was the capital of the Gajapati chiefs in the 17th century A.D. The magnificent fort in this town depicts the past glory of these rajas. It has a Music College and a Sanskrit College.The A.P.Travel and Tourism Development Corporation arranges regular tours to important places like Nagarjunasagar, Tirupati, Hyderabad, etc., by providing air conditioned cars, vans and deluxe buses. To develop tourism in the country, the Government of India has introduced circular-trains. It also provides concession in rail fare during summer. Besides these many private travel agents in Hyderabad and in other district headquarters also arrange regular tours to many of the places of tourist interest in the State.