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Andhra Pradesh: Overview

The history and culture of a land is said to be influenced by it's geography. Andhra Pradesh is no exception. In the heartland of ancient Deccan, Andhra Pradesh has absorbed the traditions of both the north and the south.

Once a part of the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Ashoka, it became an important Buddhist centre. One can still see evidence of the early Buddhist influence in Amaravathi and at Nagarjunakonda, among the greatest archaeological sites in the country. Later, it came under the hegemony of the Chalukyas and in the 10th century was engulfed by the Chola kingdom. These reigns naturally accounted for the Hindu school of thought. Subsequently, it witnessed the sway of Muslim rulers and in 1713 A.D. it passed into the hands of a commander of the Mughal army under Aurangzeb.

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Finally, it succumbed to the rule of the hereditary monarchs known as the Nizams of Hyderabad and remained with them till India attained independence.

The fifth largest state of India, Andhra Pradesh is irrigated by the mighty Krishna and the Godavari rivers and is aptly termed the `Rice Granary of India'. Telugu is the main language of communication though Muslim rule paved the way for Urdu also.

Andhra Pradesh is the home of a rich cultural heritage, that led to the birth of varied handicrafts. The craftsmen of Andhra have contributed greatly - Kalamkari vegetable dyed textiles, lacquer paintings from Nirmal, wood craft, Pochamapalli silks, Hyderabad pearls and an extremely attractive and glittering array of glass bangles. Kuchipudi, the classical dance form originating from the state has a vigorous choreography and is somewhat akin to Bharatanatyam. Andhra Pradesh is also the home of the colourful Lambanis and Banjaras - Nomadic tribes, who can be spotted selling brightly coloured skirts and ethnic silver jewellery.

Andhra Pradesh also offers a rich palate to the gourmet. Hyderabadi Muslims, fastidious in their culinary art specialise in authentic recipes, that have survived through the centuries. Their biryanis, kababs and chicken delicacies are mouth-watering.

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.