Andhra Pradesh (formerly known as the Andhra State), is a state in the south-eastern coastline of India. It is the seventh largest state in India by area, and the tenth most populous state. It has the second longest coastline in India after Gujarat, at about 974 km. It is bordered by Odisha to the North, Chhattisgarh to the North-east, Tamil Nadu to the South, Karnataka and Telangana to the West and North-West, Bay of Bengal to the East. It is the first State to be formed with linguistic basis in India on Oct 1, 1953.
Its official language is Telugu; one of the classical languages of India, the third most spoken language in India and eleventh most spoken language in the world. Amaravati is the capital and Visakhapatnam is the largest city of Andhra Pradesh.
The people of Andhra Pradesh, also known as the Andhras, trace their history to vedic ages when they were mentioned in the Sanskrit epics such as Aitareya Brahmana (by some estimates c. 800 BCE). According to Aitareya Brahmana of the Rigveda, the Andhras left North India from the banks of river Yamuna and migrated to South India.
The Assaka Mahajanapada (700–300 BCE) was an ancient kingdom located between the Godavari and Krishna Rivers in southeastern India accounts that people in the region are descended from the sage Viswamitra are found in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Andhra People were also mentioned in Vayu and Matsya Puranas. In the Mahabharata, the infantry of Satyaki was composed of a tribe called Andhras, known for their long hair, tall stature,sweet language and mighty prowess. They lived along the banks of the Godavari river.
Andhra Pradesh also derives its name from Satavahanas, who are also known as Andhras, the earliest and one of the greatest kings of Andhra Pradesh and India. Their period saw a major transformation in Andhra Pradesh as its Telugu New Year Ugadi got introduced in their reign and also the introduction of Buddhism in Andhra Pradesh by them. Their language was Prakrit of Brahmi script which also served as one of the bases for the state's language Telugu. They were great patrons of the art which can be seen in the temples of the state and sculpture of the Buddhist Monuments in the State. Andhra Pradesh was majorily ruled by Satavahanas, Eastern Chalukyas, Andhra Ikshvakus, Vijayanagara Empire, Mauryan Empire, Cholas, Pallavas, Salankayanas, Vishnukundinas, Kakatiyas and Rashtrakutas.
In 3rd century B.C., Andhra was a vassal kingdom of Ashoka; but after his death Andhra became powerful and extended its empire to the whole of Maratha country and even beyond. The culture of Andhra from very early times was nourished by Sanskrit literature on the arts of Music, dance, poetry and other subjects is substantial. As a literary language rich in sanskrit, Telugu later became the art language of South India of poetry, music, drama and dance. Even today the songs of great Telugu composers are unrivalled in the whole of South India. Early sculpture reliefs at Amaravati (200 AD) indicate that dance of high artistic quality was known to ancient Andhra. Magnificent bas reliefs of Lord Shiva's triumphant conquests enriched in rockcut cave temples at Elura (8th Century) are attributed to the artistic genius of Andhra craftsmen.
The state is made up of the two major regions of Rayalaseema, in the inland southwestern part of the state, and Coastal Andhra to the east and northeast, bordering the Bay of Bengal. The state comprises thirteen districts in total, nine of which are located in Coastal Andhra and four in Rayalaseema. The State also has a Union Territory of Yanam, a district of Puducherry, which lies to the south of Kakinada in the Godavari delta on the eastern side of the state.The largest city and commercial hub of the state are Visakhapatnam, located on the Bay of Bengal, with a GDP of US$43.5 billion; the second largest city in the state is Vijayawada, located on the banks of the Krishna River, which has a GDP of US billion (as of 2010).
The economy of Andhra Pradesh is the seventh-largest state economy in India with ₹9.33 lakh crore (US$130 billion) in gross domestic product and a per capita GDP of Rs. 164,000 (US$2,300). Andhra Pradesh ranks 27th among Indian states in human development index. Andhra Pradesh has a jurisdiction over almost 15,000 km2 of territorial waters.
Andhra Pradesh hosted 121.8 million visitors in 2015, a 30% growth in tourist arrivals over the year 2019, making it the third most-visited state in India. The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati is one of the world's most visited religious sites, with 18.25 million visitors per year. Other pilgrimage centres in the state include the Pancharama Kshetras, Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga at Srisailam, Kodanda Rama Temple at Vontimitta, Srikalahasteeswara temple at Srikalahasti, Simhachalam Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha temple at Visakhapatnam, Varasidhi Vinayaka Temple at Kanipakam, Ameen Peer Dargah in Kadapa, the Mahachaitya at Amaravathi, Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada, and Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi. The state's natural attractions include the beaches of Visakhapatnam, hill stations such as the Araku Valley and Horsley Hills, and the island of Konaseema in the Godavari River delta.