Andhra Pradesh Culture – A Window to the Rich Heritage & Tradition of Telugu People


Image – Saurabh Chatterjee/Flickr

A significant state in South India, Andhra Pradesh is a land of a unique culture with rich history and traditions. It is a prominent agricultural state and the largest producer of rice in the country. Thereby boasting the title of the Rice Bowl of India. It is witness to the vicissitudes of great dynasties like the Mughals, the Pallavas, the Kakatiyas, and the Chalukyas. It is not a wonder that the state draws numerous tourists every year.

Today, we explore the various aspects that color the diverse culture of Andhra Pradesh and make its people unique.

History of Andhra Pradesh

History of Andhra Pradesh Culture
Bhuvangiri – Rahul Ganguly/Flickr

The civilization of Andhra Pradesh is considered to be one of the oldest in the history of India. The people of Andhra Pradesh are deemed to be Aryans of the pre-Christian era who migrated to the region from the Vindhyas. The recorded history of their ancestry in the Maurya period and the Aitareya Brahmana have also been found. The powerful Satavahanas were among the earliest ones to reign over the Telugus.

Architecture of Andhra Pradesh

Architecture of Andhra Pradesh
Lepakshi – Premnath Thirumalaisamy/Flickr

Andhra Pradesh is a state that prides the history of mighty kingdoms. Various empires influenced each other. The heritage architecture of the state depicts the consequence of this. The primary style is Dravidian. It is blended with practices from the dynasties of the Cholas, the Chalukyas, the Satavahanas, and the Gajapatis. The stone structures with intricate engravings of deities and spiritual symbols adorn most of the Buddhist and Hindu temples across the state. The architecture is diverse, which reflects the harmony of the history of the state.

Language of Andhra Pradesh

Image – Ms Sarah Welch/Wikimedia

The official language of Andhra Pradesh is Telugu, a rich language that is influenced by Sanskrit. It is the most prominent regional language of the state in which innumerable works of cultural significance and critical acclaim have been written. Other important and prevalent languages include Hindi, English, Urdu, and Banjara. In recent years, there has been an increase in the use of other languages like Tamil, Marathi, and Oriya.

Andhra Pradesh Cuisine

Culture of Andhra Pradesh Cuisine
Image – Wikimedia

Influenced by the Mughal cuisine, a lot of the food of Andhra Pradesh is prepped up with spices. Rice is the staple diet of the state and is generally accompanied by sambar or other types of lentils and vegetables.

Chutneys, pickles, papadams, and powders are important accompaniments for every meal in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the popular Andhra dishes include gongura chutney, pulusu, avakaya, and Jonna kudu. The traditional food of Andhra Pradesh usually includes Pulihora which is tamarind rice. Poppadoms, Sambar, Rasam, and Payasam are also some of them.

Although most of the Andhra cuisine is vegetarian, the coastal regions of the state serve very delicious seafood comprising prawns and fishes. The aromatic biryani of Hyderabad is famous all across the country. The variety of food that is found in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh is incomparable.

Some other authentic dishes apart from Biryani include Chakna, Dalcha, and Murgh ka Korma. Sheer Korma, Bandhar Ladoo, Putharekulu, and Gajar ka halwa are impeccable desserts of the Andhra people. Most of them are prepared in pure ghee.

Traditional Dresses of Andhra Pradesh

Image – Ramakrishna Reddy/Flickr

Costumes of the state help in defining the social and cultural identity of the people of a region. The traditional clothes that are worn by the men include the long ‘dhoti’.

It is wrapped around the waist and extends up to the ankles. They also wear shirts and ‘kurtas’ to cover their torso. Dhotis were also worn by the women in the years preceding the 14th century. Sarees and Langa Vonis became prevalent later on.

The tribe of Lambadi who reside in the state wears a long skirt paired with a blouse. A dupatta covers their head. Salwar kameez and western clothing have become popular in modern times. Some of the designs that are embellished on the garments have begun to fade away from prevalence. A surplus amount of cotton is produced in the state along with natural dye extracted from the plants.

The Golconda mine is a significant site of the state which is home to precious gems including the Kohinoor diamond. Andhra Pradesh has always been on the top for its jewelry and has dominated the jewelry market for many years. The Andhra Pradesh fashion also comprises half saris called voni.

Full saris are designed through Bidri, Nirmal paintings, and Kalamkari together having weaves of Pochampalli. Gadwal and Venkatagiri portray ancient traditions centuries old. Some of the best gold jewelry and ornaments comprise Vaddana, Buttlau, Aravanke, and Kasula Haram. These also portray the styles of the upcoming generation.

Art and Craft of Andhra Pradesh

Art and Craft of Andhra Pradesh
Image – Harsha Vardhan/Flickr

The state’s art and craft are a unique presentation of the skills and talent that the people of the region have nurtured and passed on over the years. This is evident in sculptures, paintings as well as architecture.

They specialize in fields of wood and stone carving, silverware figurines, brass work, metal wares, and intricate carpet work. The fact that the people are deeply attached to their traditions is portrayed evidently in the way they make their handicrafts. Alluring designs and detailed coloring enhance the beauty of the works. Andhra Pradesh is also home for one of the famous traditional toys of India “Kondapalli Toys”.

The handloom industry at Ikat has the tradition of producing hand-woven clothes. This includes golden ‘zari’ embroidered sarees and other noble materials. The Batik style of fabric printing uses wax to create enriching designs. The renowned Kalamkari art form makes use of the quill to paint the fabric with vegetable dyes. Nirmal paintings, Bidri work, and Cherial Scroll paintings are a few of the other exquisite practices of art.

Music, Dance, and Literature of Andhra Pradesh

Lambadi Dance – Ramesh Lalwani/Flickr

Andhra Pradesh is a land of three prominent legends in the world of Carnatic music, namely Shyama Sastri, Thyagaraja, and Muthuswami Dixtar. Since the Telugu language is spoken by most people in the state, it can represent the original spirit of the people through the music.

Some famous Carnatic music composers are Kshetrayya, Annamacharya, and Bhadrachala Ramadasa. The folk music of Andhra Pradesh is also considered to be originated from Carnatic music. The musical elements, themes, and underlying meanings of the songs make them attractive. A distinctive feature of the Carnatic style of music is that the song molds in itself the personality of the composer. This increases the expressiveness of the music.

The most prominent dance form of Andhra Pradesh that is practiced and celebrated in the state is Kuchipudi. It is a dance form with similarities to Bharat Natyam and performed mostly by women. Many other dance forms, like that of the graceful Perini, have also emerged from the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Perini is like a warrior dance which is also known as the ‘dance of “Lord Shiva”.The ancient ‘Trinity of the Poets’ includes Nannaya, Tikkana, and Yerrapragad. They were responsible for reviving the Telugu language through popular translational works like the ‘Mahabharata’.

The literature of Andhra Pradesh takes pride in the mother tongue. They also promote its vocabulary to the common people. The history of the Telugu language traces back to the first millennium AD, according to the findings of scholars. Although it originates from the Proto-Dravidian sub-language, literary experts have confirmed its connection to Sanskrit and Hindi.

Cultural Festivals of Andhra Pradesh

Cultural Festivals of Andhra Pradesh
Image – Rajesh/Flickr

Like the rest of India, Andhra Pradesh is a diverse home to people from different religions. Some of the most popular festivals celebrated by Hindus are Pongal, Makar Sankranti, and Maha Shivaratri.

Sri Ram Navami, Ugadi (the Telugu New Year), Tirupati Tirumala Brahmotsavam, Varalakshmi Vratam, Atla Tadde, and Deepavali are some other prominent festivals.

Islamic and Christian festivals are also celebrated with joy among the people. Other significant fairs and events include Dance Festival, Vishakha Utsav, and Deccan festival. They are all organized in the state to enjoy and appreciate cultural values.

Occupations of Andhra Pradesh

Image – Gangavva/Wikimedia

About 70 percent of the population is dependent on the occupation of agriculture. The production of rice is abundant in the state, making it among the largest producers of India. With the increasing influence of technology, the Information Technology sector has been on its way to flourishment in recent years. Engineering, consultancy, telecom, and other related sectors. They also provide considerable employment to the youth of the state.

Andhra Pradesh is a rich state of various religions, ethnicity, traditions, cultures, beliefs, and practices. The rural traditions and modern lifestyle come together in splendid harmony that thrives in the state.

People regardless of religious beliefs, come together to celebrate festivals and ceremonious occasions. Many citizens still believe in age-old traditions, like Muggulu, and pursue them with sincerity. These practices are prevalent in many households and often vary according to ethnicity. It is a specialty of Andhra Pradesh where every district or every house follows a particular lifestyle that distinctly identifies it from the rest.

Andhra Pradesh is a land of colors and enriching history that takes pride in its deep attachment to its roots. The state offers a diverse tapestry of brilliant culture to those who visit the land.

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