Amaravati: Unveiling the Capital of Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati

Amaravati

Unveiling the Capital of Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati is the capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Situated in the Guntur district, it lies on the right bank of the river Krishna, southwest of Vijayawada. Amaravati is named after the historic Amaravathi site adjacent to Dharanikota, an ancient city that served as the capital of the Satavahana dynasty over 2,200 years ago. The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region encompasses the neighbouring cities of Guntur and Vijayawada, making it a significant urban conglomeration.

Historical Significance

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Amaravati Stupa</strong></p></div>

Amaravati Stupa

The name Amaravati translates to "the place for immortals" and holds historical, spiritual, and mythological importance. The region's history dates back to the 2nd century BCE when Dharanikota (Dhānyakatakam) was the capital city of the Satavahana Dynasty. The Satavahanas played a crucial role in the history of Andhra Pradesh, with Prakrit being their main language, written in Brahmi Script, which later influenced the Telugu script. The dynasty also promoted Buddhism, making the region a centre of Buddhist learning and art. The Amaravati Stupa, a significant Buddhist monument, once stood here, attracting followers from various Southeast Asian countries.

After the Satavahanas, the region saw the rule of several dynasties, including the Ikshvakus, Vishnukundina, Pallavas, Cholas, Kakatiyas, Delhi Sultanate, Musunuri Nayaks, Bahmani Sultanate, Vijayanagara Empire, Sultanate of Golconda, and Mughal Empire, before becoming part of the Nizamate of Hyderabad in 1724. The British East India Company later controlled it, integrating it into the Madras Presidency. The modern village of Amaravati was founded by Vasireddy Venkatadri Nayudu, a hereditary zamindar of Chintapalli, near the ancient stupa ruins.

Formation of the Capital

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 resulted in the residual state lacking a capital city, with Hyderabad serving temporarily despite being in the newly formed state of Telangana. Under the leadership of N. Chandrababu Naidu, Amaravati was declared the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. In a unique land pooling scheme, farmers from the Guntur district contributed 33,000 acres of land to the government in exchange for developed plots and lease payments for ten years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone at Uddandarayunipalem village on October 22, 2015. By March 2017, government legislature and secretariat operations commenced from the new facilities in Velagapudi.

Urban Development and Planning

Amaravati is an urban notified area, with development and planning overseen by the Amaravati Development Corporation Limited and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). The APCRDA has jurisdiction over the city and the broader Andhra Pradesh Capital Region. The capital city spans 217.23 km², incorporating villages and hamlets from the Mangalagiri, Thullur, and Tadepalle mandals, with the seed capital spread over 16.94 km².

Geography and Climate

Located at the heart of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati is situated 10 kilometres southwest of Vijayawada and 16 kilometres north of Guntur. The city covers an area of 217.23 km² across 25 villages in three mandals. The region experiences winter temperatures between 12°C and 30°C, and summer temperatures ranging from 17°C to 45°C, with high humidity levels of up to 68% during summer.

Demographics

Amaravati, culturally rich and diverse, boasts a predominantly Telugu-speaking population. Hinduism stands as the primary religion, shaping many aspects of local life and traditions. Alongside Hinduism, significant communities of Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists contribute to the city's vibrant religious fabric. This diversity not only enriches the social tapestry of Amaravati but also underscores its historical significance as a hub of cultural and religious exchange.

Civic Administration and Infrastructure

Amaravati is planned to be a people-centric Smart City built around sustainability and livability principles, aiming to become the happiest city in the world. The city is designed with 51% green space and 10% water bodies, modelled on Singapore with the master plan prepared by Singapore government-appointed consultants. The city's infrastructure is set to include navigation canals, connecting to an island in the Krishna River. An estimated investment of US$2-4 billion is needed for the city's development.

Critics have raised concerns about the environmental impact and resource consumption of the city's construction. However, the city is planned to be self-financed through loans, land sales, and local taxes, with an expected net surplus income of ₹333 billion by 2037.

Economy and Education

The establishment of the capital city is transforming the region's agrarian economy into an urban one. Several educational institutions, including the National Institute of Design, SRM University, Vellore Institute of Technology, Amrita University, Amity University, and the Indo-UK Institute of Health, in collaboration with King's College London, have set up campuses in Amaravati.

Tourism and Transport

<div class="paragraphs"><p><strong>Must- Visit Destinations</strong></p></div>

Must- Visit Destinations

Amaravati boasts several significant religious and historical sites, including the revered Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple, the ancient Amaravati Stupa, the imposing Dhyana Buddha statue, and the intricate Undavalli Caves.

Amaravati enjoys excellent road connectivity, particularly through the Vijayawada-Amaravati road and NH544D, which link it seamlessly with other major cities. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation operates a robust bus network, ensuring convenient travel between Amaravati, Vijayawada, Guntur, and Tenali.

Future infrastructure projects are set to enhance connectivity further. Plans for an Errupalem-Amaravathi-Nambur railway line are underway, alongside a metro rail project that will connect Tenali, Guntur, and Vijayawada. For air travel, Vijayawada International Airport serves as the nearest airport, facilitating regional and international travel for residents and visitors alike.

Conclusion

In essence, Amaravati represents a bold vision for the future of Andhra Pradesh, blending historical significance with modern urban planning. Despite facing challenges and criticism, the city's development aims to create a sustainable, livable, and thriving capital for the state. As the city progresses, it will continue to transform the region's economy and infrastructure, making Amaravati a pivotal centre for governance, education, and culture in Andhra Pradesh.

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