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Amaravati- History, School of Art, Administration, Facts about Amaravati

Introduction to Amaravati

It is situated on the banks of the Krishna River in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, and serves as the capital of the state. On October 22, 2015, the Prime Minister of India laid the foundation stone for Amravati during a ceremonial event in Uddandarayunipalem village, coinciding with the festival of Dussehra.

The significance of Amaravati, encompassing its history, the Amaravati School of Art, and its role as a Buddhist pilgrimage site, among other aspects, makes it a crucial topic for both the UPSC IAS Preliminary and Mains Exams. The UPSC Prelims may include questions related to current developments, while static questions revolving around the history of Amaravati could be featured. In the UPSC IAS Mains Exam, candidates may encounter questions on geographical, historical, and cultural facets of Amaravati. This article aims to comprehensively cover all these dimensions of Amaravati.

Historical Background of Amaravati

  • Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, boasts a history spanning more than 2200 years.
  • Its historical roots date back to the second century BC when it served as the capital of the Satavahana Dynasty.
  • The Satavahanas, also known as the Andhras in the Puranas, was an ancient Indian dynasty centred in the Deccan.
  • Formerly known by various names such as Andhra Nageri, Udumbaravti, and Dhanyakatakam, Amaravati’s Pali translation is “The Place for Immortals.”
  • Its prehistoric name, Dhanyakatakam, is associated with the place where Shakyamuni Buddha imparted teachings to the Shambala Kings in the Heart Essence form of the Kalachakra Dharma.
  • Amaravati served as the capital for several dynasties, including the Satavahanas, Ikshvakus, Vishnukundina, Pallavas, Cholas, Kakatiyas, Delhi Sultanate, Musunuri Nayaks, Bahmani Sultanate, Vijayanagara Empire, Sultanate of Golconda, and Mughal Empire.
  • Hyder Ali, the Mysore Sultan, briefly resided in Amaravati, and it was part of the Madras Presidency during British colonization.
  • Following India’s independence in 1947, linguistic states were demanded, leading to the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1953, with Amaravati as part of it.
  • The Telangana Movement in 2014 resulted in the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act or Telangana Act.
  • Telangana, designated as the 29th state of Independent India, temporarily used Hyderabad as its capital, which was also previously Andhra Pradesh’s capital.
  • On October 22, 2015, Amaravati was officially declared as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Top Facts about Amaravati

  • With a heritage dating back around 2,000 years, Amaravati holds a rich historical legacy.
  • It serves as a significant pilgrimage site not only for Buddhists but also for Hindus.
  • Amaravathi historically witnessed the coexistence of Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism after the decline of the Satavahana Dynasty, earning it the moniker ‘City of Tolerance’ or Sri-Dhanyakataka.
  • Referred to as ‘Punyakshetra’ (holy land), Amaravati remains a revered pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Buddhists.
  • The largest chilli market in Asia is situated near Amaravati City in Guntur District.
  • Gautam Buddha imparted teachings on the sacred ritual of “Kalachakra” in the town of Amaravati, making it a dwelling place for numerous ancient Buddhist monks.
  • The renowned Kohinoor diamond originated from the “Kollur mines” in Kollur Village, now a part of Amaravati city in Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 1868, French astronomer Pierre Jules César Janssen discovered the first evidence of helium during a total solar eclipse in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Amaravati holds the distinction of being the new capital city of Andhra Pradesh.

Pilgrimages and Temples of Amaravati

Amaravati has been ruled by different kings for a very long time, and because of this, it has a mix of many cultures. The Satavahana rulers, who were in charge for a while, took good care of both Hinduism and Buddhism. Amaravati, often called ‘the Abode Of God,’ has many old temples and places important for religion and travel, making it a popular destination for tourists all year round.

  • Amravati Stupa: The Amaravati Stupa is a well-known pilgrimage and tourist spot in Amaravati. This ancient Buddhist monument, though partly destroyed during an excavation in 1797, holds the remains of important Buddhist scholars and thinkers. Despite the damage, some carvings were saved and moved to different museums in India and other countries. These preserved parts of the monument showcase the history of the Mahachaitya, which might have been a place of learning in its time. Some carvings also illustrate the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Amaravati is renowned for its famous Amaravati Stupa.
  • Amareswara Temple: The Amareswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the five Pancharama Kshetras, considered sacred to God Shiva. The temple houses a tall marble Shiv Linga and is built in the Dravidian style of architecture.

Amaravati School of Art

  • Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, fostered a unique art form known as the Amaravati School of Art.
  • The Satavahanas and subsequent rulers supported and patronized this artistic tradition.
  • The defining feature of the Amaravati school is its emphasis on ‘narrative art.’
  • Carvings on metal and stone were crafted to naturally depict incidents, such as a medallion illustrating the complete story of the ‘taming of an elephant by the Buddha.’
  • The distinctive material used in the Stupa of Amaravati is white marble.
  • The Amaravati School of Art is characterized by a sense of movement and energy, along with a deep and tranquil naturalism evident in human, animal, and floral forms.
  • Significant locations where the Amaravati School of Art style flourished include Amravati, Nagarjunikonda, Goli, Ghantasala, and Vengi.
  • The artistic style incorporated both religious and secular images.
  • Over time, this artistic style influenced and transformed into Pallava and Chola architecture.

Development of Amaravati City of Andhra Pradesh

  1. The Telangana Act of 2014, officially named the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, led to the division of the State of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  2. Hyderabad, situated in Telangana, was designated as the capital of Telangana.
  3. Hyderabad was also temporarily declared as the capital of Andhra Pradesh until a new capital was established.
  4. On September 4, 2014, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, announced that Amaravati, located on the right bank of the
  5. Krishna River in the Guntur district, would be developed as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
  6. On October 22, 2015, Amaravati was officially declared as the Capital City of Andhra Pradesh.

The Vision of Amaravati City

Amaravati City in Andhra Pradesh boasts a rich and diverse history, thriving both economically and culturally. With a vision to elevate it to global prominence, the Andhra Pradesh State government aims to transform Amaravati into a city of international renown, given its historical significance as a hub of substantial political activity. Highlighted below are key elements of the Amaravati City Vision:

  • Transforming Amaravati into a smart city is the primary goal of the Andhra State Government.
  • Establish Amaravati as a “People’s Capital” adhering to international standards.
  • Develop Amaravati into a metropolis that aligns with global benchmarks, inspired by nations like Singapore.
  • Aspire to rank among the world’s top three most livable cities through strategic management of Amaravati’s development.
  • Key goals include:
    – Building world-class infrastructure.
    – Ensuring high-quality living conditions.
    – Providing job opportunities and homes for all residents.
    – Implementing efficient resource management.
    – Promoting environmental sustainability for a green and clean city.
    – Preserving and promoting the identity and heritage of Amaravati.

The Three Capitals Of Andhra Pradesh

Following the 2014 reorganization, Hyderabad served as the temporary capital for both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In that same year, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu designated Amaravati, situated on the right bank of the river Krishna, as the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation stone for Amaravati in 2015. By 2020, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy enacted a law establishing three capitals:

  • Amaravati: The Legislative Capital
  • Visakhapatnam: The Executive Capital
  • Kurnool: The Judicial Capital

In November 2022, Andhra Pradesh’s Legislative Assembly reversed the three-capital plan. Currently, Amaravati stands as the sole capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Administration

Amaravati stands as a designated urban region, overseen in its urban planning and development by the Amaravati Development Corporation Limited and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA). The administrative hub for state government officials is situated in Velagapudi and is recognized as the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat. The APCRDA holds authority over the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Conurbation, extending its governance to the encompassing city. The capital city is poised to incorporate villages, including certain hamlets, from three mandals: Mangalagiri, Thullur, and Tadepalle.

Religion

The majority of the population adheres to Hinduism, yet substantial communities are practising Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism as well. Within the Amaravati historic complex, both the Amaralingeswara Swami Temple and the Amaravati stupa serve as significant places of worship.

Language

The predominant population in Amaravati comprises Telugu-speaking individuals, with a minority of Urdu speakers and other ethnic groups. Telugu serves as the official language of the city.

Economy

Initially formed by the state government to contribute to the city’s development, the collaboration between Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development, headquartered in Singapore, concluded in September 2019. Due to a limited state government budget of 500 crore allocated for 2019, progress on the Amravati project has considerably decelerated, and a conclusive completion date is currently unavailable.

Other Important Events at Amaravati

Some of the important events at Amravati are listed below.

  • Happy Cities Summit: APCRDA endorsed the 2019 Happy Cities Summit in Amaravati, aiming to build on the success of its inaugural edition and establish Amaravati as a prominent participant in discussions on urban innovation. The focus was particularly on enhancing citizen well-being following the election of Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy as Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister. Conversations regarding the Happy Homes project gained momentum. Additionally, the Government of Andhra Pradesh organized the inaugural Happy Cities Summit in Amaravati in April 2018, attracting over 1,500 delegates from more than 15 countries, including esteemed urban leaders and experts.
  • Amaravati’s First National Women’s Parliament: Participating in the inaugural National Women’s Parliament in Amaravati on February 10, 2017, the Dalai Lama, a prominent Buddhist figure, voiced his support for the decision to designate Amaravati as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh. He extended his well-wishes for the city’s comprehensive development and acknowledged the notable transformations that Amaravati has experienced over time. Emphasizing the connection between peace and economic prosperity, he stated that peaceful environments contribute to economic growth.
  • F1H2O Grand Prix of India: From November 16 to 18, 2018, Amaravati hosted the second edition of the F1H2O World Championship Grand Prix in India, with the first being in Mumbai in 2004. This event gained considerable media attention, especially because one of the participating teams adopted the state’s name and colours, marking the first occurrence of an Indian-branded team in the history of F1H2O. The Team Amaravati was led by drivers Jonas Andrson and Eric Edin.

Conclusion

With a history spanning over 2000 years, Amaravati stands as one of the oldest cities in India, holding significance in art, culture, and politics. As it evolves into the premier capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati aims to showcase the rich heritage and history of the state. Despite the withdrawal of the proposal to establish three capital cities, Amaravati retains its status as the sole and primary capital city of Andhra Pradesh.

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FAQs

Who discovered Amaravati Stupa?

The great Amravati Stupa was discovered by Colin Mackenzie in the year 1797.

Why is Amravati famous in history?

Amaravati is famous in history as the capital city of the great Satavahanas. Also, it is famous for its Buddhist Stupa and rich heritage and history of more than 2000 years.

What is Amaravati famous for?

Amaravati is famous for Amaravati Stupa- a Buddhist Site and the Amareswara Lord Shiva temple. It is also famous for its rich culture and as the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Which state’s capital is Amravati?

Amaravati is the capital of Andhra Pradesh State of India.

Who founded Amaravati stupa?

Amravati Stupa was established under the patronage of the Satvahanas and Ishvaku.

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