India's fifth largest state, Andhra Pradesh is sprawled over an area of 275,068 sq. km. History has forged, and left behind vital links with the state, as is evident from the many edifices, monuments and architectural ruins, the legacy of dynasties as old as 300 B.C.
Traces of the diverse and variegated facets of the culture of the Mauryas, Pallavas, Cholas, Satavahanas, Chalukyas and Vijayanagar, offer imposing vistas, that continue to fascinate the observer.
Andhra Pradesh lives in its fertile coastal plains, semi arid Deccan plateau and the lofty hillscapes of the Eastern Ghats. Exquisite crafts, glorious remnants of the past, vibrant festivities, irresistible delicacies coupled with the charming features of the people, and the sonorant mother tongue Telugu leave behind indelible impressions.
Some of the incredible sights of Andhra Pradesh are the world's tallest masonry dam, million year old caves, South Asia's first lion safari and the world's richest temple.
Once part of the Mauryan Empire during the reign of Ashoka, the state became an important Buddhist centre. One can still see evidences of the early Buddhist influence in Amravati and at Nagarjunakonda, one of 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. Subsequently, it witnessed the sway of the Muslim rulers and in 1713 A.D. it passed into the hands of a commander of the Mughal army under Aurangzeb.
Finally, it succumbed to the rule of the hereditary monarchs known as the Nizams of Hyderabad and remained with them till India attained independence.
Andhra Pradesh is irrigated by the mighty Krishna and the Godavari rivers and is aptly termed as the 'Rice Granary of India'. Telugu is the main language of communication but due to long Muslim rule Urdu’s influence can be seen clearly.