Culture of Andhra Pradesh
If in Andhra Pradesh, it would be difficult for you to miss the rich cultural heritage that the whole state is steeped in. One will rarely come across a traditional household devoid of Carnatic music CDs, knowledge of Kuchipudi or a mini library stacked with Telugu literature. So let's begin our knowledge of Telugu culture, art and craft and cuisine by listening to Tyagraja's Krithis.
- Jagdanada Karaka
- Dudukugala Nanne
Different people, different religions, different languages, different traditions and different festivals are what make Andhra Pradesh a vibrant and varied place. Its magnificent culture has impact of various dynasties including Mughals, Cholas, and Chalukyas of past era and all of them have gifted some kind of art to this majestic state from time to time. Some of the marvelous architecture of that time depicts the craftiness of those people. Kolamis, Bhagatas, Gadabas, Savaras, Koyas and Khonds are among the main tribes of this beautiful state. People here enjoy all the festivals of the nation. However, the state has some vivid festivals of its own as well and some of those include Pongal, Lumbini Festival, Vinayaka Chaviti, Visaka Utsav, Deccan Festival, Ugadi, Makara Sankranthi
and Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival. Kuchipudi dance style is the gift of Andhra Pradesh only to the entire nation. All of these factors make this state unique with a rich blend of different cultures.
Dance and Music of Andhra Pradesh
While following all the rules of rag and tal of Indian classical music, Andhra Pradesh offers some
unique and exciting music composed in Telugu language for its people to enjoy. All of the dynasties, which have ruled this state, have left their essence on its music as well. Some of the renowned vocalists of the state include Srirangam Gopalaratnam, Sarangapani, Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna and Nedunuri Krishnamurthy while, famous composers include Bhadrachala Ramadasa, Mudduswami Dikshita, Annamacharya, Thyagaraja and Syama Sastri. Rural areas of the state also enjoy folk songs just like the other states of this varied nation.
Kuchipudi is not only a dance form, but it is a symbol of Andhra Pradesh. It is for sure the best form of classical dance of Andhra Pradesh. Most of the people of Andhra Pradesh enjoy the dancing practice including both men and women. However, it is mostly learned by the women usually. Folk dance is also popular and found in forms of Carcari, Rasaka, Danda Rasaka, Perani, Prenkhana, Suddha Nartana, Bhandika Nrityam, Kolatam, Gondali, Shiva Priya, Kanduka Nartana, Carana Nrityam and Chindu.
Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh
Kuchipudi derives its name from a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district bordering the Bay of
Bengal. Kuchipudi as a traditional dance form flourished for hundreds of years. It was held in high respect by the rulers of the Deccan. Tana Shah in 1678 granted the lands around Kuchipudi to the Brahmins who performed Kuchipudi and as a result some of the Brahmins also have Kuchipudi as their surname.
Such was the power of Kuchipudi dance form that at times the dancers could even wield social and political power. The play-cum-social commentary staged is 1502 one such example. The play portrayed the fate of the the people who were being ill-treated by a local raja. After the performance, the people were freed from the atrocities of the raja but the dancers were sought protection from the raja and his army.
Did you Know?
Over 2,800 Kuchipudi dancers, including more than 200 natyagurus created a Guinness World Records on December 26, 2010 at Hindolam Thillana in GMC Balayogi Stadium in Hyderabad.
Modern Kuchipudi what we see today got its present form in the 20th century. Several people were responsible for taking it out from the villages to the stage and the most notable among them was guru Lakshminarayan Shastry. Some other personalities who popularized Kuchipudi are Vempati Chinna Satyam, C.R. Acharyalu, and Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna.Watch a Kuchipudi dance recital
Andhra Pradesh Cuisine
Andhra Cuisine also known as Telugu
cuisine is influenced by the cultural heritage of the region and Nawabi
influence. Andhra cuisine is hot and tangy and being the largest h
producer of rice in India, most of the dishes are rice-based. Andhra
Pradesh is also the largest producer of chilli and that accounts for the
food being hot and spicy. Most of the people of Andhra Pradesh have both
vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
Difference between Telangana and Andhra cuisine
Telangana and Andhra cuisine are mostly similar, yet there are a couple
of distinct features that make the two unique and easy to distinguish.
In Telangana, spring onions and coriander seeds are used a lot in their
food which is avoided by coastal Andhra as it is believed to generate
body heat. In Andhra Kodi vepudu or chicken fry is made using Guntur
chillies, coconut and onion gravy while in Telangana, the tangy flavour
in kodi vepudu is because of the use of tamarind.
Breakfast Menu of Andhra Cuisine
A typical breakfast of
Andhra Pradesh will include idli (rice- and lentil-based steam cake),
Andhra dosa (a rice- and urad dal-based pancake eaten with chutney and
sambhar), vada (deep-fried lentil dough), upma (broken wheat flour),
Atukulu (Moist Rice flakes sautéed in little oil also known as Poha in
northern India) or puri and potato gravy.
Lunch/Dinner of Andhra Cuisine
Besides the food, the
presentation is of utmost importance in most Telugu households and also
in hotels.While traditional Andhra households serve food in stainless
steel utensils, in rural households, it is served in arati aaku (banana
leaves). While pappu (dal) and kooralu (curries) are placed to the
right, pickles and raita and Pappulu Podi (Dal based powdered condiment)
are placed to the left of the diner. Vegetarian main dishes include:
(Fry) crispy fried vegetables, Pappu (lentil), Pappu Koora (Lentil
based dish), Podi (Powdered Dal based condiment or seasoning), Gojju
(Gravy), Tomato or coriander seed base, Pulusu Koora (Sour Paste or
Gravy with boiled vegetables).
A very popular Andhra combo is
mudda pappu (plain toor dal cooked with salt) with Avakaya. The last
item of the meal. Perugu (curd) is normally consumed with an
accompaniment like pachadi or ooragaya.
Non-vegetarian Cuisine of Andhra Pradesh
Apart from a
variety of vegetarian dishes, majority of the population also eat
non-vegetarian dishes. Seafood, Lamb and poultry products are consumed
in high quantities. Apart from the very popular Hyderabadi Biryani, the
other non-vegetarian dishes popular in the region are Palaav or chicken
palaav. Royyala palav made with shrimps is also popular in Andhra
Pradesh. Kodi (Chicken) Koora and Mutton (Lamb) koora are two popular
non-vegetarian dishes made with variety of spices.
Meat gravy with bold flavoursChepala Pulusu:
Fish curry with freshly ground spicesEndu Chapala Vankaya:
Dry flavoured fish cooked with brinjalRoyyala Kura:
Prawns cooked in a paste of tamarind and onionKodi Gudla Pulusu:
Egg curry with chopped onions, green chilies and coriander
Sweets and Savouries of Andhra Pradesh
The Telugu speaking
people have a sweet tooth. They love their mouth-watering sweets like
Kakinada kaja, Bobbatlu, Booralu and Bandhar Ladoo. Most of
the sweets are cooked in ghee to give that unique flavour.
Festivals and Fairs of Andhra Pradesh
Just like any other state of the vivid nation India, Andhra Pradesh also celebrates most of the festivals including Diwali, Holi, Dasara, Eid, Christmas, Easter, Moharram, Ramadan, Maha Shivaratri, Krishan Janmashtmi, Raksha Bandhan and others with full enthusiasm every year. However, there are certain festivals that represents the state and its uniqueness on a national level, as these festivals are usually celebrated only in Andhra Pradesh and some neighboring states as well. Some of these festivals include Pongal, Ugadi, Makara Sankranti, Vinayaka Chaviti, Attla Taddi, Deccan Festival, Lumbini Festival, Tirupati Festival, Visakha Utsav and Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival. Let us take a look at some of the important ones of these festivals and fairs here.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation organizes Deccan Festival in the month of February every year. The festival is celebrated for five days and showcase crafts, dances, arts and music of the state. Hyderabad comes alive every year during that time with mushairas, dance, food and festivities.
Named after Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, Lumbini Festival
is dedicated to the religion of Buddhism. It is celebrated every year in Nagarjunsagar in Hyderabad to relive the heritage of Buddhism. Organised by the Department of Tourism of the Government of Andhra Pradesh, it is a 3 day festival in the month of December.
is no doubt one of the most awaited festival of the state. It is celebrated in the month of September / October for nine days at the premises of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, commonly known as Tirupati Balaji or Tirupati Tirumala located in Chittor district of the state.
Another festival showcasing the arts, music, dances and crafts of the state, Visakha Utsav is organized by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. The main purpose of this festival is to enhance the tourism of the state at a grand level.
Commonly known as the Telugu New Year, Ugadi is celebrated in the month of March / April every year. Decorating the houses, wearing new clothes and preparing special food to offer to the God and distributing the same once the rituals are completed are the common traditions of this festival.
Renowned as the “Harvest Festival”, Pongal
is for sure the most popular festival of not only Andhra Pradesh but entire South India. It is a four day festival celebrated in the month of January every year and celebrates the beginning of harvesting crops in the fields.
Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival
Organized by the Department of Tourism, Andhra Pradesh in the month of October every year, Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival is another platform for the crafters and art performers to showcase their crafts, art, dance, cuisine and music in front of a huge audience.
Literature of Andhra Pradesh
Ancient drama, poems, stories
and epics are all part of one of the oldest literature of India, Telugu
literature. It is influenced by Hindi and Sanskrit literature in
several ways and numerous Telugu writers and poets have converted some of the great works of Hindi and Sanskrit in Telugu language. One of the most
popular conversion of the epic 'Mahabharatha' in Telugu was done by
Tikkana,Yerrapragada and Nannayya. 'Sri Bhagavatam', a masterpiece of
Ved Vyasa, was converted by Bammera Potana as Sri Madandhra Maha
Bhagavatamu in Telugu.
Manu Caritra, Vijaya Vilasam,
Kanyasulkamu, Bhaaskara Satakamu, Andhra naayaka Satakamu, Sumatee
Satakam and Mahaaprasthanaam are some of the notable gifts of Telugu
literature. Many writers and poets of Telugu literature have been
awarded from time to time for their great work in literacy.
Amuktamalyada by the Emperor Krishna Deva Raya, Philosophical poems by
Yogi-Vemana are among some of the renowned work of Telugu literature.
Credit for the deriving present Telugu script from the old Telugu –
Kannada script goes to Nannayya. Some of the famous writers of the
modern Telugu literature include Dr. C. Narayana Reddy and Sri
Viswanatha Satya Narayana.
Art and Craft of Andhra Pradesh
Crafting has always been part of Andhra Pradesh from ancient times. Various people have learned these skills over the years from their fathers and the same goes on from generation to generation to preserve and keep this craftsmanship alive.
Different kinds of arts and crafts have flourished in the state of Andhra Pradesh and all of them offer their uniqueness and authenticity to its visitors. Some of the famous crafts of Andhra Pradesh include wooden toys from Kondapalli, stone crafts and idols (production and carvings) of Durgi village, Kalamkari (ancient textile art form), doll making, redwood carvings of Tirupati and many more. Here are some of the most famous arts and crafts from
Andhra Pradesh.Budithi Brassware
Budithi Brassware belongs to the Budithi village of Srikakulam district and involves creating different shapes from alloys.
Another great art of crafting from the vivid state of Andhra Pradesh, Durgi Stone crafts are part of the Durgi village, located at a mere distance of Macherla in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Etikoppaka Wooden Crafts
Toys and dolls made out of “Poniki” wood are the specialty of Etikoppaka Wooden Crafts. Etikoppaka is located in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh and is renowned for its wooden crafts.
One of the very few places left for Saraswati Veena manufacturing, Bobbili located in Vizianagaram district is definitely the one to visit.
Another art of cotton textile, Kalamkari is the craft of hand painted and block printed fabrics and is used for decorations purpose mainly. However, people also use it to make religious ornaments and other crafts.
Mangalgiri Sarees are the product of Mangalgiri, which is located at a mere distance of about 12 Kms from Vijaywada district of Andhra Pradesh. These sarees are prepared with the Mangalgiri Cotton.
Customs and Traditions of Andhra Pradesh
People of different ethnicity including Hindu, Muslim, Christian and followers of Buddhism are in abundance in the state of Andhra Pradesh, which makes it a place full of different customs and traditions of all of these religions. Also different areas such as rural, urban and tribal give birth to different traditions and customs to be followed. Classification of the traditions of Andhra Pradesh can be done into ancient Hindu traditions, medieval Buddhist traditions, modern Islamic –Hindu fusion traditions and Hindu – Christian fusion traditions of latest time. Some of the customs of this state are full of sense and while others can be a bit weird for some. For example, when a baby is born with the umbilical cord around its neck, its family members anxiously wait 21 days. On 21st day, a goat is sacrificed and its intestines are wrapped around the baby’s neck, if it is still alive. This ceremony is known as Oovala or Irvai-okati ceremony in the state.
Attires of Andhra People
Most of the people of Andhra Pradesh believe in simplicity and tradition and usually traditional wear are the favorite of them. Men prefer to wear lungi, jubba (kurta), Pancha (Dhoti) and Pai Pancha (Veil) usually and women always prefer to wear Cheera or Sari. Usually Dhotis worn by men are of white color and have golden border on the same. Kajeeravaram, Mangalgiri cotton and Dharmavaram sarees are the favorite among the women of Andhra Pradesh. When it comes to girl’s clothing in Andhra Pradesh Parikini and Langa Oni (Half Sari) are the favorite traditional wear for the most of parts of Andhra Pradesh. On different occasions and festivals, silk sarees are worn by the women and girls of Andhra Pradesh.
However, with the recent development and growth of the state, people are leaning towards the western wear more and dresses such as jeans, shirts, pants, t-shirts for men and salwar kameez, jeans, tops, skirts, shorts, shirts, leggings, jeggings and churidaar salwar kurta for women and girls are finding their own way in this traditional state. Clothing style has changed especially in the big cities of the state rapidly and people in these cities find modern western wear more comfortable and stylish as compared to the traditional wear. And wearing pearls jewelry over modern and traditional wear both has become a status symbol for all of the women of Andhra Pradesh.
On the other hand, Lambadies, a tribal group of Andhra Pradesh are known for their unique and colorful clothes and outfits. Their dresses are usually a combination of various textile and handloom craftsmanship. A rare thing about the costumes of these tribes is that the men wear traditional costumes like women of the group. Lambadi women wear Ghagra Choli of bright colors with silver jewelry.