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Culture of Andhra Pradesh - Explore the Dazzling Heritage of Land of Temples

There has been a lot of discussion on the definition of culture and how to define a place by the traditions that its people follow. Just like the other states of the country, Andhra Pradesh has a whole new kind of diversity to offer to its residents and the ones flocking by to witness it. Some distinguishing features of the place include its delicacies, melodious music, rock-n-roll dance moves, free-spirited people and their creative bent of mind. The art & craft here are first class and have a superb quality that has helped the state to thrive and get identified uniquely. The finger-licking Andhra delicacies have a 'Nawabi' touch given to them. Can't control your curiosity already? Scroll down to find all about the eclectic culture of Andhra Pradesh.

Art & Craft Of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Culture
Handmade figurines found in Andhra Pradesh
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The art of Andhra Pradesh is not limited to being traditional or modern - you can find a variety of designs blended in different kinds of colours. There is something fresh about the paintings, handicrafts, and handlooms which are merely sub-categories of the art and craft found here. No other state can compete with Andhra in terms of its crafts and let's be honest, the state is bound to be incomplete without its existence. Right from when they are born, the Telugu people are trained to be experts in creating metal crafts, toys, saris, stone crafts, brassware and the like by following the traditional methods even today.

Apart from Indians, people from all over the world to flock to Andhra Pradesh so as to experience this truly amazing form of art. The luxurious nature of the crafts of the state is a hit in India, as well as abroad, and is a huge income-generating source for the people of the state.

Ikat - Handlooms in Andhra Pradesh

Handlooms in Andhra Pradesh Culture
Handlooms in Andhra Pradesh
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The state of Andhra Pradesh is also very famous due to the skilful hand weaving quality displayed by the local residents, especially Ikat. This practice of using and selling hand-stitched clothes is a traditional practice being followed till date. The state has some royal dress material and saris with intricate designs to offer. All the handmade designs are very delicate and carefully woven. Every sari is adorned with a 'pallu' and a thin border which is embroidered with some kind of golden thread work. 

Exclusive to Andhra Pradesh, Ikat is renowned the world-over for its intricate designs and patterns which are also closely followed in Orissa and Gujarata. It originates in the villages of Nalgonda district and involves weaving randomly dyed yarns in a geometric or zigzag patter giving the finished cloth an unparalleled beautiful design. Ikat handlooms can be described as the jewel in the crown of Andhra Pradesh culture.

Handicrafts of Andhra Pradesh

Handicraft of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Culture
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Since a long time, India has been identified by its traditional handicraft items occupying a special place in the heart. Andhra Pradesh has been able to keep that spirit alive and is yet another place to offer some exotic and alluring handicraft designs to its visitors. This has been possible with the training that has been given to the involved professionals with care and dedication. The people of the state are in love with their culture and their work itself showcases it. The handicraft culture of Andhra Pradesh is known for the impeccable Banjara embroidery, wood carving and metal work.

Paintings

Culture of Andhra Pradesh
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A painting is like portraying one's life on a two-dimensional white board. The paintings found in the state represent the rich culture of Andhra Pradesh. To paint is a traditional practice which is followed by the people residing in the state. These paintings are not amateur but have a lot of skill and professional training imbibed within them which can be seen in their work itself. Earlier, the painting was done in a manner wherein natural colours were used on canvas to beautify it and make it look better.

Traditional Dances of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Culture
 Banjara Lamadi or Lambani tribe in Andhra Pradesh
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A state which does not have dance as part of its culture can never be regarded as a culturally rich state. Andhra Pradesh is one such place which has always had a very rich culture. A collection of performing arts have originated here including dance, music, and drama. Dance is the most important kind of performing art which is why it has always been encouraged by people to be followed ever since the age of dawn. Kuchipudi is one of the most famous dance forms which is also recognized as one of the best kind of dance forms in the world. Kuchipudi undoubtedly has some similarities with another dance form that is, Bharat Natyam. Along with Kuchipudi, many other dance forms including Perini which is an amazing dance form have emerged from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Perini is like a warrior dance which is also known as the 'dance of Lord Shiva'.

Melodious Music of Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Culture
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Andhra Pradesh has always been known for its rich musical heritage. This land has given birth to three 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 is, therefore, able to bring out the originality and the true spirit of the Carnatic music. Some famous Carnatic music composers include Kshetrayya, Annamacharya and Bhadrachala Ramadasa. This type of music is also said to be begun by the Holy Gods. Another very famous kind of music which has said to be originated from Carnatic music is folk music. This art has been passed on to the descendants over the years. Every music has a distinctive feature meaning that every composition of music has a different version altogether. The musical element and the hidden meaning behind the song is what makes it more meaningful and attractive. Another feature which separates the Carnatic music from the rest of the music is the fact that the song is always able to bring out the personality of the song composer completely thereby increasing the level of the language in the music.

People Of Andhra Pradesh

A state is truly defined by the type of inhabitants it has. Andhra Pradesh is a mix of people belonging to different religions, communities and having a different lifestyle, religion, and custom to be followed. One is likely to get the sweetest and most courteous kinds of people here. Though people here belong to different caste and religion, they know how to live together in peace and harmony with each other. Andhra Pradesh is like a diverse land which is also a commercial hub for the people of other states. The people of Andhra Pradesh are also known for their kind- hearted & God-fearing nature and the graciousness of which they speak so as to maintain peace and harmony amongst communities.

Religions

The people of Andhra Pradesh are quite devoted to follow their religion. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam are the major religions practised in this state. However, the fact that people belonging to different religions stay put and carry out their religious practices together is an interesting fact.  A number of mosques, temples, churches, and stupas have been constructed in the vicinity of the state. Hinduism is the religion which is followed by most population followed by Islam which remains confined in the cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad. Each and every tribe here has a different belief altogether making the culture of Andhra Pradesh rich and vibrant.

Fairs and Festivals in Andhra Pradesh

Festivals are celebrated so as to bring people even closer to each other and to enjoy the spirit of every event. Festivals belonging to every religion are celebrated here by everybody with the exact same enthusiasm and love. These festivals include Diwali, Makar Sankranti, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr and the like. Other fairs and events including Dance Festival, Ravalaseema Food, Vishakha festival and Deccan festival too are organized in the state to enjoy and spend some time together. Some important and major festivals include Tirupathi festival, Lumbini festival, Pongal and Ugadi festival.  

Food Of Andhra Pradesh

Food of Andhra Pradesh, Culture of Andhra Pradesh
Pulihora (tamarind rice)
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The traditional food of Andhra Pradesh include Pulihora which is tamarind rice, Poppadams , Pesaratu, Sambar, Rasam, Payasum and the like.  Most of the Andhra cuisineh is vegetarian but the coastal regions of the state serve very tasty and fresh seafood comprising of prawns and fishes. The cuisine of Hyderabad has been influenced a lot by the Nizams as well marked by its rich flavours and textures. The Biryani of Hyderabad known as Mirchkasalan is famous all across the world. Nothing can be compared to the exotic taste of this aromatic dish. The Hyderabadi food has a lot of variety ranging from sour to sweet, hot to spicy. The food here is incomparable and is embellished with lots of dry fruits. Some other authentic dishes apart from Biryani include Chakna, Dalcha, Murghka Korma, Katti Dal and much more. Sweet dish after food is like a compulsion and this state lags nowhere behind in its sweet dishes which include Sheer Korma, Bandhar Ladoo, Putharekulu, Gajjar ka halwa etc which are prepared in pure ghee. 

Traditional Costumes of Andhra Pradesh 

Andhra Pradesh Culture
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The traditional dress which is worn by the inhabitants of a state is what truly identifies it and distinguishes it from the rest of the country/world. The state of Andhra Pradesh comprises of some of the best traditional clothes which are embellished with the designs which have begun to fade away in the world. A huge amount of cotton is produced in the state along with different dye extracted from the plants. Golconda mine is a very traditional place of the state which is home to the precious gems including Hope and Kohinoor diamond. Andhra Pradesh as a state has always been on the top for its jewellery and has dominated the jewellery market till 1826 when the diamond mines were also identified in another place called Rhodisia-Africa. If today there are 10 extremely valuable pieces of jewellery, 8 of them will have their origin from here. The Andhra Pradesh culture scene is also adorned by the fashion industry carrying half saris called voni, full saris which are designed through Bidri, Nirmal paintings and Kalamkari together having weaves of Pochampalli, Gadwal, Venkatagiri which bring out and portrays ancient traditions, as old as 3000 years. Some of the best gold jewellery models comprise of Vaddana, Buttlau, Aravanke and Kasula Haram which represent the upcoming tradition.

Architecture

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Andhra Pradesh’s rich history of dynasties and kingdoms influenced the architecture significantly. The Dravidian style of architecture is intertwined with cultural practices of rulers from Chola, Chalukyas, Vijayanagar, Satavahanas and Gajapati empires. There are many Buddhist and Hindu temples that resemble the trademark Dravidian style, towering stone structures that are decorated with carvings of religious deities and symbols. Intricate details and flawless engravings are visible on almost every monument dating from that time. Diversity of the architecture compliments the harmony of the Telugu culture brilliantly.

Literature

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Telugu is the official language spoken by natives in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring states. It is one of the ancient Dravidian languages, dating back to first millennium AD. Many scholars have found inscriptions in Telugu from 500 BC to 100 BC, proving its existence goes way back. Even though it originates from Proto-Dravidian sub-language, literary experts have confirmed its connection to Sanskrit as well as Hindi. Ancient poets  Nannaya, Tikkana and Yerrapragada constitute the holy ‘Trinity of Poets’ that are credited for reviving the language and promoting its vocabulary through popular translational works like Mahabharata.

Social Customs and Traditions

Ugadi
Andhra Pradesh, like many Indian states is a rich concoction of cultures, religious practices, traditions, beliefs and ethnicity. Ethnic tribesmen and urban citizens live in perfect harmony and you will see natives coming together, celebrating festivals like Ugadi (Telugu New Year), Makar Sankranti, Ram Navami, Maha Shivratri, Dasara and Diwali. Many citizens still believe in ancient traditions and pursue them sincerely. Muggulu is one such tradition where people decorate entrances with white rice powder. These age-old traditions are prevalent in many households and may vary depending on ethnicity.

There lies a huge difference in reading about the culture and traditions of a place and actually witnessing it and experiencing it all together. Every state, district, country and even every house follow a different lifestyle which distinctly identifies it from the rest. So do the practices carried out by the people of Andhra Pradesh. This state is a land full of fun, frolic, laughter, and life which has not yet been discovered by more than half of the population. As can be made out from the article, the culture of Andhra Pradesh is rich in terms of its food, clothing, festivals, dance, music, paintings or any other forte. The state has a lot to offer for those who want to be a part of it and appreciate its beauty. Plan a trip and see for yourself what a beautiful life lies at the place with the exact kind of peace and harmony that is required in the world today but goes missing.
Our culture, our traditions, our language are truly the foundations upon which we build our identities.

This post was published by Saumya Bansal