Guntur pronunciation is a city and a municipal corporation in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, located 40 miles to the north of Bay of Bengal. It is approximately 1000 miles to the south of the capital, New Delhi. The city has an estimated population of 818,330 (514,707 as per 2001 census) with an Urban Agglomeration of approximately 1,028,667. Guntur is one of the larger (tier-2) cities in the country.
Guntur is a centre of learning and the administrative capital of Guntur district, which is home of historically significant Amaravati, Bhattiprolu and Sitanagaram monuments. The city is also a centre for business, industry, and agriculture. The region is identified as a major transportation and textile hub in India. Additionally, the Guntur area economy has an agricultural component that is internationally known for its exports of chillies, cotton, and tobacco
The Kingdom of Pratipalapura of 500 BCE (Bhattiprolu in Guntur district), appears to be the earliest known kingdom in south India. The earliest recorded reference of Guntur comes from the Idern plates of Ammaraja I (922-929 CE), the Vengi Chalukyan king. Guntur also appears in two other inscriptions dated 1147 CE and 1158 CE. The original Sanskrit (ancient Vedic culture/tradition) name for Guntur was Garthapuri (a place surrounded by water
The 'Agasthyeswara Sivalayam' in the old city is an ancient temple for Lord Siva . It has inscriptions on two stones in 'Naga Lipi' (an ancient script) dating back to about 1100 CE. The backyard of the temple hosts a very historic tree . It is said that Agastya built the temple in the last Treta-Yuga around the Swayambhu Linga and hence it has this name. The 'Nagals' were said to have ruled the region at that time. More recently, the region was under the Nizam's rule (known as jagir of Nawab Salabat Jung till 1788) prior to the colonial period. During colonial rule, Guntur was under the control of the French and then the British, until India's independence. The region has been historically known for Buddhism and the first Kalachakra ceremony performed by Buddha himself
Culture and diversity
With the culture and traditions of ageless Sanatana Dharma/Ancient Vedic Civilization (known as Hinduism) and its principles (Sarve- Jana- Sukhino- Bhavantu), the Guntur Region had a place for all religions, castes, sects and creeds. One of the purportedly lost tribes of Israel called Bene Ephraim, has a presence in Guntur, with even a Jewish synagogue. Religious faiths such as Islam and Christianity lead a harmonious existence.
Telugu is the main language of communication in the city. One of the earliest/purest forms of Telugu language can be noticed in this region. Other languages such as English and Hindi are used in the city to a minor extent. The culture is vibrant with many festivals (that have been celebrated over thousands of years). Those festivals observed in Guntur with great pomp and splendour are: Deepavali, Krishna-Ashtami, Rama Navami, Sankranti, Sivaratri, Ugadi, Vijaya Dasami, Vinayaka-Chaviti. Also, noticeable are festivals introduced before a few centuries, including Christmas, Eid ul-Fitr, Muharram, Ramadan. The 30th International Kalachakra festival was held at Amaravati near Guntur.
The city's lifestyle has a mixture of both urban and rural with some cosmopolitan element. Like any typical Indian city, the majority of the population is from middle and lower middle class families. With a reasonable cost of living and most basic amenities available, the city attracts people from outside. Guntur's residents wear both Indian style and Western style clothing. The common traditional clothing for women is a Saree, Salwar and for men formally, a Dhovathi or Pancha or casually, a Lungi.
Guntur City and its region is a major commercial centre in India. Cotton, tobacco
and chilli are some of the major commodities that are exported
from here to different parts of the world. The city hosts
the largest Asian market ] for red chillies. The Tobacco
Board, India, a part of the Government of India, is headquartered
in Guntur. The chillies that are grown in this region are
some of the hottest in the world, and are in constant competition
with chillies from Mexico for first place. A 'Spice Park'
is currently being setup in the area . The cotton that grows
in the region is used in making some of the finest sarees
The industrial development in the Guntur Region is of medium scale. On a positive note the region has minimal industrial and related pollution as compared to major cities in the country. Some of the industries in the area are: textile mills/handloom, silk, Sangam Dairy, cement factories, Andhra Fertilizers, jute mills, granite industries, diamond and other ore processing (Hindustan Zinc Limited), Auto-Nagar and software/IT Companies. A Textile Hub is being developed on the southwestern side of the city, and the government is also encouraging the setting up of new industries. Possible future plans include the Biotechnology Park, Knowledge Park etc.