Guntur is a district in Andhra Pradesh, India covering an area of 11,391 sq. km onthe Deccan, the first home of man in India. Palaeolithic (old stone age) implements have been found, suggesting that man then roamed the region.
The Kingdom of Prataliputra (5th century BC)}, identified with Bhattiprolu, appears to be the earliest known kingdom in Guntur District. Inscriptional evidence shows that king Kubera was ruling over Bhattiprolu around 230 BC followed by the Sala Kings. Guntur was successively ruled by famous dynasties such as the Satavahanas, Ikshavakus, Pallavas, Anandagothrins, Vishnu Kundins, Chalukyas, Cholas, Kakatiyas, Reddies, Vijayanagara and Kutub Shahis during ancient and medieval times. Later, several subordinate kingdoms ruled the region. These subordinate dynasties also indulged in mutual wars, one of which culminated in a famous battle of Palnadu which is enshrined in legend and literature as “Andhra Kurukshetra” in 1180 AD.
During the period of Nizam rule, the French occupied Guntur in 1750. Guntur was brought under control of the British East India Company by 1788 AD.
The Region played a remarkable role in the freedom struggle and the formation of Andra Pradesh
There are several opinions on the meaning and origin of the word Guntur. The word owes its origin to words like gundu (a rock), gunta (a pond) and kunta (1/3 of an acre). In Sanskrit Guntur is called Garthapuri (Guntlapuri).
The earliest reference to Guntur, a variant of Guntur, comes from the Idern plates of Ammaraja I (922-929 AD), the Vengichalakyan King. Guntur also appears in another two inscriptions dated 1147 AD and 1158 AD.
Since the beginning of Buddhist epoch, Guntur stood foremost in matters of education. Buddhists established universities in ancient times at Dhanyakataka (Amaravathi) and Nagarjunakonda. At present, with many educational institutions, Guntur leads the other Andhra Districts in matters of education.
Some places of historical importance in Guntur District are Amaravathi, Nagarjunakonda, Bhattiprolu, the Undavalli caves and the archeological museum in Guntur.
Paddy, tobacco, cotton and chillies are the main agricultural products cultivated in the district.
Unique to Guntur
Guntur is also the historical place where helium was discovered. In 1869, Guntur witnessed a complete solar eclipse for about ten minutes. The eclipse attracted many British scientists to the place, and so helium was discovered on Sun’s surface.
There was only one family in the famous Titanic from India and that was from Renowned Buddhist monk, Acharya Nagarjuna, is said to have discovered Mica in this area around 200 BC.
Jinnah tower, a commemorative tower for Pakistan’s father of Nation Muhammed Ali Jinnah is unique to Guntur in the whole of South Asia.