Guntur is the fourth largest city in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a municipal corporation and the head quarters of Guntur district. This city is renowned as a centre for education, commerce, agriculture and industry. Agriculture is an indispensable part of the economy of Guntur and it has made this region internationally known for the export of chillies, tobacco and cotton. With many places in the district that reflect the ancient culture, this region is famous for its cultural heritage. This region is also identified as the transportation and textile hub in India.
The original Sanskrit name for Guntur is Garthapuri. The earliest reference to Guntur comes from the Idern plates of Ammaraja I (922-929), the Vengi Chalukyan King. The earliest known kingdom in the region seems to be the Kingdom of Pratipalapura of 500 BC (current Bhattiprolu). Guntur also appears in another two inscriptions dated 1147 AD and 1158 AD. The 'Agasthyeswara Sivalayam', an ancient temple of Lord Siva in the old city, has inscriptions written on two stones in 'Naga Lipi' (ancient script) dating back to 1100 AD. The place of Sitanagaram and Guthikonda caves can be traced (through Vedic Puranas) back to the last Treta-Yuga and Dwapara-Yuga. The region has also been historically known for Buddhism. In the recent times, the region was under Nizam's rule prior to the colonial period. During the colonial rule, Guntur was under the control of French initially and then under the British till India's independence. It is also said that the word Guntur means "The Village of Tanks". The original Guntur used to be located where the current 'Old Guntur' exists. Over the last 50-100 years, the city has expanded specifically to north and this region is now called the 'New Guntur'.
LOCATION AND CLIMATE
Guntur lies on 16 degrees 18 minutes North latitude and 80 degrees 29 minutes East longitude on the globe. It lies about 6 miles to the east of Kondaveedu range of hills. Guntur is located 64 km to the North-West of Bay of Bengal, approximately 1600 km to the South of the national capital, 266 km South-East of the state capital. Guntur town is located at the point where the irrigated lands under Krishna Southern Canal system and dry uplands of Guntur district begin. Guntur Region and district are surrounded by the Krishna Delta (of River Krishna). It has an average elevation of 33 meters (108 feet). Guntur City falls within the hot humid region of the country and it is not more than 40 miles from the Sea. The climate of the district is generally hot. The entire hot humid region covered by the Coromandal coast has two seasons: 1) Warm season between October and March and 2) Hot season between April and September. It has no cold seasons. The atmosphere is generally humid. The atmospheric humidity in the region around Guntur ranges from 63% to 81%. Rain storms and hurricanes are common in the region during the rainy season. It starts with monsoons sometime early June. The hurricanes can occur at any time of the year, but commonly between May and November.
With the foundations of Ancient Vedic Civilization/Sanatana Dharma (known as Hinduism) and its principles (Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavantu), the Guntur Region has a place for all religions, castes, sects and creeds. One of the lost tribes of Israel called Bene Ephraim, can be traced in Guntur, having a Jewish temple (synagogue). Religious faiths such as Islam and Christianity have nice presence in harmony. 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. The Guntur City life style has a mixture of both urban and rural with a touch of cosmopolitan life style. Like any typical Indian city, the majority of the population is from middle and lower middle class families. Indian Culture is vibrant with many festivals like Vijaya Dasami, Deepavali, Sankranti, Sri Krishnashtami, Sri Rama Navami, Sivaratri, Ugadi, Vinayaka-Chaviti, Christmas, Id-ul-Fitr, Muharram, Ramadan etc. The 30th International Kalachakra festival was held at Amaravathi near Guntur.
Guntur city along with the surrounding region is renowned as one of the major commercial centres in India. Guntur has the largest Asian market for Red Chillies. Cotton, tobacco and chilli are some of the major commodities that are exported from here to various parts of the world. The corporate headquarters of Tobacco Board India, a Government of India enterprise, is located in Guntur. The industrial development in the Guntur Region is of medium scale. Some of the industries in this 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.