Kadapa has been under different rulers in its history, including the Nizams and Cholas, the Vijayanagara Empire and Kingdom of Mysore. It is also well known for its spicy and culinary food.
The city's name originated from the Telugu word "Gadapa" meaning threshold or gate. It acquired this name with its relation to the Tirumala Hills; one had to pass through Cuddapah in olden days to reach Tirumala Hills. In old Telugu the word Kadapa meant a threshold which in modern standard Telugu is evolved to gadapa while the city's name retained the old flavour. It was spelled "Cuddapah" but was changed to "Kadapa" on 19 August 2005 to reflect the local pronunciation of the name.
The history of Kadapa dates back to the 2nd century BC. The evidences of Archaeological Survey of India suggest that it started with Mourya and Satavahana dynasty. And since then it has remained battle field for numerous dynasties including Chalukya, Cholas and Pallava. Among all of these dynasties, first one to rule over Kadapa was Pallava dynasty. Pallava kings ruled over the city during the 5th century after penetrating into North of Kadapa. After that Cholas ruled till the 8th century after defeating Pallavas. Later Banas came into existence as the next dynasty to rule over Kadapa.
After Banas, Rashtrakutas ruled Kadapa region Among the popular rulers of Kadapa was King Indra III, who served during the period of 915 AD. In his period, Kadapa gained a lot of power and influence, which declined with his death later. Telugu Cholas, were the next one to rule Kadapa. Ambadeva ruled Kadapa in the latter half of the 13th century when he established the capital at Vallur, which is located at a distance of about 15 km from Kadapa.
After the death of Ambadeva, the Kakatiya king Prataparudra II ruled until early 14th century. Prataparudra was defeated by Muslims in the reign of Khilji emperor Alla Uddin. Later in the mid-14th century, Hindus of Vijayanagar dynasty drove the Muslims out of Warangal and subsequently Kadapa and ruled for around two centuries till they were defeated by the Nawab of Golkonda. The most illustrious ruler during this time was Pemmasani Thimma Nayudu (1422 CE) who developed the region and constructed many tanks and temples here. Muslims of Golkonda conquered the region in 1594 when Mir Jumla II raided Gandikota fort and defeated Chinna Thimma Nayudu by treachery. Marathas took over the city in 1740 after defeating the Nawab of Kurnool and Cuddapah. Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan also ruled the city before it fell in the hands of Nizam by the Treaty of Seringapatam in 1792. Later the British took control of Kadapa District in 1800 CE. Although the town is an ancient one, it was probably extended by Neknam Khan, the Qutb Shahi commander, who called the extension as "Neknamabad". The name "Neknamabad" was used for the town for some time but slowly fell into disuse and the records of the 18th century refer to the rulers not as Nawabs of basireddy but Nawabs of Kadapa. Except for some years in the beginning, Kadapa District was the seat of the Mayana Nawabs in the 18th century. With the British occupation of the tract in 1800 CE it became the headquarters of one of the four subordinate collectorates under the principal collector Sir Thomas Munro. Monuments from the rule of the Kadapa District Nawabs are still found in the town. Most prominent among these are two towers and the dargahs. In 2004, Kadapa was recognised as a municipal corporation.
Kadapa is located at 14.47°N 78.82°E / 14.47; 78.82 about 412 km from Hyderabad, in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. The city is situated in the Bugga or Ralla Vanka bordered by the Palakondas to the south and to the east by a patch of hills casting north for the Lankamalas on Penna's other side. It has an average elevation of 138 metres (452 ft). The hills of western and eastern ghats stand on either sides, shielding it from the extreme winds of summer and winter
Kadapa has a tropical wet and dry climate characterised by year round high temperatures. It has a record of reaching more than 50 degree Celsius. Summers are especially uncomfortable with hot and humid climate. During this time temperatures range from a minimum of 34 °C and can rise up to a maximum of 40 °C. Temperatures are range in the mid thirties during the day. Humidity is around 75% during the summer months. Monsoon season brings substantial rain to the area. Kadapa gets rainfall from both the South west monsoon as well as the North East Monsoon. June to October is usually the monsoon. Winters are comparatively milder and the temperatures are lower after the onset of the monsoons. During this time the temperatures range from a maximum of 25 °C and can rise up to a maximum of 35 °C. Humidity is much lower during the winter season. Winter season is the best time to visit the place.
The population of Kadapa was first counted in 1871 during the first census of India, which was held until 1911 (pg 176). However, after no historical records are available until 1961. Kadapa is one of the largest and fastest developing cities in Andhra Pradesh. As per the 1991 census the population of the town was 1,21,463. It didn't increase much as per the 2001 census which recorded 1,26,505 lakhs for 20 wards population with an average decadal growth rate of 0.36 per cent. Later it was converted to a Municipal Corporation in 2005. As per provisional data of 2011 census, Kadapa urban agglomeration has a population of 344,078, out of which males are 172,969 and females are 171,109. The literacy rate is 79.34 per cent. The urban population has 65% Hindus, 32% Muslims and 3% Christians.-
Telugu is the official and largest spoken language in the city. Most of the Muslims speak Urdu. Hindi is also spoken in many areas of the city among North Indian traders. English is gaining popularity day by day in the city due to the development.
The Kadapa Municipal Corporation oversees the civic needs of the city and was constituted in the year 2005. It has 50 municipal wards represented by a corporator through direct election, who in turn elects the Mayor. The District court is located in the city itself.
The city has rich culture and heritage with the influence of different dynasties. There are different rituals, customs and traditions with the existence of different religions such as, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism.
Shilparamam is a crafts village situated in the outskirts of Kadapa.
Kadapa is well known for its spicy and culinary food which is very similar to the South Indian food. People have idly, sambar and chutney in their breakfast. Rice, daal and curry is usually served as lunch. Most of the restaurants serve South Indian thali including these dishes in their lunch and dinner menu. Although it has a South Indian touch in its dishes it also has a diverse variety of its own which include Ragi Sangati or Ragi Mudda, Boti Curry, Natukodi Chicken, Paya Curry etc. Ragi sangati with chicken curry is the staple food in Kadapa and is also one of the most famous dishes in the city. Many other varieties of dishes can also be found in the local restaurants. Like many other cities of India fast food is also increasing its reach in the city.
The economy of city is largely based on Agriculture and Mining. Being a district headquarters all types of Government departments are situated within the city. For most of the families the source of income is through the Government jobs and Private sector jobs in various departments including Bussuiness Shops, Hospitality industry, Marketing . Apart from these Tourism also forms a part of economy to the city. Ameen Peer Dargah and Devuni Kadapa are the famous tourist attraction located in the city itself. Kadapa is one of the 49 metropolitan clusters selected by McKinsey & Company as growth hotspots in India.
The primary and secondary school education is imparted by government, aided and private schools of the School Education Department of the state. The medium of instruction followed by different schools are English, Telugu.
Hyderabad Public School, Kadapa, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Kadapa, KSRM College of Engineering, Yogi Vemana University
Kadapa City is well connected by Road, Rail and Air.
Kadapa has good road connectivity. NH-40 passes through the city and connects it with Kurnool and Chittoor. APSRTC provides bus services to various destinations of the Kadapa district and other cities of the state like Vijayawada, Kakinada, Vishakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Nellore, Tirupati, and also the capitals of the neighbouring states Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. The city has a total road length of 803.84 km.
Kadapa has its own railway station in the city.It is one of the Earliest Railway station in the state opened around 1866. The Mumbai-Chennai line which happens to be one of the busiest lines in the south central region passes through Kadapa railway station. It is one of the A category railway station in South Central Railway Zone under Guntakal railway division.
Kadapa Airport was opened for air traffic on 7 June 2015. It is located at a distance of 12 km north west of the City.