The city is known for its historic agricultural, economic and cultural backgrounds and hence, it is known as the Cultural Capital of Andhra Pradesh. One of the longest road cum rail bridges across Godavari River, connects the city with the town of Kovvur. The Kotilingeswar Ghat temple on the banks of Godavari river is one of fifty five Shakti Peethas.
In its earlier days, it was called Rajamahendravaram. But later, it was referred as Rajahmundry. On 10 October 2015, the government made the official announcement to rename the city with its original name, Rajamahendravaram.
The city can be traced back to the rule of the Eastern Chalukya king Raja Raja Narendra, who reigned around 1022 AD, after whom it is named – Rajamahendri or Rajamahendravaram. Remains of 11th-century palaces and forts still exist. However, new archaeological evidence suggests that the town may have existed long before the Chalukyas.
Rajahmundry was established by Ammaraja Vishnuvardhana the First (919–934 AD). Some people believe in this theory as Vishnuvardhana had the title "Rajamahendra". His predecessor Ammaraja Vijayaditya the Second (945–970 AD) also had the same title, "Rajamahendra".
Ruler timeline:Raja Raja Narendra (1020–1061 AD)
Kakatiya Rule (1323 AD)
Reddy and Gajapathi (1353–1448 AD)
Anglo – French (1758 AD)
In the Madras Presidency, the district of Rajahmundry was created in 1823. The Rajahmundry district was reorganised in 1859, bifurcated into the Godavari and Krishna districts. During British rule, Rajahmundry was the headquarters of Godavari district. Godavari district was further bifurcated into East and West Godavari districts in 1925. Rajamahendravaram was renamed Rajahmundry during the rule of the British, for whom the city was the headquarters of the Godavari district. When the district was split into East and West, Kakinada became the headquarters of East Godavari.
Rajahmundry is acclaimed as the birthplace of the Telugu language – its grammar and script evolved from the pen of the city-born poet Nannayya. Also known as 'Adi Kavi' (the first poet) of Telugu, Nannayya, along with Tikkana and Yerrana, translated the Sanskrit version of Mahabharata into Telugu. Kandukuri Veeresalingam – a social reformer and the author of Rajashekhara Charithra, the first Telugu novel – was also from Rajahmundry.
Rajahmundry was one of the biggest cities in South India in the 19th century. It was the hotbed of several movements during India's freedom struggle and acted as a base for many key leaders. When the Indian National Congress had its first meeting in Bombay (Mumbai), two leaders from Rajahmundry, Nyapathi Subba Rao and Kandukuri Veeresalingam, participated in it. Subba Rao, founder of Hindu Samaj in Rajahmundry, was also one of the six founders of India's noted English daily, The Hindu.
The rebirth of culture in Andhra Pradesh started in Rajahmundry. Kandukuri Veeresalingam Pantulu is known as the father of reforms in Andhra Pradesh. He started a monthly magazine, Vivekavardhini, a school for girls at Dowleswaram in 1874. The first widow remarriage took place on 11 December 1881. A society with 16 members was started on 22 June 1884, which used to look after widow remarriages in Rajahmundry. The town hall in Rajahmundry was established in 1890 by Veeresalingam.
Annie Besant visited Rajahmundry twice. First, she came when the foundation of a branch of the Divya Gyan Samaj building at Alcot Gardens was being laid. She came again during the opening ceremony of the building.
Ramakrishna Mission was established in 1950–51 near Kambal tank. The place is now the Ayakar Bhavan (Income Tax Office).
Independence movement and Rajahmundry: (1885–1905 AD)
Vande Mataram Movement was started in 1905 against the partition of Bengal. Bipin Chandra Paul visited Rajahmundry in April 1905 for the same. During his visits to Rajahmundry, he used to address the public in "Paul Chowk" (the present-day Kotipalli Bus Stand).
Rajahmundry was under Dutch rule for some time. In 1602, the Dutch constructed a fort here. In 1857, the British conquered the Dutch. They converted it into a jail in 1864 and, then, elevated it to a central jail in 1870. The jail is spread over 196 acres (79 ha) out of which the buildings occupy 37.24 acres (15.07 ha).
Rajahmundry is located at 16.98°N 81.78°E / 16.98; 81.78. with an average elevation of 14 metres (46 ft). There is paddy and sugarcane cultivation in the area. River Godavari flows through the west of Rajahmundry.
The Rajahmundry traps, part of the Deccan Traps, are located on the Godavari river and are of particular interest to geologists.
The weather is hot and humid, with a tropical climate and, thereby, no distinct seasons. The mean maximum temperature is 32 °C. The hottest season is from April to June, with temperature ranging from 34 °C to 48 °C with maximum of 51 °C recorded in May 2002 and May 2007. The coolest months are December and January, when it is pleasant at 27 °C to 30 °C. There is heavy monsoon rain at the end of summer, with depressions in the Bay of Bengal.
As of 2011 Census of India, the city had a population of 341,831. The total population constitute 169,786 males and 174,117 females — a sex ratio of 1026 females per 1000 males, higher than the national average of 940 per 1000. 29,883 children are in the age group of 0–6 years, of which 15,152 are boys and 14,731 are girls—a ratio of 972 per 1000. The average literacy rate stands at 84.28% (male 88.14%; female 80.54%) with 264,653 literates, significantly higher than the national average of 73.00%.
The urban agglomeration had a population of 478,199, of which males constitute 236,489, females constitute 241,710 —a sex ratio of 1022 females per 1000 males and 42,968 children are in the age group of 0–6 years. There are a total of 359,051 literates with an average literacy rate of 82.50%.
Rajahmundry Municipal Corporation is spread over an area of 44.50 km2 (17.18 sq mi) with 50 wards. The Mayor of the corporation is Pantam Rajini Sesha Sai and the commissioner is Vijay Rama Raju.V. Government is planning to construct an Under Ground Drianage system in the city.
Rajahmundry is a commercial hub for east and west Godavari districts. It is one of the largest bullion markets in India which consists hundreds of gold, silver and platinum shops throughout the city.
Durga Cinetone was the first south Indian film studio, to be built in Rajahmundry in the year 1936 by Nidamarthi Surayya.
Art and crafts
Damerla Rama Rao Art Gallery of the city has various paintings such as, Krishna Leela, Godavari of Eastern Ghats and Milkmaids of Kathiawar etc.
Nannayya was the earliest known Telugu author, and the author of the first third of the Andhra Mahabharatam, a Telugu retelling of the Mahabharata. Sri Kandukuri Veeresalingam (1848–1919), a renowned social reformer, is widely considered as the man who first brought about a renaissance in the Telugu people and Telugu literature; he is also known to have helped women come out of their closets. General Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton, (15 May 1803 – 24 July 1899) was a British general and irrigation engineer. Sri Adurthi Subba Rao, Prominent Old-time Director & Producer of Telugu & Hindi Films. Julia Maitland, a campaigner for "native" education, founded a multilingual school and reading room in the town in 1837.
Music and films
There are many artists from the city in the Telugu film industry such as, Ali, Raja Babu, Jaya Prada, Sameera Reddy, Sriman, Meghna Reddy, Thotakura Venkata Raju, Uma Pemmaraju, Ramesh, J. D. Chakravarthy etc.
The river Godavari and its bridges and the Sir Arthur Cotton Museum are some of the attractions in the city. Rajahmundry is a major Hindu pilgrimage site with a number of temples and hosts holy congregations called Pushkaram held once every 12 years —with the last in July 2015, when around 100 millions are took bath. The Sir Arthur Cotton Museum in Dowleswaram (beside the barrage) is the only museum for civil engineering in the state.
The bridges across Godavari River are an important transport infrastructure for connectivity such as, the Godavari Bridge, which is the second longest railroad bridge in Asia; and the Godavari Arch Bridge, commissioned on 14 March 1997 for Howrah–Chennai main line. While, the Old Godavari Bridge (The Havelock Bridge) was the earliest of all, built in 1897 and was decommissioned in 1997.
Rajahmundry railway station is classified as an A category station in Vijayawada railway division. It is located on the Howrah-Chennai main line of South Central Railway zone.
National Waterway 4 was declared on 24 November 2008, which connects the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and the union territory of Puducherry. It passes through Kakinada, Eluru, Commanur, Buckingham Canal and also part of Krishna and Godavari rivers rivers. It is being developed by Inland Waterways Authority of India, and is scheduled for completion in 2013.
Rajahmundry Airport, situated near Madhurapudi 18 km away from the heart of the city. Jet Airways, Spicejet, and TruJet are major airliners. A new terminal building was inaugurated on 16 May 2012. Runway is being expanded from the 1,749 m to 3,000 m to facilitate the landing and takeoff of bigger aircraft. The state government is very keen in developing the airport as a national airport and alternative for Visakhapatnam airport during bad climatic conditions.
The primary and secondary school education is imparted by government, aided and private schools, under the School Education Department of the state. As per the school information report for the academic year 2016–17, the city has 55,501 students enrolled in 244 schools. The medium of instruction followed by schools are English, Telugu and Hindi. The Railway High School in the city is more than a hundred year old school, established in the year 1909.
The city has one of the thirteen regional offices of the Board of Intermediate Education, which administers Intermediate education (10+2) education. The Government Junior College is the only government run junior college, established in 1974 and there are four private-aided, twenty private-unaided colleges in the city.
The Government Arts College was founded more than 150 years ago by the reformer, Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu. The BEd Training Institute is one of the oldest in India. Adikavi Nannaya University was established in March 2006, named after an 11th century poet, Nannayya. Other major universities in the city include Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Telugu University, Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University Study Center.