The Telugu people or Telugu Prajalu (Telugu: తెలుగు ప్రజలు) are the people who natively speak Telugu. The majority of Telugus reside in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Telugu language is the most spoken language in South India, the third-most spoken language in India and the fourth most in the Indian subcontinent, following Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi.
Andhra in Indian epic literature first appears at the time of the death of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 232 BC. This date has been considered to be the beginning of the Andhra historical record. Various dynasties have ruled the area, including the Satavahana dynasty, Sakas, Andhra Ikshvakus, Eastern Chalukyas, Pallava dynasty, Pandyan dynasty, Chola dynasty, Telugu Cholas, the Bobbili, the Vijayanagara Empire, the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda, the Nizams of Hyderabad and the Kakatiya dynasty.
The term Kalinga has been historically relevant to this region, incorporating northeast Andhra Pradesh and modern day Odisha. Buddhist references to Andhras are also found.
The first great Andhra empire was that of the Satavahanas, who came to power when the last Kanva emperor Sisuman, was assassinated by his prime minister Sipraca, of the Andhra tribe. They reigned for 450 years and the last was Puliman or Puloma the pious, who after conquering India put an end to his life by drowning himself in the holy waters of the Ganges river, after the example of his grandfather. Because of this king, India was called Poulomeun-koue, the country of Puliman by the Chinese. While in the west the inhabitants of the Gangetic provinces were denominated Andhra Hindus. The Satavahana rulers are said to have been held in the highest veneration all over India; and their fame was extended to the Malay Archipelago, the Maharajas of India being a favorite subject of Malayan poetry.
Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra states observe the same new year day. This calendar reckons dates based on the Shalivahana era (Shalivahana Saka), which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Shalivahana. The Satavahana king Shalivahana (also identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the initiation of this era known as Shalivahana. The Salivahana era begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 AD of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 AD corresponds to the year 1922 of the Salivahana Era.
Telugu is a South-Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India, where it is an official language. Early inscriptions date from 575 AD and literary texts from the 11th century, written in a Telugu script adapted from the Bhattiprolu alphabet of the early inscriptions.
Kuchipudi is a famous Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India.
- Uttareeyam or Pai Pancha (Angavastram or veil)
- Pancha (Dhoti)
- Jubba (Kurta) The top portion
- Lungi (Casual dress)
- Cheera (Sari)
- Langa Oni (Half sari)
- Parikini (Long skirt or skirt below knees and a blouse)
Important festivals celebrated by Telugu people include:
Telugu is the third most spoken language after Hindi and Bengali in India. Andhra Pradesh, the principle state of Telugu people is the fifth most populous State in India and the most populous state in South India with a population of 84.6 million (2001 census).
Telugu people form the majority speakers in South India with over 71 million speakers in Andhra Pradesh. This is followed by 3.7 million in Karnataka and 3.5 million in Tamil Nadu making them the second largest language groups in those neighboring states.
In Karnataka, Telugu people are predominantly found in the border districts with majority in Bangalore city. In Tamil Nadu, Telugu people who migrated during the Vijayanagara period have spread across mostly in Western districts and Northern Districts, with highest concentration in Coimbatore District.
In Maharashtra Telugu population is over 1.4 million, followed by 0.7 million in Orissa. Other states with significant population include West Bengal and Chhattisgarh with 200,000 and 150,000 respectively.
* NOTE: This list is compiled from 2001 statistics for Telugu Linguistic groups in other states except Andhra Pradesh.