The word Tenali was transformed from Teravali.
Andhra–Satavahana dynasty ruled the region around the present city From 225 B.C. to 225 A.D.. The relics found in the excavations around Tenali reveal the existence of Jainism and Buddhism in the ancient days. One such example is the inscriptions in Ramalingeswara temple, dating back to 16th century AD.
It is located in the Coastal Andhra region of the state. Tenali is located 28 kilometres (17 mi) east of the district headquarters, Guntur, and 37 kilometres (23 mi) south of Vijayawada by road. It lies on the Eastern coastal plains. It has an average altitude of 15 metres (49 ft).
The city experiences tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 28.4 °C (83.1 °F). May is the hottest and December is the coolest month of the year. The annual precipitation is about 1,017 millimetres (40 in) and the month of August receives the highest precipitation with 202 millimetres (8 in) of rainfall.
As of 2011 census of India, the city had a population of 164,937 with 43,604 households. The total population constitute, 81,427 males and 83,510 females —a sex ratio of 1026 females per 1000 males. 14,340 children are in the age group of 0–6 years, of which 7,347 are boys and 6,993 are girls—a ratio of 952 per 1000. The density of the population is per 9950/km2. The average literacy rate stands at 75.56% with 1,24,618 literates, significantly higher than the state average of 67.41%.
Tenali Municipality was constituted in 1909 and is classified as a special grade municipality. The jurisdiction of the civic body is spread over an area of 16.63 km2 (6.42 sq mi). It has a total of 40 election wards, with 17 unreserved and 23 reserved. The reserved wards have 4 for SCs, 2 for STs and 14 for BCs. Each ward is represented by a ward member and the wards committee is headed by a Chairperson. The present municipal commissioner of the city is S.Shakuntala and the chairperson is K.Tulasi Das. The municipality of the city has received several awards such as, Green Leaf Awards 2015 for Best Decentralised Solid Waste Management, Green City of the country for waste segregation management,
The municipality oversees civic needs such as, water supply, sewerage, roads, parks etc., and is one of the municipality to be included in Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. The city residents rely on borewells, overhead reservoirs and a filtration plant for daily water needs, which mainly draws water from the Krishna river of Prakasam Barrage. The city municipality implements two-bin garbage collection, sanitation campaigns like Mana Tenali-It’s people’s creation for hygiene of the people.
Tenali a part of Tenali (Assembly constituency) for Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Alapati Rajendra Prasad is the present MLA of the constituency from Telugu Desam Party. It is also a part of Guntur (Lok Sabha constituency) which was won by Galla Jayadev of Telugu Desam Party.
The city thrives on trade and agriculture. The agricultural lands around the city is irrigated by the Krishna river water flowing through its three main canals. Major crops include black gram, maize, jowar etc. Tenali Agriculture Marketyard is used for trading and exporting agricultural products.
The city being a part of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region, and one of the industrial growth centres is on the path of development and the government is moving ahead in creating more employment opportunities. It is also a part of Tenali–Ponnur growth corridor.
The city is most notable for drama, fine arts, literature and poetry. The iconic Martyrs Memorial at Ranarang Chowk denotes the impact of the city on Indian freedom struggle during the Quit India Movement.
Drama and literature
The city has been the host for events such as, the formation of Andhra Nataka Kala Parishad in 1929, Kanyasulkam play, cultural fests etc. Tenali Ramakrishna, one of the eight poets in the court of Sri Krishna Devaraya hail from Tenali. In the area of modern literature, contributors such as Chakrapani, Gudipati Venkata Chalam, Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao, Tripuraneni Ramaswamy are some of them. Nethi Parameswara Sarma wrote a book called Nurella Tenali Rangastala Charitra meaning 100 years of theater in Tenali.
Many artists who hail from Tenali and the nearby villages has contributed the major share to Telugu film industry such as AVS, Govindarajula Subba Rao (first Telugu hero), Krishna, Gummadi Venkateswara Rao, Jamuna, Kanchanamala (first Telugu heroin), Kongara Jaggayya, Prabha, Savitri, Sharada etc.
There are various religious worship centers in the city, such as, Vaikuntapuram Venkateswara temple, Iglesia Ni Cristo church etc. The notable Satyanarayana UDA Lake Park (or Chinaravuru park) is maintained by VGTMUDA (now APCRDA) was named after the former municipal chairman, Ravi Satyanarayana.
Tenali has a total road length of 180.00 km (111.85 mi). Guntur, Mangalagiri, Burripalem and Ponnur roads are the arterial roads for road connectivity to the city. The road towards Guntur connects with State Highway 48 at Narakodur. The Tenali-Mangalagiri road, Tenali-Narakodur road and Tenali-Chandole road are a part of the core road network of the district, that connects the city with Mangalagiri, Narakodur and Chandole respectively.
Bus and rail transport are the major modes of public transport for inter district and inter state commuting. The bus transport is provided by Tenali bus station, owned and operated by Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation. The station is also equipped with a bus depot for storage and maintenance of buses. It operates bus services to nearby destinations and intrastate as well. Tenali Junction provides rail connectivity for the city and is classified as an A–category station in Vijayawada railway division of South Central Railway zone. It is an important junction station on the mutual line of Howrah–Chennai and New Delhi–Chennai sections, which also connects Tenali-Repalle branch line and Guntur-Tenali section.
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 2015-16, there are a total of 71 schools. They include, 26 private, 44 municipal and 1 other type. The total number of students enrolled in primary, upper primary and high schools of the city are 11,544.
Montessori Public School, Sharon Talent School St. John’s Public School, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Westberry School etc., are some of the public and private schools under CBSE and state boards. Yalavarthy Veda Pathashala is one of the oldest vedic schools of the state, which was established in 1893 in Gandhi Nagar area of Tenali.
There are 20 private aided junior colleges such as, Taluk Junior college, JMJ college for Women, VSR and NVR college, Dr.B.R.Ambedkar Memorial Junior college and fourteen unaided junior colleges provide undergraduate education. JMJ college for women, VSR and NVR college are the two autonomous colleges under Acharya Nagarjuna University. There are colleges for different fields of study such as, nursing, Government Industrial Training Institute and other institutes for vocational courses.
As per the 58th annula report of Press India 2013-14, The Labour News is an English weekly publication from the city.
The city has an Indoor sports complex for Badminton, Tennis and Volleyball at Chenchupet area, Sports personalities from the city include: National Challengers Championship winner and chess master, S.Ravi Teja; weightlifter, Sai Revathi Ghattamaneni, a gold medalist at Senior Nationals in 63-kg category.