Rajahmundry is one of the major cities in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the Godavari River, in East Godavari district of the state. The city is the divisional headquarters of both Rajahmundry (rural) and Rajahmundry (urban) mandals. It is also one of the two municipal corporations in the district, alongside Kakinada. As of 2011 census, it is the sixth most populous city in Andhra Pradesh, with a population of 343,903 and the fifth most populous urban agglomeration settlement, with a population of 478,199.
In its earlier days, it was called Rajamahendravaram. It is a historical city, famous for its political, agricultural, literary, economic, social and cultural background. Hence, the city is also known as the Cultural Capital of Andhra Pradesh. Asia’s second largest road cum rail bridge is on the Godavari River connecting Kovvur and Rajahmundry on the Howrah-Chennai main line.
The city can be traced back to the rule of the 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 much 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”.
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 evolving 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 Dowlaiswaram in 1874. The first widow remarriage took place on 11 December 1881. A society with 16 members was started on 22 Jun 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 the year 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)