Kurnool District (Telugu: కర్నూలు జిల్లా, Urdu: کُرنول ضلع) is a district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, located in the west-central part of the state on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra and Handri rivers. The town of Kurnool is currently the headquarters of the district. It had a population of 3,529,494 of which 23.16% were urban as of 2001.
In 12th century AD, the Odder, who carted stones for the construction of the temple at Alampur, Mahaboobnagar District, on the left bank of the River Tungabhadra, used the site where the town now stands as a stopping place before crossing the Tungabhadra. They greased their cart wheels with oil supplied by local oil merchants and called the place 'Kandanavolu' which in course of time came to be known as Kurnool.
Of historical interest are the ruins of a royal fort dating back to the medieval kingdom of Vijayanagar, which flourished from the 14th to the 16th century. Several Persian and Arabic inscriptions which throw light on various aspects of historical interests are found here.
In Kurnool there are 52 dargahs (shrines) located around the Tungabhadra and Hundri rivers. A very famous and lengthy K.C. Canal starts in Kurnool and ends in Cuddapah. It is around 300 kilometers long. In Kurnool city there are a number of ancient temples, churches and mosques. Kurnool city, known as the gateway to the Rayalaseema, on N.H.7 (Kanyakumari to Varanasi) on the banks of the Rivers Thungabhadra and the Hundri was the capital of the first linguistic state in free India, Andhra State from 1 Oct. 1953 to 31 Oct. 1956. As such it has some historical buildings.
Kurnool has freedom fighters like Vuyyalawada Narsimha Reddy, Gadicharla Harisarvothama Rao. Zilla Grandhalaya Samstha (ZGS) and the District Central Libray (DCL), Kurnool, building near the old Bus stand is named 'GADICHARLA HARISARVOTHAMA RAO SMARAKA BHAVANAMU". It is the second district, apart from Nellore (Bejawada Gopal Reddy 'Andhra state' & Nedurumalli Janardhan Reddy), which has contributed two Chief Ministers to Andhra Pradesh: Damodaram Sanjeevaiah (1st dalit Chief Minister of India and A.P), Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy 10th Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha rao was elected as member of parliament from Nandyal constituency with over 6 lakh (600,000) majority, a world record.
Kurnool Medical College
When Andhra State was formed in October 1953, the Government of Andhra decided to start a medical college in the Rayalaseema region of the state. In Government Order Ms. No. 1835, Health, dated 29 November 1955, the government of Andhra passed orders to establish a medical college, the third one in the state, at Kurnool. As the building was not ready for the college the government decided to admit 50 students intended for Kurnool Medical College at Kurnool City in July 1956. When Andhra Pradesh was formed and the capital was shifted to Hyderabad from Kurnool the erstwhile secretariat building was handed over to the medical college. The college was opened on 21 July 1956 by Sri T.T. Krishnamachari, the then Finance Minister of India. Fifty students were admitted to the M.B.B.S. course. Laboratories for subjects of the non-clinical course were established in due course. The construction of a "clinical lecture h all-cum-clinical pathology laboratory" in the hospital and the construction of an air-conditioned mortuary for 24 dead bodies were undertaken later and these buildings were ready by the summer of 1958.
New out-patient block of the Government General Hospital, Kurnool which is the associated teaching hospital, was constructed at a cost of Rs 9,00,000 and the inauguration of this and the clinical courses was performed on 28 January 1958 by Sri. D. K. Karmankar, the Health Minister of India. The first batch of second M.B.B.S. students from the batch of 50 students originally admitted to Guntur Medical college in July 1956 now joined this college for their clinical course. The first units in the major subjects of Medicine, Surgery and Midwifery were created in July 1957. The Kurnool Medical College was first affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University, from January 1957 and permanently affiliated from January 1959.
The NCC unit attached to the college was started in January, 1958. Laboratory technician's courses and laboratory attender's courses were started in October 1959. In the same year, the Government also established a Regional Laboratory at this college to fulfill the needs of Rayalaseema districts.
A well-planned Animal House with separate units for different laboratory animals was built and commissioned for use in 1961. A Central Work Shop started functioning from 1964.
Fort Konda Reddy Buruju
The Kurnool Fort is located in the heart of Kurnool and is one of the prominent landmarks of the town. It was believed to be built by Achyuta Devarayalu, belonging to Vijayanagar Empire and stands even today as the splendorous examples of the architecture of those times. Konda Reddy Buruju is a part of Kurnool Fort and also the only part left out of the magnificent fort. There was a tunnel across the River Krishna to Alampur. You can see this tunnel even now. This was the prison where Konda Reddy had his last breath and hence the tower was named in his memory. The bastion is in the shape of a huge pillar and has two storeys. The first storey has an underground passage about 25kms long, which leads you to Alampur, a town in Mahbubnagar District. Many treasure hunters tried to dig this through passage. Some were successful and the fate of others is not known. Recently after an attempt by a well known person of Kurnool to take the treasure, this passage is closed permanently. Reaching the highest point of the monument, you get the panoramic view of the city.
The fort is now almost in a ruined state, with some of the portions still standing strong. One such ruined portion of the Kurnool Fort is the Erra Buruju, (Erra meaning Red and Buruju meaning Watch-tower ), built of red sand stone. This Buruju was built by the Vijayanagara rulers and played a significant role for the successive dynasties who ruled the place. There are two small ancient temples at the foot of this Buruju dedicated to Goddess Yellamma. Pedda Yellamma Temple is on the south-eastern side while Chinna Yellamma Temple is on the north-eastern side. People still believe that there is some hidden treasure in Erra Buruju. On the walls of this Erra Buruju, you can find some of the splendour symbols that were of historical importance. On the south eastern side of the wall, you can find a buffalo and Goddess Yellamma, on the eastern side of the wall you can find a mythical lion and a sheep (or a royal boar). On the north-eastern side of the wall you can see a rider on a royal elephant uprooting a tree that symbolises Lord Indra on Airavath (His vehicle) and kalpavriksham (the divine tree). On the same wall you can also see images like snake engulfing a frog, a buffalo, pair of elephants, pair of spiders, monkey climbing the tree and a horse drawing a chariot. You can also see slight images of Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Goddess Sita. There is also an image of an elephant and a lion locked in a fight. There is a bastion named Konda Reddy fort, constructed as a strategic watch tower by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Underneath lies a passage (tunnel) which connects the fort to Gadwal which is 52 km away. The specialty of this tunnel is it crosses under the river Tungabhadra and reaches gadwal which was ruled by Nalla Somanadri who was the one built an ecxellent fort in gadwal . Stories tell that the ruler of Gadwal Kingdom utilized this tunnel to escape from the Muslim conquerors in 17th century. The government of Andhra Pradesh closed the tunnel somewhere around the 1901.
Climate : The climatic conditions at Kurnool are quiet variable. The summers are very hot. The winter months are pleasant ones.
Originally discovered in 1854 by H.B.Foote, these subterranean passages were explored by the Department of archeology and Museums, followed by team of European speleologist led by Mr. Gebaner, Belum Caves are the second largest natural caves in Indian Sub. Continent after Meghalaya Caves. These underground caves are located on a flat agricultural field, have 3 well like cavities with the central one being the main entrance to the caves. After a descent of 20 meters at the entrance, the cave is horizontal & has a length of 3229 meters. Longer than Borra Caves in Vishakhapatnam district Belum Caves have long passages, spacious chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. All this makes Belum Caves a geological & archeological attraction worldwide.
Kurnool Fort & Jagannatha Gutta
Located in the heart of Kurnool & believed to be built by the Raja's of Vijayanagara. Konda Reddy Buruju was a part of Kurnool fort & was used as a prison. One revolutionary Konda Reddy attained martyrdom in this prison. Since then the place is known as Konda Reddy Buruju. Other interesting places to see in & around Kurnool are the Gol Gumbaz, Church, Shirdi Sai Baba temple and Jagannatha Gutta.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple
Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple that dates back to the early 16th century is unique in that it is the only temple where all the nine forms of Lord Narasimha are worshiped. Other sites worth seeing are Amrutavalli Thayer Temple; Sannidhi Pushkarini; Bhashyakara Sannidhi and the Upper Ahobilam Narasimha Shrine and waterfall. Best time to visit: July- February
A noted pilgrimage centre, Mahanandi is surrounded by dense forests and is famous for the Mahanandiswara temple that dates back to the 7th century AD built by the Chalukyas of Badami in rekhanagara style. The remarkable feature here is the crystal clear water, which flows throughout the year from the perennial springs. Other places of interest are Pushkarini, a pond with water so clear and pure that even a pin at the bottom can be seen, Kodanda Ramalayam, and the Kameswari Devi temple.
The Brahmaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy temple houses one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are natural stone formations in the shape of a Linga. Built in the 12th century during the rule of the Kalyana Chalukyas, the temple received patronage from the Kakatiyas. Ana Vema Reddy, a king of the Reddy dynasty built veerasiramandapa and steps to Patalaganga at Srisailam. Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar Kingdom and Chatrapati Sivaji of the Maratha Kingdom visited the temple and built gopuras. The temple walls are carved with depictions of elephants, hunting scenes and Siva in different manifestations.
Raghavendra Swamy Temple
Situated on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, Mantralayam is famous for the 'Samadhi' of the well known saint, Sri Raghavendra Teertha, a Madhava saint. The temple built over 300 years ago, still attracts a large number of followers and devotees.
Otherplaces to see include Raghavendra Swamy Brindavan, the tomb that he entered alive; Anjaneya Swamy Temple; Panchamukhi Anjaneya Swamy and Venkateswara Swamy Temple. Manager: Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt, Mantralayam
Roollapadu Bird Sanctuary
Rollapadu Bird sanctuary is located 60 Km away from Kurnool near Nandikotkuru. It spreads over an area of 614 sq.Km. This sanctuary is home for the endangered Great Indian Bustard. The land is covered all over with open grass and dry thorny bushes. Various kinds of animals, birds, and reptiles found here are Black Buck, Bonnet Macaque, Indian Bustard, Indian Roller, Sparrows, Mynas, Russell's viper, Indian Cobra, Jackal, Wolf and Indian Fox. Best Time to Visit: October to February.
Adoni Fort: This fort was constructed about 300 years ago and rests on a granite hill. It is a fine place to be visited.
Srisailam-Nagarjuna Sagar Tiger Reserve
Located at a distance of 20 km. from Hyderabad, this lake is also called as Osman Sagar. It was constructed by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the VIIth Nizam of Hyderabad after the disastrous floods of 1908 by constructing a dam across river Musi. The lake was planned by Mokshagundam Visweswarayya for supplying water to the city of Hyderabad. The lake is spread over an area of 46 square kilometers. It has well laid out lush green gardens and a swimming pool. It is a very popular picnic spot for the city crowd.
One of the 12 Largest Hydroelectric Projects in the Country. Coverage Area: 80,000 Hectares.
The Srisailam dam is constructed across river Krishna. This dam is situated in a deep gorge in the Nallamalai hill range. The dam is surrounded by natural beauty. It is 300m above the sea level and is 512m long and is one of the twelve largest hydroelectric projects in the country. It has 12 radial crest gates.
The construction of this dam has paved the way for providing irrigation water to about 80,000 hectares in Kurnool and Cuddapah districts in the chronically drought-prone Rayalaseema region from Srisailam project. One requires special permission to go on to the main dam. Nearby Attractions: Bhramaramba Mallikarjunaswamy Temples, Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary.
Umamaheswara Swamy Temple
Yaganti Umamaheswara Swamy temple was constructed and completed by the first Vijayanagara Sangama Kings Harihara Bukka rayalu in the 15th century. It was built according to Vaishnavaite tradition.
While Chitteppa, a devotee of Lord Shiva was worshipping, Lord Shiva appeared to him as tiger. Chitteppa understood Lord Shiva's darshan in Tiger form and shouted "Yaganti Shivanu ne khanti" and danced with the Tiger. Still there is Chitteppa cave. Gradually it became Yaganti and temple was constructed first by him and later by Vijayanagara rulers.
Places to see inside
Umamaheswara Swamy and Parvati Devi. Nandi (Basavanna): According to Potuluri Veera Brahmam, the Basavanna of Yaganti will come out and shout when kaliyuga ends. People believe that stone Nandiswara (Basavanna) is increasing in its size.
Agasthya Pushkarini:Saint Agasthya came to this place and took bath in this Pushkarini and worshipped Lord Shiva. The water in this Pushkarini is fresh and sweet, as it comes from the hills.
The natural caves at Yaganti such as Rokalla cave, Venkateswara cave, Sanka cave, and Veera Brahmam caves add beauty and serenity to this holy place. Potuluri Veera Brahmam has written his monumental work, kalagnanam in this cave only.
Sangameshwaram : This place is known for a temple housing a wooden Shiva lingam. The place lies at the place where River Krishna and Bhavanasi merge into each other. It is a distance of 55 kilometers from Kurnool. At the time of Shivratri celebration, the place is visited by a large congregation of devotees.