Palaeolithic Age

The term Palaeolithic was coined by archaeologist John Lubbock in 1865. Palaeolithic Age spanned from 500,000 years ago (when tool making members of Homo erectus had arrived) till 10,000 BC. It is divided into three periods viz. lower Palaeolithic, middle Palaeolithic and upper Palaeolithic ages. The transition from each of these phases to successive phases was slow and marked by increased fineness in the stone tools and technology of the time as follows: Lower Palaeolithic age tools – Handaxe and cleaver Middle Palaeolithic ager tools – Flakes Upper Palaeolithic tools – Flakes and blades.

Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age – Prehistoric India

The Old Stone Age sites are widely found in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. These sites are generally located near water sources. Several rock shelters and caves used by the Paleolithic people are scattered across the subcontinent. They also lived rarely in huts made of leaves. Some of the famous sites of Old Stone Age in India In the Old Stone Age, food was obtained by hunting animals and gathering edible plants and tubers.  A few Old Stone Age paintings have also been found on rocks at Bhimbetka and other places. The period before 10000 B.C. is assigned to the Old Stone Age.

Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age – Prehistoric India

The next stage of human life is called Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age which falls roughly from 10000 B.C. to 6000 B.C. It was the transitional phase between the Paleolithic Age and Neolithic Age.  The paintings and engravings found at the rock shelters give an idea about the social life and economic activities of Mesolithic people.The use of bow and arrow also began during this period.

Neolithic Age – Prehistoric India

A remarkable progress in the prehistoric India is noticed in the Neolithic Age. It is approximately dated from 6000 B.C to 4000 B.C. Neolithic remains are found in various parts of India. There was a great improvement in technology of making tools and other equipment used by man. Stone tools were now polished.

The part of the district, notably the river vally in the prehistoric low country, were inhabited ages before the earliest of these records which have come down to us, is proved by the existence of Kistvaens or cell-tombs.  They are locally known to the present day as Pandavagidlu.  There are tow types found in the district.  One being constructed of irregular unfashioned stones, examples of which are to be seen near Yerraguntla, and the other beaings signs of more or less rough workmanship.

The Mesolithic period rock paintings (10,000-8000 B.C):

The Peddakona and Gandikota rock paintings discovered in Kadapa district.

Amateur archaeologists Y. Ramakrishna Reddy and Lakshmi Kanta Reddy, have stumbled upon Mesolithic period rock paintings at Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district.
The Mesolithic period paintings on the rocky surface at Peddakona, also known as Dongalakona, located next to Farah Bagh area on the way from the Anantapadmanabha temple of the fort to the gorge of the river Penna.  The paintings representing geometrical designs are seen on a big boulder executed in red ochre. The lines painted in the shape of rectangles, triangles and circles denote abstract forms of some animals.

Based on the information given by Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy, archaeologist and CEO of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada (CCV) E. Sivanagi Reddy inspected the site and confirmed that the rock paintings belong to the Mesolithic period datable to 10,000-8000 B.C.

Dr. Reddy said that the paintings executed on a big rock (5.0 mts x 2.00 mts) and vary in size from 1.5 mts to 2.00 mts in length and 0.50 mts to 6.5 mts in height in outline and rendering is done with a single thick brush stroke.

Dr. Reddy said that the CCV will take up the work of documentation of these rock paintings under a Digital Heritage project soon. He requested officials of the Archaeological Survey of India, the custodians of Gandikota, a medieval fort, to erect signages and legend boards on the importance of these rock paintings for the benefit of tourists and research scholars in history.

The Second Largest Rock Art painting site explored at Chintakunta Village in Kadapa District.  In all, 200 houndered rock paintings were found, excluding the partly visible drawings with pigment patches in this area.It is the first one explored in South India and the second largest site in India after Bimbedka in Madhya Pradesh

Ten rock shelters bearing red and white paintings were discovered in the south and southwest of the village.

In all, 200 rock art paintings were found excluding the faintly/partly visible drawings with pigment patches. They include figures of deer, humped bulls, elephants, fox, rabbit, hyena, reptiles, birds, anthropomorphs, geometric designs and human figures and 10 of them are in white. Some red paintings depicting elephants, elephant riders and religious symbols go well in stylistic and thematic pattern with that of white paintings, probably belonging to the early historic period.

The human figures are holding bows and arrows, facing each other and riding elephants.

The humped bulls are seen in one rock shelter locally known as ‘Eddula Avula Gundu (boulder of bulls and cows) and may be dated contemporaneous with the humped bulls of Neolithic art of Southern Neolithic culture, Mr. Sambasiva Reddy said.

Fifteen important stones on which the rock art paintings can be noticed on Chintakunta hillock are Godugu Gundu, Mabbu Gundu, Yeddula Avula Gund, Peddavida Gundu, Chinnavida Gundu, Chinna Mabbu Gundu, Pidugu Gundu, Padaga Gundu, Dhanam Gundu, Sannasayana Gundu, Vanam Gundu, Chilakala Gundu, Chembu Gundu, Kalam Gundu and Mallelamma Gundu.

The rock paintings at the site can be assigned to three cultural phases, i.e., red paintings of deer and other herbivores, carnivores, reptiles, birds, anthropomorphs and geometric designs to Mesolithic period but may be placed under first sub-phase, due to large size, style of execution, theme and state of preservation which can be well compared to that of paintings found at Ketavaram, Sanganonipalli and Dupadugattu,  Prof. Sambasiva Reddy, Associate Professor of History and Archaeology in Yogi Vemana University said.

Second sub-phase

The small-sized realistic antlers, deer heads, birds, deer, geometric designs and anthropomorphs belong to second sub-phase.  Red ochre paintings are of Mesolithic and Early Historic period at three rock shelters and Mesolithic scatters at four rock shelters.

The site was explored, identified and analysed by Dr. Erwin Neumayer of Austria in 1981 who wrote “Lines on Stone” (The Pre-historic Rock Art of India), Dr. N. Chandramouli of Pondicherry Central University, Puducherry, who wrote “Rock Art of South India”, and Dr. P.C.Venkatasubbaiah, Dravidian University, Kuppam who wrote an exhaustive book “South Indian Neolithic Culture”(Pennar Basin, A.P).

According to them, Chintakunta site belonged to 8,000 B.C-1,500 B.C. and it throws a welcome light on megalithic period i.e., 1500 to 500 B.C. as well. Further, Dr. Venkatasubbaiah collected artefacts of ancient people who lived in the Central Pennar Basin that includes Chintakunta area during 1.50 lakh years before the Christian era.

Chinthakunta is a village in Muddanur Mandal in Y.S.R. Kadapa District of Andhra Pradesh, India.  It is located 62 KM towards west from District head quarters Kadapa.

Rock painting and rock shelters belonging to Stone Aage came to light in Chintakunta Village in the caves near survey number 425.  These are believed to be the proofs of existence of ancient man who lived before 25,000 years.  Chintakunta Village has cave like Belum caves and Borra caves.  Line drawing of Stone Age can be seen in these caves.  Rock painting in caves has the pictures of deer, snake, birds, human beings, line forms, line drawings of human beings catching bow, elephants, foxes, rabbots, hyenas etc.

A megalithic burial site dating back to 500 BC was detected near Devandlapalli village in Rayavaram panchayat of Tsundupalle mandal in Kadapa district.

A study of megalithic culture in Kadapa district was initiated by Robert Bruce Foote and he reported the first megalithic habitation site in 1914 at Yellanur village, which was published in The Foote Collection of Indian Pre-Historic and Proto-historic antiquities catalogue raisonne by Madras Government Press.

Treasure hunting

In archaeological explorations conducted by Associate Professor G. Sambasiva Reddy, Assistant Professor of History and Archaeology and Assistant Profesor of Geology K. Raghu Babu of Yogi Vemana University, a complex of 20 megalithic monuments were noticed and some of them were dolmens and remaining were dolmen encircles with slabs the left over monuments, dolmenoids-cists encircles with slabs.

All the monuments were disturbed by treasure hunters, every burial encountered with pottery pieces normally black and red ware, red ware etc. were noticed. Significantly, two of the dolmens on north-western orthostat bearing on the inner surface depicting tortoise, leaf-like structures, human with weapon and sun like diagrams with red ochre and white pigments were noticed. Another dolmen depicted two elephants alongside each other and elephant human figures drawn in white pigment. Chronologically the megalithic assigned in Rayalaseema region to 500 BC based on C14 (Carbon) dating method.

The exploration team appealed to District Collector V. Anil Kumar, officials of the State Archaeology and Hyderabad circle of Archaeological Survey of India to protect the megalithic monumental complex in Kadapa district for future generations.

Early historic period rock painting site found in Kadapa

A rock art painting site dating back to neolithic (New Stone Age) and megalithic (Iron Age) and up to the early historic period (from 4,500 BC to 2 AD) was discovered in Lankamala reserve forest at Ranibavi near Mydukur in Kadapa district.

More than 100 rock art paintings with mystic figures belonging to human and wild animals in different postures depicted with white pigment were found on quartzite rocks in a rock shelter known as “Diviti Mallanna Banda” or “Mallugani Banda”, about nine kilometres from Ranibavi by V. Ramabrahmam, Assistant Professor of History and Archaeology in Yogi Vemana University, Kadapa, who led an exploration team.

Neolithic Sites

Jammalamadugu Taluk: A. Kambaladinne, Beditippenapadu, Chinnamudiyam, Dannawada, Gudemcheruvu, Gudemcheruvu, Jangalapallii, Madhavapuram, Mylavaram, Paddamudiyam, Paluru,  Vaddirala, Veparala, Kamalapuram, Akkampeta.

Kamalpuram Taluk:  Konduru, Ramireddipalli, Tippaluru.

Muddanuru:  Nidivelogala

Preddatur:  Chapadu, Gadeguduru, Idamadaka, Tondaladine, Vellala.

Pulivendla:  Balijapalli, Inagaluru, Koraguntapalli, Kottagundavaripalli, Kottapalli, Paluru, Ulimella.

Ancient Era

Yerragudi and Rajulamandagiri epigraphs:  it can be said that the Mauryas had extended their power to the south. It indicates that Cuddapah must have formed part of the Mauryan empire.

Mulikinadu:  Mulikinadu is an  ancient territorial division which comprised a part of Cuddapah district was under Satavahanas.

The Roman coins found:  The Roman coins found at Attirala in Rajampet taluk of Cuddapah district, it indicates that this region was under Satavahanas.

Hiranya Rashtra: The Hiranyakas were controlled the region for some time. Hence, this region is known as Hiranya Rashtra.

Samudragupta: This region came under the control of Samudragupta who invaded Dakshina- patha, which is attested by the Allahabad pillar inscription. His invasion must have caused a lot of stir in Cuddapah region.

During the post Samudragupta period the region had to face the long drawn conflict between the Chalukyas of Badami and the Greater Pallavas of Kanchi. Number of inscriptions found in the region amply attests the fact that Vikramaditya I regained much of the power and prestige and extended his power to the south of the Tungabhadra and the Krishna region.

Renati Cholas

During the period of the Chalukyas of Badami and the Pallavas of Kanchi some portions of Cuddapah district were under the sway of a branch of the Cholas. This is well attested by the numerious inscriptions and copper plate inscriptions found in the Kamalapuram and Jammala- madugu taluks of the district. This branch is known as Renati Cholas.

Vaidumbas, Banas, Nolamabas

After the Renati Cholas a hoast of minor dynasties like Vaidumbas, Banas, Nolamabas ruled over some parts of the district form 7th century A.D. to the end of the 9th century A.D. After the Pallavas the mighty power that reigned the area was imperial Cholas.


The Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III (957 A.D. to 965 A.D.) occupied the region for some time, but it came again under the control of Cholas. Rashtrakutas ruled over Kadapa after Banas. Among the popular rulers of Kadapa was King Indra III, who served during the period of 915 AD. In his period, Kadapa gained a lot of power and influence, which declined with his death later.

Medieval Era

Telugu Chola: During the medieval period many parts of the districts were under the control of Chalukyas of Kalyani. However some south-eastern parts of the district were under the sway of Telugu Chola rulers for many years.

Pandyas:   It is interesting to note that in the post Telugu Chola period the south-eastern parts were occupied by the Pandya kings of Madurai. Some epigraphs found at Lebaka of Rajampet taluk and Nandaluru attests this point.

Kakatiyas:  Kakatiyas of Warangal occupied a place of paramount importance and interest in the history of South India in general and that of Deccan and Andhra in particular. They were next to establish their sway over the entire Telugu area after the fall of the Satavahanas and before the rise of the Vijayanagara empire. Ganapati Deva (1199-1261 A.D.) undertook southern expedition and extended his power over the region. Cuddapah was formed a part of the Kakatiya empire. An epigraph of Gangaya Sahini, his general found at Gangavaram registers a gift to Puspagiri temple. This proves beyond doubt that this region was under the Kakatiyas.

Vijayanagara: The period following the overthrow of the Kakatiya empire saw the establishment of the famous Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara in A.D.1336 in the south. This event has its salutary effect on the political life of the south. The Cuddapah district became a part of the mighty empire. The important historic event in the history of Cuddapah district was the visit of Sri Krishnadevaraya to the temples of Puspagiri, who gave fabulous donations to the temples. There is a plethora of inscriptional material bearing on the intimate association of Cuddapah district with this great empire.

Matla chiefs :  In the post—Vijayanagara period paved the way for the rise of local chiefs known as Matla chiefs hailing from the village of Matli on the Mandavi river in Rayachoti taluk8. The association of this family with this district covered almost three centuries.

Qutub Shahis :  After the decline of Vijayanagar rule, Cuddapah came under the control of the Qutub Shahis of Golconda. The Qutub Shahis were overthrown when the Mughals annexed the Sultanate of Golconda to the empire.

Chatrapati Shivaji :  One memorable historic event of the district was the march of Chatrapati Shivaji, the Maratha chief, through Cuddapah during his expedition against Jinji in the l677-789.

Modern Era

Mayana(Asaf Jahi’s)- Cuddapah Nawabs : Taking advantage of the decline of the Mughal power at Delhi, Nizarn-Ul-Mulk Asaf Jah I, viceroy of Deccan asserted his power, though he never declared independence, in the Deccan. From then onwards the region under consideration became a part of the Asaf Jahi’s territory. Internal squabbles in the house of Asaf Jahi’s, the Mayana dynasty of the Cuddapah Nawabs ruled the region with certain degree of autonomy. The rule of the Mayanas came to an end with the invasion of Hyder Ali in1760 A.D.

English East India Company:  The Nizam and the British apprehending an attack by the Marathas entered into a defensive alliance in 1800 by which the British augmented the subsidiary force provided to the Nizam who ceded the territories he had earlier acquired, to the British. With this the rule of the Nizam over Cuddapah region came to a close.

British Occupation of the District

The Nizam of Hyderabad ceded the districts of Anantapur, Bellary, Cuddapah and part of Kurnool district to the East India Company on 20th October 1800 after entering into a subsidiary alliance with the latter11. Some areas of present Chittoor and Kurnool districts were then in the Cuddapah district. Though the area was ceded to the British, it was not free from the oppression of Palegars. During the interval between the battle near Rakshasi-Tangadi and the conquest of the area by the Qutub Shahis, the local palegars created a state of lawlessness and indulged in internecine strife. During this period they came to possess the right of collecting the land revenue. Some progress was made in the expulsion of the palegars by the Mayana Nawabs of Cuddapah, but without success. That was the state of affairs in 1800 when Thomas Munro was appointed the ‘Principal Collector’ over the Ceded districts. Thus, it can be summed up that the present area of Cuddapah district passed under different rulers of various dynasties till it came under the control of the East India Company. The district was under the control of the British till India attained Independence on 15th August, 1947.

District Formation

It is interesting to note that Cuddapah district, when first formed as a unit of administration extended from the Krishna in the north to the Kavundinya in the south, i.e., from the old taluk of Dupadu now in Kurnool district to the former zamindari of Punganuru presently in Chittoo. Sir Thomas Munro was appointed as the principal collector, with four sub-collectors under his immediate authority, with head-quarters at Anantapuram.

In 1807, the then Government of Madras constituted separate collectorate for Cuddapah with head-quarters at Siddavatam comprising the taluks of Badvel Jammalàmadugu, Duvvuru, Chitvel, Siddavatam, Cheenuru, Chintakunta, Kamalapuram, Pulivendla, Rayachoti, Cumbum, Giddaluru, Dupadu, Koilakuntla, Nossam, Gurramkonda and Punganuru.

In 1812 the district headquarters was shifted from Siddhavattam to Cuddapah.

In 1856 the Punganur zamindari which was attached to this district was transferred to the adjoining district of North Arcot. The next important change in the territorial composition of the district was the transfer of the taluks of Cumbum, Koilkuntla and Dupadu to Kurnool district in 1858.

Another important change was the taluk of Kadiri was transferred to Ananatapuram district, in 1910. In 1911 the taluks of Madanapalle and Vayalapad were separated from Cuddapah to form part of the district of Chittoor. Now the district comprises 51 mandals with its headquarters at Cuddapah.


Andhra Pradesh District Gazetteers, Cuddapah District, Hyderabad, 1967.
Brief Industrial Profile of Y S R Kadapa District
R.G.Bhandarkar, Early History of the Deccan, New Delhi, 1983, (Second Edn.),
Medieval History of the Deccan, Vol.I,
Andhra Pradesh District Gazetteers, Cuddapah District, 1967,Edn.

S.Sarojini Ragani, Highlights of Freedom Movement in Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, 1972, p.6. Andhra Pradesh District Gazetteers,Cuddapah District, 1967, p.2. |

Historical Background of Cuddapah District by Mure Vijaya Kumar Reddy
Brief Industrial Profile of Y S R Kadapa District