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Both a town as well as an administrative subdivision, Mangalagiri can be found in the district of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. It is a part of the urban agglomeration of the state’s third largest city, Vijayawada. The town has a total area of just 10.49 square kilometers and a total population of 61,981 according to the Indian census taken in 2001, distributed among 15,750 households. The total literacy rate is 67%, which is higher than the national average of 59.5%. On a geographical standpoint, Mangalagiri is situated on the Guntur-Vijayawada road, 13 kilometers southeast of Vijayawada and 21 kilometers northeast of the city of Guntur. The place has an average elevation of 9 meters (or roughly 29 feet) above mean sea level.

Mangalagiri’s history is ancient, dating back to the times before Christ. Since 225 B.C., the region was under the control of great kings. The first was Andhra Satavahanas, whose empire ruled from 225 B.C. to 225. It was followed by the Ikshwakus dynasty, which lasted until 300. Other dynasties that followed include Ananda Gotrajas, Vishnu Kundeenas and the Chanakyas. During those years, the capital moved from place to place, starting at Dhanya Katakam, and moving to Kanteru and Vijayawada.

Much of Mangalagiri’s known history started in the medieval period when Sri Krishnadeva Raya defeated the Gajapathi kings in 1515, who were the rulers of the region during that time. Mangalagiri was one of the 200 towns that were in the Vijayanagara kingdom then. The kingdom was destroyed in 1565, and Qutb Shahi of the Golconda empire came in. The sultan divided Kondaveedu into 14 parts, with Mangalagiri as one of them. 33 villages were under Mangalagiri at that time. From 1750 to 1758, the French came and ruled the area, and the Nizams succeeded them for thirty years, from 1758 to 1788.

In 1788, the Nawab of Hyderabad, Nizam Alikhan, gave Guntur to the British, who made Raja Vasireddi Venkatadri Naidu as the place’s Jamindar or tax collector. For the next six years, the Circuit Committee of the East India Company ruled Mangalagiri until 1794, when the committee was cancelled and the Guntur district was formed. In 1859, Guntur district was merged with Krishna district, but was again separated in 1904. Mangalagiri has been part of the Guntur district ever since.

Mangalagiri means “Auspicious Hill,” a name that is derived from the legend that the goddess Lakshmi meditated in the area a long time ago. Mangalagiri is one of the eight important sacred places of India, the places where Lord Vishnu manifested himself. They are Sri Rangam, Srimushnam, Naimisam, Pushkaram, Salagamadri, Thothadri and Narayanasramam; Thotadri is Mangalagiri in the present time. There are three Narasimha Swamy temples in Mangalagiri: Panakala Narasimha Swamy on the hill, Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at the foot of the temple, and Gandala Narasimha Swamy located at the top of the hill.

Those who are thinking of going to Mangalagiri will find that it is not hard to get there. The town is located on National Highway 5, making it directly connected to major cities Kolkata and Chennai. There is also a railway station in Guntur-Vijayawada section of the Guntur division of the South Central Railway, making it easily accessible for those who travel by train.


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