Filed under Locations

Ongole is one of the larger towns of the district of Prakasam, in Andhra Pradesh. It is also Prakasam’s district headquarters. It is located some 450 kilometers southeast of the state’s capital city of Hyderabad, right on the Chennai-Howrah Grand Trunk Road, 109 kilometers away from the city of Guntur. As of the 2001 Indian census, the town had a population of 149,589 people although the recent 2007 statistics showed the population to have reached the 300,000 mark. The area has an average elevation of 10 meters (about 33 feet) above mean sea level.

The town was originally called by several names: Vangalaprolu, Vangavolu, and Vangolu. Regardless of which, all came from the astrologer bearing the last name of Vangolu who used to be in the court of the Addanki kings. Ongole’s long history goes back to the reign of the Mauryas and the Satavahanas; a few inscriptions dating to the latter period were found in a village near Ongole called Chinna Ganjam. The two kingdoms ruled most of the regions in present-day Andhra Pradesh. The earliest reference to present-day Ongole, though, is found in the inscriptions of the Pallava rulers, the Vijayaskandavarma and Simhavarman, who were recorded to have ruled during the last parts of the 3rd century right up to the early parts of the 4th. When the Satavahana rule was over, Ongole was again brought into attention when the Kakatiya dynasty occupied the place. During that time, the towns of Motupalli Voda Revu and Kottapatnam served as major seaports in that region of the country.

Ongole is quite famous for its special breed of oxen called the Ongolu Gitta; they are considered to be very virile and of superior stock. The Ongolu Gitta is one of the major Zebu cattle breeds in the world (cattle with the characteristic humps on their backs). Aside from this, Ongole is also one of the major tobacco trading centers in Andhra Pradesh.

The local economy has steadily developed over the years. During the 70’s and 80’s, many small-scale manufacturing enterprises were set up, such as those making shoes, PVCs, paints, and pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, most of these ventures did not survive for long, due primarily to stiff competition coming from within Andhra Pradesh itself or those from out of state. Lack of availability of capital and/or human resources as well as leadership capabilities were mostly chief factors of the failure. The 80’s and 90’s saw the rise of hospitals and educational institutions and the later part of the decade brought the beginnings of the granite industry. The discovery of the Black galaxy granite has resulted in the rise of granite mining, stone polishing units and stone cutting companies around Ongole.

Over the years, several good schools and colleges have sprung up in the town. As a result, the quality of education has been good and is already comparable to most of the cities in the region. The advent of reforms in the educational sector have also caused the rise of private engineering and medical institutions to be set up in town.


Comments are closed.