Anantapur district, in the Rayalaseema Region is a district of Andhra Pradesh with its administrative headquarters located at Anantapur city. The name of the district is derived from the term 'Anaatasagaram' meaning a big tank or Endless Ocean. Anantarasa Chikkavodeya, the minister of a Vijayanagar ruler called Bukka-I, constructed the Anaantasagaram and Bukkarayasamudram villages. During the Vijayanagar period, Anantapur is often called as "Hande Anantapuram" and the word Hande means chief. Later the Vijayanagar rulers gifted Anantapur and a few other places to Hanumappa Naidu belong to Hande family. The place was ruled by many great rulers at different periods of time such as the Qutub Shahis, Mughals, Nawabs of Cuddapah, Palergar of Bellary, Morari Rao Ghorpade, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. When the Anantapur carved out of the Bellary district, it was emerged as a separate district in 1882 in the map of Andhra Pradesh state.
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, The sixth President of India (1977 to 1982) and the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 was born on 19 May, 1913 at Illur village in the district. Before 1977 he was a member of Janata Party but later he joined the Indian National Congress party. Kadiri Venkata Reddy or K. V. Reddy, a distinguished Indian film director, writer, producer and production manager in Telugu cinema was born on 1st July, 1912 at Tadipatri in the district. He was honoured by three National Film Awards such as National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu-Pedda Manushulu (1955), National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu-Pelli Naati Pramanalu (1958) and National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Kannada-Satya Harishchandra (1966).
Geographically, the district lies at 14°67'N latitude, 77°59'E longitude and 335 m Altitude. In the year 2021, there was a total 5.22% forest area of total geographical area. The district encompasses a geographical area of 19,130 sq kms and it is bounded by Kurnool district on the north, Kadapa district on the east, Chittoor district on the southeast and Karnataka state on the southwest and west. The climate of the district is characterized as semi-arid climate since its climate remains hot and dry climate throughout the year. Most of its rainfall occurs in the monsoon season. The actual rainfall in the district was 938.3 mm in the year of 2021-22.
Administration wise, the district is Divided into 5 Revenue divisions namely Anantapur, Dharmavaram, Kadiri, Kalyandurg and Penukonda. There are 2 Lok Sabha and 14 Assembly constituencies in the district. Moreover, the district comprises 63 sub-districts 16 towns and 949 villages. The administrative language in the district is Telugu.
According to 2011 census the district has a Population of 40,81,148 including 20,64,495 are males and 20,16,653 are females. The district has a sex ratio of 977 (females for every 1000 males). In the year 2001-2011 the population growth rate in the district was 12.10% out of which 11.02% are males and 13.24% are females. As per 2011 census the major religion in the district is Hindu with 88.20% of the total population. The population density in the district is 213 persons per sq. km. According to 2011 census the principal languages in the district are Telugu and Urdu with 81.83% and 10.27%. In the year 2020 the number of live births in the district was 59,203 out of which 31,100 were males and 28,103 were females. In the same year the number of deaths in the district was 33,493 out of which 20,445 were males and 13,048 were females.
The district is rich in mineral resources. Dolomite and Iron Ore minerals are found in a huge quantity in Anantapur district. The district is well known for its silk sarees. It exports silk sarees to different parts of the country. Agriculture is the backbone of its economy but industrially the district is not so developed. The chief agricultural crops in the district are rice, cotton, groundnut, sunflower, maize, chillies, sesame, sugarcane, etc. In the year 2006 the Government of India announced Anantapur as one of the country's 250 most backward districts and it is currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). In the year 2020-21 the gross domestic product in the district was Rs. 68,84,200 lakh at current price and Rs. 41,81,400 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Net domestic product in the district during the period 2020-21 was Rs. 62,25,900 lakh at current price and Rs. 27,38,800 lakh at constant prices in the year 2011-2012. The Per Capita Income or NDDP, At Factor Cost in the year 2020-21 was Rs. 1,45,595 at current price and Rs. 86,035 at constant prices in the year 2011-2012.
The district has provides a platform for higher education. Some of its reputed educational institutions are Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Sri Sathya Sai University and Government Medical College. As per 2011 census the literacy rate in the district is 63.57% including 73.02% are males and 53.97% are females. The total number of literates in the district is 23,10,960 including 13,38,474 were males and 9,72,486 were females.
Anantha Venkatarami Reddy, an eminent Indian politician and a member of the 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha in which he represents the Anantapur constituency was born on 1st August, 1956 at Tadipatri in the district. He is a member of the Indian National Congress till 2014 March but later he joined YSR Congress Party. Paritala Ravindra or Paritala Ravi, an illustrious Indian politician and a former cabinet minister in Andhra Pradesh was born in the year 1958 at Venkatapuram in the district. He was elected for five times as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Penukonda constituency in Anantapur district. He was a member of Telugu Desam Party.
The district has many centres of attraction which allures numerous travellers from across the world. Lepakshi, a place situated 110 km. from the district, has 108 Shiva temples. Its Lord Veerabhadhra temple belonging to the 16th century depicts its marvellous architectural skills. Thimmamma Marrimanu is the name of a banyan tree, situated 100 km. from Anantapur. It is the biggest banyan tree in South India which spread across 5 acres of land. Hemavathi, an ancient place in the district was the capital of Pallava kings in the 9th and 10th centuries. The age old Hemavathi Fort is ruined but there are some temples of that era still present in the place namely Doddeswara Swamy Temple, Siddeshswara Swamy Temple and Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple. Some other notable tourist places in the district include Ravadurg Gooty fort, Aluru Kona, Raidurga fort, Dharmavaram, Penukonda, etc.