By Swami Harshananda
Āndhra can refer to a jati or a country (now a state in India).
Āndhra the jati
The earliest reference to the Āndhras is in the Aitareya Brāhmana where they are mentioned as one of the jati groups along with Pulindas, Puṇḍras and Mutibas. These jati were created by the fifty sons of Viśvāmitra as a result of his curse. The Āndhras were outcasts subsisting on wild animals.
Āndhra the country
Āndhra as a country and as a people has found their references in the Rāmāyana, Mahābhārata and some of the purāṇas. The country referred to that was between the rivers Godāvari and Kṛṣṇā.
The Āndhra country was a part of Aśoka’s empire. The political history of an independent Andhra starts with the Śātavāhanas (280 B. C.-A. D. 218). The Kākatiyas (11th to 14th cent. A. D.) was another important dynasty which contributed to the cultural development of the Āndhra. However it was under the Vijayanagar kings (A. D. 1336-1556) that spectacular progress was achieved.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore