Kadapa is the new spelling of the old spelling ‘Cuddaph’. Since 19 August 2005, Kadapa is the phonemic spelling of ‘Cuddapah’. Kadapa is the headquarters of Dr YSR District. Previously, Dr YSR District was Cuddapah district and the headquarters of it was Cuddapah town which is also today’s ‘Kadapa’.
The decision to change the spelling of ‘Cuddaph’ to its phonetic spelling of Kadapa was taken by the Chief Minister Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy. After his demise, in his honour and as a tribute to his service to the district and to the undivided state of Andhra Pradesh the Cuddapah district was renamed after him.
In English spelling system, there are words that start with soft ‘c’ and hard ‘c’. The consonant ‘c’ has two different sounds: Hard ‘c’ sounds like ‘k’ such as in cup, class, chromosome, Copenhagen; and soft ‘c’ sounds like an ‘s’ as in city, cell, cinema.
Rules guide pronunciation in English language: generally, a hard sound is enunciated like a click while a soft sound is made with a continuing breath. But for the convenience of citizenry, the British colonial spelling of ‘Cuddaph’ is changed to ‘Kadapa’.
The word Kadapa comes from the Telugu word ‘Gadapa’. Gadapa means ‘threshold’ or ‘the entry point’ or ‘gateway’. Because of its geographical location, Cuddapah or Kadapa was the threshold point for all those pilgrims making a pilgrimage to Lord Balaji or Lord Venkateswara Swamy at Tirumala Hills. In fact, to this day there is a part of Kadapa that is called ‘Devuni Kadapa’ with a temple. Kadapa was, and is, the gateway to the pilgrims from the west to the Tirumala Hills in the east. With time, Gadapa became Kadapa though it was spelt as ‘Cuddapah’ when it was ruled by British. In fact, ‘Cuddapah’ was one of the ceded districts to British by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Gadapa: The old records of the Cuddaph district recorded Kadapa as Gadapa. The ancient village of Kadapa, as it was established in the ancient history, aka Devuni Kadapa or Devuni Gadapa had a large water tank and a temple of Lord Venkateswara.
Cuddapah in its existence, was ruled by Mauryas, Sathavahans, Ikshawakulas, Cholas, Vijayanagar Empire, Kingdom of Mysore, Nizams of Hyderabad, and by the British. During the British colonial rule, Cuddapah was part of Madras presidency.
It is recently recorded that the older name of Kadapa or its Telugu version of Gadapa is ‘Hiranayanagaram’. With deciphering of inscriptions unravelling, according to an inscription, Cuddaph was attributed to as ‘Hiranyanagaram’.
A researcher wrote, “Kadapa district was formed in the year 1808 with Siddavattam as its headquarters which was subsequently shifted to Kadapa in 1812. Until 1808 Kadapa was a revenue division under erstwhile Anantapur district. In the year 1858 Koilakuntla, Kambham and Doopadu talukas were ceded to Kurnool district and subsequently Madanpalli and Vailpady were transferred to Chittoor district.
“Kadapa district with its present geographical area in its existence since 1911. As per the historical evidences Kadapa existed since close to 10th century was ruled by Mouryans, Sathavahanas, Ikshawakula, Cholas, Chalukyas and Pandyan dynasties. Kadapa previously has its historical importance since it was connected with Mouryas in BC era and Sathavahana long time in the 3rd century AD.”
Devuni Gadapa means “Entrance or Gateway or Threshold to reach Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy”. According to TTD, the temple Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara was said to have constructed by Sage Kripacharya when the hill shrine of Tirumala is called Varahakshetram while Devunikadapa is known as Hanumanthkshetram.
Thallapaka Annamacharya worshipped Lord Venkateswara in Devuni Kadapa and eulogised him as ‘Venkatadri Kadaparaya’.
SECULAR TRADITION: Hindus & Muslims
The Kadapa town has a large number of Muslims. And they worship Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara on Ugadhi or Ugadi the Telugu New Year. It is a unique tradition among Muslims in India and Asia. TTD notes, “According to the Legend, Lord Venkateswara had married one of his consorts, Bibi Nanchari, in an inter-religious event, leading to establishment of close relations between the Hindus and Muslims in Kadapa.”
The spelling of ‘Cuddapah’ or ‘Kadapa’ in Telugu remains the same: కడప