Madanapalle is a small town in the Chittoor district of Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh of southern India. Madanapalle was earlier known as Maryada Raamanna Pattanam. The town has a rich history, hills of Eastern Ghats, hill station (Ooty of Andhra Pradesh), religious places, educational institutions, workshops of artisans. For a wildlife enthusiast, there are different species of birds to rivet ornithologists and snakes to draw herpetologists. The town has a dedicated community of weavers and artisans engaged in making silk sarees and terracotta pottery.
theTelugus.com has identified top 12 experiences to do, to feel, to know, and to see in Madanapalle.
What our team has gathered is: Madanapalle has an immense potential for development in terms of attracting domestic visitors and tourists, and enable the residents to re-discover the richness of their town. The town is on the highway, those who travel past the town to stop could stop for a day or to explore more; and also travellers from other parts of India, and possibly worldwide. Y. Satya Kumar, a political activist who has lived in this town reminds of the artisans and weavers, and two prominent personalities. It was Madanapalle where Rabindranath Tagore, the Noble Prize winner for literature in 1913, stayed and wrote India’s national anthem. In his words, BT College ‘showed every promise of developing into Santiniketan of the South’. This is the town where Jiddu Krishnamurti was born, India’s foremost free radical thinker and philosopher of 20th century.
D. P. Satish, a journalist with national media who has visited the town, says Madanapalle is promising to attract tourists and short-stay visitors. He says, “Madanapalle’s advantage is its geographical proximity to Bengaluru and to the temple town of Tirupati.” He assess that Madanapalle could be developed as the destination for rock-climbing, rope-way or cable car rides, hot air balloon, naturopathy and for yoga.
Origin: According to a legend, Madanapalle was founded by Sri Madanna in 1618 AD, and was known as ‘Maryaada raamanna puram’ or ‘Maryaada raamanna pattanam’ but over time it has changed into Madanapalle. When the town was made as a subdivision in 1850, F. B. Manoly was the first Sub Collector. In the past the town has experienced calamities like floods, famines and epidemics but bounced back. When Sir Thomas Munro was the collector of Cuddapah (Dr YSR Kadapa district) he used to visit the town regularly. In 21st century, the town is the destination for the surrounding villages and towns to escape the uncertainties of farming life and to establish a business of one or the other kind. The town has almost two lakhs population with a literacy rate of 81% (more than the national average of 73%). It is located at an average elevation of 695 m (2,280 feet) above mean sea level. The town is an Assembly constituency of Andhra Pradesh, and part of Rajampeta parliamentary constituency. The town is also a trading centre for tomato, mango, groundnut, tamarind and silk sarees.
The top 12 experiences to do, or to know, or to feel, or to see are:Madanapalle: Rabindranath Tagore
1. Rabindranath Tagore
India’s revered poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and Nobel Prize Winner in Literature in 1913 stayed in Madanapalle. The cottage where he stayed is intact. He was invited by the founder of Besant Theosophical College, Annie Besant. During this time, from February 25 to March 2, 1919, Rabindranath Tagore participated in the activities of the college, and also wrote the Jana Gana Mana … (The morning song of India) and set to tune by Margaret Elizabeth Cousins. The song continues to be the national anthem of independent India. The state government has also initiated to build an auditorium which is under construction and would be named after Rabindranath Tagore.
2. Madanapalle: Horsley Hills (Yenugulla Mallamma Konda)
Horsley Hills is a small hill station. The hill is one of the series of hills of Eastern Ghats in the peninsular India. It was earlier known as Anugu Malleamma Konda, or Horsleykonda. According to a local legend, Mallamma lived on this hill and into senility, and she was fed by the elephants and visited by people from surrounding villages to gain earthy wisdom. With the arrival and the rule of the British East India Company in the Indian subcontinent, the area was under the collectorship of W.D. Horsley, who discovered its cool weather in hot summer. He had made it as his home. The hill station is an ideal destination for relaxation and rejuvenation of the mind.
3. Annie Besant (Madanapalle: Annie Besant )
Annie Besant (1 October 1847-20 September 1933) was an educationist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, author, orator, philanthropist, supporter of Indian independence from British colonialism. She was one of the persons behind today’s BT College, the one who nurtured Jiddu Krishnamurti. She is remembered as the guardian spirit of BT College, and almost synonymous with the philosophy of theosophy. You can visit BT College, and know about her. You can spot her statue at one of the junctions in the town. One of her defining objectives in life was ‘education as a service’. Annie Besant’s service to education, and for establishing the first college in the perennially drought-prone and rocky region of Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh is commendable. She laid the foundation stone to the ‘Culture Club’ in the town on 22 November 1913.
4. Tomato Market
At the crack of dawn, the tomato market buzzes with life. It is one the biggest tomato markets in India, and in Asia, and also in the world. To visit Madanapalle’s tomato market is one of the top 12 things to do in Madanapalle: a walk in the tomato market, or purchase tomatoes. You can see tomatoes brought by farmers from their fields to the wholesalers, how tomatoes are bought and sold, and experience how 1000 daily wagers make a living out of working in this yard.
5. Rishi Valley School
One of the centres of learning in Madanapalle is Rishi Valley School. It is a boarding school founded by the leading philosophers of 20th-century India, Jiddu Krishnamurti (JK). The school lays emphasis on holistic approach to education and reflects the spirit of the founder’s pedagogical vision, also interactions with local community as part of extracurricular activities. The school nestles in over 360 acres surrounded by the hills of Eastern Ghats. The school is well-connected to places such as Tirupati, Chennai and Bengaluru. Jiddu Krishnamurti (11 May 1895 – 17 February 1986) made it mandatory in the schools he established in the world to lay emphasis on art, music, athletics, sensitivity to environment in addition to passing in the examinations. Rishi Valley School runs the Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) program, a rural education and health centre, which has laurels from many organizations. To visit Rishi Valley School is one of the top 12 things to do in Madanapalle. You will be introduced to Jiddu Krishnamurti or his philosophy or to the school’s environment.
6. Madanapalle: Terracotta Pottery
On the highway leading to and leading out of Madanapalle, you will see terracotta pottery and its vendors on the roadside. The terracotta are both utilitarian and decorative works such as bowls, pans, pots, holders for incense, cups to light lamps with oil, wall hangings that refer to symbols of good omens, statuettes, vases, images of venerable figures, objects for architectural embellishment, relief ornamentation and many more. theTelugus.com identifies: visiting or stopping by at an artisan’s workshop to see the works of terracotta and buy for oneself or as a gift to one’s dear one, or at least to see the diverse range of products as one of the top 12 Things to Do in Mandanapalle.
7. BT College in Madanapalle
One of the top 12 things to do in Madanapalle is to visit BT College, where you can discover the idealism and pragmatism of its founders. Besant Theosophical College is commonly known as BT College, established in 1915 with a mission ‘to produce a serene atmosphere intellectually enlightened, spiritually inspired, emotionally balanced, morally upright, socially committed’ young men and women who will be agents of social transformation in India. Since British to Independent India, the institution provides education as service.
BT College was established in 1915 with a mission ‘to produce a serene atmosphere for intellectually enlightened, and spiritually inspired, and emotionally balanced, and morally upright, and socially committed’ young men and women for India – the agents of social transformation in India. Since British to Independent India, the institution provides education as service. It was the first college in the Rayalaseema region of British India started with the objective to provide education for the Indians in the interior parts of the country. Today, the college lays emphasis on ethics, human values, ideals of theosophy as propagated by its legendary founder Annie Besant.
8. Madanapalle: Silk Sarees
Madanapalle is home to silk sarees. There are weavers whose sole livelihood is weaving of silk sarees, and the sarees they weave are known as Madanapalle silk sarees. The silk sarees are known for their endearing charm of silk, high quality where grace meets comfort, and sarees that accentuate the beauty of the wearer. The town is famous for silk and silk products, and quality of silk is remarkable. Madanapalle silk sarees are sought after by women for the sarees are an ideal pick for weddings and sacred occasions. Madanapalle silk sarees are gaining importance at par with Mangalgiri, Pochampalli, Venkatagiri, Uppada, Kanchi, Banaras sarees. www.theTelugus.com identifies one of the top 12 things to do in Mandapalle is to visit a local weaver, and also to consider to purchase a saree as a gesture of goodwill for local weavers.
9. Zoo, Crocodiles
The zoo in Madanapalle is located in Horsley Hills. Here you can find different species of birds, deer, emus, and crocodiles. In the zoo, there is a special enclosure for emu. Emus live in pairs, and they are found in the forest habitats and woodlands of Australia. At this zoo, one can also see the national bird of India: peacock. And, there is cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) and crocodile. Zoos are not only the places for animals to conserve, and preserve but they are also there to visit especially parents with children, or for educational institutions to organize study trips. Visiting a zoo helps children to see the unseen animals, to understand the importance of animals and the environment, to grasp the diversity on planet Earth, and how significant it is to conserve and preserve the biodiversity on earth. Who knows a child may also be inspired to pursue a study related to animals, environment, ecology. A visit to a zoo helps one to understand or learn about exotic animals, and native species.
10. Church, Dargah, Temples, Sri M
Madanapalle has places of worship for all faiths. There are many temples dedicated to Courtlo Gangamma Temple to Sai Baba and to Venkateswara Swamy and Ayyappa. There are mosques, and two popular dargahs: Dargah of Hazrat Baba Ehsanullah Khan and Hazrath Masthanvali Dargah, and the conspicuous one is on a hillock. There are churches but the historic one is Church of South India (CSI), which is the most popular one. The worshippers gather at the church every Sunday, and the church has architectural importance – some features of Gothic architecture and painted in terracotta colour, and innovative layouts. Sri M, or Mumtaz Ali Khan, or Sri Madhukarnath ji is living nearby Madanapalle. Sri M is considered as a living yogi. Sri M was honoured by the Government of India by conferring Padma Bhushan in 2020, India’s third-highest civilian honour.
11. Madanapalle: Sanatorium
For more than one hundred years, the sanatorium in Madanapalle has been the beacon of service for TB patients. Sanatorium in Madanapalle is located in Arogyavaram, literally a health village. It plays the role of a health resort and hospital. Arogyavaram Medical Centre, formerly known as Union Mission Tuberculosis Sanatorium, has 350-bedded General Hospital. It was inaugurated in 1915 by Lord Pentland, the Governor of Madras Presidency during British colonial rule, and Dr Christian Frimodt Moller was the First Medical Superintendent. It was the first Sanatorium in South India. India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, visited this centre in the 1952 and commended the work of sanatorium.
12. Madanapalle: Jiddu Krishnamurti
Madanapalle is the birthplace of Jiddu Krishnamurti (JK), the leading philosopher, writer, speaker and thinker of 20th century. Krishnamurti Foundation India established the Study Centre in a house in the town where JK born. P. Thyagamurthy Sarma is the in-charge of the study centre. Sarma said that this house was not owned by Jiddu Krishnamurti’s parents, they rented it out. But the Rishi Valley School in Madanapalle bought this house, and turned it to a study centre. At this study centre, one can familiarize with Krishnamurti’s teachings presented in the form of books, audios and videos. Here, one can acquaint yourself with a philosophy and a personality. He expressed that he had no allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, and spent the rest of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups, as well as individuals. He emphasized, one should explore one’s existence by thinking.
Call for action: Madanapalle’s MLA, Rajampeta parliamentary constituency’s MP and representatives of the municipality can think of developing the lake in the town, which has the possibility to turn it into Tank Bund of the town where residents can go walks and picnics like the Tank Bund in Hyderabad. They could consider to organise annual music and dance festivals to mark the anniversaries of Jiddu Krishnamurti, Rabindranath Tagore, Annie Besant and promoting the town as the destination for health and well-being among others.
Transport: Madanapalle is well connected by road and rail, Madanapalle Road Railway Station (MPL) is situated on Dharmavaram-Pakala branch line, and one can travel by train to Secunderabad, Guntakal, Tirupati, and Vijayawada.
Theatres: The cinema halls in the town are Sri Sai Chitra, A.S.R Theater, Sunil Theater, Sree Krishna Theater, MSR Movie Land, Sidhartha Theatre, Ravi Theatre, and Mini Sidhartha.
Spelling: Madanapalle is spelt as Madanapalle, and Madanapalli.