Telangana is situated on the central stretch of the Indian Peninsula, most of it on the high Deccan Plateau between the Aryan North and Dravidian South. The earliest mention of this region is to be found in the Aitareyabrahmana. It figured subsequently in the Ramayana and Mahabharatha and in the Puranas. It became ”the region eminently suited for the fusion of the two cultures”.

 The language of the people was Dravidian, called Telinga. The race and language had a glorious history that spans over 1000 years. The people had distinct style of their own in the fields of literature, music, dance, painting and sculpture. This culture acted as a bridge between the North and South. There were many Buddhist monasteries built in this region. though it belonged to Dravidian family of languages. They have more affinity in customs, traditions and social institutions of marriage and the like with that of Sanskrit.

By nature the Telugus are considered to be emotional people. They combined in themselves the intellectual agnosticism of the Tamils and the mystic quality of the Bengalis, said Sarojini Naidu. The former state of Hyderabad, for instance, presented a polyglot character consisting of the Telugu speaking Muslims constituting an influential minority. After the merger of the two regions in 1956, many people migrated into Telangana from Andhra districts, resulting in new social tensions.

As Myron Weiner puts it, migrations sometimes have de-stabilizing effects, arousing intense conflicts. There is a healthy mixture of Aryan and non-Aryan traditions and customs here. In this region, customs and practices of Dravidian and Sanskrit features are reflected. In marriages essentially the form is Vedic and many local customs found place. Tying of mangalasutra and pouring talambralu are specially Andhra customs. They are seen in the marriage descriptions of Tikkanas Virataparva and in Ranganadharamayana.

The most important thing is cross cousin marriage, which never had the sanction of the law makers (smritikaras). This is purely a Dravidian and local custom which had to be accepted or tolerated. There was a custom of singing auspicious songs during the time of marriages from the period of the Satavahanas. Married women in this region wear rings on their second toe. They used to apply turmeric to the body and to the face before taking bath. They used to wear saris. Men used to wear dhotis. Both men and women adorned themselves with ornaments. Men and women used to tattoo their bodies. This information is found Peddannas Varudhini.

Women used to sweep the front yards in the morning and decorate the ground with powders of different colors. We find the descriptions about the decoration in Nannayas Mahabharata and Kridabhirama. During the period of festivals like Sankranti these front yard decorations became more interesting.

There were a large variety of these decorations. Mango leaves were tied to the porches for any auspicious occasion. Women used to decorate themselves with flowers. Men also used to grow long hair. They used to consume betel leaf, which was called tamboolasevanam.

People here were fond of intoxicant liquors. They used to make their own liquors. They had varied names depending on the quality. A detailed description is found in Simhasanadwatrimsika that the people of Srinadha's period lived a luxurious life. There were facilities for the supply of water to houses and fountains.

Their houses were decorated. There were drawings on the walls of their bedrooms. Women use to wear bangles. There were houses serving food that were called pootakulla illu. Rulers used to visit their paramours. Kreedabhirama and Krishnaraya's Amuktamalyada contain many interesting pieces of information about the social life of the people.

The food of the Andhras needs special mention. Srinadha presents to us the variety of items served. Till Portuguese introduced chilly the people used pepper. They used strong spices to flavor their food. The mango pickle with mustard (aavakaya) is renowned in the entire country.

The entertainment of this region is also varied. There were many kinds of sports and games. These interesting names are known from Gadhasaptasati and Kamasutra of Vastayana. There were literary gatherings, drinking parties and courtesan visits. There were cockfights for entertainment. Young children used to play with ivory dolls. Kings used to go for hunting. Wrestling and boxing were also competitively entertaining. Many of these forms of entertainment are still exist.

Festivals:

Festivals are celebrated with much fervor and people used to go to temples on these days to offer special prayers.Festivals are listed below.

Ugadi, Guru Purnima , Sri Rama Navami, Hanumajjayanti , Raakhi Pournami, Vinayaka Chaviti , Dusserah , Nagula Chaviti , Krishnashtami,Deepavali,Mukkoti Ekadasi ,Karthika Purnima , Subrahmanya Shashti ,Makara Sankranti and Ratha Saptami

Regional Festivals:

Telanganites not only celebrate the main festivals, but also celebrate certain regional festivals like Bonalu in Hyderabad, Batakamma all over Telangana districts, Yedupayala Jatara in Medak , Sammakka Saralamma in Warangal district.

Other festivals are Nomulu Vrathalu Kedareswara Vratam , Madana Dwadasi Vratam, Vinayaka Vratam, Saraswati Vratam, Varalakshmi Vratam, Krishanshtami Vratam,Ananta Padmanabha Vratam, Margasira Lakshmi Varapu Nomu Katha,Polala Amavasya Vratam , Kumkuma Gowri Nomu,Sraavana Mangalavara Nomu Katha, and Karthika Deepala Nomu

RELIGION:

The major religions of the people are Hinduism and Islam, though Buddhism was the dominant religion up to the 6th century. It is the home of Mahayana Buddhism as revealed by the monuments of Nagarjunakonda. Acharaya Nagarjuna presided over the World University at Sri Parvata. Hinduism was revived in the time of the Chalukyas and the Kakatiyas in the 12th century. The Vijayanagar rule saw the glorious days of Hinduism when the famed emperors, Krishnadeva Raya in particular, built new temples and beautified the old ones. Siva, Vishnu, Hanuman and Ganapati have been the popular Hindu Gods. The Vugra Narasimha swami Temple at Yadagirigutta and Thousand Pillar Temple at Warangal are among the oldest shrines in the state attracting people from different parts of the country for hundreds of years.

In terms of influence, Islam occupies the second place. It started spreading from the 14th century onwards. Mosques began to come up in many parts of the region during the Muslim rule. Christianity began to spread from 1701, Especially among the socially disabled people. Educational institutions and churches grew in number in the Circars in the 18th and 19 centuries when the East India Company and later the British government encouraged them. Other European countries were also active in building churches and taking care of the weaker sections of the people.

Hindus 88.75 % Muslims 8.47 % Christians 3.62 %

LANGUAGE:

Telugu is the main language of the state, which was formed on the principle of one language-one state. Telugu, the second largest spoken language in India and it has a long history. While Tamil is the oldest among the Dravidian languages, Telugu has enjoyed a unique status because of “its melody and grace.” It has justly been called the “Italian of the East.” Dr.William Carey, who set up printing press in vernacular languages, published his Telugu grammar in 1812.A.D. Campbell prepared a Telugu-English dictionary. C.P.Brown's contribution to the growth and development of Telugu is well known. He felt sad that Telugu classics were “in a deplorable state like those of Greek and Latin authors before the invention of printing.” He heralded the renaissance in Telugu literature through his monumental works. Carey, describing Telugu as the most polished among the five South Indian languages, namely Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Sinhalese, observed that “its variety of inflection is such as to give it a capacity of expressing ideas, with a high degree of felicity, justness and elegance.” Campbell too lavished high praise on Telugu when he wrote in 1816: “Few languages will be found more copious, more nervous or more regular in constructions, and it may boast, in a peculiar manner, of great elegance of expression and melody of sound.” Caldwell, the “father of Dravidian languages”, gave it first place in point of “euphonic sweetness” and this view was supported by Henry Morris, who called Telugu the most musical of all Dravidian languages.

Quite recently the noted scientist J.B.S. Haldane expressed the view that Telugu could be a rival to Hindi in teaching science, medicine and engineering. Around the same tinie G.H. McLeod wrote that “Telugu is the northern-most memuer of the northern languages: and it has the advantages of both groups with few, if any, of the defects.... It has never suffered from narrow provincialism.”

Telugu is said to have grown out of a synthesis of the language of the native Dravidians and Sanskrit, the language of the colonizers, the Aryans. The influence of Sanskrit began in the 3rd century B.C. and since then the growth of the language is traced. The evolution of Telugu as it is understood now however took place in the 9th Century A.D. Enrichment of the language took place at regular intervals in the history. The names of Nannayya, Tikkana and Pothana are cherished in every home like those of Vemana and Thyagaraja of later periods. Veeresalingam, Gurazada, Viswanatha Satyanarayana and Sri Sri were prominent writers and poets of the last hundred years. The development of Telugu language and literature owes a great deal to the efforts of the Englishmen. Historians noted the “Asia-wide influence of Andhra art” and as a scholar summed up: “The people of this region especially Kakathiyas made a glorious contribution to the development of art and architecture .”

It must be remembered that Telugu varies from region to region in its expression. Here too the Telugu-speaking people proudly claim that the language spoken in their region is superior to that of the other regions. All the same, one unique aspect of Telugu is that it has never harboured, as McLeod pointed out, narrow provincialism. It interacted much with other languages and in Hyderabad city-and neighboring areas, Marathi, Urdu and Kannada have had much influence on the people. It is said that the Telugus' spirit of tolerance is due largely to the mingling of different languages for several centuries. Urdu is the second most widely spoken language in the state. The majority of the Urdu-speaking people are confined to the twin cities and neighboring districts. Of the total population of Andhra Pradesh 87 percent have Telugu and 7.20 per cent Urdu as their mother tongue.