Guntur; located to the north of the Bay of Bengal, is a city and a municipal corporation in India. It is the administrative capital of Guntur district which falls under the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region. It is the third most populous city in the state with a population of 651,382. In the year 2012, the city limits were expanded by merging ten surrounding villages into the municipal corporation and the regional urban population is 743,354. The city is also a part of Andhra Pradesh Capital Region.
The city region is the center for education and the home for historical spots such as Amaravati, Undavalli caves, Kondavid Fort and Sitanagaram monuments. The city is also a centre for business, e-commerce industry, and agriculture. The region is identified as a major industrial region in India along the corridor up to Visakhapatnam. The city is famous for its exports, including chillies, cotton, and tobacco. It is the largest producer of spice(chilies) in India.
The earliest recorded reference of Guntur comes from the Idern plates of Ammaraja I (922–929 CE), the Vengi Chalukyan king. French astronomer, Pierre Janssen observed the Solar eclipse of 18 August 1868 and discovered helium, from Guntur in Madras State, British India. The Sanskrit (ancient Vedic culture/tradition) name for Guntur was Garthapuri, a place surrounded by water ponds (garta/gunta) as per the writings in the old Agastyeshwara-Sivalayam (temple of the old city). There are inscriptions in the temple on stones in 'Naga Lipi' (an ancient script) dating back to about 1100 CE. It is considered one of the most famous temples in the city. It is said that Agastya built the temple in the last Treta Yuga around the swayambhu linga and hence it has this name. The 'Nagas' were said to have ruled the region at that time. The region has been historically known for Buddhism and the first Kalachakra ceremony performed by Gautama Buddha himself. The place of Sitanagaram and the Guttikonda caves are referred in the ancient texts (Vedic puranas) going back to the Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga (Traditional time scale).
With the arrival of the Europeans the city attained national and international significance. The French shifted their headquarters from Kondavid Fort to here in 1752, probably because of the ample availability of water due to the two large tanks. This settlement formed the nucleus of the modern city. The Nizams and Hyder Ali also ruled the city until it came under the British in 1788. It was made the headquarters of a district named after it that was abolished in 1859, only to be reconstituted in 1904. The city rapidly became a major market for agricultural produce from the surrounding countryside due to the opening of the railway link in 1890. The expansion continued post independence as well and was concentrated in what is now called "New Guntur", with many urban areas such as Brodipet, Arundalpet and suburban areas like Pattabhipuram, Chandramouli Nagar, Sita Rama nagar, Brindavan Gardens, etc.