Kurnool is known as the Gateway to Rayalaseema. It is a city and municipal corporation and the administrative headquarters of Kurnool district, state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Post bifurcation of the state, Kurnool is the Fifth-most populous city of Andhra Pradesh. Kurnool served as the state capital of Andhra (not Andhra Pradesh) from 1 October 1953 to 31 October 1956.
The Ketavaram rock paintings from the Paleolithic era and are (18 kilometres from Kurnool). Also the Jurreru Valley, Katavani Kunta and Yaganti in Kurnool District have some important rock art's and painting's in the vicinity, may be dated from 35,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Little was known about Kurnool Town before the 11th century. The earliest knowledge of this settlement dates from the 11th Century. It has developed as transit place on the southern banks of the river Tungabhadra and was commonly known as 'Kandenavolu'. It was a greasing place for the carts which used to transport stone for the construction of temples at Alampur from which the name 'Kandenavolu' was derived. It was ruled by Cholas and later by Kakatiya kings in the 12th and 13th Centuries. Later on it became an independent part of the country under Jagirdars. Late it came under the influence of Vijayanagar Kings and it was during the 16th Century that Achyuta Raya built the Kurnool Fort. During the 17th Century it was ruled by Gopal Raja. Abdul Wahab conquered king Gopal Raja and ruled over the country for 16 years. The town came under the influence of Moghal Emperor Aurangazeb in 1686. Later the town was ruled by Nawabs from Dawood Khan to Gulam Rasool Khan (1823). In 1839 the British Government took over control. In 1858 it was made over to a Collector under the General regulations. The British rule continued till 1947 during which period, Kurnool town was a part of the Madras presidency. After separation of the 11 districts of Andhra from the composite of Madras state in 1953, Kurnool became the state Headquarters on 1 October 1953.
The Telugu speaking areas of erstwhile Hyderabad State were merged with Andhra Pradesh. The state of Andhra Pradesh came into existence in November 1956, and its state capital was shifted from Kurnool to Hyderabad.