NELLORE, a town and district of India, in the Madras presidency. The town is on the right bank of the Pennar river, and has a station on the East Coast railway, 109 m. N of Madras city. Pop. (1901) 32,040. There are United Free Church, American Baptist and Catholic missions.
The District of Nellore has an area of 8761 sq. m. It comprises a tract of low-lying land extending from the base of the Eastern Ghats to the sea. Its general aspect is forbidding: the coast-line is a fringe of blown sand through which the waves occasionally break, spreading a salt sterility# over the fields. Farther inland the country begins to rise, but the soil is not naturally fertile, nor are means of irrigation readily at hand. About one-half of the total area is cultivated; the rest is either rocky waste or is covered with low scrub jungle. The chief rivers are the Pennar, Suvarnamukhi and Gundlakamma. They are not navigable, but are utilized for irrigation purposes, the chief irrigation work being the anicut across the Pennar. Nellore, however, is subject both to droughts and to floods. Copper was discovered in the western hills in 1801, but several attempts by European capitalists to work the ore proved unremunerative, and the enterprise has been abandoned since 1840. Iron ore is smelted by indigenous methods in many places, but the most important mining industry is that of mica. Salt is largely manufactured along the sea-coast. Nellore, with the other districts of the Carnatic, passed under direct British administration in 1801. The population in 1901 was 1,496,987 showing an increase of 2.3% in the decade. In 1904 a portion of the district was transferred to the newly formed district of Guntur, reducing the remaining area to 7965 sq. m., with a population of 1,272,815. The principal crops are millets, rice, other food grains, indigo and oil-seeds. The breed of cattle is celebrated. The East Coast railway, running through the length of the district, was opened throughout for traffic in 1899. The section from Nellore town to Gudur, formerly on the metre gauge, has been converted to the standard gauge. Previously the chief means of communication with Madras was by the Buckingham canal. The sea-borne trade is insignificant.