Department of Tribal Welfare, Government of Andhra Pradesh
The Koyas are one of the predominate autochthonous people of the southern region of the country. The present habitat of the Koyas comprising the area of Polavaram and Mulug (Eturnagaram) Taluks of West Godavari and Warangal districts respectively and Rampachodavaram and Yellavaram Taluks of East Godavari, Bhadrachalam and Nugur Taluks of Khammam district. The most outstanding physical feature of the Koya country is the Godavari and this river exercises a profound influence on Koyas economic, social and cultural activities, living on its banks and in the hills as well as plain areas of both sides of the riverian tract. Koyas generally restrict to the foot hills and adjoining plains and in some areas penetrated far into the hills and in many of villages on the Godavari banks, there is a mixed Koya-Reddi population. The Koyas popularly known as Dorala Sattam are believed to be the section of the Gondi speaking race, and though strongly influenced by neighboring Telugu speaking people, they retained a good many of typical cultural traits of Koya culture. The Koyas are generally sturdy and medium in stature, with short flat nose with spreading nostrils thick and projecting lower lips and the complexion varies from light copper brown to dark chocolate color. Their hair is usually wavy but almost straight. Like many other tribes, they are noted for truthfulness and simplicity. They excite contempt by their drunkenness, and want of thrift and vision into future life. Koyas live in symbiosis with Konda Reddis in the hilly and riverian tract of Koya land. They are as a whole more progressive than other tribal goups in the field of economic activity. They initiated plough cultivation in the tract. Bothe Koyas and Konda Reddis produce same food stuffs and they exchange certain house-hold articles, and agricultural implement though Barter system. Some Koyas work as Blacksmiths and furnish the Reddis with iron implements and some Hill Reddis manufacture baskets and winnowing fans and supply to Koyas. Koyas characteristic settlement is groups of hamlets scattered over the village land at places convenient for cultivation of their field and seldom are the house concentrated in a large compact village. The houses are of rectangular and square shaped with thatched roofs and invariably with wooden fencing. If the village is frequently attacked by epidemic diseases and causes many deaths the entire community will desert the village and settle at some other suitable place. Accordingly to 1961 census, the total number of Koya population in Andhra Pradesh is 2,20,146 consisting of 1,10,185 Males and 1,09,961 Females. They are chiefly inhabiting the agency and plains villages of East Godavari, West Godavari, Khammam, Warangal and a few in Adilabad district. 68.2% of total Koya population is found only in Khammam district. Only 2.9% are literates among Koyas. The major population of the Koyas is covered by Tribal Development Blocks viz., Eturnagaram of Warangal District; Bhadrachalam, Kunavaram, Vararamachandrapuram and Ashwaraopet of Khammam district; Polavaram and Buttayagudem of west Godavari district; Addateegala, Rampachodavaram and Maredumalli of East Godavari district.