Nellore finds mention in Dongalasani epigraph of 1160 AD. The name is said to have been derived from ‘Nelli’ trees (Perma Latifolia) which were abundant in the region. The name Nellore has a Tamil origin as well. ‘Nellu’ in Tamil means paddy, indicating that the place is known for its rich harvest of paddy. Hence Nellore was also known as Dhanyapuri.
The name Vikrama Simhapuri derives itself from literature and inscription of 12th century AD which mentions the place as ‘Vikrama Simhapuri’. This name is linked to an early Pallava ruler, Simha – Vishnu (575 – 600 AD), though the Pallava inscriptions either of Simha – Vishnu or of the latter period did not refer to Simhapuri in spite of the fact that Nellore remained a part of the early Pallava territory of pre- and post- Simha Vishnu period. Nellore was under the reign of the Pallavas, Cholas, Chalukyas, Kaktiyas, and the Vijayanagara empire. The city was known as Vikrama Simhapuri and was the capital of Manumasiddhi of Nellore Cholas in the thirteen century. Tikkana, the poet, it was conjectured, was a Minister in the court of Manumasiddhi and with the help of the Kakatiya Kings with whom he forged enduring relationship through his poetry he was instrumental in getting military support from Warangal for his King unveiling a saga of heroism. Thus the name Vikrama Simhapuri University suggests how time past is present in time present and is carried forward hopefully into time future, by this new University.
Nellore has a rich and varied history of the confluence of cultures. Historical evidence shows through some Jaina vestiges in and around Nellore that in Kanuparthypadu and Krishnapatnam, apart from a number of other places, Jainalayas and pallis (monasteries) were found, as evidenced from a record of Kulottunga III (1178-1226 AD). Nellore is referred to also as Palli Vikrama Simhapuri. It is interesting to note that Vardhamana Jaina’s lanchana(emblem) was Simha, the lion.
Further, that a major part of Nellore district and the river Penna were generally assumed to form the southward extent of Mauryan Empire is well attested to by the discovery of silver punch-marked coins in the villages of Duvvuru and Alluru. This again shows how the history of Nellore reveals a mosaic of absorption.
After the founding of the city of Nellore by the Pallavas in the sixth century AD, it rapidly gained in political and commercial importance. The Telugu Cholas have a crucial importance in the cultural and social history of Andhra in the translation / transcreation of the Mahabharata into Telugu by Kavibrahma Tikkana who made his Mahabharata a vehicle of a message of amity between the warring creed of Saivism and Vaishnavism. Inaugurating a movement of the introducing the spoken Telugu idiom into poetry, Tikkana revolutionaized the poetic idiom and language. Molla, the author of Telugu Ramayana, Ketana, known as Abhinava Dandin, and Marana who translated Markandeya Purana into Telugu are among the immortal poets of the district.
Archaeological material remains seen at the Telugu Chola temples in Krishnapatnam, the Vijayanagara temple at Mallam, the cave temples at Bhairava Kona are important sources that speak volumes about the cultural and art history of Nellore district and the holistic traditions that Nellore has absorbed, reflected, and transmitted to future generations.
The district is also known for its maritime trade and and Krishnapatnam has come back into the mainstream of maritime trade again as an emerging port city. The valuable contribution the district has made in pre- and post-Independence period through letters, memoirs, autobiographies, diaries, translations, and other writing of a number of celebrities is also remarkable. 2008 marks the centenary year of the stalwart statesman and man of letters Dr. Bezwada Gopala Redddy. Contemporary journals of Nellore have enriched the understanding of the political, social, historical, and cultural aspects of human endeavour.
Vikrama Simhapuri University is thus situated in an ambience of great cultural awakening, fascinating journeys of the mind, and rapid economic development. In the globalized context of development of the district with its beacons of modernity like the SHAR, Krishnapatnam Port, SEZs, etc., the locale demands of the University a vision and a mission that reflect this saga of progress. The University is thus tuned to help knowledge dissemination and skill development in frontier areas to enable the empowerment of the youth.