Telugu Language Collections

Detail from the genealogy of the King Veṅkaṭa Perumāl Rājā in Andhra Pradesh, 1819 (Or 15931)
Detail from a genealogy of King Veṅkaṭa Perumāl Rājā in Andhra Pradesh, 1819 (Or 15931)

The British Library’s Telugu collections include manuscripts, early and modern printed books, periodicals, newspapers, and audiovisual materials.

About the collection

The collection includes material from the late 18th century to the present, and is an important resource for the study of South Asia. It is particularly strong in Puranas in Telugu, history and literature and Hindu philosophy. Contemporary publications are also well represented.


The collection includes approximately 80 manuscripts, including palm leaf and paper manuscripts, among which there are 25 items belonging to the Hugh Nevill collection of manuscripts. 

The manuscript collection also includes five charters in copper plates.

Printed books and periodicals

The British Library continues to acquire, books and journals in the humanities and social sciences in Telugu. Books are acquired mainly by purchase from India and elsewhere, and through donations.

The collection of early printed books from the 19th to the mid-20th century is particularly strong because books were acquired by legal requisition between 1867 and 1948 under the (Indian) Press and Registration of Books Act (Act XXV of 1867). 

The Library's Telugu holdings have historic value and are generally unavailable elsewhere.

What is available online?

A very large and increasing number of old and new Telugu printed books are included in Explore the British Library

What is available in our Reading Rooms?


Telugu books not yet included in Explore the British Library are listed in printed catalogues, which are available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.
  • A catalogue of the Telugu books in the Library of the British Museum, compiled by L. D. Barnett, 1912, available online.
  • India Office Library and Records catalogue 1972-1983 in microfiche.
  • India Office Library and Records / Oriental Collections Telugu catalogue 1972-1983, edited by Nalini Persad.
  • India Office Library and Records Catalogue of Telugu Books, in 5 vols.

Proscribed publications

These were books banned by the pre-1947 government of India, and include 13 Telugu publications. These are listed in:
Publications proscribed by the Government of India:
  • A catalogue of the collections in the India Office Library and Records and the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books by Graham Shaw and Mary Lloyd (London: British Library Reference Division, 1985)


Journals and other periodical publications are listed in:


A hand list of manuscripts from the Oriental Collections and India Office Library collections is available for consultation on request in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room.

Manuscripts and older books may be consulted in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. More recent books may be viewed in any St Pancras reading room, and books in Telugu published since 1945 are available for loan to libraries and other institutions through the Library's Document Supply Centre.