Visakhapatnam, also called Vizag, is a port city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the eastern shore of India, nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal to the east. The city is about 650km northeast of Hyderabad. The city is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam District.
Alternatively, it sometimes goes by its now mostly defunct colonial British name, Waltair. During the colonial era, the city had at its hub the Waltair railway station, and that part of the city still goes by the name of Waltair. It is also popularly referred to as "Vizag", a shortening of its full name. It is sometimes also referred to as the "City of Destiny".
The city is home to several state owned heavy industries, one of the most advanced steel plant and has one of the country's largest ports and its oldest shipyard. It has the only natural harbour on the eastern coast of India.
Vizag is primarily an industrial city, apart from being a tourist destination. Tourists are attracted by its unspoilt beaches, nearby scenic Araku Valley and Borra caves, the 11th-century Simhachalam temple and ancient Buddhist sites like Totlakonda & Bavikonda spread across the area.
The city boasts a submarine museum, the first of its kind in South Asia, at Rama Krishna Beach.
This region, formerly part of the great Kalinga empire that stretched up to the river Godavari, has also been mentioned in Hindu and Buddhist texts from the 5th and 6th centuries BCE, as well as by Sanskrit grammarians Panini and Katyayana in the 4th century BCE.
This city was ruled by several dynasties: the Kalingas during the 7th century, the Chalukyas during the 8th century, the Cholas, the Qutb Shahis of Golconda, the Mughal Empire and the Nizams of Hyderabad.
Local legend says that an Andhra king (9-11th century) on his way to Benares rested there. So enchanted was he with the sheer beauty of the place that he ordered a temple to be built in honour of his family deity, Visakha. Archaeological sources, however, reveal that the temple was possibly built between the 11th and 12th centuries by the Chola king, Kulottunga Chola I. A shipping merchant, Sankarayya Chetty, built one of the mandapams, or pillared halls, of the temple. Although it no longer exists (it may have been washed away about a hundred years ago by a cyclonic storm), elderly residents of Vizag talk of visits to the ancient shrine by their grandparents. Noted author Ganapatiraju Atchutarama Raju contradicted this.
In the 18th century, Visakhapatnam was part of the Northern Circars, a region of Coastal Andhra that came first under French control and later that of the British. Visakhapatnam became a district in the Madras Presidency of British India. After India's independence it was the biggest district in the country and was subsequently divided into the three districts of Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam.
As of 2001 India census, GRIndia, Visakhapatnam had a population of 1,498,900. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Visakhapatnam has an average literacy rate of 69%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 74% and female literacy is 63%. In Visakhapatnam, 10% of the population is younger than six.
Visakhapatnam is predominantly Telugu speaking city. The Telugu spoken by the middle classes is a standard dialect with a good dose of English words, while a significant population who have settled down in the city from adjoining villages and neighbouring districts mainly Vizianagaram and Srikakulam speak Uttarandhra (North Coastal) Mandalikam (dialect), which is racy and sounds bit funny to the Telugu speakers of other regions. Tollywood used Uttarandhra dialect extensively to evoke humor. But even in Uttarandhra dialect there are subtle differences and in fact Telugu spoken in Srikakulam (Kalinga Andhra) is quite different from Telugu spoken in Visakhapatnam. Historians believe that centuries ago, when Uttarandhra was part of Kalinga empire Buddhist Missionaries and Merchants might have took Telugu (derived from Brahmi script)script to Southeast Asia from the shores of Uttarandhra where it parented into the scripts of Mon, Burmese, Thai, Khmer, Siam, Javanese and Balinese languages and even Sinhala of Srilanka. Their similarities to Telugu script can be discerned even today. Vizag is also home to a large Oriya and Bengali communities. One can find Oriya inscriptions in Simhachalam temple and the temple in fact thrives on pilgrims of Orissa.
From being a small fishing village in the nineteenth century, Vizag has grown into an industrial hub. In the 1970s and the 1980s the city grew rapidly with a lot of investment in the state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Vizag Steel and other major industries. Economic liberalization in the 1990s brought a modest growth to the city but not as much as it did to the state capital, Hyderabad. The urban sprawl that characterizes other major cities has yet to be seen in Vizag.
The major stumbling block for Vizag's industrial progress is its Airport. Vizag's Airport lies in a lowland area and even an overnight shower is enough to make the runway inundated. Making things even worse during the period of heavy monsoon Meghadrigedda lake floods the Airport making it virtually inaccessible for weeks. Another problem has been Smog (Smoke + Fog).
Despite all these challenges Vizag is well connected with with daily flights from Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Tirupati, and Raipur. With the entry of several new airlines, Air Sahara, Air Deccan, Kingfisher Airlines, and Paramount Airways operating there along with the state-owned airline Indian, there has been a modest increase in frequency of the flights. Vizag Airport has recently received permission to operate night flights, and is in the process of constructing a new runway 10,000 feet long to accommodate international flights and larger aircraft. Visakhapatnam has a good network of roads. There are frequent buses to vizianagaram,srikakulam,araku and rajahmundry.There are even bus services to Hyderabad, Vijaywada and few parts of Orissa. There has been a rise in the real estate prices, mainly attributed to the Telangana movement for a separate Telangana state, some speculate on Vizag becoming the next capital. Recently various software companies such as Encore India, Satyam Computer Services and Tata Consultancy Services Limited have announced their plans for starting development centers in Vizag, which has also contributed to the rise in real estate prises. Inflows from NRIs from Vizag has further added to this rise.
Visakhapatnam is also considered as one of the main centres of education in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Mrs.A.V.N. College is one of the oldest and premier educational institutions established in 1878. It is the home of the renowned Andhra University (established in 1926). Prof S. Radhakrishnan, before he became the President of India, worked as the Vice Chancellor of this university between 1931 to 1936. The university and its affiliated colleges provide high quality and affordable education to thousands of students not only from the northern region of Andhra Pradesh but of the entire state. Post Graduate and Graduate courses are offered in various branches like Arts, Commerce, Science & Technology, Engineering, IT, Business Management,Law and Pharmacy.
Another important landmark in the education map of Visakhapatnam is the Andhra Medical College (established 1902). The college has ushered in an era of Medical Education in Visakhapatnam and continues to uphold the prestigious tradition of engendering the finest doctors from its aisles.
Coming down to the primary, high school and college level,Visakhapatnam has several good institutions, providing quality education. Apart from state run schools for the poor, there are many private institutions and missionary schools and colleges all of which provide quality education. institutions. Few of these schools have been running since more than 75 years whereas St Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School was established in 1847 and is one of the oldest in India.
Visakhapatnam has now become a preferred destination for students after Hyderabad. The city now has a large number of engineering colleges. The prominent institutions are -
- Gandhi Institute of Technology & Management(GITAM)
- Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering
- Pydah College of Engineering & Technology
- Al-Ameer college of engineering and Information technology
- Raghu Engineering College(REC)
- Vignan's Institute of Information Technology
- Anil Neerukonda Institute of Technology & Sciences (ANITS)
- Chaitanya College of Engineering etc.
There is one famous polytechnic college in Visakhapatnam -
- Government Polytechnic - VSKP
There is a wide diversity in which, there are schools for different boards like ICSE, CBSE and State. There are co-educational as well as separate schools for boys and girls. There are also schools for the physically and mentally challenged. Few popular schools are -
- MVP Public School
- Siva Sivani Public School
- Timpany School
- Pollocks School
- Stella Maris School
- Raman School
- Visakha Valley School
- St. Joseph's Girls High School
- Delhi Public School
- St. Aloysius Anglo-Indian High School
- Little angels School
- Kotak Salesian School
- Vijnana Vihara Residential School
- Seventh Day Adventist High School
- St Francis Desales School (SFS)
- St Joseph's Secondary High School, Malkapuram.
- St Ann's High School, Butchirajupalem.
- Sri Satya Sai Vidya Vihar
- Sri Krishna Vidya Mandir
- Nava Jeevan Public School, Bhimili.
- Bethany School
The city's growth has mostly been due to its heavy industries (both state-owned and private), such as:
- HPCL – Oil Refinery (Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited)
- Vizag Steel Plant
- Hindustan Zinc Limited
- Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Ltd (BHPV).
- Hindustan Shipyard Limited
- Visakhapatnam Port Trust
- Coromandel Fertilizers
- National Thermal Power Corporation
- Dredging Corporation of India Limited
- Rain Calcining Limited
- Essar Pelletization Plant (Recently a major expansion occurred. The iron ore now used by this plant comes via a pipeline 267km long from Bailadila, helping reduce transportation costs substantially.)
Its traditional importance in shipbuilding is confirmed by the fact that India's first ship, the "Jala Usha", was launched in Vizag.
Vizag is also one of India's main fishing ports, has a dedicated harbour for the fishing industry and handles a large percentage of India's seafood exports.
The Vizag Special Economic Zone plays a vital role in the industrial growth of the city.
The Andhra Pradesh government has confirmed deals with Satyam and Wipro to set up a presence in the city. Satyam's office has already been built and is ready to start work. Wipro's office is coming up on the site of the old TB hospital. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has also expressed interest in setting up a research centre and a nuclear power plant here.
Vishakapatnam has 7 cricket stadiums which are used for Ranji Trophy matches. However only 2 of these stadiums have been used for ODI matches.
- Indira Priyadarshini Stadium (5 ODI Matches): Also known as the Municipal Corporation Stadium, the first match was held on 9 December 1988 and the last of the 5 matches happened on 3 April 2001. The stadium has been discontinued from hosting ODI matches in favor of the newer ACA-VDCA Stadium
- ACA-VDCA Stadium (2 ODI Matches): The ACA-VDCA Stadium has hosted 2 ODIs with India winning against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the first and second ODI respectively.
The city of Vizag has never hosted a Test Match
Vizag city has about 50 small and medium software and call centre units, of which about 10 units started their operations during the year 2005-06; the foremost being Symbiosys Technologies,Graymatter Informatics followed by HSBC and Encore India, which have spawned several rapidly growing organizations through their American relations, in particular Patra India. Software exports from the Visakhapatnam region increased by around 56 per cent at Rs 109 crore in the financial year ended March 31, 2006, as compared to Rs 70 crore in the corresponding previous year. Also Nipuna, the BPO arm of Satyam Computers, is about to start its operations very soon in this port city. Other companies that are in Visakhapatnam include: OpenLogix, Miracle Software,Nanna Computers Maple Software among others. Also many other IT companies like Wipro, Infosys and IBM Daksh are about to launch their operations in nearest future.
Timeline of Vizag's history
- 260 BCE: Ashoka conquered the Kalinga empire (of which Vizag was a part).
- 208: Chandra Sri Satakarni was king of this region.
- 11th century: Simhachalam Temple built by Kulottunga I.
- 13th century: Simhachalam Temple renovated and made southern imperial centre by the Ganga king * Narasimha I of Orissa.
- 1515: Krishna Deva Raya was ruler of the area comprising Vizag.
- Mid-17th century: A factory was founded in "Vizagapatam" by the British East India Company.
- 1652: Foundation of the most powerful Zamindari family of the area, the Pusapatis of Vizianagaram.
- 1689: The British factory was occupied by the forces of Aurangzeb.
- 1735: Dutch Colony was established.
- 1765: The territory of the Northern Circars, of which Vizag was a part, ceded to the British East India Company by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Following this, a British colony was established.
- 1904: Railway from Madras to Calcutta, passing through Vizagapatam, was opened.
- 1923 :Andhra Medical College started.
- 1926: Andhra University established.
- 1933: Visakhapatnam Port established.
- 1942: Japanese war planes attack Vizag.
- 1947: Eastern Naval Command established its base here. Before 1947 the Royal Navy had a base in HMIS Sircars.
- 1949: Scindia Shipyard started. Later nationalised and called Hindustan Shipyard.
- 1953: The Boat Repair Shop expanded into a Base Repair Organisation (BRO) and shifted to the location at the mouth of the northwest channel.
- 1957: A petroleum refinery by Caltex, currently owned by HPCL.
- 1965: Two survey ships, "Jumna" and "Investigator", were permanently rebased at Visakhapatnam.
- 1971: INS Rajput of the Indian Navy destroys the Pakistani submarine Ghazi in the Indo-Pak War off the coast of Visakhapatnam.
- 1977: Indira Gandhi Zoological Park established near Madhuravada.
- 1981: Visakhapatnam Steel Plant commenced operations.
- Rajanikanth Boddupalli
- Kalyan Pragada
- Sreeram Kalagarla
- Sarat Etakota
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