Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag is the largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the third largest city on the east coast of India (after Chennai and Kolkata). It is a port city on the southeast coast of Bay of Bengal and often called as The Jewel of the East Coast and the City of Destiny. With a population of 2,091,811 and occupying 681.96 square kilometres (263.31 sq mi), it is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district. Visakhapatnam has been recognised as a Global City of the Future by McKinsey Quarterly. With a GDP of over $26 billion, Visakhapatnam is the commercial hub of Andhra Pradesh.
The city Was ruled by Andhra Kings of Vengi, Kalinga and after that to the Pallavas. The city is named after Sri Vishaka Varma, Legend has it that Radha and Viśakha were born on the same day, and were equally beautiful. Sri Vishaka Sakhi, is the second most important gopi of the eight main gopis. She carries messages between Radha and Krishna, and is the most expert gopi messenger. Local residents believe that an Andhra king,built a temple to pay homage to his family deity Viśakha. This is now inundated under sea water near R K Beach. Another theory is that it is named after a women disciple of Buddha named Viśakha.Later it was ruled by Qutb Shahis, Mughal Empire (between 1689–1724), Nizam (1724–1757) and France (1757–1765) before being captured by the British in 1765.
Hindu texts state that during the fifth century BC, the Visakhapatnam region was part of Kalinga territory, which extended to the Godavari River. Relics found in the area also prove the existence of a Buddhist empire in the region. Kalinga later lost the territory to King Ashoka in the bloodiest battle of its time, which prompted Ashoka to embrace Buddhism. Visakhapatnam is surrounded by ancient Buddhist sites, most of which have been excavated recently and illustrate the legacy of Buddhism in the area.
Pavurallakonda ("pigeon hill") is a hillock west of Bhimli, about 24 km (15 mi) from Visakhapatnam. The Buddhist settlement found here is estimated to date back from the first century BC to the second century AD. On the hillock (which overlooks the coastline) are 16 rock-cut cisterns for collecting rainwater. Gopalapatnam, on the Tandava River, is a village surrounded by brick stupas, viharas, pottery and other Buddhist artefacts.
In 1907 British archaeologist Alexander Rea unearthed Sankaram, a 2,000-year-old Buddhist site. The name "Śankaram" derives from the Sangharama (temple or monastery). Located 40 km (25 mi) south of Visakhapatnam, it is known locally as Bojjannakonda and is a significant Buddhist site in Andhra Pradesh. The three major schools of Buddhism (Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana) flourished here. The complex is known for its monolithic stupas, rock-cut caves and brick structures. The primary stupa was initially carved out of rock and covered with bricks. Excavations yielded historic pottery and Satavahana coins from the first century AD. At Lingalakonda, there are also rock-cut monolithic stupas in rows spread over the hill. The vihara was active for about 1,000 years.
Nearby is another Buddhist site, Bojjannakonda, with a number of images of the Buddha carved on the rock face of the caves. At Ligalametta there are hundreds of rock-cut monolithic stupas in rows, spread across the hill. Among other Buddhist attractions are a relic casket, three chiatya halls,[further explanation needed] votive platforms, stupas and Vajrayana sculptures.
Bavikonda is an important Buddhist heritage site located on a hill about 15 km, northeast from Visakhapatnam city. Here the Buddhist habitation is noticed on a 16 ha flat terraced area. The Hinayana school of Buddhism was practised at the monastery between the 3rd century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D. Bavikonda has remains of an entire Buddhist complex, comprising 26 structures belonging to three phases. A piece of bone stored in an urn recovered here is believed to belong to the mortal remains of the Budda. The word Bavikonda in Telugu means "a hill of wells". Fitting its name, Bavikonda is a hill with wells for the collection of rainwater. It is located 15 km (9.3 mi) from Visakhapatnam and is a significant Buddhist site. Excavation carried out from 1982–1987 revealed a Buddhist establishment including a mahachaitya embedded with relic caskets,[clarification needed] a large vihara complex, numerous votive stupas, a stone-pillared congregation and rectangular halls and a refectory. Artifacts recovered from the site include Roman and Satavahana coins and pottery dating from the third century BC to the second century AD. A significant finding was a piece of bone (with a large quantity of ash) in an urn, which is believed to be the remains of the Buddha. The Bavikonda site is considered one of the oldest Buddhist sites in Asia. It is a reminder of the Buddhist civilisation which once existed in southern India, and also reminiscent of Borobudur in Indonesia.
About 16 km (9.9 mi) from Visakhapatnam is Thotlakonda, a Buddhist complex situated on top of a hill. The Buddhist Complex on the Mangamaripeta hilltop, locally known as Totlakonda, lies about 16 km from Visakhapatnam on Visakhapatnam-Bheemili Beach Road. After its discovery (during an aerial survey), the Government of A.P. declared the 48 ha site as a protected monument in 1978. Excavations in 1988 to 1992 exposed structural remains and artefacts, classified as Religious, Secular and Civil. These structures include the Stupa, Chaityagrihas, pillared congregation halls, bhandagaras, refectory (bhojanasala), drainage and stone pathways. The site covers an area of 120 acres (49 hectares), and has been declared a protected area by the government of Andhra Pradesh. Excavations have revealed three kinds of structural remains: religious, secular and civil. Structures include a mahastupa, sixteen votive stupas, a stone-pillared congregation hall, eleven rock-cut cisterns, well-paved stone pathways, an apsidalchaitya-griha, three round chaitgya-grihas, two votive platforms, ten viharas and a kitchen complex with three halls and a refectory (dining hall). Apart from the structures, Buddhist treasures excavated include nine Satavahana and five Roman silver coins, terracotta tiles, stucco decorative pieces, sculptured panels, miniature stupa models in stone, Buddha padas depicted with ashtamangal symbols (i.e. the eight auspicious symbols of Swastika, Shrivasta, Nandhyavarta, Vardhamanaka, Bhadrasana, Kalasha, Minyugala and Darpan) and early pottery.
War Memorial at vizag beach road
The territory of Visakhapatnam then came under the Andhra rulers of Vengi, and Chalukyas and Pallavas ruled the land. The region was ruled by the Eastern Ganga king- SuryaVamsa Kshatriyas and the Gajapati kings of Odisha from the 10th century to the 16th centuries AD (when the region came under the Visakhapatnam rulers). Based on archaeological evidence, the Prabhakar and the Eastern Ganga Kings of Odisha built temples in the city in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Mughals ruled the area under the Visakhapatnam Nizam during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. European merchants from France, Holland and the East India Company used the natural port to export tobacco, paddy, coal, iron ore, ivory, muslin and other textile products.
Local legend tells that an Andhra king, on his way to Benares, rested at Visakhapatnam and was so enchanted by its beauty that he ordered a temple to be built in honour of his family deity, Viśakha. Archaeological sources, however, reveal that the temple was probably built between the 11th and 12th centuries by the Cholas. A shipping merchant, Shankarayya Chetty, built one of the mandapams (pillared halls) of the temple. Although it no longer exists (possibly washed away about 100 years ago by a cyclonic storm), elderly residents of Visakhapatnam remember visits to the ancient shrine by their grandparents (although author Ganapatiraju Atchuta Rama Raju denies this).
During the 18th century Visakhapatnam was part of the Northern Circars, a region comprising coastal Andhra and southern coastal Odisha which was first under French control and later British. Visakhapatnam became a district in the Madras Presidency of British India. In September 1804, British and French squadrons fought the naval Battle of Vizagapatam near the harbour. After India's independence it was the largest district in the country, and was subsequently divided into the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.
Part of the city is known by its colonial British name, Waltair; during the colonial era, the city's hub was the Waltair railway station and the surrounding part of the city is still called Waltair.
Visakhapatnam is located on the sea shore of Bay of Bengal in the East, bordering on the North with the State of Orissa and Vizianagaram district and East Godavari District to the South. The city coordinates lies between 17.6883° N latitude, and 83.2186° E longitude. It's periphery consists of plains along the coast line while the interiors boast of the beautiful hills of the Eastern Ghats which surround it on the North and the West. This region is also called the Agency Division. It occupies an area of approximately 11,161 square Km’s.
NASA satellite image, showing Visakhapatnam experiencing monsoon in 2010
Visakhapatnam has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classificationAw), with little change in temperature throughout the year. May is the hottest month with an average maximum temperature about 36 °C (97 °F), and January is the coolest month with an average maximum temperature near 29 °C (84 °F).
With the city's location on the Bay of Bengal, the humidity is high throughout the year. Total annual rainfall is about 945 millimetres (37.2 in), most of which falls during the southwest monsoon. October is the wettest month, with about 204 millimetres (8.0 in) of rainfall. November through February is the best time to visit Visakhapatnam weather-wise, since temperatures are moderate.
Visakhapatnam is a cosmopolitan mix of people from various parts of India. From a population of a few thousand during the 18th and early 19th centuries, the population grew steadily. The city doubled its population from 1990–2000, due to a large migrant population from surrounding areas and other parts of the country coming to work in its factories.
According to the 2011 India census, the population of Visakhapatnam in 2011 was 1,730,320, of which 875,199 were male and 855,121 were female. The sex ratio of Visakhapatnam city was 977 females per 1000 males. In the education section, the total literate population in Visakhapatnam city was 1,298,896, of which 698,959 were males while 599,937 were females. The average literacy rate of Visakhapatnam city was 82.66 percent, of which male and female literacy were 88.02 and 77.18 percent respectively. There were 158,924 children ages 0 to 6 in Visakhapatnam city as of 2011. There were 81,119 boys while 77,805 were girls. The child sex ratio was 959 girls per 1000 boys. 10 percent of the population was under age six. Visakhapatnam is ranked 122 in the list of fastest-growing cities in the world.
Hinduism is practised by the majority of its citizens, followed by Islam and Christianity. The area practised Buddhism for two millennia, as evidenced by the many Buddhist sangharamas in the outlying areas; currently, however, the population of Buddhists has waned. There is little religious tension.
Telugu is the official language of Visakhapatnam. It is also the most widely spoken language of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Two dialects of Telugu are spoken by the people, the common dialect and the Uttarandhra dialect. The latter is mainly spoken by the people who originally belong to the districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.
Besides Telugu, Hindi is also popular language of Visakhapatnam. Visakhapatnam is a cosmopolitan city where people from different parts of India reside. Hence, English is also widely spoken among the people.
A substantial population of Visakhapatnam comprise Bengalis and Oriyas. Also, other people from other states are also present due to the Naval presence and high concentration of public-sector employers. There is also an Anglo-Indian community.
Visakhapatnam has developed into a major economic destination,. It has all the sectors like Industrial, Fishing, IT, Pharma, Export & Imports by Sea trade etc. The city was identified as one of the fastest-growing in the world, economically and demographically. Several factors contributed to its economic growth, including the natural harbour, rail, road and air connectivity to national and International destinations.
Fishing & Ports
Fishing is a major sector in Visakhapatnam. It has one of the largest, dedicated harbour in the country for the fishing industry and seafood exports. A number of fishermen has their livelihoods depend on Fishing in the city. The ice factories in and outside the Visakhapatnam Fishing Harbour, caters to the needs of the fishermen and provides employment as well.
Ports include Visakhapatnam Port, Gangavaram Port in the city. They serve as a gateway for contributing to the development of the petroleum, steel and fertiliser industries. It is a hub for iron ore and other mineral exports which are exported by sea to other countries. Fishing Harbour at Visakhapatnam Port Trust is one of the biggest in the Coastal corridor of Andhra Pradesh generating huge revenue.
There are many SEZ's & industrial corridors such as, VSEZ, APSEZ, APIIC, Aganumpudi Industrial Park, Visakha Dairy, JNPC, Brandix Apparel City etc., are located in and around the city.
APIIC is a special economic zone (covering 5,770 acres (23.4 km2). It is occupied by industries such as WS Industries, Pokarna Limited, Uniparts, Confidence Petroleum, Southern Online Bio, Nagarjuna AgriChem, Anjaney Alloys, Maithon Alloys and Abhijit Ferro Alloys.
Brandix Apparel City is a textile-based SEZ covering 1,000 acres (4.0 km2). The aim of this project is to provide 60,000 local jobs. The SEZ has textile manufacturers namely Pioneer Elastic Fiber, Ocean India, Quantum Clothing, Fountain Set Group and Limited Brands. Pilkington, an automotive-glass manufacturer is also has its company.
Drugs and Pharmaceuticals: The dawn of Pharma City changed the face of Vizag’s industrial development. Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City (JNPC) is the only pharmaceutical SEZ in India, with 58 pharmaceutical companies including PharmaZell of Germany and Eisai Pharma of Japan.
A cargo ship at Vizag Shipyard
The defence controlled Hindustan Shipyard built India's first ship Jala Usha. Ports and Shipyard led to many private sectors to set up large-scale industries. Some of them include, Visakhapatnam Export, GAIL, HPCL, BHPV, Hindustan Zinc, Dredging Corporation of India, Coromandel Fertilizers, RINL and LG Polymers, Jindal Stainless Steels, Synergies Castings, Rain Calcining Limited, Reliance, Brandix, Essar Pellet Plant, Andhra (Cements, Petrochemicals and Ferroalloys) Ltd. etc.
Visakhapatnam has a steel plant, whose corporate entity RINL is the second largest state-run steel industry. The capacity of the plant is 6.3MT, is planned to become a 20MT plant in the future, the largest plant in a single location. The plant had revenues of 144570 million (US$2 billion) for 2011–2012 and has about 17,800 employees.
Tech Mahindra Development Centre
Visakhapatnam is experiencing growth in the IT sector, contributing to the local economy. The government has established an IT special economic zone and incubation center in the Rushikonda Hills. Its skilled workforce allowed the entry of many national and international IT and banking firms such as Mahindra Satyam, Wipro, Kenexa, Infotech, IBM, Sutherland, and HSBC. The city has 102 small and medium software companies as well as BPOs, of which about ten began operations in the period from 2005 to 2007. Software exports from Visakhapatnam have increased by nearly 90% each year. The IT exports from the city for 2012 were Rs 1200 crore and 16,000 people were employed. The IT industry registered an impressive growth in financial year 2012–13, according to data released by the state IT department. Visakhapatnam IT/ITeS revenues rose 20% to Rs 1,445 crore in 2012–13 as against Rs 1,200 crore in 2011–12. The employment generated by the IT/ITeS industry of the city increased to 16,988 jobs from 16,000 in 2011–12 period.
The prevalence of ferroalloy plants is due to the availability of manganese ore near Visakhapatnam. Aluminium refineries such as Anrak Aluminium and Jindal Aluminium are developing because of the bauxite reserves around the city. India's first rare earths (minerals) extraction plant at Atchutapuram is owned by Toyotsu Rare Earth India Ltd. (Partners of Toyota).
Visakhapatnam was one of five sites in the country selected to hold strategic crude-oil reserves in case of a national emergency. IOC and BPCL have their bottling units in the city. Hindustan Petroleum expanded and the Visakhapatnam Export Processing Zone was established. Visakhapatnam is a part of the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR), proposed between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada. The PCPIR is expected to generate 1.2 million jobs and a projected investment of ₨34,30,000 million.
Simhadri Super Thermal Power Plant of NTPC Limited is expanding from 1,000 to 2,000 MW at a cost of 50 billion (US$840 million). Hindujas has begun construction of a 1,070-MW thermal power plant in Visakhapatnam district at a cost of 70 billion (US$1 billion).
With the growing population, Visakhapatnam has turned from a fishing village into a commercial city with busy streets. Some of the busy areas of the city include Jagadamba center, Dwaraka Nagar, NAD'X'Roads, Gopalapatnam Dabagardens, Allipuram, Poorna market, Town kotha road, Akkayapalem, Seethammadhara, Maddilapalem, Kancharapalem, Gajuwaka, MVP Colony, Pendurthi, Beach Road, Siripuram Junction, Madhurawada, Naiduthota, Vepagunta,Asilmetta, Pendurthi,M V P colony,Scindia, Rly New Colony, Seethamapeta , Dondaparthi , Marripalem ,104 area
Some of the congestion is come down after the completion of 1.8 km long fly over road connecting RTC Complex and Waltair Station Approach Road.
Visakhapatnam is one of the tourism destination in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is famous for beaches, caves and the Eastern Ghats as well as wildlife sanctuaries.
Some of the religious sites are also of great importance like ISKCON temple;Simhachalam temple of Lord Narasimha 16 km (9.9 mi) north of the city.,Sri Kanaka Mahalakshmi Temple, Recent archaeological excavations of Buddhist Shrines revealed Buddhist dominance in this area and these are recognized as heritage sites that include Boudharamam, Saligudam, Sankaram and Devipuram etc.
Visakhapatnam seaport, with harbour interchange fly-by road
Residents of Visakhapatnam use city buses provided by the APSRTC, that runs buses along a number of routes across the city and its suburbs. The APSRTC complex at Asilametta is the hub for most of these buses. As of now the city has two Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on Pendurti and Simhachalam corridors.
There are direct rail links to many parts both in and outside the state to all major junctions. The K-K line from Viśakhapatnam to Kirandul via Araku is laid through eastern ghats. Up to Araku station it is having 84 bridges and 58 tunnels. Also, it pass through South India's highest elevation Broad gauge station, Similiguda, just before Borra caves. Visakhapatnam also shelters the country's largest Diesel Loco Shed with a capacity of 206. people are fighting for a separate railway zone with vizag as head quarters since decades.
Visakhapatnam Metro A metro rail project has also been planned by GVMC to arrest chaotic traffic condition on the streets. After the proposal was submitted by the GVMC in February 2014, the Urban Transport Department gave in-principle approval for going ahead with feasibility studies and DPR.
Visakhapatnam Airport is the busiest airport in Coastal Andhra. It is connected by daily flights with Dubai, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Kochi, Bhubaneshwar, Raipur and to Singapore. Visakhapatnam Airport recently received permission to operate night flights, and the airport is open until 23:55. A new 10,000-foot (3 km) runway is operational to accommodate international flights and larger aircraft. The airport was recently modernised (including aerobridges and immigration booths), and the new terminal was opened on 21 March 2009. Visakhapatnam became an international airport when Air India began flights to Dubai (via Visakhapatnam) on 25 March 2012. Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Air Arabia, Thai Smile Airways and SriLankan Airlines have agreed to begin international flights from Visakhapatnam . Vizag airport became operational round the clock from 1 March 2013.
The City, overlooking seaport
On the east coast of India, Visakhapatnam serves as the gateway waterway for Andhra Pradesh. It has one of the country's largest ports, and the oldest shipyard on the east coast. It is a land-locked harbour, as connected to the sea by a channel cut through rock and sand. Visakhapatnam is one of the busiest ports in India. Vizag Seaport owns two berths in the inner harbour; berth EQ-8 is fully mechanised and berth EQ-9 berth is not. Both berths are capable of handling Panamax vessels. The shipyard at Visakhapatnam is the largest in India. On the Chennai–Kolkota corridor, the city is also a hub for ground traffic. The Gangavaram Port is India's deepest seaport. In December 2010, Coal India agreed to enable an additional berth to be built at the port.
Visakhapatnam is considered as a center for education in Andhra Pradesh and there are a number of primary, high schools and colleges in the city. In addition to state-run schools there are private institutions, missionary schools and colleges.
The Indian Maritime University was established as a central university by the government of India by an act of Parliament (the Indian Maritime University Act 2008). IMU is poised to play a role in the development of human resources for the maritime sector. Visakhapatnam also has the National Institute of Oceanography.
Established in 1878, A.V.N. College is one of the city's oldest educational institutions. Visakhapatnam is also home to Andhra University (AU), established in 1926. President of India, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was vice chancellor of the university between 1931 and 1936. AU and its affiliated colleges provide education to thousands of students up to Postgraduation in many fields. The AU College of Pharmacy is the second-oldest pharmacy college in India. The university is in the process of obtaining IIEST status.
The Indian Science Congress (I.S.C.) was hosted by Andhra University in 1976 and 2008. It is the largest congregation of scientists from different disciplines in the world. Over 8,000 people participated in the I.S.C. in 2008, including Nobel Prize winners from around the world.
Visakhapatnam is the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command, the Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (a DRDO Lab), a Chief Quality Assurance Establishment (CQAE), an EFS office, a Naval Dockyard (established in 1949) and Naval Bases including INS Virbahu, INS Kalinga, INS Samudrika, INS Satavahana, and INS Dega. A new base at INS Rambilli is being built on 5,000 acres (20 km2) with an investment of 15 billion (US$252 million), as the first dedicated submarine base in India. India's first nuclear submarine INS Arihant was launched in the Naval Dockyard, and Bharat Dynamics has begun manufacturing torpedoes. Visakhapatnam also has presence of the Indian Coast Guard including ships and offices.
Cricket is the most popular sport, followed by tennis and football. Visakhapatnam is home to a number of local cricket teams participating in district and zone matches. Gully cricket (a form of cricket played in streets or parks) is a popular pastime for local youth. Visakhapatnam co-hosted the 32nd National Games with the state capital, Hyderabad. The city has seven cricket stadiums, which are used for Ranji Trophy matches; two of these stadiums have been used for one day international matches. Some of these stadiums are:
Indira Priyadarshini Stadium: Also known as the Municipal Corporation Stadium, hosted the first ODI match on 9 December 1988 and the last of the five on 3 April 2001. The stadium has discontinued in favour of the new ACA-VDCA Stadium in Madhurawada.