Visakha Patnam 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.Andhra University, a prominent seat of education in Andhra Pradesh, is located here.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.Visakhapatnam is also the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
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.
Scenic beauty of Vizag beach 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.
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.