(Last Updated on : 05/07/2014)
Visakhapatnam or Vizag is a coastal, port city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh that 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. This city is also the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam District and is the home of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Sometimes Visakhapatnam goes by its presently mostly obsolete colonial British name, Waltair. Visakhapatnam is sometimes also referred to as the "City of Destiny".
According to 2007 population estimates that Visakhapatnam is the 9th largest City in India. Visakhapatnam is home to several state owned heavy industries, one of the most advanced steel plants and possesses 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 is a prominent seat of education in Andhra Pradesh. Visakhapatnam is the second largest city of Andhra Pradesh with an area of 550 km² and is primarily an industrial city, apart from being a tourist destination. 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, attract tourists round the year.
Visakhapatnam boasts a submarine museum, the first of its kind in South Asia, at Rama-Krishna Beach. From being a small fishing village in the twentieth century, Visakhapatnam has grown into an industrial hub. Its saga began with the expedition of British to find a suitable port that could serve the neighborhood possessing rich mineral wealth. Unlike the western coast of India, the east coast has few undulations to form a natural harbor.
Britishers quest for finding out a harbor that ends with Visakhapatnam. Vizag is the most sheltered natural harbour in Asia. They started building the harbor in 1927 and in 1933 it was opened to carry out traffic. One more important milestone is setting up of Scindia Steam Navigation Co. that was later known as Hindustan Shipyard Ltd in 1940. In 1950s and 1960s Government and private sector setting up some large-scale basic industries in Visakhapatnam like Bharat Heavy plates and vessels (B.H.P.V.), Hindustan Zinc Ltd., Caltex oil refinery (Later acquired by government as H.P.C.L.), Coramandel fertilizers, Andhra Polymers (Now L.G. Polymers), etc. 1980s saw a major growth with the development of Vizag Steel and other prime industries. Economic liberalization in the 1990s brought a humble growth to the city but not as much as it did to Hyderabad.
The city's prime commercial and shopping centers are located in the Dwaraka Nagar-R.T.C. complex area and Jagadamda Junction area. Since 2000, the Dwaraka Nagar-R.T.C. complex area has transformed into a commercial center with new shopping malls and complexes spring up within a radius of 2-3 kilometers. The city boasts many five star hotels such as Taj group, I.T.C. Welcome Group and Park Hotels. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park was setup in 1972 in the fringes of Visakhapatnam. The Zoo Park features some of the most special species in India.
Visakhapatnam is mainly a Telugu-speaking city. The Telugu spoken by the middle classes is a standard dialect, while a considerable population who has settled down in the city from neighboring villages and neighbouring districts of East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam speak Uttarandhra (North Coastal) Mandalikam dialects. The climate of Visakhapatnam has no significant seasonal changes. Owing to the proximity to the sea, the level of humidity is high. The fluctuations in temperature are usually uniform in character, except during the dry months when the rise in temperature is higher than it is during the monsoon season. Visakhapatnam is not only a trade center but also a loved tourist destination in contemporary days.
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