Many eminent personalities have added new dimensions of glory to Vizianagaram district. The Pusapatis of Vizianagaram, the Ravus of Bobbili, Varicharlas of Kurupam, the Satrucharlas of Merangi and the aristocrats of Salur were all exalted luminaries and multi-faceted personalities. Their patronage of Art and Literature is highly laudable. They had loved and invited the democratic spirit much before the abolition of princely state by the Government Act 1948. The battle of Bobbili and the battle of Padmanabham are unforgettable and make the area the land of pride and valour.
500 Years of glorious past and rich cultural heritage made Vizianagaram the cultural capital of Andhra Pradesh. It acquired a separate statehood in 1979. Raja Saheb Dr. P.V.G. Raju renounced his Zamindari with out taking any compensation and their fort has now entirely became the citadel of education which houses one of the oldest colleges (Maharaja College, 1879) in India. The social reformer, Sri Gurajada; the poet singer, Sri Adibhatla Narayana Das; the great wrestler Kodi Rama Murthy; the imaginative poet, Sri Devulapalli Krishna Sastry were associated with the college in some form. The talented musicians Dwaram Vekata Swami Naidu, Saluri Rajeswara Rao and late R.P. Pattanayak hail from this place. The divine singers Gantasala and Suseela who were the proud students of Maharaja College of Music added indescribable grace to the art of singing.
One of the oldest musical instruments known in India, with a mention of it in almost all ancient texts, the Saraswatihi Veena, is an integral part of Carnatic music, winning the hearts and earning the applause of the music lovers the world over. Over three centuries, a unique style of playing the Veena has developed in Bobbili, called the "Bobbili veena sampradayam".Its exponents have performed to much acclaim from Indian and International audiences. This achievement was matched with a rise in the fine and intricate art of Veena making. The Saraswathi Veenas of Bobbili are unique in depth and fullness of tone and are remarkable for their exquisite designs and patterns.
Every year on the first Tuesday passing Vijayadasami, the Sirimanu Utsav is celebrated. Sirimanu means a big tree. It is known that before 15 days of Sirimanu Utsav, the goddess Pydimamba will come in the dream of a temple Pujari and tell him where the Sirimanu for this year is located. The Pujari will then go in search of Sirimanu and will cut the sirimanu while performing puja etc. The owner must agree to cut his tree for the Utsav. That tree will be shaped neatly in to Sirimanu and will be placed over the chariot. At the temple, the Pujari will make darshan of the Goddess and will sit on the Sirimanu chariot. This sirimanu will move 3 times to the Vizianagaram fort and the temple between 3 PM to 4 PM. The Vizianagaram rajahs will sit on the top of the fort and watch the Utsav. Pujari will be given new clothes by the Rajas and the puja will be performed. In front of Srimanu there will be a chariot in the shape of a White elephant. The sirimanu utsav closes exactly before sunset. People come not just from Andhra Pradesh, but also from Orissa and Madhya Pradesh to see the Utsav. Many people pay darshan to the Sirimanu. Farmers take a small part of the branch and keep it near their plough in order to have a good crop in the coming year.
The Vizianagaram Utsav focuses on the rich culture of this area in all its facets with a view to infuse a sense of pride in the past and a determination to combine tradition with modernity in the youth of the day. The main ambition of this Utsav is to recall the good in the past and avow to preserve for posterity and improve it whenever necessary for the future to emulate .A series of programmes like Aradhana and Kavita Ghosti at Gurujada House, Games and Sports at Vizzy stadium, Folk Forms at Bankuladiba, Mythological and Social Dramas at Gurujada Kalakshetra, Art Exhibition at TTD Kalyana Mandapam, Photo exhibition at Lions Community Hall, Science exhibition at M.R.Model High School, Music and Dance Concerts at Ananda Gajapathi Auditorium and Flower Show, Industrial exhibition and Musical Performances at "Ayodhya Maidanam" are conducted during the three day celebrations.
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