Sunday, August 30, 2015

What are some interesting facts about Visakhapatnam?

What are some interesting facts about Visakhapatnam?

  • There are several versions as to how Visakhapatnam (nicknamed Vizag) got its name:
  1. The city was ruled by Andhra Kings of Vengi and Pallavas. The city is named after Sri Vishaka Varma.
  2. 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.
  3. Another theory is that it is named after a women disciple of Buddha named Viśakha

  • The Colonial British built another settlement away from the port. It housed their residence and the Andhra University. That settlement is calledWaltair. Waltair is a small part of Vizag now.
  • On April 6, 1942, Vizag was bombed by the Japanese forces in the course of World War II. The Japanese fleet present in the India ocean and the Bay of Bengalstalked the ships enroute to Chittagong. To evade the eemy, the vessels took shelter in Vizag's inner harbour. But the moment they tried to enter the port area, the American ships stationed there opened up their Bofors anti-aircraft guns in staccato. the retaliatory fire, combined with the natural protection of the hills on the three sides, did not allow the planes to have a peep in at the inner harbour and had to abort their mission.  In the course, the bomber planes strafed and dropped three bombs near the port area which exploded, causing 5 casualties.  The fourth and last bomb was dropped on a ship Marine Maller, which fortunately did not explode. If it had exploded, then that would have set up a chain reaction as the ship was laden with 2000 tonnes of explosives and Vizag would have been remembered as Pearl Harbour v2

  • A Submarine Museum -  INS Kursura, built in the USSR and commissioned in the Indian Navy as its fourth submarine on December 18, 1969, played a crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. It was decommissioned in February 2001. It is the only one of its kind in Asia. Only the USA, the UK and Russia have such museums.

  • Dolphin's Nose is a huge (357 mt high) promontory jutting out into the sea. It shelters the harbour, from where manganese and iron ore are shipped out. The nation's most powerful lighthouse stands on it and directs ships 65 kms away.

  • Bheemunipatnam (or Bhimli), one of the finest sea resorts in India, is located at a distance of 24 kilometers NE of Vizag. In 1624 the Dutch arrived here, and in the fight that ensued between the locals and Dutch, 101 Dutch soliders and 200 locals died (as recorded in the Visakhapatnam Gazetteer). Later the Dutch made their peace with the locals and started business. In 1661 they constructed a fort measuring 235 x 405 feet with four minarets, a clock tower and a mint (in the present clock tower area). The fort was completely ruined. It is the oldest municipality after Surat in India. A bustling port once upon a time, it lost out to some sleepy little hamlet as a city of destiny when the port was re-located to Vizag. It was host to the Dutch East Indies Company and is a home to a Dutch Cemetery and a synagogue.

  • The Eastern Naval Command is a full-fledged operational command with it's HQ in Vizag, where the fleet provides naval defence in the Bay of Bengal. Equipped with a submarine base (INS Virbahu), asubmarine school (INS Satavahana), it plays host to the Flag Officer Submarines (FOSM) which are responsible for all submarine matters of Indian Navy. No wonder INS Kursura was immortalised here.

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