Vizianagaram

Vizianagaram district was formed on 1st June 1979, with headquarters at Vizianagaram as per G.O. Ms. No 700/revenue (U) Department dated 15th May 1979 with portions carved from Srikakulam and Visakahapatnam Districts. Vizianagaram District is situated with in the geographical co-ordinates of 17- 15’ and 19 – 15’ of the northern latitude and 83 –00’ and 83-45’’ of the eastern longitude. The district is bounded on the east by Srikakulam District on the west and south by Visakhapatnam district, on the south – east by the Bay of Bengal and North West by Orissa State.

The areas transferred from Visakhapatnam district are mostly picturesque especially in the north. The agency track mostly consists of the hilly regions covered by the Eastern Ghats which run parallel to the coast from the North - East to the South – West. The average height of these hills is over 914 metres, although there are several peaks of even 1,219 metres high.

Vizianagaram district extends over an area of 6,539 Sq.Kms with a density of 343 per Sq. KM covering 1,551 villages, out of which 66 are uninhabited. The total population of the district is 22,45, 103 as per 2001 census consisting of 11,20,124 Males and 11,24,979 females. According to 2001 census rural population of the district is 18.33 Lakhs which comes to 82% of the total population and the urban population is 4.12 Lakhs which comes to 18% of the total population.



HISTORY

The history of Vizianagaram district is connected with hoary past of Kalinga, one of the political divisions of ancient India. Only in modern times, the upper part of Kalinga was gradually merged into Orissa State and the lower part into Andhra Region.

An important event in the history of the district is the war between the Rajas of Vizianagaram and Bobbili, popularly known as Bobbili Yuddham. The war was fought between the Rajah of Vizianagaram aided by the French General Bussy and the Rajah of Bobbili on the 24th of January 1757. The bravery and valour of the soldiers of Bobbili displayed in this war is still remembered by the people of the area.

Another important event in the history of the district is the war between the French and the English fought at Chandurthi in 1758 in which the French were defeated and the Northern Circars were made over to the British under a firmana from the Mughal Emperor, Shah Alam in 1765 which were placed under the then existing Chief and Council at Vizagapatam. In 1794, the Chiefs and Councils were abolished and Vizagapatam was arranged into three divisions each under a Collector. Almost the entire area of the present area of Vizianagaram district fell under the second division.

The history of the rebellions against the alien rule goes back to 1830s when the people of the district particularly the tribals, unable to beat the oppression, rose in frequent rebellions(fituris) leading to the establishment of separate administrative system known as "Agency Administration" under the India Act XXIV of 1839. The rebellion of Korra Malliah, a tribal chief of the Salur area against the British rule in 1900 is another important event in the struggle against the alien rule. The District Magistrate dispatched Reserve Police to suppress the revolt which was seriously resisted by the people. In the skirmish that followed many were killed. Korra Malliah along with son was arrested and kept in Jail where he died subsequently. In the freedom struggle the people hailing from the area enthusiastically took part in various phases of the movement like a non-cooperation movement, civil disobedience movement, Quit India Movement etc.

After abolition of the Zamindaris in1948, Visakhapatnam district was found to be unwieldy for administrative purposes. Consequently, Srikakulam district was carved out in 1950, bifurcating it from Visakhapatnam district. The constitution of Vizianagaram district in 1979, by transferring the taluks of Parvathipuram, Kurupam, Salur, Bobbili, Badangi and Cheepurupalle from Srikakulam district and some taluks of Visakhapatnam forms the latest development in the history of the district.

The district is situated with in the geographical coordinates of 17 – 15’ and 19 –15’of the Northern Latitude and 83 – 00’and 83 -45’ of the Eastern Longitude. The District is bounded on the East by Srikakulam District on the West and South by Visakhapatnam District, on the South-East by the Bay of Bengal and North West by Orissa State.

Bobbili: The founder of House of Bobbili, Pedda Rayudu was the 15th descendant of the Rajas of Venkatagiri. He came to the area as part of the contingent Golconda Fauzdar Sher (Tiger) Mohammad Khan. He founded the town, built a fort and named it Pedda Puli ( Great Tiger) after the name of his patron. With the passage of time, the name was corrupted to pebbuli, Bebbuli and finally Bobbili.

The town was almost wiped out during the war against Vizianagaram, which ended in the traggic massacre. Because of the valour of the natives of the war, the name Bobbili conjures up an image of valour, self respect and sacrifice in the telugu world even today. Interestingly, in the parlance of railways and telegraphs department Bobbili is still referred to as "Veera Bobbili" ( Brave Bobbili).

Bobbili is 55 Kilometres from Vizianagaram and is accessible both by rail and road. It is an important railway junction on the Raipur- Vizianagaram line. The bridge over river Vegavati was designed and constructed by Gannon Drunkerly & Co. Ltd. of Bombay in 1934, to facilitate trade within the region.

Though no remnants exist of the original Bobbili fort, there are numerous places which serve as residence as residence of the royal family. The Durbar Mahal was built in 1893 as a meeting hall where Raja held his court and recieved royal emissaries. Two stone elephants stand guard on either side of the steps leading to the "Durbar". Today, the first floor houses a museum of various artifacts pertaining to the Bobbili of yore, while the lower floor is used as a office of the political party.

The Rajas of Bobbili laid special emphasis on education of the masses and upliftment of the poorer sections of the society.

The temple of the family deity, Venugopala Swamy had been in existence since Bobbili was founded, but the present temple was built by Chinna Ranga Rao, When he tool over the reins of Bobbili after the ill fated war. It is located close to the royal residence and is the most revered temple in Bobbili. The Gopuram ( Entrance) was built by Swetha Chalapati Rao in 1851. It is the only temple in the region where the Gopuram is higher than the main temple.

The Vasant Mandapam stands aloof in the placid waters of a lake. The idol from the temple of Lord Venu Gopal Swamy is brought to the lake annually to celebrate the onset of spring. Legend has it that the Lord enjoys a day of solitude with his wife here. Post Sojourn the idol is installed in Dola Yatra Mandapam on the banks of the lake for a day and then carried to the main temple. The mandapams were constructed by Maharaja Krishna Das Ranaga Rao, in 1825.

One of the palaces, Pooja Mahal, situated inside Bobbili Fort, was bulit by erstwhile Rani of Bobbili and is in use by the royalty even today.

Prangmahal is one of the best kept heritage buildings in the region. It is situated within the fort compound opposite Pooja Mahal. This residence of the Raja of Bobbili is a visual treat with tapestry, paintings and porcelain collected form different parts of the world.

The Raj Mahal, also known as the Chikkavram Guest house and Bobbili guest house are one of the mahals built by Bobbili Rajas.

Apart from Rajas of Bobbili, their Kith and kin were also prominent personalities, who built opulent homes which survive even today. The Manohar Vilas Palace was built in 1925 by the Rajas brother , the Zamindar of Kirlampudi, as a guest house and a summer resort. It is a two storied structure surrounded by a splendid garden which has a fountain with a marble statue of a beautiful maiden.

PLACES OF INTEREST

Ramatheertam: Ramathirtham is famous for the 1000 years old sri rama temple situated on the bavikonda hill. The beautiful koneru lake is in it's vicinity. constructed by the pusapati kings during 1650-1696 A.D.,the unique feature of the temple is that it is built entirely upon a huge rock. Nearby on a hill, known as Gurubukhatakonda are the remains of enoromous buddhist mahasthupa, which is 19 feet high and 65 feet in diameter,a monestery,chaitya, monastic cells, two votive sthupas, a solid stone stupa,an enclosed courtyard and a pillered hall. In the vicinity are the ruins of a brick shrine with images of Jain Thirtankaras. Furhter up on the hill under a massive hanging rock one can see several jain sculptures Located at 13 Kms from Vizianagaram.

Jami Vruksham: Legend has it that the Pandavas hid their weapons on a "Jami Tree" before embarking on the final year of their exile (Agnathavasam). During their stay, King Dharmaraj and Kunthi installed the idols of Sri Thirupuranatha Swamy and Sri Janardhan Swamy, at this place. 500 years ago villagers found an idol of Sri Madhava Swamy and established it between the earlier two temples and named it Sri Venugopalaswamy Temple The jami tree at the Tripurtantaka Swamy temple is considered to be holy for its miraculous properties. The temple is said to be thousands of years old. Falklore says that the local inhabitants tried to shift the temple but they could not uproot the sivalinga. Modern day gelogists estimate that the Shivalinga extends more than 179 feet deep in to the earth. Located in Jammi on the banks of the river Gowthami, 10 Kms from Vizianagaram

Punyagiri: One of the oldest Shiva temples is situated here.The sanctum has an underground water source which ensures that the Shivalinga is perpetually bathed with water.In the nearby Trimurthi cave,three lingas are installed over which water constantly drops.Considered to be a very holy spot, a large numbers of devotees flock here during the Mahasivaratri festival.Legend has it that one bathes in the waterfall nearby and then has Darshan of Lord Shiva,he attains Moksha. Located at 4 Kms from Srungavarapukota and 25 Kms from Vizianagaram

Kumili: This small village is famous on account of a huge complex of temples built by local devotees over a period of 10 years. The temples are unique with extremely attractive sculptures, paintings on the walls and idols. The temples within the complex are of Ganapathi, Shiva, Kalika Devi, Navagrahalu, Satyanarayana Swamy, Subramanyeswaraswamy, Seetharamaswamy, Anjaneya Swamy and Venu Gopalaswamy. Incidentally, The village was the former seat of the erstwhile Vizianagaram Kingdom and ruins of a mud fort still exist. Located at 20 Kms from Vizianagaram

Govindapuram: Govindapuram is situated in Pusapatirega Mandal at distance of 30 K.Ms from Vizianagaram Town. The magnificent temple here is renowned for its sculptural beauty and is based on the essence of Bhagawat Gita. Gyana Ratham with Lord Krishnaon the chariot is an impressive image which enthralls the visitors. Located at 20 Kms from Vizianagaram

Vizianagaram: The imposing fort foxrmed the nucleus around which grew the town of Vizianagaram. Depicting the past glory of the rulers, the quadrangular stone fort is evident of the knowledge and skillfullness of the builders and architects of those days.An ancient temple of Pydithalli Ammavaru is situated in this town. Legend has it that one of the daughters of the Pasupati royal family was the reincarnation of the pressing deity, Pydithallamma. The local believe that with the blessings of the Goddess one can lead a happy & prosperous life. The idol of the Goddess was discovered on Vijayadasimi day way back in the year 1752. To mark the occasion, an annual jatra is held on21st and 22nd October which attracts large crowds. The Moddukovillu temple is unique in that the Shivalinga in the temple has two different colours, symbolizing the male and female aspects of the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The temple was built by an old woman who dreamt about it on her way to the holy city of Kashi ( Banares). Located 60 Kms from Visakhapatnam

Gosthani Sarovar Vihar: Gosthani Sarovar Vihar is situated at Thatipudi reservoir at a distance of 20 KMs from Vizianagaram town. It is a picnic spot.

Saripalli : Saripalli is famous for “Dibbi Lingeswara Swami” temple. The Chanukyas constructed this temple. This is 1000 years old. The sculpture carved on the temple is beautiful.