Vizianagaram (Telugu: విజయనగరo; ) is the main city of the Vizianagaram District of North Eastern Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. Vizianagaram district was formed on 1 June 1979, with some parts carved from the neighbouring districts of Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam. It is, at present, the largest municipality of Andhra Pradesh in terms of population. It is located about 18 km inland from the Bay of Bengal, and 52 km northeast of Visakhapatnam.
One becomes nostalgic when one looks at the proud and undestroyed forts of antiquity. The land, inhabited by high spirited rajahs, passionate poets and writers is not a stone, which is everywhere. Ipso facto it is a diamond, which is rare. If India is a land of precious stones, one such jewel embedded on the Indian soils is the district Vizianagaram.It is one among the north circars in Coastal Andhra with 34 Revenue Mandals, 12 Towns, 1551 Villages and 22,45,103 population. Many eminent personalities have added new dimensions of glory to Vizianagaram. Many eminent personalities have added new dimensions of glory to Vizianagaram.
It acquired a separate statehood in 1979. The Raja Saheb Dr. P.V.G. Raju who inherits the socialistic fervor and the spirit of religious tolerance from his ancestors, renounced his Zamindari with out taking any compensation and their fort is now entirely became the citadel of education which houses on 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 Rma 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 of 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 indescribabale grace to the art of singing.
The archeological explorations and excavations conducted at places such as Ramatheertam 12 KMs from Vizianagaram are unique and the representative of all three faiths Jain, Buddhist and Hindu. The three hills of Bodikonda, Gurubhakta Konda and Durga Konda at Ramtheertam contain Jain and Buddhist relics. It was the abode of both Hinayana and Mahayana, Schools of Buddhism. Commemorative types of inscriptions, seals, remains of chayas, stuphas and monastic cells have been discovered at the site. In the modern period Ramatheertam became famous as the abode of Vanavasa Rama.
General Physical Aspects::
Vizianagaram District was formed as 23rd district in the State on 1stJune, 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 Visakhapatnam Districts. The district is a part of the Northern Coastal plains of Andhra Pradesh and lies between 17o -15’ and 19o -15’ of the Northern Latitude and 83o – 0’ to 83O – 45’ of the Eastern Longitude. It is bounded on the East by Srikakulam district, on the West and South by Visakhapatnam district, on the South-East by Bay of Bengal and North-West by Orissa State. The district was formed with 9 taluks viz., Vizianagaram, Gajapathinagaram, Srungavarapukota and Bhogapuram taluks from Visakhapatnam district, Bobbili, Parvathipuram, Saluru, Kurupam and Cheepurupalli from Srikakulam district. In December 1979, 3 more taluks were added by creating Nellimarla, Viyyampeta and Badangi duly bifurcating the taluks of Vizianagaram, Srugavarapukota and Bobbili respectively making the total taluks to 12 and these taluks have been further sub divided into 52 Firkas. For administrative convenience, the district is divided into 2 Revenue Divisions viz., Vizianagaram and Parvathipuram. In May, 1985 the taluks and firkas were replaced with 34 Revenue Mandals in the district.
The district can be divided into two distinct natural physical divisions i.e., plain and hilly regions. The hilly region is mostly covered with densely wooded forests and comes under Agency tract of the district. Since it is hilly tract its elevation is also uneven. The plain portion of the district is a well cultivated tract. The areas transferred from Visakhapatnam district are mostly hilly and pictures one, especially in the north. The Agency tract 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 1219 metres high. The highest peak is the Shankaram in Srugavarapukota mandal which is over 1615 metres. In the areas transferred from Srikakulam district, the hilly region consists, parts of the former Parvathipuram and Saluru taluks and they are known as Agency tracts. The main hill ranges are Dumakonda, Antikonda, Palakonda, Kodagandi and Gamatikonda. All these individual ranges form part of the Eastern Ghats. These ranges with their detached hills show a distinct North-West-South-East trend. In the Parvathipuram division the hills are lower than elsewhere and consists of steep and rugged lines devoid of plateau and hedging in the too broad and almost parallel.
The district is drained by the rivers of Nagavali, Gosthani, Suvarnamukhi, Champavathi, Vegavathi and Gomukhi which pass through plain and hilly regions. A brief description of these rivers is given below:
The Nagavali also known as the Langulya in the lower reaches, is the main river in the district. It takes its birth in the steep hills of Rayagada taluk in Orissa State and enters the district in Komarada mandal. It passes through Komarada, Jiyyammavalasa and Garugubilli mandals and enters Srikakulam district, which finally disembogues the Bay of Bengal at Mofuzbander, near Srikakulam. Its total length is 200 KM and flows for about 112 KM in Vizianagaram district. The total catchment area of this river is 8,964 Sq. K.Ms. The annual flow of water in this river is about 1.21 million hects. The main tributories of this river are Vegavathi, Suvarnamukhi, Janjhavathi and Vottigedda.
The river has its origin in the Ananthagiri forest area of Srungavarapukota, a few kilometres away from the famous Borra caves. The local tradition states that, deep in the caves there is a Sivalingam over which there is an idol of a cow and that water comes from the udder of this cow, falls on the Sivalingam and flows down in the form of a river. As the river is said to commence from the udder of a Cow, it is called Gosthani river. A stream coming from the western side and joining this Gosthani River near Borra caves is only a hill stream. After passing through the Jami mandal, it enters Visakhapatnam district.
The river takes its birth in the hills of Saluru and takes eastern direction and finally joins the Nagavali river in Palakonda mandal of Srikakulam district. It flows mostly in Bobbili area.
It originates in Pachipenta hills of Pachipenta mandal and flows in the same direction, almost parallel to the Suvarnamukhi and finally joins Nagavali.
The river Gomukhi originates from the Eastern Ghats and flows North-West of Saluru. After serving a few villages it joins the Suvarnamukhi.
This river takes its origin in the Eastern Ghats in Srikakulam district and after flowing through Saluru area it enters Vizianagaram mandal. The river finally falls into Bay of Mengal at Konada village in Pusapatirega mandal of the district.
The district receives rains from both the monsoons and the climate is tropical. The forest exhibit a variety of local changes in quality, composition and density depending upon the soil moisture, climate, altitude, slope and distance from the sea. Thus it is seen a wide spectral of vegetation from the sea to the Sheltered spurs, high ridges and the valleys bordering the state. These forests range from Xerophytic in the dry and inhospitable conditions to less Xerophytic and Mesophytic species at higher regions with more moisture, cooler climate and better soils in the valleys. The floristic diversity is noticed in the quality and density of forests which range from 6 metres in poorer areas to over 20 metres in better areas. Forests vary in density from vast extents of full density seen in the inner remote areas to sparce open forests due to biotic abuses around habitation.
The main floral species found in the distinct are spinifex squarrosus (Ravanasurunimisalu), Pandanus odaratissimus(Mogali), Dodonaea Viscosa(Bandaru), Carissa Carandas(Kalimi), Randia dumetorum(Manga), Cassia auriculata(Tangedu), Memecylonedule(Pedda alli), Borassus flabelliformis(Tadi), Albizzia amera(Nalregu chickreni), Acacia lencophloea(Tellatuma), Sapindus emerginatus(Kunkudu), Coculospermum gosypium(Konda Buruga), Semecarpus Anacardium(Jidi), Butea frondosa(Moduga), Feroncia Elephantum(Velaga), Terminaia Chebula(Karakkayi), Bridelia retusa(Koramadi). Xylia Xylo Carpa(Kondatangedu). Gmelina arborea(Gummadi), Adina cordifolia(Bandaru), Termindia tomentosa(Nalla Maddi), Dendrocalamus strictus(Veduru), Pongamia glabra(Kanuga), Garuga pinnata(Garugu), Shorea robusta(sal or guggilam), Albizzia lebbeck(Dirisanam), Plerocarpus harsupium(Yegisi), Mangifera indica(Mamidi), Mahotus phillippinensis(Sinduri), Michelia champaka(Champakam), Cedrela Toona, Artocarpus integrifolia (Panasa), Bambusa arundinacea(Mulla veduru) etc.,
The forest types found in the district are:
- Southern Tropical Moist Mixed Deciduous forests
- Northern Tropical Dry Deciduous forests – Sal type
- Southern Tropical Dry – Mixed Deciduous forests
- Dry Deciduous Green forests; and 5. Dry Ever Green forests.
Fauna in the district is fairly high in the interior hill regions, but it is heavily threatened with extinction. The reasons for the depletion are mainly due to shrinkage of habitat and un-controlled poaching. The principal animals and birds found from along the sea-coast to the high plateau are Yellow Bat, Sloth Bear, Wild buffaloes, Fox, Hare Hyena, Jackal, Mongoose and birds of blue rock Pigeon, House crow, House sparrow, Common Myna etc., Consequent on the enactment of the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972, it is hoped that wild life would improve and attain the past glory.
The climate of the District is Characterized by high humidity, all the year round with oppressive summer and good seasonal rainfall. The summer season is from March to the middle of June. This is followed by the South-West monsoon season, which lasts up to about the 2nd week of October. The period from Mid October to the end of November constitutes the post monsoon or retreating monsoon season. December to February is the season of generally fine weather. The Climate of the hill parts of the district is different from that of the plains. Since hilly regions receive heavier rainfall they are cooler than the plains. The maximum temperature will be recorded during May and the minimum temperature will be during December.
In the interior low level area of the district, the temperatures in summer are about 2 to 3 degrees higher than in the coastal region. In the hilly tracks, the temperature in general may be lower than in the coastal region by about a couple of degrees or so, depending on elevation. From about the middle of February, the temperatures rise rapidly till May which is the hottest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at about 35oC and the mean minimum at about 27oC. The weather is very oppressive particularly in the coastal region where humidity is also generally high. Thunder showers and sea breezes in the afternoons bring some relief from the heat in the coastal region. With the on set of the south-west monsoon by about mid June the day temperatures drop by a couple of degrees. But, the decrease in the night temperature is only slight. After the withdrawal of the South-West monsoon, early in October, temperature begins to decrease progressively. December and January are the coldest months with the mean daily maximum temperature at about 28o C and the mean daily minimum at about 18o C. During the fine weather season, the night temperature may some times drop down to about 11o C.
The main soils in the District are Red soils, Sandy Loams and Sandy Clay and they constitute 96% of the total area. The soils in the District are predominantly loamy with medium fertility. There are mostly red loamy soils, as far as dry lands are concerned and clay loamy in case of wet lands. The soils at some places are as thick as 4 Metres. It is likely that the thick soil cover might represent alluvium along the valleys. Different types of rocks are in abundance in the District.
Water Resource Projects::
The principal Rivers flowing in the District are Nagavali, Vegavathi, Gomukhi, Suvarnamukhi, Champavathi and Gosthani. Thatipudi Reservoir, Vegavathi Project, Vattigedda Project, Nagavali right and left side channels, Pedankalam Anicut, Seethanagaram Anicut, Denkada Anicut, Paradhi Anicut, Surapadu Anicut, Vengalarayasagar Project and Andra Project are the medium irrigation projects in the District, irrigating about 43,984 Hectares in the District. The Nagavali is the main River which flows in about 112 Kms in Vizianagaram District covering an Ayacut of 2,832 Hectares. The River Gostani has its origin in Anantagiri forest area and flows through S.Kota and Jami Mandals. The Suvarnamukhi river takes its birth in the hills of Salur Mandals and takes an eastern direction and finally join the Nagavali at Sangam Village, in Palakonda Mandal of Srikakulam District and the Vegavathi originates in Pachipenta Hill of Pachipenta Mandal and flows almost parallel to Suvarnamukhi covering an Ayacut of 2,428 Hectares.
Vizianagaram District is predominantly an agricultural district as 68.4% of the workers are engaged in Agriculture and about 82% of the population of the District is livinig in Rural area s and depend on agriculture for theri livelihood. Rainfed farming is the characteristic of Agriculture in the District as about 80% of its area is cultivated purely under Rainfed conditions. Even the rest of the area which is termed as irrigated area is mostly dependent on the rainfall received in the District. In view of the unassured irrigation conditions in the district majority of crops grown are dry crops. Paddy crop is irrigation conditions in the district majority of crops grown are dry crops. Paddy crop is cultivated mainly during Kharif season with 80% of its area under tankfed conditions which is turn depend on the local rainfall. The major crops grown in the District are Paddy, Ragi, Bajra, Sugarcane, Pulses, Mestha, Cotton, Maize, Korre Chillies, Seasonal Tobbaco and Groundnut. The average yields obtained in the district are low due to the erratic rainfall generally received in the district.
Live Stock Resources::
The Live stock maintained by the inhabitants are nondescriptive type in majority and mostly less productive. Cross bredding program was taken up in the district. The sheep in the district are nondescriptive type while pigs belong to Zenu type. According to 2007 live stock census, the Live stock population is 13.70 lakhs of which 4.91 lakhs are cattle, 2.59 lakhs are buffaloes and 3.88 lakhs are sheep. The Poultry population of the District is 19.65 Lakhs. 150 veternary institutions including hospitals are functioning in the district as on 31.3.2003.
The total Forest area in the district is 1,11,978 Hectares which constitute 17.8% of the total Geographical area of the district. Cashew, Timber, Bamboo, Beedi leaves and fuel plantations are being raised in large extents to increase the forest wealth and to provide gainful employment to the tribal’s.
There is a Coastal belt of 28 kms in the district with 8 main villages and 16 hamlets consisting of 6,993 fishermen population which are suitated in Poosapatirega and Bhogapuram Mandals . All the saline land available is put to use for Saltcultivation to an extent of 80.47 Acres. There is a scope to set up One or Two Iodised Salt units. The estimated Marine Fish catch is about 1834 M.Ts per annum.
The important Minerals that occur in the district are Manganese of High quality in Cheepurupalli, Merakamudidam and Garividi Mandals, Kankar, Lime Stone Manganese and Lime Kankar occurs in Garividi and Merakamudidam Mandals, Quartz in Cheepurupalli Mandal and Granite (Column) in Parvathipuram and Makkuva Mandals.