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Visakhapatnam (/vɪˌsɑːkəˈpʌtnəm/, formerly known as Vizagapatam), also known as Vizag, Viśākha or Waltair,[1][15][16] is the largest and most populous city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is between the Eastern Ghats and the coast of the Bay of Bengal.[17][18] It is the second-largest city on the east coast of India after Chennai, and the fourth-largest in South India. It is one of the four smart cities of Andhra Pradesh selected under the Smart Cities Mission[19] and serves as the headquarters of Visakhapatnam district.[20] With an estimated output of $43.5 billion, it is the ninth-largest contributor to India's gross domestic product as of 2016.[21][22]

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In the 16th century, after the decline of the Vijayanagara empire and the Gajapatis, the coastal region of North Andhra, including Visakhapatnam, was annexed by the Jeypore Kingdom and remained part of it until the arrival of the British in 1711.[27] Evidently, the Maharaja of Jeypore was commonly referred to as the Maharaja of Visakhapatnam until the dissolution of the princely state in 1947.[28] European powers eventually established trade operations in the city, and by the end of the 18th century it had come under French colonial rule.[25][26] Control passed to the East India Company in 1804 and it remained under British colonial rule until Indian independence in 1947.

The city is home to some reputed Central and State educational institutions of the state, including Andhra University (AU), Andhra Medical College (AMC), Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE), Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU), Indian Maritime University (IMU), and the National Institute of Oceanography among others. Visakhapatnam serves as the headquarters for the Indian Navy's Eastern Naval Command.[29] The city also serves as the zonal headquarters of South Coast Railway Zone (SCoR). The city is also home to the oldest shipyard and the only natural harbour on the east coast of India.[30] Visakhapatnam Port is the fifth-busiest cargo port in India. The city is a major tourist destination and is known for its beaches, ancient Buddhist sites, and the natural environment of the surrounding Eastern Ghats.[31] It is nicknamed as the "City of Destiny" and the "Jewel of the East Coast".[20] According to the Swachh Survekshan rankings of 2020, it is the ninth cleanest city in India among cities with a population of more than 1 million.[32] In 2020, it was a finalist in the Living and Inclusion category of the World Smart City Awards.[33]

The local belief behind the name of the city states, there was a king of 4th century, who on his pilgrimage halted at Lawson's Bay and built a temple dedicated to Vaisakha, which was submerged under the sea, but the name of the temple was got to the settlement. Other such names are, Kulotungapatnam, named by the Chola King Kulotuna I; Ishakapatnam, based on a Muslim Saint, Syed Ali Madani (Ishak Madani).[35][36] During the East India Company rule in India, the city was known with the name, Vizagapatam.[37] The suburb Waltair is another such name which was derived from the name the British colonial government used.[20] "Vizagapatam" could also be spelled Visakhapatnam in the West European alphabet. The name was popularly shortened to Vizag and this form was in use right from the earliest days of British colonial rule in the district in the late eighteenth century.[38] It is still referred to as Vizag by locals too, however since independence, people have reverted to calling it by its Indian name of Visakhapatnam.[35]

The Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (APEPDCL) supplies power to the city of Visakhapatnam.[115] The fire services in the city is carried out by the state fire department, the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Response and Fire Department, Eastern region (AP Fire).[116]

Visakhapatnam is one of the main tourism destinations in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is known for its beaches, caves and the Eastern Ghats as well as wildlife sanctuaries. About 30% of the city is covered with greenery.[145]

The GITAM University and the Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering are other technical-education institutions in the city. Visakhapatnam is also home to Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University (DSNLU), which is the National Law University for the state of Andhra Pradesh. DSNLU takes entrance through Common Law Admission Test and ranks 15th by order of establishment among the 17 National Law Universities. The city is due to get India's first packaging park[180] with an Indian Institute of Packaging, IIP[181] and BITS Pilani & Birla International School under the aegis of Sarala Birla Academy.[182] 350c69d7ab


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