Visakhapatnam (nicknamed as Vizag), is the largest city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and the third largest city on the east coast of India (after Chennai and Kolkata). It is a port city on the southeast coast of Bay of Bengal and often called as "The Jewel of the East Coast" and the "City of Destiny". As of 2011, the population was recorded as 2,091,811 and occupying 681.96 km2 (263.31 sq mi), it is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district.
Visakhapatnam is the largest city and a commercial hub of Andhra Pradesh, with a GDP of over $26 Billion (USD). The prominence of the city got highlighted once again when it figured along with Ajmer and Allahabad during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US tour. The three cities have been identified for development with the funding and assistance of the U.S. as smart cities.
It is situated in the Eastern Ghats and on the coast of Bay of Bengal on the east. The city is known for heavy industries, steel plant, largest seaport of India and oldest shipyard. It has the only natural harbour of India and headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
The city was ruled by Andhra Kings of Vengi, Kalinga and after that to the Pallavas. The city is named after Sri Vishaka Varma, Legend has it that Radha and Viśakha were born on the same day, and were equally beautiful. Sri Vishaka Sakhi, is the second most important gopi of the eight main gopis. She carries messages between Radha and Krishna, and is the most expert gopi messenger.
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. Another theory is that it is named after a women disciple of Buddha named Viśakha.Later it was ruled by Qutb Shahis, Mughal Empire (between 1689–1724), Nizam (1724–1757) and France (1757–1765) before being captured by the British in 1765.
Hindu texts state that during the fifth century BC, the Visakhapatnam region was part of Kalinga territory, which extended to the Godavari River. Relics found in the area also prove the existence of a Buddhist empire in the region. Kalinga later lost the territory to King Ashoka in the bloodiest battle of its time, which prompted Ashoka to embrace Buddhism. Visakhapatnam is surrounded by ancient Buddhist sites, most of which have been excavated recently and illustrate the legacy of Buddhism in the region.
With the growing population, Visakhapatnam has turned from a fishing village into a commercial city with busy streets. Some of the busy areas of the city include Jagadamba Centre, Dwaraka Nagar, NAD X Road, Suryabagh, Gopalapatnam, Daba Gardens, Poorna market, Town kotha road, Akkayyapalem, Seethammadhara, Maddilapalem, Gajuwaka, MVP Colony, Maharanipeta Siripuram, Madhurawada, Asilmetta, Railway New Colony, Dondaparthi, Marripalem, Some of the congestion has come down after the completion of 1.8 km long fly over road connecting RTC Complex and Waltair Station Approach Road.
Visakhapatnam is considered as a center for education in Andhra Pradesh and there are a number of primary, high schools and colleges in the city. In addition to state-run schools there are private institutions, missionary schools and colleges. The Indian Maritime University was established as a central university by the government of India by an act of Parliament (the Indian Maritime University Act 2008). IMU is poised to play a role in the development of human resources for the maritime sector. Visakhapatnam also has the National Institute of Oceanography.