Down Memory Lane: 10 fascinating facts about Visakhapatnam you need to know

fascinating facts, visakhapatnam

The pages of the city’s history hold plenty of stories, and this time we bring you ten more things you must know. From the market place, for the masses, to spaces, for the elite, this cosmopolitan city has grown and blossomed. Here’s a trip down that fascinating memory lane and its facts in Visakhapatnam.

#1 Started as the ‘Sree Nalla Maaramma Bakery’ in the 1940s, this was known for its home-baked eats.

Started by Shri Kaapuganti Perraya, this was later acronymed as the SNM Bakery. It was known for its delicious and fresh home-baked eats, which made it quite popular amongst the customers. Twenty-five years after it started, the unfortunate demise of the owner and his son, led to the closure of the successful enterprise. It was in 1989, that his great grandson, Seetharam Gupta decided to revive the business. With many bakeries in the locality by then, SNM added home-made traditional sweets and provisions, making it a bakery cum sweetshop that has been running successfully since. Of special mention are their fruit juices, which include their home-made grape juice and other seasonal fruit juices.

#2 Gifted to the city, during the coronation of King George, this market is a bustling center of activity till date.
Shri Vairicharla Veerabhadra Raju, the Raja of Kurupam, gifted a market to the city, which later became known as the Kurupam Market. Shaped like a quadrangle, it had a majestic four centered arch, known as the Tudor Arch. A major attraction here was the clock on the arch, which had been sourced from the world renowned clock manufacturer Messrs. Gillet and Johnston. These prestigious manufacturers had created clocks, which still continue to adorn the towers of Manchester City Town Hall, in the UK, and Riverside Church in New York City. The clock tower in Kurupam Market no longer stands, but the market thrives as it continues to sell vegetables and provisions.

#3 With its roots dating back to World War II, this clothing store’s humble beginnings make for a unique narrative.
Next on our list of fascinating facts is about a popular textile store in Visakhapatnam. During World War II, Kankatala Appalaraju would source cloth from Mumbai and sell it to British officers in Vizagapatam Railway Station. Shifting to Vizag in 1940, he had bought a bike and started selling saris. By 1944, he had opened the first Kankatala shop in Old Town area, and by 1965, Kankatala Appalaraju & Co. became much larger. In the early 80s, Kankatala Mallikarjuna Rao entered the trade, and soon, by adopting innovative business practices, Kankatala Silks opened as one of the first air conditioned showrooms in Visakhapatnam. V Square, started in 1987, marked a grand milestone in the journey of a humble sari shop. Today, Kankatala has showrooms in other cities such as Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Guntur and Hyderabad, and works an online portal as well.

#4 The city’s voice in the sky, this medium was the first of its kind to reach the masses.
Commissioned in 1963, the All India Radio (AIR) commanded a strong presence for a long time, as it had no competition either for information or entertainment. Its wide audience included vulnerable communities like farmers, industrial workers and rural women. Its range of programmes was well tuned into, but over time, the AIR had to face competition through FM stations and visual mediums of television andinternet.. It recently broadened its scope with the Rainbow FM, and continues to entertain the audiences.

#5 This 40-year-old marketplace is the only one of its kind in Visakhapatnam.
Beyond the vegetable bazaar in Purna market, in an area called Gajulaveedi, is the scrap market for bikes. With its parts sourced from old bikes, bought at auctions from RTO, accident vehicles at the police station, or at times from owners, this marketplace is well organized. With over 40 shops, an entire community survives on this business, and bikes in any condition are purchased, with the salvageable parts resold. Next to this is the Janata bazaar, which caters only to cars. More recent than the vehicular scrap market for cars, this is home to 72 shops and supports 500 families.

#6 A Chinese word that means ‘shining’, marks the name of one of the early shoe stores in Visakhapatnam.
Jao Chao Tang ChaLung came from China to India in the early 19450s (40’s or 50’s?) to join the shoemaking trade, with his family, in Calcutta. However, the development of the port brought him to Vizag in 1958. He started Rehin & Sons at Saraswati Junction, opposite the present day Dolphin Hotel. Footwear would mainly be custom-made, and the store would have two rooms, with the larger room having workers to create the footwear, and a smaller retail space, as retailing wasn’t a big thing back then. His children On Kwaong and Sen Kwong managed the business since the early ‘70s and changed the name to Rehin and Co., shifted their manufacturing to Suryabagh, where footwear was made for the next few decades. Currently, their shop stands at the RTC Junction.

#7 From supplying chemicals to students, this store extended its reach to schools and colleges as well.
After relocating to Vizag, from Gujarat, in the 1960s, Late Purushottam Dayaram Paramar, studied the market and decided that it would be profitable to set up a shop selling chemicals. Desai Chemicals was set up in 1968, a time when no other shops were selling chemicals in the Visakhapatnam District. However, over the years, they also started to supply chemicals, and glassware, to several schools and colleges in, and around Visakhapatnam. Additionally, to Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The store still stands, and they cater to many factories and even pharmaceutical companies.

#8 Celebrating 125 years, this mode of transport came into the city with the East India Company.
It was the existence of the East India Company on the Port of Vizag, and the strategic location of the city, that led to the establishment of the Railways and the Waltair Station in Vizagapatnam. Thus, while the first goods train started operations in 1893, the first passenger train from Vizag Station departed in 1894. It was in 1896 that the Vizagapatnam Railways and Port came under Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) and till 1952, the Waltair Railway division was under it. This became part of Eastern Railways and in 1955, a reorganization by Indian railways led to adding the Waltair Division to the South Eastern Railway.

#9 Associated with affluence, this is the oldest, and most prestigious, club in the city.
The Waltair Club was started in 1883 during the regime of the British Raj. With expansive stables, for horses and carriages, these have now been converted into the parking lot. The club was also the first place in the city to get electricity. Its immaculate white tower, continues to retain its regal countenance, and while the club was once managed by Spencer and Company, it has been running in an association mode since many years.

#10 With its unique colonial architecture, this seat of education is as revered as it was when it started almost 90 years ago.
Andhra University is our next talking point on the list of fascinating facts. Started way back in 1926 with its founding members being the revered Sir CR Reddy, who was Founder Vice Chancellor, and Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who was the Second Vice Chancellor. Spread over 170 hectares, this large campus with its colonial architecture, greenery and high standards of education, continues to attract many students. The campus has 23 hostels, over 300 staff quarters, and many modern facilities.

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