Srikakulam Pincode

Iconic clock towers in and around Visakhapatnam standing strong against the sands of time

The moment we hear the word clock tower, the first thing to strike our mind is the astounding Elizabeth Tower, fondly known as Big Ben, in London. Such is the history and magnificence of the striking architectural beauty. Historically, these towers were built to house huge clocks, when stylish wristwatches and wall clocks were not in use. In the present day, these towers stand as a proud symbol of our rich architectural heritage and one glance at these timeless beauties remind us how far we have evolved. Every clock tower is unique, each having its history and prominence. Visakhapatnam and its neighbouring regions boast a few such historical clock towers, which have been a part of the history of the city for a long time.

Scroll down to know where you can find these age-old clock towers in and around Visakhapatnam.

KGH Clock Tower

KGH Clock Tower

One of the most iconic landmarks in Visakhapatnam is the King George Hospital (KGH) Clock Tower, situated on Maharanipeta Road. The KGH Clock Tower is a four-storied construction in the centre of the symmetrical building. On 19 July 1923, Dewan Bahadur Sri Panaganti Ramayaningar, the then Chief Minister of the Madras Province, has inaugurated the new building. It was named after the then British monarch, King George. The clock tower was built in the early 1950s. This construction is a part of the grand heritage of Vizag ever since KGH adorned the city’s landscape. Government of India Act 1919, Montague-Chelmsford Reforms, passed by the British Government in 1919, paved the way for the construction of KGH.

Andhra University Physics Department Clock Tower

AU Clock Tower

The Andhra University Physics Department Clock Tower was constructed between 1926 and 1932. The Jeypore King, Vikram Deo Verma, has donated Rs. 30,000 for the construction of the clock tower. Apart from this, the king funded its maintenance for many years. His statue was installed right in front of the clock tower, honouring his contributions to Andhra University. Though the clock tower is not functioning anymore, this spot is one of the preferred locations for photoshoots and film shootings.

Bheemunipatnam Clock Tower

Bheemili Clock Tower

The Bheemunipatnam Clock Tower, constructed in the 18th century, is one of the oldest clock towers in and around Visakhapatnam. This heritage construction in Bheemli reflects Dutch architecture. Though it is not functional anymore, the quintessential structure is adored for its vintage architecture. This clock tower was once an iconic landmark during the Dutch period, as this was used as an identification by sailors. Bheemili Town flourished with sea trade during that period.

Vizianagaram Clock Tower

Vizianagaram Clock tower

Vizianagram Clock Tower, popularly called the Gantasthambam by the locals, was constructed in the 18th century. This is considered a major tourist attraction in the Vizianagram Town. The clock tower remains functional to date and the bell at the clock tower is rung frequently to remind the passage of time. This clock tower is decorated with colourful lights during the annual three-day Pydithalli Ammavaru Festival.

#5 Kurupam Clock Tower (demolished)

Photo courtesy: Sohan Hatangadi

Apart from these four, Visakhapatnam was once home to a clock tower at the historical Kurupam Market. Though it was demolished by the authorities, it still occupies a corner in the hearts of the old-timers of Waltair. The market quadrangle measuring about two acres used to have a majestic four-centred arch with a clock on its crown. The uniqueness of this tower comes from the fact that the clock on this arch was sourced from the world-renowned clock manufacturer, Messrs. Unfortunately, this clock tower was demolished, in 2013, owing to the vagaries of time. We still await the construction of the replica of this tower, reportedly undertaken by the authorities as compensation for demolishing the original.

Photo courtesy: Sohan Hatangadi

With the emergence of modern-day alternatives, such as wristwatches and mobile phones, these clock towers have lost their importance. Despite being non-functional, these structures stand as the epitome of our timeless history. They remain unmaintained and not looked after properly. As citizens of Vizag, a city that boasts a rich culture and heritage, it is our responsibility to preserve these symbols of our past. Often, we have to be reminded of the gratitude we must show to nature and these historical monuments. Voice your opinions on the steps which must be taken by both the authorities and commoners, to conserve the heritage sites and monuments in Visakhapatnam.

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