Kakinada – A dream in the making
Dr. S V Lakshminarayana
Kakinada is a City and a municipal corporation in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located 465 kilometres (289 mi) east of the state capital, Hyderabad and is also the headquarters of East Godavari District (largest district of the state of Andhra Pradesh). The city had an urban population of 542,936 in 2011, making it the fourth largest city by area and the fifth largest city by population in Andhra Pradesh. It is spread over an area of 190 km2.
Varioursly described as Madras of Andhra, Mini Bangalore, “Fertilizer City” (owing to the large concentration of fertiliser plants), and “Pensioner’s Paradise”, the city deserves all those accolades and more, for it’s well planned layout and peace loving citizens.
With a history dating back to 260 B C it has it’s ups and downs along with the country under various rulers and never lagged behind in playing it’s role in the various movements of the nation .
Situated on the East Coast of India it is located at a distance of 35 Km to the south from the National Highway No. 5 connecting Chennai and Kolkata. It is 10 Kilometers from Samalkot railway junction which is on the Chennai – Kolkata route. Geographically it is located 16°57’N 82°16’E, 26 ft above mean sea level, with an area of about 14 square miles .
The town was ruled by the Satavahana kings until 260 B C, when it came under the rule of Emperor Ashoka. Subsequently it went under the influence of Pallavas, Chalukyas, Cholas, Korukonda Reddies and Kondaveeti Gajapathies. Sultans of Bahamani and Nawab of Golkonda later ruled it before conceding it to Gajapathies of Orissa once again. In 1571 Nawab of Golconda regained it. Later it came under the rule of Awarangazeb in 1687 and then the Nizam’s rule in 1724. The Zamindari of Pithapuram which included Kakinada and it’s surroundings came into existance during the rule of the Nawabs when it was known as Kakanandawada from which the present name was derived.
The Dutch were the first to make a settlement here and called it Cocanada. Then came the French in 1753 when the Nizam gifted the north circars to them. The English defeated the French in 1758 and left their imprint on the town’s culture and architecture. Many of the town’s well known families still fondly recall their association with the English.
Administratively this area was known as the Godavari district and was formed in 1859. It was restructured in 1904 and again in 1925 when it was named as East Godavari with Kakinada as the district head quarters.
Politically, Kakinada played it’s role in the freedom movement. The Indian National Congress held it’s annual session here in 1923 with Sri Mohammed Ali as president. In that session the first move for ‘Sampoorna Swaraj’ was made and the ‘Sevadal’ was also mooted. Great freedom fighters like Maharshi Bulusu Samba Murthy, Smt Samba murthy, Smt Durgabai, Sri Rangaiah Naidu, Sri Garimella Satya Veera Bhadra rao and his wife, Sri Vandematharam Venkata Krishnaiah and his wife, Sri Mosalikanti Tirumala rao, Sri Mullapudi Pallamraju and Prativadi Bhayankarachari made this place famous by conducting civil disobedience, Non co-operation movements, Salt Saryagraha and quit India movements.
The town is located in a very fertile tract, with the waters of river Godavari irrigating it’s lands through the canals fed from the Dowlaiswaram barrage built by Sir Arthus Cotton. The original town is located around the port railway station. Presently the town can be divided into three parts. The town located to the south of the salt creek is known as Jagannadhapuram and contains the older Dutch settlements. The part of the town located in between the salt creek and railway line is the main town which contains it’s buisiness district, Government offices and prominent residential areas. The part located to the north of the railway line contains the newly developed residential areas, industries and the new port. The town is well planned with parallel roads, parks and water tanks. All the movie theatres are situated along a two kilometer stretch of road called the cinema street. So are all the main temples in a street called temple street, which of course is becoming a nursing homes’ street! The General hospital is situated in the centre of the town with the collectorate, the courts and the Zillaparishad nearby. The town railway station and the bus depot are also situated in the heart of the town.
The town has a pleasant climate throughout the year, though summer is a little hot. The various religious groups live in harmony.
The town is a full fledged educational centre. The St Joseph’s convent, St Ann’s convent, C B M school, Ashram public school and Akshara school of N F C L offer the best in primary edication. The more than 125 year old P R College, M S Naicker’s Charities, A S D College for women, Ideal college and Andhra University P G Extension centre offer college education. The Medical college, an Engineering college, Mens polytechnic, Lady’s polytechnic and ITI cater to specialized education.
Special mention must be made of the Pithapuram Rajah’s Government college of arts and science. The benevolent Maharaja Ravu Venkata Kumara Maheepathi Suryarao Bahadur is instrumental in it’s success and it has the distinction of providing educational opportunities to women and the under privileged classes even much earlier than many other organizations. Great teachers like V R Venkateswara Ayyar, Sri Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu, and Dr V Ramakrishnarao were associated with it. Sri Devulapalli Krishna Sastry, Narla, Chalam, and Ismail were the notable products of this college.
The M S N Charities and it’s various instituitions deserve special mention. Set up with a sizeable sum of donation in cash and land by the late Sri Malladi Satylingam Naicker, this Charities is running a High school, a junior college, a Degree college and a Vedapatashala. It also grants scholarships to brilliant students for advanced studies abroad. The world reknowned scientist Dr Yellapragada Subbarao was among it’s recipients.
All these plus points make it a favourite for migrants from around the district and for the old to settle here peacefully after retirement.
The Commercial history is also notable in that it has the oldest chamber of commerce in India. The port was in use since 1805 and has trade relations with Indo-China and Burma. An 18 Sq Km Hope Island located 5 km offshore to the town and formed by sand brought by the River Godavari offers natural protection to the port which was an Anchorage port previously and was developed into a deep water port recently. Rice, Tobacco, Brawn, Soya bean, Groundnuts, Coir and Corn are being exported regularly from this port to Russia, Japan, Chekoslovakia, Malaysia, Singapore and many other countries. Recently a fishing harbor and a deep water port were added after a break-water was constructed in the sea.
The religious history portrays one of religious harmony and tolerence. All the major religious groups are represented here. The Dutch built a church in Jagannadhapuram 219 years ago. This is popularly called ‘ St Thomas church of South India’ and was built in Gothic architecture and possesses a very old copy of the Bible. The Muslim’s have their Mosque in the centre of the town on the main road. The Jains have their temple in the buisiness area. The Bheemeswara swamy temple, the Venugopalaswamy temple, Sri Balatripurasundari temple with it’s newly installed Shiva idol in the midst of the koneru, the Raghavendra swamy temple and the Vishnwalayam and Sivalayam of Jagannadhapuram represent the Hindus.
The various religious and philosophical movements are represented by the Theosophical lodge established a century ago and the Brahmoprardhana samaj established in 1898 representing the Brahma samaj.
Literary and cultural organizations like the Andhra Sahitya Parishad, the 106 years old Saraswati Gana Sabha and the Young men’s happy club played a key role in their respective fields. The Surya Raya Andhra Nighantuvu (Telugu dictionery) was the greatest contribution of the Andhra Sahitya Parishad. The young men’s happy club produced great film actors like S V Rangarao, Relangi, Anjalidevi, Rao Gopalarao and Arja Janardhanarao to name a few.
In the field of music the music directors Satyam and Keeravani belong to this place and the Gangadharam music party is running for more than 50 years and is very famous inside and outside the state of A P.
Athletes like Sri Arja Janardhanarao (Body building), C K Naidu (Cricket) and Kyanam Subbarao belong to this place.
The social service sphere is headed by the Annadana Samajam which was established in 1896. Sravani Old age home, Sri Bulusu sambamurthy group of NGO instituitions, the Red cross, Vimukti Leprosy home and the Guild of services are the other service organizations which are doing active and commendable social service. The Lions’ and Rotary clubs operate Blood banks in addition to their other social activities.
For a pilgrim, Kakinada is a centre point from where he can visit the famous Bheemeswaraswamy temple of Draksharama – known as Dakshina Kasi (30km), Somaramam of Kotipalli (40km), Bheemeswaraswamy temple (Kumaaraaramam) at Samalkot (two of the Pancharamams of A P), Kukkuteswaraswamy temple – Pada Gaya, Datta Kshetram and Kunti Madhavaswamy temple (one of the five Madhava temples of India) at Pithapuram(20km), the 2000 years old Bhavanarayana swamy temple at Sarpavaram (8 km) and the popular Sri Satyanarayana swamy temple on Ratnagiri at Annavaram (45km).
Industrially kakinada was having only the Sri Sarvaraya spinning mills, Sri Ramadas Motor Transport, the boat building yard and a few steel re-rolling mills till 1980. Then came the big push with the establishment of Godavari Fertilizers, Nagarjuna Fertilizers, oil mills, and the Spectrum Power plant which changed the economics and culture of the town. Kakinada is part of a SEZ (Special economic zone) and a proposed “Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR)”. It is a hub to all the deep sea exploratory activity in the region due to its deep-water sea port and its proximity to the gas fields
The future holds much promise to this City of Golden dreams. The Hope Island is being developed into a major tourist location. The Indian Navy is planning to start a Training centre for Amphibian warfare, here. The Railways have started a survey to bring Kakinada on the main line (of the Chennai – Kolkata route), and as a beginning to link Narasapuram a line was laid up to Kotipalli from here. With the completion of the Chinchinada bridge and the Yanam – Edurlanka bridge the importance, reach and influence of Kakinada in all spheres is soaring to new heights.
Medically the town is having a chequered history. The Government hospital with a bed strength of 1200 beds is the referral hospital for the surrounding districts and recently many corporate hospitals and Intensive care units improved the quality and level of care in the town.
Finally to conclude Kakinada, which started it’s journey as a relatively unknown hamlet known as Kakanandawada evolved a lot and is emerging as a prominent player in industry, education and culture. With it’s hoary past and a dynamic present this serene and peaceful town is now shaping into an enviable City of an utopia come true.
The following are some useful links to explore the town from the perspective of the tourist:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakinada – wikipedia resource about Kakinada with useful links.
http://www.inkakinada.com/ – site containing everything about Kakinada.
http://rmckakinada.com/ – site of Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada.
http://jntuk.edu.in/ – site linking to the website of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University – Kakinada.
http://www.holidayiq.com/destinations/Kakinada-Overview.html – a good site giving details of religious and tourist destinations near Kakinada.
http://kakinada.co/ – more about Kakinada
http://www.maruthitourism.co.in/road_Mada%20Forest%20(1day).html – site giving particulars of the tourist trip to mangrove forests (called ‘mada forests’ in telugu) near (12km) Kakinada.
http://www.punnamitourism.com/ – site giving details of one day and two days river cruise on river Godavari 60 km from Kakinada. A must to any tourist and nature lover.