Machilipatnam Travel Guide

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History

Machilipatnam, also known as Masulipatnam or Bandar or Masula (in short), is a city on the south eastern or Coromandel Coast of India.  

Situated on one of the mouths of the river Krishna at the Bay of Bengal, Machilipatnam is the administrative center of Krishna District in the state of Andhra Pradesh.  

It was a 17th century port for French, British and Dutch trade. It is a small fishing town; has a carpet-weaving industry; other products include rice, oilseed, and scientific instruments.  

The town is a railway terminus and an educational center. Masulipatam is a station of the Church Missionary Society.  

Machilipatnam is known for its Kalamkari textiles and paintings created using vegetable dyes. As a kalam (pen) is used in the technique of painting, it was called "Kalamkari Painting". During the 17th century, western traders were attracted by this art.  

The Andhra Pradesh coast between Ongole and Machilipatnam is most vulnerable to high surges due to a cyclone. Andhra Cyclone of 14-20 November 1977 that crossed coast near Nizampatnam took a toll of about 10,000 lives.

As the storm approached the coast, gale winds reaching 200 km/h lashed Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, East Godavari and West Godavari districts. Storm surge, 5 meters high, inundated Krishna estuary and the coasts south of Machilipatnam.   The 2004 Tsunami affected many fishing villages around Machilipatnam. The Government and the NGOs are involved in rebuilding and reconstruction of the devastated villages.


History

Machlipatnam derived its name owing to the construction of a gateway to the town decorated with eyes of a fish (also called machili).  

Machilipatnam was founded in the 14th century by the trading Arabs who found their way from the red sea to southern India to the spot of eastern peninsula.  

Machilipatnam was a flourishing seaport on the east coast during the time of the Satavahanas and in the 17th century AD, it was a centre of French, British, and Dutch trade.  

It is one of the earliest known British settlements in the subcontinent of India, its importance being due to the fact that it was the bandar or port of Golconda.   It was the British East India Company's first trading post on the coromandel coast. An agency was established there in 1611. During the wars of the Carnatic, the English were temporarily expelled from the town, which was held by the French for some years.  

In 1759 the town and fort were carried by storm by Colonel Forde, an achievement followed by the acquisition of the Northern Circars (q.v.). In 1864 a great storm-wave swept over the entire town and is said to have destroyed 30,000 lives.  

Machilipatnam is well known for its Kalamkari painting. The art was introduced during the reign of Qutub Shahis when the entire Telugu country was under their control. Weavers form a large portion of the inhabitants, though their trade has greatly declined since the beginning of the 19th century. Their operations, besides weaving, include printing, bleaching washing and dressing. In former days the chintzes of Masulipatam had a great reputation abroad for the freshness and permanency of their dyes.  

The port is only a roadstead, where vessels anchor 5 m. out. A branch line from Bezwada (present day Vijayawada) on the Southern Mahratta railway was opened in 1908.  

Once a flourishing port, the port of Machilipatnam today is in desperate need for modernization. It has not seen any ships in the last decade. In its heyday, the port used to handle export of different items weighing more than 2.7 lakh tonnes and imports of 37,000 tonnes. Much needs to be done to bring the city back to its glory.  

In January 2006, Government of Andhra Pradesh revealed plans for reviving the Machilipatnam port at a cost of Rs. 1200 crores. It has allocated 6000 acres of land for the project.  

Masulipatnam and Cambay, a book by Sinnappah Arasaratnam and Aniruddha Ray, published by Munshiram Manoharlal, talks about the pre-colonial history of the two port towns, Masulipatnam and Cambay. It was published in India in 1994.  

Geography

Machilipatnam is located at 16.2° N 81.2° E on the southeast coast of India and in the east corner of Andhra Pradesh. The city has an average elevation of 3 meters (20 feet)

Climate

Machilipatnam gets annual rainfall due to the southwest monsoon.   The climate is tropical in nature with hot summers and moderate winters. The hottest months are between April and June.  

The average normal rainfall in the district is 102 cm.   Machilipatnam is frequently hit by cyclones due to low pressure created by the southwest monsoon.   On 8th December 2004, a high capacity S-Band Doppler radar meant for cyclone warning was installed, commissioned and operationalized at the city. It was purchased from a German manufacturer, Gematronik.   With the installation of the radar, the state will be better equipped to track down cyclones by the onset of monsoon, according to an official from the State Met Office talking to the The Hindu newspaper. This facility will monitor 960 km long coastline of the state.   The radar's information is posted real-time on the Indian Meteorological Department website. Similar radars were installed in other coastal cities forming a S-Band Cyclone Detection Radar Network.

Layout

For administrative purposes, Machilipatnam falls into Bandar revenue division of the Krishna District. It is a municipality with 34 panchayats and 28 villages. The city area covers an area of 27 km² (10 mi²).

Administration

It is governed by the Collector & District Magistrate of the Krishna district.

Economy

Machilipatnam has many small scale industries.   Fashion Gold (also called rold gold) oranaments are made here.

Agriculture is the most important occupation, paddy being the main food crop produced.  

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a unit of the Union Defence Ministry, of Government of India, has a manufacturing unit here. BEL is involved in design, development and manufacture of sophisticated, state-of-the art electronic equipments that are used by Indian Defence Services and para military organisations.

Arts and Crafts

Kalamkari floor spread, block-printed and mordant-dyed cotton (kalamkari) from Machilipatnam. This spread, in the Muslim style, was used for gatherings such as community dinners.The Kalamkari fabrics of Machilipatnam and Kalahasti with their intricate designs, are used in clothing and wall hangings. Kalamkari refers to dye-painted cloths and the technique used to create them. Their name derives from kalam, the Persian word for a pen-like tool used to draw outlines on the cloth, and kari (work). Fabrics are outlined with a cotton-tipped bamboo stick and dyed in vegetable or mineral colours. The process involves washing, rinsing, soaking and bleaching muslin, and applying mordants and dyes using natural substances like indigo for blue, madder for red, mango bark and dried myrobalan fruit for yellow, palm sugar and rusted iron for black. The dyeing process is very elaborate and can take several days to complete. While some pieces are hand-drawn, large canvas and sheets are block-printed. Kalahasti is noted for its wall hangings depicting mythological tales and characters, while Machilipatnam for the block-painted large prints used for sarees. The work done in Machilipatnam, often using block printing in conjunction with hand painting, features more decorative floral and vegetal designs that appealed to local kingdoms and to an extraordinary export trade. This culminated in European demand for Machilipatnam chintz, which derives its name from the Hindi word chint (spotted). Kalahasti, is known for the distinctive temple hangings, chariot decorations and canopies of typically feature Hindu stories, and the images are often identified with text in Telegu, the regional language.

Demographics

According to the census of 2001, the population of Machilipatnam is 183,370. Males number at 91,400 and Females at 91,970.

Culture

People in Machilipatnam practice Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. Hindus and Christians usually speak Telugu and the Muslims tend to speak Urdu. Women of all cultures and faith communities in Machilipatnam typically wear the traditional Indian dress, the sari - sometimes Shalwar Qamis.   Kuchipudi, a popular classical dance form originated at Kuchipudi, 25km from Machilipatnam. The dance form is in practice in Machilipatnam.

Tourism

Machilipatnam is a city with a rich history of foreign conquests, business and trade.

The beaches in Machilipatnam are long, broad, pristine, with pale blonde sands. Manginapudi Beach, a beachside fishing hamlet, located at a distance of 11 km from Machilipatnam, is well known for its scenic beauty and also as a historic port city. During its heydays this port served as a gateway to India. The beach has a natural bay with shallow waters. The unique feature of this beach is that instead of sand it contains black soil.  Thousands of piligrims take a holy dip in the sea, at the beach, during an annual Hindu festival called Maghapoornami.

A full fledged dance school at the beach, offers courses that train students in the Kuchipudi, popular dance form.

Carting the visitors with the old lighthouse, Dattashram on the banks of sea coast is a piligrimage site. Dattashram has an ancient Shiva temple and Datta temple that was recently built. Manginapudi is popularly known as "Datta Rameswaram" due to the consecration of 9 wells to bath, as in Rameswaram.   Panduranga Swamy temple at Chilakalapudi, near the city, close to the Manginapudi Beach, is a famous piligrimage site. It is a temple of Lord Vishnu, said to be similar to the temple at Pandaripur.   The Machilipatnam Church built in 19th century by an English man, with massive prayer halls is a tourist destination.

Ghantasala, 21 km from Machilipatnam, it has the remains of an old Buddhist stupa. Agastheeswara Temple, 36 km from Machilipatnam, is a temple of Lord Shiva, a piligrimage site. Lord Shiva at this temple is called by the name, Ekaratri Mallikarjunaswamy. An annual festival is celebrated at this temple when the deities are taken out in procession.   Gudivada, North west of Machilipatnam, visitors are attracted by the old ruins of the stupas.   Further up the coast of Machilipatnam there are five temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. These ancient temples are located at Amravati, Samalkot, Bhimavaram, Draksharama and Chebrolu.

Transport

Vijayawada, 65 km from Machilipatnam, connects the city by road and rail with the rest of India.

Media
The city receives television and radio transmissions from Hyderabad and the rest of country.  

All major print media are in circulation here. The major Telugu dailies include the Eenadu, Vaartha, Andhra Jyoti, Andhra Bhoomi, Udayam and Andhra Prabha & Surya. The major English dailies are The Deccan Chronicle, Business Standard, The Hindu, The Times of India, The Indian Express and The Economic Times.

Education

Machilipatnam has a high literacy rate. It has public (state-run) and private run schools.   

-  Saint Francis Engg High School, a christian missionary run school provides education from kindergarten to the higher secondary level is affiliated to ICSE ,New Delhi.

- Nirmala High School, a christian missionary run school provides education from kindergarten to the higher secondary level.

- Noble College, located in Machilipatnam, is University Grants Commission (UGC) approved and offers graduation studies.

- Andhra Jaateeya Kalasala, Machilipatnam is University Grants Commission (UGC) approved and offers graduation studies.

- Hindu College, located in Machilipatnam, was established in 1928. It is affiliated to Nagarjuna University and offers graduation studies and also post graduation studies including MBA. It is a University Grants Commission (UGC) approved college.

- SVH College Of Engineering located in Machilipatnam, was establised in 1980. It offers engineering degrees in civil, electrical, electronics, communication and mechanical divisions. The also offer postgraduation courses like MCA.  

Sports
Cricket is the most popular sport in Machilipatnam. A Ranji Trophy match was organized at the Andhra Jateya Kalashala Ground located in the city.

Famous people
- Pingali Venkayya, considered the designer of the Indian national flag.
- Dr Pattabhi Sitaramayya, 1880-1959, a freedom fighter and historian of the Indian National Congress.

Temples:

Lord Pandu Ranga temple,Tri Shakthi Peetam in batchupet,Saibaba temple in batchupet, Haiyagreeva temple in batchupet,Venkateswara swamy temple in batchupet,Lord shiva temples in batchupet,gandhi bomma centre, beach,kozzilipet, etc.,Ayyappa temple having gold kavacham.,Famous Vinayaka temples.,54 feet saibaba idol near district court centre

Famous Hotels,Restaurants,Lodges:

R.K.Family Restaurant A/c, Vijay Krishna Restaurant and Bar,Eswar Residency,

Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://www.world66.com/asia/southasia/india/andhrapradesh/machilipatnam

Contributors

September 13, 2005 new by rami003

May 11, 2006 change by giorgio

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