Ever wondered how Visakhapatnam got its name? And why do we call it Vizag? There is a secret history behind our city and a reason behind the name of our city Visakhapatnam/ Vizag. According to our history, there are many stories on how our city got our name.
One of the stories on how it got named as Visakhapatnam- temple Vaisakha
Centuries before, there was a king who was travelling to Varanasi from the south through the coastline. He then stopped at a site by which he was truly amazed by its beauty. That site is now known as Lawson’s bay. He wanted to build a temple in honour of his family deity Visakha. He ordered the building of a temple and named it ‘Vaisakha’. Archaeologists say that this temple was swept away by the sea a long time ago. But this name persisted for a long time.
Later, this changed to Visakhapatnam, as some towns with ports are typically named with the suffix ‘Patnam’.
Topography is another reason behind it!
Another reason why it got named as Visakhapatnam is because of its topography. The simplest reason behind this is the name ‘isaka’. This means sand. ‘Patnam’ means city. Together it is known as Visakhapatnam as it has a huge sand expanse along the coast line. This could be the main reason to turn this city into Visakhapatnam.
The buddhist princess- Visakha
According to the Buddhist gathas, there was a princess called Visakha. People believe that the name Visakhapatnam was derived from her name. This was during the 5th to 6th century B.C.
Saint Ishak Medina
There is a dargah which must have been built before 1257, says the experts. It is located near the port channel in kota veedhi. This dargah was built over the tomb of the muslim saint named Syed Ali Medina. He is also known as Ishak Medina. History says that our town was well known as Isakhapatnam as it was named after this saint. Then it gradually turned into Visakhapatnam.
The Buddhist Monk- Vaisakhi
Another reason behind the name of the city could be the Buddhist monk Vaisakhi. It was said that Vaisakhi is the one who speaks Buddhism widely. He could be one of the reasons behind the name Visakhapatnam. When a Chinese traveller visited Andhra during 639-640 AD, he mentioned it as the Visakha Kingdom and Hinaya Buddhism’s prevalence in his travelogue. Many of the Buddhist sites we have in Visakhapatnam belong to the Hinaya phase.
How did the name Visakhapatnam turn into Vizag?
During the period of British ruling, the British government built a port along with a natural harbour. As told earlier, ‘patnam’ would be the suffix of the town name with a natural harbour in it. So it was named ‘Visakhapatnam’.
Britishers used to have a problem pronouncing the names of our cities. So, they found it difficult and eventually called it ‘Vizagapatnam’.
With the problem of pronunciation, the Britishers called Mumbai as Bombay and even Kolkata as Calcutta. This was applied to Visakhapatnam which they used to call Vizagapatnam. Thus the name Vizag was given to Visakhapatnam.
Eventually, after independence, the Indian republic recognised its original name as Visakhapatnam and continued calling it Visakhapatnam. Although many of us call it Vizag.
There might be several reasons behind the name and its derivation. But Visakhapatnam is not only a city but also a perfect tourist destination that attracts people from all over India. It is also named as city of destiny because of its scenic beauty, beautiful beaches and its landscape views. From being a small fishing village to standing as a third world smart city award in 2020, Vizag has evolved a lot.
By Priyanka Komakula