Visakhapatnam (nicknamed Vizag) is the largest city, both in terms of area and population in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the coast of Bay of Bengal in the north eastern region of the state. It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district and also the Financial Capital of Andhra Pradesh. As of 2011, the population of the city was recorded as 2,035,922, making it the 14th largest city in the country. The Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region is the 9th most populous in India with a population of 5,340,000
Visakhapatnam's economy ranks as the eighth-largest among Indian cities, with a GDP of $48 Billion (USD). Visakhapatnam is the principal commercial hub of the state, and contributes to its economy in many sectors such as heavy industries, tourism, industrial minerals, fishing, and information technology. Visakhapatnam Port is the fifth busiest port in India in terms of cargo handled. Visakhapatnam is home to the oldest shipyard and the only natural harbour on the east coast of India.
Visakhapatnam's history stretches back to the 6th century BCE. Historically, it was considered part of the Kalinga ancient region, and later ruled by the Vengi kingdom, the Pallava and Eastern Ganga dynasties. Archaeological records suggest that the present city was built around the 11th and 12th centuries CE with control over the city fluctuating between the Chola Dynasty and the Gajapati Kingdom until its conquest by the Vijayanagara Empire in the 15th century. Conquered by the Mughals in the 16th century, European powers eventually set up trading interests in the city, and by the end of the 18th century it had come under French rule. Control passed to the British in 1804 and it remained under British colonial rule until India's independence in 1947. After independence, Visakhapatnam developed into one of the country's chief ports and became the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
The city is nestled between the Eastern Ghats mountain range and the Bay of Bengal, and is often known as The Jewel of the East Coast, The City of Destiny and the Goa of the East Coast. Visakhapatnam's beaches (such as Ramakrishna Mission Beach and Rushikonda), parks (such as Kailasagiri and VUDA Park), museums (such as the Kursura Submarine Museum and Visakha Museum), and proximity to areas of natural beauty (such as the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary, Araku Valley, and Borra Caves) have helped the city become a significant tourist destination.
Visakhapatnam has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under PM Narendra Modi's flagship Smart Cities Mission. Visakhapatnam was ranked as the fifth cleanest city in India according to the government's Swachhta Sarvekshan rankings.
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