Thursday, May 15, 2008

MACHILIPATNAM >> A Rich History and a Great Future

Machilipatnam, also known as Masulipatnam or Bandar or Masula (for short among Finnish mission workers), is a city and a special grade municipality in Krishna district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The town existed since 3rd century BC(Satavahana period) when it was known as 'Maisolos' (Ptolemy) and as 'Masalia' (Periplus).[3] Flourishing sea trade was carried out from Masula port. The port is located on the southeastern or Coromandel Coast of India. Situated on one of the mouths of the river Krishna at the Bay of Bengal, Machilipatnam is the administrative centre of Krishna District in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a 17th century port for French, British and Dutch trade. It has a medium fishing harbour which can accommodate 350 fishing vessels; has a carpet-weaving industry; other products include rice, oilseeds and scientific instruments. This town is a railway terminus and an educational centre.

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 named "Kalamkari Painting". During the 17th century, western traders were attracted by this art.The city is also well-known for its sweet dish called Bandar Laddu.

Machilipatnam was a flourishing seaport on the east coast during the time of the Satavahanas. Periplus mentioned that a great quantity of muslins are made in Masalia. The word 'muslin' originated from the name 'Masalia'.

In the 17th century CE, the port 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 major port of Golconda kingdom. It was the British East India Company's first trading post on the Coromandel coast. An agency was established there in 1611 CE. 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 CE the town and fort were captured 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 located at 16.17°N 81.13°E on the southeast coast of India and in the east corner of Andhra Pradesh. The city has an average elevation of 14 meters (45 feet).

Machilipatnam has many small scale industries.Fashion Gold (also called rolled gold) ornaments are made here. Famous gold covering companies are National gold, Uma gold Raja gold and etc. are the pillar of fashion gold industries in Machilipatnam. Agriculture is the most important occupation, paddy being the main food crop produced.

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 beach side 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 heyday 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* Shivaganga temple is one of the oldest temples located on the Avanigadda road attracts tourists and devotees all through the year. On Shivratri major celebrations are carried out by the temple trustees.

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