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    Archaeologist Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao at the labyrinth in Kolimeru village, East Godavari district.

    Archaeologist Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao at the labyrinth in Kolimeru village, East Godavari district.

    It throws light on ancient cult practices, says freelance archaeologist

    A prehistoric painting of a mystic labyrinth has been discovered at a cave on top of a hill near Kolimeru village near Tuni in East Godavari district. The labyrinth, dating back to the Neolithic period, consists of seven circles in red ochre on white pigment painted on a rectangular rock in front of the cave facing the Sun.

    “The discovery of the labyrinth throws light not only on the ancient religious practices of prehistoric civilisations, but also on their knowledge about astronomical signs. Ancient civilisations had worshipped Sun and were able to predict seasons and even natural calamities,’’ freelance archaeologist and former deputy director, Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh, Kadiyala Venkateswara Rao told The Hindu on Friday.

    Mr. Rao had earlier unearthed a unique Menhir at Karempudi in Guntur district that threw light on the existence of prehistoric civilisations in Guntur district.

    The word labyrinth is an ancient Greek word with Minoan cultural influence and means extremely complicated and therefore difficult to understand.

    The hills, known locally as ‘Bangaruloya,’ and the rock shelter ‘Pandavulavari Gani,’ have mystic folklore. Locals believe that Pandavas lived in this rock shelter during “aranyavasa,’’ and also thought mystic drawings could indicate that huge gold and precious things were hidden in the caves.

    Line drawings

    Mr. Rao, now aged 75 years, located the rock shelter after an arduous trek. The natural rock found at the entrance of the shelter has sacred Neolithic labyrinth motifs painted in red ochre on a white pigment. He also found line drawings of a bull and a deer on either side of the labryinth, though the colour has faded away. It is believed that the rock shelter might be a worshipping place of Neolithic hunter-gatherers.

    “Ancient literature has thrown light on the ways in which priests studied the equinoxes, solstices and movements of Sun and Moon hoping to gain mastery over the elements. Cult priests might have also performed rituals and other ancestral worshipping practices in front of the labyrinth symbol,’’ Mr. Rao added.

    Mr. Rao also discovered a prehistoric cup mark which are also found on other prehistoric sites such as dolmen and menhirs, sacred ritual symbols.

    It is interesting to note that similar labyrinths have been found in Europe and other countries and are common in aboriginal art and usually associated with creative energy. In India, labyrinths have been found at Halibedu in Hoyasleshwara Swamy Temple in Karnataka, and in Goa and Rajastan, where they are worshipped as Manas Chakra, a religious emblem.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by P. Samuel Jonathan / Guntur – October 21st, 2017

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    railway station

    railway station

    Visakhapatnam Railway Station surely knows how to enrich the experience of passengers on their journey and there has been no stone unturned in this regard.

    Visakhapatnam Railway Station surely knows how to enrich the experience of passengers on their journey and there has been no stone unturned in this regard. In one of the first such projects across any railway station in India, Vizag will have an Art Gallery with rare pictures for viewing by passengers. Situated near the main exit gate, the Art Gallery has already been inaugurated by Waltair Division railway manager yesterday.

    One can now see pictures in the art gallery of facts and events from the 1960s and 1970s which have artistic, factual and historic significance. These have been sourced from the National Rail Museum in New Delhi. Further in a statement, the authorities have encouraged local artists to come forward with their individual works to be displayed at the art gallery. Local talent is invited and it will serve as a platform for newbie artists to grab attention. The display will be free of cost to the artist and one can approach the Station Master for further details.

    Highlights –

    • Mahatma Gandhi standing at the door of an old compartment during the times of Salt Satyagraha.
    • Steam engines that used to draw trains earlier.
    • Vintage pictures of Howrah Station.
    • Pictures of train carrying refugees from Pakistan into then India.

    Definitely worth a peek for all of us next time we are making a rail journey, don’t you thinks so?

    source: http://www.yovizag.com / Yo!Vizag / Home> News-City Updates

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    CannonsANDHRA27oct2017

    Visakhapatnam :

    Four cast iron cannons, believed to hark back to the British Raj, were unearthed at the Queen Mary’s Girls High School here while excavating the ground to build foundation trenches for a new building on Thursday.

    Recently , the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan had allocated a two-room building to the school at an estimated cost of `17.6 lakh, keeping in view the increasing number of girl students. An excavator operator, while digging the trenches at about 6.30am, found the cannons and alerted the officials.

    According to Vijjeswarapu Edward Paul, an Intach member and heritage conservationist, the British entered Vizagapatam (present Vizag city) as early as 1682. “Vizagapatam was the Northern Division headquarters of the Madras Army of the English East India Company . A Major General-rank officer headed the Vizag unit. The premises of the school and the surroundings housed an arsenal during the British era. However, in about 1860, the arms were shifted to Madras and Singapore. Some of the arms, which were not worthy enough to be shifted, were left here,” said Edward Paul.

    APSSA district project officer T Siva Rama Prasad said more studies will be taken up to explore what is hidden underground on the premises by leveraging advanced methods such as imaging technologies. “These cannons can also be placed along the RK Beach road to create awareness among students and general public about our history ,” said Rama Prasad.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / Umamaheshwara Rao / TNN / October 27th, 2017

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    M.S.R. Murty showing the VIP robes ahead of the AU convocation, in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

    M.S.R. Murty showing the VIP robes ahead of the AU convocation, in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

    The octogenarian has been supplying the special garment since 1959

    Year after year, M.S.R. Murty has been an integral part of the jubilation of scores of graduates who pass out on the convocation day wearing black ceremonial robes, flinging their black scholars’ hats into the air.

    Since 1959, the 80-year-old has been supplying the black gowns for the convocation of the Andhra University and 50 other colleges in the districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.

    Celebrity customers

    From former President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to actors like ANR and Bhanumathi to former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, several important personalities have worn the gowns made by Mr. Murty, a known name in the university and college circles of the city.

    Ahead of the 83rd and 84th combined convocation of the University, the octogenarian is filled with nostalgia as he goes down the memory lane to share some priceless moments.

    “In those days, AU convocation used to be a big affair and meticulously held every year on the second Saturday of December. We had a tailoring unit at our book store in the One Town area, where the black gown with golden border used to be stitched,” says Mr. Murty, who took over his father’s business in 1959. Till about a decade ago, the gowns used to be stitched at the tailoring unit in the city. However, a dwindling interest in tailoring business made it difficult for him to get the work done by local tailors.

    He now gets the gowns made from a Chennai-based unit. This year, he is supplying as many as 1,100 gowns for the convocation.

    The first film celebrity to don his gown was ANR when he was conferred the honorary doctorate degree of ‘Kalaprapoorna’ by the AU in the 70s. Later, it was during Indira Gandhi’s visit the tradition of the ceremonial gown was changed to silk scarves.

    “That particular year, I was ready with gowns when hardly 20 days ahead of the convocation I was informed about the change. I had to rush to Mumbai to get the silk cloth for the scarves and managed to make 100 scarves in a span of a week’s time. Ms. Gandhi was very particular about protocol and there were elaborate arrangements and practice done to avoid any chance of even minor goof-ups. I made a special velvet scarf for Ms. Gandhi for the convocation where she was conferred D. Litt. ,” recollects Mr. Murty.

    Age has certainly not withered him as he gets ready for Saturday’s convocation with two separate sets of gowns – the black ones for the graduates and the coloured ones for VIPs.

    “The gowns are given on rent for ₹150 and I charge a caution deposit of ₹1,000 from each student, which is refunded once the gowns are returned,” says Mr. Murty, who also supplies gowns for convocation of other colleges and universities like GITAM University and Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University.

    With his children settled in their respective careers, Mr. Murty continues his family business with diligence in his twilight years.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Andhra Pradesh / by Nivedita Ganguly  / Visakhapatnam – July 27th, 2017

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    Traces of the past: A World War II pill box resurfaces in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK;K_R_DEEPAK -

    Traces of the past: A World War II pill box resurfaces in Visakhapatnam. | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK;K_R_DEEPAK –

    They should be restored and turned into museums, say historians

    A silent reminder of a significant chapter of Visakhapatnam’s maritime history, the World War – II pill boxes or bunkers dotting the shores of the coast, resurfaces every year during monsoon when the eroded sands uncover these concrete structures hidden beneath for decades.

    Lack of any effort to restore and conserve these historical concrete fortifications, vagaries of nature over the years and public apathy have left these pill boxes in a state of utter neglect, serving as a painful reminder of an earlier time, slowly crumbling back into the sea.

    Maritime history

    At a time when the Tourism Department in association with the district administration is making efforts to create a maritime museum circuit along the beach road, these vintage pill boxes cry for attention. According to historians and retired naval personnel, these pill boxes are a significant link to the maritime history of the region, which should be restored and included in the maritime historical circuit at the Beach Road where the latest addition is the upcoming museum project of the decommissioned TU 142 fighter aircraft.

    Speaking to The Hindu, (Retd.) Cdr B.L.N. Rao, secretary of Navy Foundation – Visakhapatnam Chapter, said: “There are four such pill boxes spotted along the Vizag coast. The one at R.K. Beach is still in good shape and can easily be retrieved. Once it resurfaces from the sand, iron sheets can be kept all around it, the remaining sand can be dug till the base of the structure and with the help of hydraulic jack it can be lifted and shifted.”

    Last year, Cdr. Rao had initiated efforts in the restoration of these critical historical pill boxes by taking the VUDA officials around the locations where they are seen. “Nothing much has been done after that,” he said.

    The pill box at the R.K. Beach is about 20 to 30 feet wide and 10 feet high. “Similar dimensions of pill boxes exist near Kotaveedhi and Lavender Canal. However, the one near the fishing colony of Jalaripeta is nearly four times the size of the others and is beyond repair. That one was used as the command control centre by the British,” he added.

    As conflict in the World War II ramped up, these pill boxes were used to fortify the shores by the British to resist invasion by Japan. According to researchers, most of them were constructed around 1938-1941.

    Old timers recollect the presence of another pill box opposite the Naval Coastal Battery which they say was “mercilessly razed to the ground” in the 1960s when the road was being built. “These defence constructions were considered to be highly confidential during WW-II. Hence, there is no proper documentation of the number of bunkers present along the Vizag coast,” said historian Edward Paul.

    But recently these secret bunkers have piqued the interest of historians, war veterans and enthusiasts alike – and more people are attempting to discover their locations.

    “Proper signage at the locations of the pill boxes can go a long way in showcasing the maritime history of the region,” Mr. Paul added. While efforts to restore a similar British-era bunker discovered inside the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai are being taken, in other parts of the world – the most recent one being in Denmark’s western coast, World War II bunkers have been transformed into museums.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States > Andhra Pradesh / by Nivedita Ganguly / July 24th, 2017

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    Kondiba (Ananthagiri) :

    The tribal village of Kondiba located in Ananthagiri mandal of Visakhapatnam district is distinguished by two features — the village houses a unique banyan tree or rather a one-tree forest and the inhabitants who were tribes of the warrior and landholder class still retains many weapons such as swords and knives given to them in the colonial era by the rajas of Vizianagaram.

    Kondiba Panchayat has around 180 households and a population of approximately 1,200 people, most of whom are engaged in cultivation of rice, ragi, millets and lentils. Adivasi Odia is spoken by these tribes of Bagata caste. In the pre-independence era, the village had landlords and zamindars who were given the authority to collect taxes and were entrusted with administrative works. For safety of the villagers, the Vizianagaram rajas had given them weapons including swords, knives and guns.

    What is interesting is that the villagers have preserved most of these weapons and consider it a matter of pride to get these from the royal family.

    Guru Gujjala, an AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) employee at Tyda and resident of this village, said, “These weapons which are around 50 in number and around 100 years old has been with the Gujjala family since generations. Even though the family has split into different households, they still retain the weapons. Once a year, during Dussera, these are exhibited in the village. I have also heard that guns, copper plates and inscriptions were buried in the ground in the village few decades ago so as to prevent outsiders from taking these away.”

    “Despite offers of purchase from outsiders, the villagers never parted with these weapons and keep them as treasures within the village as these were given to us by the maharajas of Vizianagram more than a century ago,” added old Bangari Gujjela, who is a descendant of the erstwhile landowners’ family.

    Though a considerable big panchayat, the place suffers from water problem. Interestingly, Gujjala Ramanaidu, the first MLA from S Kota constituency post India’s independence belonged to Kondiba.

    Besides, weapons, the forest-tree is another interesting feature of this village. Secluded from the village at one end stands this banyan tree and offers a picturesque view of the surroundings. Nobody knows the age of the tree but it’s surmised that the tree is at least 150 years old. The branches and aerial prop roots have spread out on around an acre of land, thus giving the impression of a forest. The temperature of the area surrounding the tree is also cooler by a few notches from outside.

    Guru Gujjala said, “The tree is respected and no picnics or gatherings are encouraged near it to keep the sanctity of the place intact. However, every year, at the end of summer, some pujas are held in the hope of good rainfall in the monsoons. The tree covers nearly an acre of land and looks like a forest. During Cyclone Hudhud, there were some damage to the branches but thankfully, the tree was not uprooted and stood tall.”

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> CityNews> Visakhapatnam News / by Sulogna Mehta / TNN  / December 18th, 2016

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    Sunkarimetta :

    It’s impossible to miss sighting a beautiful hilltop church around 108 kilometres from the city on the Vizag-Araku route. Tourists travelling to Araku usually get down to have a look at the scenic church of Sunkarimetta. Especially during Christmas and New Year, the otherwise tranquil church comes alive with prayer services and hundreds of visitors. But not many know the historic and geographic significance of this building that dates back to the 1930s.

    The Sunkarimetta Baptist Church, located exactly 12 kilometres from Araku and Ananthagiri, is situated at an altitude of 4,236 feet above sea level. It is considered the highest point of the Eastern Ghats in Visakhapatnam District. Associated with the rajas of Jeypore, it was also from this church that Christianity first started spreading in the Agency areas in the first half of the 20th century.

    The three-and-a-half-acre land for the construction of the only church in this area was given by Maharaja Vikramadeo of Jeypore, Odisha, to the Samantha rajas – the Burudi and Karthika families – who were one of the first converts in the region. Built in the backdrop of the Second World War, it was constructed between 1936 and 1939 by the British who were confident of a victory in the world war by defeating the Axis Powers. The chief engineer of Vizag-Araku Road was also instrumental in building the church. The church was designed by Canadian architect Ralph Edward Smith.

    Speaking about its history, executive committee member of the church Karthik Raj Kiran said, “There’s not much recorded history about this church though it is the only church in this area catering to about 5,000 members today. In those days, it was a tax collection point. Built in the Gothic style of architecture, no sand was used for construction of the church but it was built using lime mortar and local rocks powdered by bullocks. Some of the seats in the church existing today dates back to the 1940s. The painted glass decoration inside the church is gift from retired Andhra University professor Ratna Raju. It can accommodate around 100 people at a time inside. On Sunday mornings and during Christian festivals, the church gets crowded.”

    The church has remained intact in its original form for around 80 years. The bell tower is the only addition that was made nearly a decade ago. Since the hilltop church renders a beautiful view of the scenic surroundings of green valleys and cultivated fields, distant grey-blue hills and winding roads of the Eastern Ghats, shootings of Telugu films have also taken place in its premises.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Visakhapatnam News / by Sulogna Mehta / December 18th, 2016

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    Marine archaeologists hint at British era wrecks off AP coast; Some went down with treasure.

    The NIO has salvaged shipwrecks off Goa, Lakshwadeep and Odisha and some places along the west coast.

    The NIO has salvaged shipwrecks off Goa, Lakshwadeep and Odisha and some places along the west coast.

     

    Visakhapatnam:

    Marine archaeologists believe that the sea off the 920-km AP coastline has the wrecks of ships belonging to Britain and other nations.

    Evidence collected from records and archives by marine archaeologist of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) suggest that 12 ships sank near Krishnapatnam, Nellore, Coringa ( Kakinada), Masulipatnam (Machilipatnam), Narasapur, Visakhapatnam, Bhimilipatnam, Kalingapatnam, and Sompeta.
    These records were collected from Delhi, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Panaji, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. The NIO has salvaged shipwrecks off Goa, Lakshwadeep and Odisha and some places along the west coast.

     

    Cause of wreck Infographic

    Cause of wreck Infographic

     

    These ships sank due to cyclones, human error or during wars in the 400 year period from the 16th to the 20th century. Most notable is said to be the Dart Mouth, a British ship carrying treasure that sank off to Masulipatnam (Machilipatnam) in 1719. Marine archaeologist say the coast needs to be explored to unearth the maritime heritage of Andhra Pradesh which once thrived with many ports.

    “Explorations have brought to limelight some remains of maritime activities, which are lying in the hinterland and onshore regions. The underwater remains have not been explored so far, including some important shipwrecks,” said noted marine archaeologist Sila Tripati of NIO’s Marine Archaeology Centre

    The only inscriptional evidence referring to shipwrecks in the country is the Motupalli pillar inscription ‘Abhaya Sasana’ (charter of security) of King Ganapatideva (1244-45 AD) and Annapottu Reddi (1358 AD) of Andhra Pradesh.
    Mr Tripati said that as the cargo of wrecked ships was taken away by local chiefs, the king in the inscription had assured the safety of the lives and cargo of both foreign and inland traders and offered them protection from piracy.

    The inscription states that the lives of both foreign and Indian mariners were to be treated as that of King Ganapatideva himself. It also provides a long list of import and export items which point to the fact that it was a busy port.

    source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com / Deccan Chronicle / Home> Nation> In other news / by SNV Sudhir, Deccan Chronicle / December 16th, 2016

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    Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad launched the poster of the book titled – ‘Andhrula Samagra Charitra Sanskriti’, written by Dr. E. Siva Nagareddy, a historian, archaeologist and CEO of The Cultural Centre for Vijayawada and Amaravati, here on Thursday.

    Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prasad said the book contained original and authentic information of the history and culture of Andhras from the pre-historic times till the division of the State which would be very useful for the students preparing for the competitive exams.

    Department of Language and Culture director Vizai Bhaskar said Mr. Reddy was an authority on the Satavahana and Vijayanagara dynasties.

    Andhra Arts Academy secretary Golla Narayana Rao spoke.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – October 21st, 2016

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    City MLA Dr. Akula Satyanarayana has said that honouring freedom fighters is nothing but honouring the country and that is the reason they have identified and felicitated some freedom fighters in the city limits as a part of BJP’s “Tiranga Yatra”.

    He spoke at Anam Rotary Hall after participating in the Tiranga Yatra on Saturday.

    Later, he felicitated Krovvidi Satyanarayana couple, son of Krovvidi Lingaraju, Kusuma Sujatha Kumari, daughter of Kusuma Naganna, Keerthi Chakra Pandillapalli Srinivas’s mother, sons of Budhavarapu Suryanarayana and others.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> National> Andhra Pradesh / by Special Correspondent / Rajamahendravaram – August 21st, 2016

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