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Visakhapatnam Culture

The second largest city of the state of Andhra Pradesh, a vital and ever burgeoning commercial and industrial hub of the eastern Indian coastline and one of the largest seaports of the country, Visakhapatnam prides on its illustrious historical background and its affluent cultural heritage maintained and evolved over the centuries. The economic progress and financial advancement of the city has not affected its traditional temperament or its long-established ethnic culture. For instance, the hill tribes residing in the Araku Valley of Visakhapatnam still perform their ‘Dhimsa Dance’ on various festive occasions when a group of 15 to 20 women elegantly dressed up in their traditional tribal attire and ornaments dance to the tunes of tribal musical instruments such as Mori, Dappu, Thudum, etc. which are exclusively played by the men folk in the honor of their local deity.
Predominantly commended for its peaceful and harmonious communal environment, Visakhapatnam; a genuine cosmopolitan settlement shelters the people from diverse religious, social and cultural backgrounds under its unique peaceable sky. An assortment of cultural communities migrated here from all over the country and the gentle & affable natives of Visakhapatnam who received them with warm welcome owe the credit of Vizag’s present multi-ethnic outlook. Visakhapatnam a potpourri of past & present, old & new and traditional & modern and an unparalleled paradigm of the rich and tuneful mixture of different cultures and religions today flourishes on the national platform as a blooming center of art, culture and entertainment.
The Vizagities dot on the classical Indian dance forms such as Bharatanatyam & Kuchipudi and they love songs and music to no limit. The city celebrates scores of religious and cultural festivals with boundless fervor and enthusiasm all through the year which primarily showcase the diverse aspects of the cultural demeanor of this ‘jewel of the Coromandel coast’. The numerous fairs held at Visakhapatnam demonstrate the arts and crafts preserved and perpetuated for centuries in this part of the coastal India. Apart from the general Indian festivals, several other fiestas exclusive to Visakhapatnam include Visakha Utsav, Vijay Diwas, Rishikonda Beach Festival, Chandanotsavam, ISKCON Utsav, Lumbini Festival, Music Festival, Navy Day, and so on.
Visakha Utsav
The Visakha Utsav celebrated in the month of January and organized by the Tourism Department of Andhra Pradesh every year is the annual festival of Visakhapatnam that is celebrated for 3 consecutive days beginning from the 3rd Friday of January. Characterized with incomparable passion and gusto, the Visakha Utsav infuses the convivial spirit among the citizens and brings the entire city as well as whole state of Andhra Pradesh to life. People from every corner of the state alight at Visakhapatnam to participate in the Visakha Utsav; the fun incarnated. Various fairs and different types of cultural programs are organized here which effectively demonstrate the wealthy cultural heritage of the Vizag District. Food Fair, Book Fair, Fashion Shows, Art & Craft Exhibitions, Sports Tournaments, and many other events are held at the time of the Visakha Utsav.
Rishikonda Beach Festival
The Rishikonda Beach Festival celebrated at the Rishikonda Beach of Visakhapatnam from 22nd to 25th December is a three days long annual festival when arts, crafts, culture, cuisine and lifestyle of Visakhapatnam comes to life and reaches out to hundreds of Indian and foreign tourists participating in this deluge of gala. Different kinds of exhibitions, stalls, craft bazaars, food courts installed here comprise the chief attraction of the Rishikonda Beach Festival.
Lumbini Festival
The Lumbini Festival organized by the Government of Andhra Pradesh in the honor of the Buddhist civilians of the state illustrates and commemorates the age old Buddhist tradition and culture flourishing in India for centuries. This 3 days long festival commences on the second Friday of the month of December and concludes on the consecutive Sunday. During the Lumbini Festival all the Buddhist sites and monuments of Visakhapatnam are beautifully decorated and special sightseeing tours are conducted by the government and private agencies for the tourists as well as locals. The Lumbini Festival provides an effective platform for the native artists, painters and sculptors where they can reach out to people and exhibit their works of art.
Chandanotsavam, also known as the ‘Chandana Yatra’, is yet another noteworthy festival of Vizag that is annually celebrated in the month of March or April. This religious fiesta celebrated in the honor of Lord Vishnu is held at the Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Simhachalam. Traditionally, the idol of Lord Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha is kept varnished with sandal paste all through the year. At the time of the Chandanotsavam Festival, the old sandal paste is ceremoniously removed and the idol of the presiding deity is coated with a new layer of fresh sandal paste. On this day the Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Simhachalam is thronged by the devotees as this is the only time of the year when the actual shape and appearance of the original idol can be perceived.
The ISKCON Utsav organized by the International Society of Krishna Consciousness is a 3 days long religious festival that is celebrated during the Dussehra Holidays. The chief attractions of this Utsav include the Bhajana Recitation, Devotional & Classical Songs, Folk Dances, Geeta Path, Dance & Drama Performances, Krishna Leela, Ram Leela, the burning of Ravana Effigy, and so on. Many stalls and outlets selling religious articles, food items and other art & craft products attract oodles of visitors. Merry go round, giant wheel and other rides & games particularly allure the kids.
Vijay Diwas
The Vijay Diwas celebrated on 16th December every year commemorates the historical victory of India over Pakistan in the 1971 Indo Pak War. On this day (16th December 1971) the Pakistani Forces surrendered to the Indian Forces at Dhaka and thus the war was declared over and Bangladesh was born. The Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam celebrates the Vijay Diwas with due respect and veneration and 16th December is observed as a holiday here.
Navy Day
Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy celebrates the ‘Navy Day’ on 4th December every year which commemorates the deadly attack carried out by the Missile Boats of the Indian Navy on the Karachi Harbor on 4th December 1971 during the Indo-Pak War. The Navy Day is the festival when the Indian Naval Force is glorified and paid homage for its commendable contribution in protecting the Mother Land. On this day the weapons and ships formerly used in various wars and also the latest additions made to the naval armory such as new ships and weapons are displayed by the naval officers. Naval processions & parades are held on this day and thousands of people congregate at the Rishikonda Beach to witness these glorious marches and the display of the Navy ships and armaments. On the occasion of the Navy Day the common people are given the opportunity to enter some of the navy ships.
Visakhapatnam Music Festival
This Music Festival celebrated for two days mainly aims at promoting and propagating the traditional Carnatic music and the ethnic culture of Visakhapatnam. This festival provides a platform to the local talents. Aside from the music performances, other attractions of the Music Festival include various community activities, Pythian and other games and delectable traditional cuisine.