Vijayarama Raju-I laid the foundation of Vizianagaram fort in 1713 A.D. on the auspicious day of Vijaya Dashmi. The Victory arch was the main entrance to the Vizianagaram fort prior to the construction of Nagaar Khana. It has a temple of Lord Hanuman on one side and Goddess Lakshmi on the other. The Goddess is also known as ‘Kota Shakti’ or the guardian of the fort. The Raja of Vizianagaram would seek blessings of the Goddess before embarking on any military expedition. The main entrance to the fort is through the East Gate. Nagaar Khana is situated atop this gate. ‘Nagaara’ is an Indian percussion instrument. A literal translation of ‘Nagaar Khana’ would mean ‘Drum Room’. It was used for drawing attention of the people for announcing royal edicts. The drummer also used the Nagaara to announce and alert the inmates to the arrival of royal guests. The West Gate is the rear entrance to the Vizianagaram fort. This gateway is built in Rajasthani style and has a viewing pavilion on top. It connects the fort to the Pedda Cheruvu and to the royal tombs. As per Hindu customs and traditions, the deceased should be taken for cremation only from the rear door of the household. The West Gate with the royal tombs close by served this purpose. The fort was surrounded by a moat. The area between the west wall and the moat has been converted into a splendid park with well laid out gardens and lush green lawns by the present day administration.
During the British Raj, the Kings of Vizianagaram made frequent visits to London. The Big Ben in London inspired them to make a replica in the town. The Ghanta Stambham (Clock Tower) originally had a sandstone finish with a white top and has now been painted cream and red. This 68 feet high octagonal building was built at a cost of only Rs. 5,400. in 1885 and is located very close to the fort, right in the heart of the city.
The Moti Mahal was constructed in 1869 by Vijayarama Raju-III as the Maharaja’s court. The monument echoes memories of a grand past wherein a resplendent king assisted by richly dressed courtiers held court and administered the kingdom in their collective wisdom and goodwill. The main door is decorated with two exquisite marble statues which speak of the good taste as well as the wealth of the occupants. The Moti Mahal is the main and most prominent building in the Vizianagaram fort. It was donated to the MANSAS Trust by Dr. P.V.G Raju. Today, it serves the noble purpose of furthering education by housing a college meant exclusively for women on the first floor. The link with its past is maintained through a display of artifacts in a museum on the ground floor of Moti Mahal.
It offers a glimpse into the fascinating style in which the royalty of Vizianagaram lived. It is an octagonal stone structure, which stands adjacent to the Phool Bagh Palace. It was built exclusively for the Maharajah to bathe. It is a 50 feet high stone structure with spiral steps leading to the water tank on top to which water was pumped from a nearby well.
The Alaknanda Palace was built in 1857 for the royal guests. This opulent palace provided its occupants with all comforts of life in the lap of natural and man-made beauty. The area around the palace is well laid out with walkways and gardens. A runway, built in the grounds, enabled the royal visitors to alight straight from their aircraft into the palace. At present, the Alaknanda Palace is used as the headquarters of the 5th Battalion of the Andhra Pradesh Armed Reserve Police.
A little further away from Alakananda palace, the Korukonda Palace stands majestically amidst open playgrounds and well-laid gardens. The Palace and the surrounding 1,000 acres of land have been developed into a premier educational institution by the Indian Navy, which runs a school for children aspiring to join the armed forces.
The founder of House of Bobbili, Pedda Rayudu, was the 15th descendant of the Rajas of Venkatagiri. He came into the area as part of the contingent of Golconda Fauzdar Sher (Tiger) Mohammad Khan. He founded the town, built a fort, and named it Pedda Puli (Great Tiger) after the name of his patron. With the passage of time, the name was corrupted to Pebbuli, Bebbuli and finally Bobbili. The town was almost wiped out during the war against Vizianagaram, which ended in the tragic massacre. Though no remnants exist of the original Bobbili fort, there are numerous palaces which serve as residence for the royal family. The Durbar Mahal was built in 1893 as a meeting hall where the Raja held his court and received royal emissaries. Two stone elephants stand guard on either side of the steps leading to the ‘Durbar’. Today, the first floor houses a museum of various artifacts pertaining to the Bobbili of yore, while the lower floor is used as the office.
The Bobbili Rajas built a number of palaces to lavish hospitality on their guests. The Raj Mahal, also known as the Chikkavaram Guest House, is one such palace. It is situated in isolated splendour on the outskirts of modern day town. Visitors to the palace have to traverse a long driveway to reach the palace premises. It was built in 1888 by Maharaja Venkata Swetha Chalapati Ranga Rao.
The Music College established in 1919 by Vijaya Rama Raju with Adibatla Narayanadas as Principal, with the express purpose of promoting Classical music, Vocal, Veena, Violin, Mrudangam, Nadaswaram and Harikatha were taught. Students from all over the state and also from Southern states like Tamilnadu and Kerala came and joined in the Music College. Sri Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, Saluru Rajeswara Rao and Smt.P.Suseela, famous cinema singers came from this college and served the country through their concerts and renowned like a shining stars.
Maharajas Degree College (Autonomous)
Maharaja college was the second Degree College in the Composite Madras State covering the entire South India dating back to 1857. It was started by Vijayarama Raju-III as a middle school to promote modern education in Vizianagaram and was upgraded to a college in 1871. The college came under the aegis of MANSAS in 1958,. The centenary celebrations of the college were held in 1971 and were inaugurated by His Excellency V.V.Giri, the then President of India.
Maharajas Sanskrit College
MR Sanskrit College is a major seat oriental learning devoted to the study of Vedas and their interpretation. It was established by Vijayarama Raju-III who had spent a part of his life amidst Sanskrit Scholars at Varanasi. He has established a Sanskrit School in Vizianagaram in 1860 AD, which was later upgraded to a college in 1900. The first principal of the college, Kilambi Ramanujachari was a great Sanskrit Scholar of those times. At its inception, the college was attached to the Beneras Hindu University, but in 1926 it became affiliated to regional Andhra University.
Gurada Apparao is renowned writer from Vizianagaram and is an eminent personality.his house where he resided is in Vizianagaram town adjacent to Vizianagaram Fort.
The Bobbili town is famous for the manufacturing of Veenas carved by the sculptures located in Gollapalli(v) near the Town. Nearly 300 households of this village involved in the preparation of Veenas for their livelihood for the last 100 years. One single piece of Panasa and Sampangi wood is being used for its preparation by the sculptures. There is also a famous Venugopala Swamy temple in the middest of the Town.
The Thatipudi dam was built in the year 1963-68.The Thatipudi dam is in the Gandyada mandal of Vijayanagaram District.The Thatipudi reservoir is built across the Gosthani rever with a capacity of 3.175 TMC water.