Victoria Town Hall, Visakhapatnam, Andhra a colonial legacy

 A plethora of statues, parks, memorial halls, etc.,  came up  across India, particularly in many Princely states to honor Queen Victoria after her demise in 1901 at the age of 81. A Town hall was established in Visakhapatnam with full support from the Rajah of Bobbili.

The grand Town Hall of Visakhapatnam, Andhra   built in 1893 at the cost of Rs 50,000.00 (borne by the then Rajah of Bobbili) is one of the important heritage  sites in Vizag. It was part of commemoration  of the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria, and  is still called,the Victoria Memorial Town Hall. Built on a hillock, in Old Jalaripeta, it had a panoramic view of the whole harbor.

Queen Victoria Town Hall,
The town hall has a pair of conical  watch towers with fine wooden roof and  ground floor with the Madras-terraced  roof supported by steel beams imported  from Scotland. Unlike the ground floor, the first floor has a Mangalore-tiled roof, supported by a massive  Burma teak wood. In this part of Andhra, particularly in the 19th century never have you come across buildings with Mangalore-tiled roof over a large hall like  an auditorium. The Town hall at Visakhapatnam is one of the largest auditoriums with Mangalore tiled roof supported by a maze of massive wooden beams and rafters. Mind you, the total carpet area, covering both floors is roughly 5000 sq. feet. The walls are made of cut stones of almost equal size upon which rest the beams. The varandah on the ground floor with wooden railings and supported by wooden columns not only enhances the look of the building but also cuts down the radiation in the first floor. 

The  Visakhapatnam Municipality  took control of the Town Hall in 1904. This old structure saw many meetings held by the freedom fighters who  were unhappy over the unjust British rule. In 1929, Gandhiji came here and delivered a speech, emphasizing the importance of putting an end to the British rule. Right across the Town Hall, in 1931 the great political event - Salt Satyagraha was kicked off and in violation of salt act, salt was picked up on the coastal area  across the Town Hall by great freedom fighters like  Digumarti Janaki Bai, Digumarthi Venkata Swamy, Tenneti Viswantham, et al. Lots of people actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha. Both the event here and the salt satyagraha held at  coastal Vedaranyam, now in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of the late Rajaji (former CM and first Gov. General of Free India) impacted the frustrated Indian population and, in the aftermath, more and more people joined the freedom struggle against the British. Lately, the Town Hall is put to various uses, including social functions; it is often the venue for weddings, Durga Puja and many other functions.
Victoria Statue, Vizag:
statue of queen Victoria, Vizag. The News Minute  
.notice board,nearVictoria statue,
 Queen Victoria's Pavilion is located just right across the Old Post Office in Visakhapatnam. It is a nice beautiful  bronze statue of Queen Victoria that was presented to Sri Akitam Venkata Jagga Row, a zamindar, when he visited England in 1900, as a gift to the town of Visakhapatnam. The statue was erected on May 4, 1904 and the small structure with a roof was made of stones. The surrounding area should be kept clean and the encroachments need to be removed so that people can have comfortable access to such old monuments that ate linked with the colonial days.