Visakhapatnam Collectorate, AP - designed like a Castle, after 110 years stands majestically

Dist. collectorate

The Vizag collectorate, AP

The district collectorate office building in Maharanipeta, a suburb  of Visakhapatnam, is a heritage  building that had completed 110 years (work completed in 1913) this August, 2023. Despite its age, there are no signs of cracks or decay in any part of the building. The Gothic-styled impressive  E-shaped Collector’s Office building was overseeing the administration of the largest district in the then Madras Presidency under the Raj which included Rayagada in the north and most  parts of Jeypore zamindary. 

 During the Raj and prior to it under the company rule the DA office had played a crucial role in the administration of the district since the introduction of  a new revenue management known as the ryotwari system  by the Gov. of Madras Sir Thomas Monroe. The DA was headed by  a District Collector who  had various administrative and revenue responsibility.  

The Vizag collectorate, AP

In the colonial period the  collectorate was a self-contained edifice to meet various office requirements including record rooms. The Visakhapatnam district was a center of freedom struggle. The Vizag collector’s office was a silent  spectator to the change of guard as the Indian national flag was hoisted from the flag-pole on the building on which a a couple of days before the the national flag of England -the Union Jack flew. According to onr history buff a document from the Tamil Nadu government archives, the chief engineer of PWD CA Smith in his inspection note dated August 13 had mentioned that the building would be occupied on August 15.

The construction cost was around Rs. 3.5 lakhs and about the building contractor, some media reports point out it was done a Dutch engineering company Gannon Dunkerley  which began work in 1865. TOI report mentioned the work began in 1910 and was completed in 1913 by a local contractor; it is too short a period to build such a massive  3 story structure with European design features - .vintage style courtyards, open arches in the rooms on all floors symmetrically similar  circular turrets,  with a pyramidal roof atop.   The fine-looking  square-pavilions have three square turrets at  all its outer three corners. It was designed like a castle with  buttressed porch,  tall circular turrets covering all the three floors and even a crenelated parapet. The presence of tall spacious corridors on either side of the building allowed easy movement of people and good air circulation.  These European elements impart a majestic look to the structure. Earlier the collectorate  was serving the public from the rental buildings. The 2014 cyclone Hudhud did some damages to the structure in some parts but later they were rectified  

The old collectorate building of Vizag had a historical link with the Raj under the British Crown administration (Monarchy) and the post independence era under democracy. .