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Kakinada is a city in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. It is the headquarters of the district. According to the 2001 census, Kakinada has a total population of about 704,921 people (853,340 if the extended settlements are included). Thanks to the newly-granted status of being one of Andhra Pradesh’s Special Economic Zones, the city has seen rapid growth. Being a coastal city with a deep-water port that is rapidly expanding, it only has an elevation of 2 meters. Hope Island, a small island some 5 kilometers from Kakinda coast, makes the city a natural harbor. Before the deep-water port was constructed, this old anchorage port was considered as the largest minor port in India. Currently, both operate side by side.

There are several theories as to the origin of the city. The most popular one states that before the current city was established, an old and small settlement called “Kaki Nandiwada” (or “Kakavandivada” by some sources) was already in existence, established there by the Nandi kings who ruled the area prior to the arrival of the European immigrants. The first European settlers who stepped foot in Kakinada were the Dutch, who called the place “Cocanada”. It is from this that the present name of Kakinada was derived.

The Dutch influence is still evident today by the architecture and design of some of the old buildings there. The British followed the Dutch and then, in 1874, the missionaries of the Canadian Baptist Mission came. Since then, the city grew into prominence, especially after the British made Kakinada into an administrative headquarters for the region. The influence of the Raja of Pithapuram, Sri Surya Rao Bahadur, was also an important factor in the growth of the city, through various liberal donations and grants. After the independence of India, the city’s name was reverted back to Kakinada from Cocanada, although there are still a few organizations established during the British rule which retained the old name, such as the Cocanada Chamber of Commerce.

The people living in Kakinada can be largely identified by their characteristic accent, which is Godavari Telugu. They are known for being hospitable and cultured in their dealings with others. Hinduism is the predominant religion, although Islam is also fairly practiced. Christianity is slowly growing in the city as well. All three religions’ churches can be found in the city to cater to their respective followers’ needs.

Kakinada is a major hub of education in the region, with the past decade seeing the growth of many residential colleges that offer quality secondary education. The pride of the city’s education is the widely recognized Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in the field of engineering and the Rangaraya Medical College, which is considered to be one of the best medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh.

In terms of industry, Kakinada is known as the “Fertilizer City” of the state. It is home to two prominent fertilizer companies: Nagarjuna Fertilizers, which is the biggest urea manufacturer of Andhra Pradesh, and Godavari Fertilizers, which produces di-ammonium phosphate. Other industries include auto and steel ancillaries, sugar production, as well as petroleum and oil refineries. The IT industry also got a boost after a facility was set up by the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).


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