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Srikakulam is a town found in Andhra Pradesh. It is a municipality as well as the district headquarters of Srikakulam district, which shares its name. It lies along the Nagavali River and once served as the capital of a Muslim region known as the Northern Circars (or Northern Sarkars), where it was known as Gulshanabad (or Garden City). The British called it Chicacole before it was renamed to its present name shortly after India gained its independence. As of the 2001 Indian census, the town’s population was listed as 109,666. Srikakulam town shouldn’t be confused with another place in Andhra Pradesh that shares the same name. This particular place is just a small village on the bank of the Krishna River in Ghantasala, in the district of Krishna.

The region where the present-day town is used to be a part of the Kalinga region and was later a part of Orissa’s Gajapati kingdom up until the medieval period. Srikakulam was called Gulshanabad then, which was derived from the Persian word Gulshan/Gulistan which meant “rose garden” and abad, which meant “creation”. It was just a tiny village and served as the center for the kingdom’s money transactions for the areas covering Srikakulam, Vishakhapatnam and some parts of Orissa. It was a Muslim town, and even today, some 10,000 Muslims still live in the present town, following the traditions and cultures set by their ancestors hundreds of years ago. In 1707, when the Nizams came into power, Srikakulam was also the headquarters for revenue collection. The Nizams handed Srikakulam together with other districts to the French in 1753, before it was seized by the British in 1756 during the Anglo-French wars.

British rule started in 1759 and Srikakulam town was made into a part of the Ganjam district, in the undivided Madras province. At this time, the town was renamed Chicacole, from the Persian words Chica (meaning “a small cloth bag which can be closed by pulling its neck strings”) and Khol (meaning “open”). The name was derived from the fact that during the Muslim rule, people are commanded to “chika khol”, which means to open their bag and pay the toll. After India’s independence in 1947, many fought for a separate Andhra state, and in 1948, there were clamors for making a separate Srikakulam district. On July 17, 1950, a request was made to the then Revenue Minister H. Sitarama Reddy on his visit to the area to select Srikakulam as a district headquarters. Finally, on August 15, 1950, Srikakulam district was formed and the town of Srikakulam was designated as its district headquarters.

The town is an emerging industrial hub, owing mainly to it being well-connected to other places such as Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram. There are also industrial estates housing several types of industries ranging from small to large scale. There is also a railway station located at Amadalavalasa railhead of the town. From there, one can travel around the area either via rickshaws or taxi. Places to hang out include several parks such as Gandhi Park, Riverview Park and Hudco Colony Park. Attractions include Arasavalli, which is the home of an ancient temple of the sun said to have been built around the 7th century.


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