Machilipatnam, also known as Masulipatnam or Bandar or Masula, is a fishing port and a special grade municipality in the Bandar revenue division of Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. Machilipatnam is a popular tourist destination well known for Kalamkari fabrics and Kalahasti decorations.
Situated on the mouth of the River Krishna in the Bay of Bengal, Machilipatnam lies along the south-eastern part of Andhra Pradesh on the Coromandel Coast of India. Machilipatnam is located at a distance of 65 km from Vijayawada on NH9 and 350 km south-east of the state capital, Hyderabad. Telugu, Urdu and English are the languages used in this region.
As per earlier records, the name Machilipatnam was coined after the construction of a gateway to the town which was decorated using the eyes of fish or machili. The port town of Machilipatnam has a rich historical background that tells about several foreign invasions and prosperous trade and business connections with many countries.
During the 3rd century BC, at the time of the Satavahana dynasty (200 BC 250 AD), Machilipatnam was a flourishing port town along the east coast and it was referred to as Maisolos by Ptolemy. In the 1st century AD, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, an ancient Greek text that describes navigation and trading opportunities, referred Machilipatnam as Masalia. It was, however, during the 14th century that the trading Arabs found Machilipatnam on their route from the Red Sea to Southern India.
Later, in the 16th century, Machilipatnam came under the Kingdom of Golconda. In the 17th century it became a centre of French, British, and Dutch trade. Machilipatnam was also one of the first colonial settlements by the British along the Coromandel Coast in the Indian Subcontinent.
After the exile of the British, during the Carnatic wars, the French took over this port town. In 1759, Colonel Forde of the British East India Company acquired Machilipatnam port town from the French with the help of Northern Circars, a former division of the Madras Presidency of British India.
Machilipatnam of Andhra Pradesh has become a prominent tourist destination in South India. The best time to visit Machilipatnam are the months from October to March. This old port town has a lot to offer like long, broad and pristine beaches, historical monuments and traditional artifacts.
Manginapudi Beach, Dattashram, Panduranga Swamy temple, Machilipatnam Church, Ghantasala, Agastheeswara Temple, Gudivada, etc. are some of the major tourist attractions in Machilipatnam. Kalahasti wall hangings and intricate floral and vegetal designs of Kalamkari fabrics attract tourists who buy these as souvenirs.