Eminent Families of Vizag

There is no denying that even in a society that considers all people as equals, some people are better known and have achieved more than the others.

The present feature is an attempt to introduce those families whose history is inseparable from the history of Vizag itself; who, even if nothing more, are able to trace their lineage through a well-documented family tree. Some of these families are of 'Noble' descent, some have made a mark for themselves by accumulating great wealth while many others excelled in the fields of education or similar pursuits.

We begin this new feature 'Eminent Families of Vizag' with the 'Ankitham' family better known as the Bhanoji Row / Jagga Row family. The contributions made by the Ankithams in the fields of arts, sciences, education, politics, administration, philanthropy and the service they rendered to the society are unmatched. They have made an indelible impression on the history of the city either directly or through institutions established by them such as the A.V.N. College where many renowned persons including many Nobel Laureates have studied.

The order of lineage of the 'Ankitham' family (from the records that are available) is: Shri A. V. Narasinga Row,  Shri A.V. Jagga Row, A.V. Bhanoji Row, Shri A.V.N. Jagga Row for four generations. 

Shri A.V. Narasinga Row
Shri A.V. Narasinga Row (1827-1892)

The earliest known documented member of this family is Shri A.V. Narasinga Row:

Shri A. V. Narasinga Row, was brought up by his maternal grandfather as his father passed away when he was an infant. He was educated by Rev. J. Hay, the father of modern education in the Northern Circars. He rose to the post of Deputy Collector, at a very young age.

Shri A.V. Narasinga Row married Achyamma Garu, the only child of Mr. Goday Jugga Rao Garu. On the death of his father-in-law, his wife Achyamma Garu inherited the  entire estate of her father. In order to manage the huge estate, Mr. Narasinga Row resigned from his post of Deputy Collector and Magistrate.

Mrs. A.V. Narasinga Row (Achyamma) was a lady of fine character, elevated thoughts and noble disposition. In recognition of her noble qualities, the Government of Madras, conferred on her the personal distinction of Rani.

Mr. Narasinga Row was keen on adding to what his father-in-law had started and expanded the observatory founded by him by adding an equatorial telescope, surmounted with a movable dome at a cost of a lakh of rupees, a transit instrument and a sidereal clock. He also opened a Meteorological Observatory and furnished the Government daily with meteorological reports. In recognition of the services rendered, the Government of India conferred on him the title of Rai Bahadur.

He was appointed Honorary Meteorological Reporter to the Government of India for Vizagapatam, elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1871 and of the Royal Geographical Society in 1872.

Rai Bahadur Narasinga Row loved, cultivated and encouraged the arts and sciences and held men of learning in the highest esteem and confidence. He held great respect for the norms of society and his own course of life was sober and regular. He was a good conversationalist and always maintained his dignity when in public.

He gave an amount of 1,15,000 Rupees as an endowment to Hindu College (later to be renamed as Mrs A.V.N. College).

Shri A.V.Jagga Row
Shri A.V. Jagga Row (1866-1921)

Shri Raja A.V. Jagga Row Bahadur

Shri Raja A.V. Jagga Row Bahadur, the son of Shri A.V. Narasingha Row was born in Vizagapatam in 1866. He received his elementary education in the London Mission High School. His father took a keen interest in training him in astronomical and meteorological works, in which he made rapid progress by his steady application. He was also keenly interested in Dramatics and Horticulture.

Sri Raja A.V. Jagga Row Bahadur Garu was a gentleman of varied attainments, and rendered such significant service to the scientific world that he was hailed as a savant both of the East and the West. He travelled far and wide through Europe and to many other foreign lands, and could recollect at appropriate instances incidents and anecdotes of his travels which made his conversation "most agreeable and instructive".

He took over the looking after of his father's estates in 1898. Till then he engaged himself in scientific pursuits  - maintaining the Astronomical Observatory opened by his father and the Celestial Photograph Observatory started by his mother. He himself started a Magnetic Observatory which was one of the three such grand institutions in India. He also opened a Seismological Observatory which was a very rare institution in any country in those days.

His great interest in horticulture saw him to become a member of the International Association of Botanists as well as to acquire a rare collection of plants. 

He had travelled far and wide and acquired a great taste for art, which was evident in the original paintings collected from Paris, which adorned his drawing room.

He went to England in 1900 where he had the unique privilege of paying his respects to Her Most Gracious Majesty, the late Queen Victoria and to the then Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII. During his stay there, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, Royal Meteorological Society, Royal Colonial Institute and Society of Arts. He also visited various observatories and studied their working. He went on to visit Paris, Switzerland and Italy. He gathered excellent specimens of art in all his places of visit. He had a beautiful library with more than 10,000 volumes with treatises on Science, English literature and Indian subjects to name a few, besides leading Encyclopedias and other books of reference.

He received a bronze statue of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria from England and he presented it to the town of 'Vizagapatam' (which still stands today). This was later unveiled by the then Governor of Madras.

He constructed a hospital at his own cost, which has been of great help to those who required medical aid and also a rest house in Waltair.

Queen Victoria
The bronze statue of Queen Victoria in the Old town area in Visakhapatnam
The following are a few excerpts from a gazette 'The Aristocracy of Southern India'. 
Shri A.V. Bhanoji Row
Shri A.V. Bhanoji Row(1890-1978)

Shri A.V. Bhanoji Row

Shri A.V. Bhanoji Row was born on October 1st, 1890 to Zamindar Shri A.V. Jagga Row. He grew up as a socialist and subsequently was well known as a service oriented philanthropist, to all Vizagites.

As a student of C.B.M. High School, he participated in a number of games, specially  football which was his favourite sport and won several awards. He travelled extensively along with his father and read many books which made him an eminent personality.

In 1932, in order to bring Andhra University from Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam, he donated nearly 1/3rd of his land, thereby proving his generosity. The land on which the present King George Hospital was built was possible due a liberal donation from him. The decision to bring the Thatipudi waters to Visakhapatnam was due to the efforts of  Bhanoji Row when he was alive. The establishment of Hindustan Shipyard in Visakhapatnam is due to the intimate relationship with Wallchand Hirachand and the friendship that existed between them.

He started the Shipping Agency 'A.V. Bhanoji Row & Garuda Pattabhirammayya' which is still controlled by the Ankitham family till date.

After the death of his father, Shri Bhanoji Row entered into active politics and joined Justice Party and worked with the Raja of Panagal. He was a member of Andhra Pradesh State Assembly between 1955-1972. Between 1930-1938, 1951-1958, 1960-1962, he was the Municipal Chairman of Visakhapatnam and he carried out his responsibilities and conducted programmes that were beneficial to the people.

He was a Pro-tem speaker and Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Industries Development Department from 1962-1965. He visited Hungary and participated in EXPO 70 held in Tokyo on Japan's invitation.

As an MLA, he worked in his constituency more as a public servant than a politician. He took number of service oriented and constructive activities as the Municipal Chairman.

He was a hereditary trustee to Sri Sita Ramaswamy Temple and later on dedicated this to the people of Visakhapatnam. He was not just service-oriented but also had a philosophical and spiritual bent of mind. He took up several developmental activities for the temple. During his two year tenure as a member in the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam Trust Board, his efforts towards the presentation of a Diamond Crown to the Lord is worth mentioning. 

He was always against campaigning for his his own glory and preferred to spend his money and political power only for the welfare of the people.

Shri A.V.N. Jagga Row
Shri A.V.N. Jagga Row (1927-1990)

Shri A.V.N. Jagga Row

Shri A.V.N Jagga Row was born in the year 1927. He took a Honours degree in Commerce with specialisation in Economics of Transportation and went on to occupy several significant positions in public life. 

He was a member of the Senate Andhra University and also a Councillor in the Visakhapatnam Municipality in 1950. He was with the President's Commission of Indian Armed Services 1952-54 Artillery Regiment.

He was one of the Trustees of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust representing the Indian National Ship Owners Association, nominee of the A.P State Finance Corporation for various Companies, Member of the Import-Export Advisory Committee Southern Zone, Member of Faculty, by invitation, of the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad.

He was the Vice-Chairman and Correspondent of the Board of Management of Mrs. A.V.N. College, Visakhapatnam, a hereditary trustee to Sri Sita Ramaswamy Temple, Vice-President of Natural History Society, Vice-President of Rotary International, President of Waltair Club for four terms and President of the Visakha Historical Society.

He had forty years of multi-dimensional experience which included Senior Management experience with British and American multi-nationals and private industry in India covering different disciplines such as manufacture of leatherette cloth, refining and distribution of oil products, shipping etc. He was trained in various disciplines of management techniques by the well known international consultant L.A. Allen, of Palo-Alto, California USA.

He travelled extensively all over the World several times with his wife Smt. Indrani Jagga Row. Shri Jagga Row visited various industrial complexes, negotiated trade and agreements, observed and studied marketing patterns. He was also deeply interested in religion, education, reading and photography.

Mrs A. Indrani Jagga Row
Mrs A. V Indrani Jagga Row (1934-)

Mrs. A.V. Indrani Jagga Row

Mrs. Ankitham V. Indrani Jaggarow, was born to an illustrious family of Bengal on the 27th September, 1934. Her father Sri Samerendra Gupta, was in the Indian Accounts Service and rose to the level of Deputy Auditor General of India. Indrani did her higher education in Tagore's Vishwa Bharati University, Santiniketan, where her latent talents in music, dance and other fine arts were allowed to bloom. She completed her education from Delhi University with an Hon. Degree in English Literature. She married Shri A.V.N. Jagga Row, a scion of the Ankitham family and made her home in Visakhapatnam. She is a well travelled and multifaceted individual and holds keen interest in many different fields.

She started her career in social work with the Indian Red Cross Society as early as 1964, and was actively involved with all its activities in the District. In 1966-67, she worked with the Adult Education Department of Andhra University, Waltair in the interior villages of Visakhapatnam District in programmes especially targetted towards the education of rural women. In 1969, she was elected as the Secretary of All India Women's Conference Visakhapatnam branch and subsequently became the President, a post she still holds today. In 1975, she was elected as President, Mahila Mini Super Bazaar, the only non political President in the District. She was nominated as member of the  Handloom Advisory Board of Government of Andhra Pradesh and also the Member Advisory Board of King George Hospital, Visakhapatnam branch. She plays an active role in the administration of the Mrs. A.V.N. College.


  • Many years ago, there used to be a gun fired in the evenings on Dolphin's Nose Hill, at 6 o'clock sharp, that was a signal telling the exact time.  The Government later discontinued  this practice in 1871. But Mr. Narasinga Row offered to bear the expenses of the firing to which the Government of Madras allowed the practice to continue.

  • Later, Mr. A.V. Narasinga Rao erected an expensive Flagstaff on the Dolphin's Nose and the time signals were hoisted on it under his orders, every morning between 8 and 9 o'clock to indicate the time.

  • The signal tower on Dolphin's nose was a private property belonging to the Narasinga Row family, put at their disposal for the exhibition of a lantern for the benefit of the shipping, but on the occasion of a cyclone in October 1876, the light and portion of the house were damaged.  The present lighthouse at the Dolphins Nose, was built much later.