Vibrant Visakhapatnam – The ‘Jewel’ of the East Coast of India, is a harmonious blend of the magical past and bustling present. This breathtaking city of golden beaches, lush fields, verdant valleys, and splendid monuments is named after Visakha’, the God of Valour. Its antiquity can be traced back to emperor Ashoka (273 -232 BC) and was later ruled by the Andhra Kings of Vengi, the Cholas, and the Gangas. Visakhapatnam or Vizag has now emerged as a center important port, industrial well as a tourist center.
Ramakrishna Beach: This magnificent beach occupies the largest part of the seafront and is one of the most popular sites in the town. The Ramakrishna Mission is located nearby and there is also an imposing Kali Temple near the beach. An aquarium here is also worth visiting.
Lawson’s Bay: It is located to the north of Visakhapatnam and is considered ideal for swimming as well as surfing.
Rishikonda: The excellent beach resort 8 kms. from the town is located against the backdrop of lush Rishikonda hill on the Visakhapatnam- Bheemunipatnam beach road. The 14th-century temple of Sri Sapta Rusheswara is also located here.
Ross Hill (Kanyamarykonda): This highest hill on the Eastern Ghats is named after Mr. Ross, who built a house here in 1864, which was converted into a church.
Darga Konda: This magnificent hill has a mosque and a shrine dedicated to the Muslim saint Ishaque Madina, who is revered for his prophecies.
Sri Venkateswara Swamy Konda: The third important hillock of the city has a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. According to the Telugu inscriptions, a British soldier Captain Blackmoor built this temple in 1886.
Kailasagiri: This charming hill on the seafront affords breathtaking scenic views especially towards Bheemli. A well-laid-out hill park sprawls over an area of 350 acres. teeming with enchanting flora and tropical trees. There are magnificent statues of Shiva Parvati, which are illuminated at night. The 40 mts. high Sankham, Chakram, and Namam are illuminated in the night and can be seen from most parts of the city.
Dolphin’s Nose: The massive dolphin-shaped promontory jutting into the sea is located in the southern part of the town. This most conspicuous landmark of Visakhapatnam is 174 meters high and has a very powerful lighthouse.
Visakha Museum: It is housed in a 150 years old “Dutch Bungalow” on the beach road.
Submarine Museum: This unique museum is housed in the INS Kusura, a Russian-built submarine, and is the first of its kind in Asia. It is located at the Ramakrishna Beach and was set up on 27th Feb 2001.
Other attractions are VUDA Park, Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Mudsarlova Water Park, and Anthropology Museum.
Around Visakhapatnam – The ‘Jewel’ of the East Coast of India
Araku Valley (115 kms.)
The picturesque valley in the Eastern Ghats is popularly known as Andhra’s Ooty. It extends over an area of 36 sq. kms. and is rich in exotic flora and fauna. The valley is inhabited by 17 colorful tribes still untouched by modern civilization and is a favorite outdoor location for Telugu filmmakers.
Borra Caves (90 kms.)
The spectacular caves believed to be over 1 million years old are located on the way to Araku valley. These caves cover an area of over 2 sq. kms. and were formed as a result of the action of the waters of the Gosthani river on the limestone terrain. The fascinating stalagmite and stalactite structures in the caves are truly amazing.
Bheemunipatnam or Bheemli (24 kms.)
The historical town at the mouth of river Gosthani is said to be named after Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata epic. He is believed to have killed demon Bakasura over here and installed an idol of Lord Narasimha at the temple atop the Narasimha hill. Bheemli was under the Dutch atop Occupation during the 17th century and has some relics of a Dutch fort and skull-and-century here has tombs embossed with the skull-and-crossbones motif of the sea pirates. The tranquil Bheemunipatnam beach is very safe for swimmers.
Simhachalam (16 kms.)
Simhachalam or the Lion’s Hill’ is famous for the 11th century Varaha Lakshmi Narasimhaswami temple, one of the most important shrines of Lord Vishnu. Lord Narasimha – a combination of the Varaha and the Narasimha incarnations of Vishnu is the presiding deity and the idol is always covered with sandal paste. During handanayatra Festival (Mar. – Apr), the sandal paste is removed and the real shape of the idol is visible. It is also one of the best-sculpted shrines in Andhra Pradesh.