Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, popularly known as Vizag, is a booming industrial city on the east coast of India. It is located on the eastern shore of India nestled among the Eastern Ghats Hill Ranges and facing the Bay of Bengal on the East.The port city with the biggest ship building yard in India, is also the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command. The beautiful city with its twin town Waltair, forms a harmonious blend of majestic hills, valleys and golden beaches along the Bay of Bengal coastlineIn addition to being a major port handling high volume of cargo, it has developed oil refining, fertilizer, petro-chemical, steel plant, sugar refining and jute industries.
History of Visakhapatnam
According to the history, the city was named after the god of Valor-Vishakha. It was a part of the Kalinga Kingdom, under Ashoka’s rule in 260 B.C. It passed on later to the Andhra Kings of Vengi. After this Pallava, Chola and Ganga dynasties ruled the city. In the 15th century, Vishakhapatnam became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire.
The Europeans, the Dutch, the French and the English established themselves from the 17th century onwards and used this as a major trading center to export textiles, ivory, tobacco, indigo etc. This port is well documented in the histories of these colonial powers as well as in Indian historical records. This coast played a major role during the reign of the Asaf Jahis and the Golcondas.
Visakhapatnam tourist attractions
Dolphin’s Nose, the rocky promontory with a cliff rising 174m above the sea is the most prominent sight in Vizag. It also shelters the harbour, from where manganese and iron ore are shipped out. The lighthouse here has a beam visible more than 60km out to sea.
The fort, constructed in 1661 by the Dutch forms the oldest part of the city. It is separated from the Dolphins Nose, by a small river which forms a sandbar. Here the remains of barracks, an arsenal, the Court House, a protestant church and cemetery can be seen. The cemetery has some European graves dating back to 1699. The fort was completely ruined.
Sri Venkateswara Konda
Sri Venkateswara Konda or hill on the south, has a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara. It is believed to have been built by an European Captain Blackmoor, in 1866. This temple has a small steeply pyramidal entrance gopura. The port channel, the entrance of the inner harbor for ships and liners can be seen from here.
Mother Mary’s Church
The central and the highest Ross Hill, named after a Monsieur Ross who built a house on it in 1864, has now been converted into a Roman Catholic Mother Mary’s Church. The pathway to the church is lined with shrines of the stages of the cross. There were excellent views of the ship building yard from here.
The north hill Darga Konda, has a mosque and the mausoleum of the Muslim saint, Baba Ishaq Madina, revered for his prophecies and venerated by Hindu and Muslim devotees alike.
Rama Krishna Beach
Rama Krishna Bech is located 5km from the centre of Visakhapatanam. This beach occupying the largest part of the seafront, is a great spot to spend time leisurely. The R.K. Beach was jointly developed by the Municipal Corporation of Visakhapatnam (MCV) and the VUDA. The submarine museum here is one of its kind in the country. Sri Ramakrishna mission Ashram is located nearby.
Lawson’s Bay Beach
Another important beach in the city, Lawsons Bay Beach has beautiful golden sands and lush green vegetation.
Rishikonda beach and Resort
Located 13kms. from Visakhapatnam on the Visakhapatnam- Bheemulipatnam beach road, is Rishikonda, a thickly covered hill. The lovely beach here with golden sands is the best beach in Vizag. It is ideal for water skiing, wind surfing and swimming. The tourist complex here is well equipped with a tourist lodge, individual rental cottages, a restaurant and other amenities. The 14th century Sri Sapta Rusheswara Temple surrounded by seven hills is located here.
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, 6km from the city centre spread over 425 Acres of land, has over 400 varieties of animals. This is one of the largest Zoo Park in Andhra Pradesh. The well planned layout of the zoo has different enclosures for primates, carnivores, lesser carnivores, small mammals and birds close to their natural habitats. There is a mini-train to facilitate watching of wild life.
Vuda or Taraka Rama Park, located on the Sun and Sea beach has boating and swimming facilities, a roller skating rink, artificial caves, beautiful long lawns, flower gardens and a children’s park. The Playpen for children here has plastic balls and boxing bags. There is also a Musical Fountain.
Kailasagiri Hill Park
Kailasagiri park is situated at an altitude of 360ft. on Mount Kailash, a charming hillock on the sea front bordering a small valley within the city. The magnificent statues of Shiva- Parvathi are illuminated at night and is worth seeing. The Shanku Chakra Naama which symbolizes the image of Lord Vishnu in its pristine form, fully lighted at night is visible from most parts of the city. The park gives an enchanting view of the sea, beaches, lush green forests and the bustling city. Kailasagiri is a gliders paradise with excellent gliding facilities. Situated at an altitude of 130 mts., the gliding point provides ample opportunities to test the gliding skills of the gliders.
Located on the Beach road, Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation museum has historical treasures and artifacts of the region. The museum is housed in 150 year old architecturally impressive Dutch Bungalow. The collections include ancient armory, crockery, coins, silk costumes, jewelry, stuffed animals, portraits, Shell of an unexploded bomb dropped by the Japanese during World War II, manuscripts, letters, diaries, scrap books as well as periodicals, maps etc which chronicle the lives of the early settlers.
INS Karasura, a Russian built submarine was turned to a museum on 27th Feb 2001. The Submarine was brought from the sea, to the sands of the Ramakrisna Beach and set up as a museum- one of its kind in Asia. It had been in use by the Indian Defence since its arrival in Vizag in 1970.
Bheemili or Bheemulipatnam
Bheemulipatnam popularly known as ‘Bheemili’ is located at a distance of 24
Kilometers North east of Visakhapatnam. Once a Dutch settlement, the 17th century ruins of a fort and cemetery built by the Dutch are seen here. The cemetery at the mouth of the river Gosthani has some tombs embossed with the
skull and cross bones motif of sea pirates. The beautiful beach at Bheemili is considered to be one of the safest and calmest for swimmers. The beach and invigorating climate coupled with the pleasantness provided by the lush green palm groves makes it a popular sea side resort. There is a small shrine on the top of a hill dedicated to Lord Narasimha.
Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary
Kondakarla Bird Sanctuary is located in lush green surroundings 40 Kms from Visakhapatnam. The sanctuary has a rich variety of bird species. The area has one of the biggest fresh water lakes in the state.
The million year-old limestone Borra Caves, is situated at about 56 miles north of Vizag. The caves, at a height of 1400 mts above sea level and occupying an area of 2 square kilometers is filled with fascinating stalagmite and stalactite formations of calcium deposits. The Gosthani river flows through the caves between the formations. The caves were discovered in1807 by William King George of the Geological Survey of India.
Among the formations can be found a ‘Shivalingam’ and an idol of a cow (Kamadhenu) which has given a religious significance to it. The caves are beautiful and are brightly illuminated. The best time to visit the caves is November- December. The Train journey from Vizag to the caves through the thick vegetation of the Eastern ghats is splendid.
The Aruku Valley
The Aruku valley, situated 30km north from Borra caves is home to a number of tribal communities. It is a beautiful valley with pleasant climate, lush greenery, waterfalls and streams. The tribal wear colourful dresses and their songs and dances are spectacular.
Tyda Nature camp
Tyda Nature camp is located 75 kms from Visakhapatnam on the Araku road. The nature camp has facilities for rock climbing, trekking and target shooting with bow & arrows. It is home for a variety of animals and birds. With the help of naturalists or guides in the camp, one can learn the language of the jungle viz., identification of calls, marks etc. and understanding interesting features of various flora and fauna of eastern ghats.