The largest city in Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam district is also known as Vizag. Mostly, it is an industrial city but its white sand beaches and proximity to scenic areas like Araku Valley has given a boost to Vishakhapatnam tourism. The city has also been called as the Goa of the east and that is primarily all thanks to its virgin beaches, laterite hillocks and an amazing landscape.
On another note, the city is gaining prominence as a health tourism destination. Though the local language spoken is Telugu there is a vast confluence of different communities residing. Thanks to Vizag being an important business location a large number of migrant workers have shifted base. Vizag can be reached by air transport from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi etc. For the rest, the extensive railway network proves helpful in acting as a connecting link.
For those who are unaware Vizag also has an ancient Buddhist connection. It is believed that in 5th Century BC the city was part of Kalinga kingdom. Relics excavated in the region show a connection between Buddhism and Vizag. The city is surrounded by Buddhist sites which are proof of the legacy of Buddhism.
Places to visit in Vishakhapatnam
Kailash Hill– Located at a distance of 6 kilometres from the city centre the Kailash Hill allows you to have a spectacular view of the city. Its beaches and the Eastern Ghats as they merge into the sea. Apart from the park, there is a Toy Train which lets you delve deep into the intricacies of nature and its beauty. You would find many such exciting points which are a glimpse into the picturesque beauty of the location.
Araku Valley– There is only one train from Vizag that takes you to Araku Valley and that leaves the station at 06:50 in the morning. The Araku Valley comprises of Anantgiri and Sunkarimetta reserved forests. These are a rich source of varied flora and fauna and also a favoured location for bauxite mining. There is no dearth of tourist places in Araku Valley as the location is a hill station of its own. You can visit the Borra caves, Katiki falls, Tribal museum and Chaparai water cascade.
Kailasgiri– One ride towards this hill gives you a magnificent view of the sea flanked by the RK and Rushikonda beaches on the right and left-hand sides respectively. You have a children’s play area and a ropeway using which you can take a ride from one side to another. The hilltop has a dolls museum and some amazing eateries and is the best location to get a bird’s eye view of the entire city.
Ross hill– The area around the Ross is famous for having three holy places related to three different faiths. Monsieur Ross built a house on this hill which was later changed into the Mother Mary chapel. Next door is the Darga Pahad which is dedicated to a famous Muslim saint Sayed Ali Medina. Whereas the third shrine is a Lord Venkateshwara temple and was built by an Englishman Captain Blackmoor
Matsyadarshini Aquarium-Located on the left side of the Kali temple near the R.K beach the Aquarium is home for various freshwater and marine fishes. There is an entry fee of 20 Rupees per person and its exit gate is known to resemble the wide mouth of a white tipped shark.
Kambalkonda– This is an exquisite nature preserve which probably is not quite well known off yet. The Kambalkonda is located at a distance of around 20-25 minutes’ drive from the city centre and is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a hiking trail and the view of the ocean is definitely splendid.
Simhachalam– The precise date of the construction of this masterpiece temple is quite unknown yet it attracts tourists to itself. Some of the idols have been defaced during past Islamic invasions however the inscriptions convey stories of a glorious past indeed. Located at a distance of 15 kilometres from the city the Simhachalam is dedicated to the Lion avatar of Lord Vishnu. One visit here is essential as the architectural style of the temple incorporates both Chalukya and Chola style if architecture.
Bojjana Konda- Just 40 kilometres from the city of Vizag is a museum for viewing fine relics of the Buddhist era. You can have a look at all the Buddhist monuments which have been excavated. On one side you will see rock-cut caves, monolithic dagobas and a stupa with only its structural remains.
War memorial – The 1971 war memories have not slipped from anyone’s mind. On the beach road, there is a war memorial dedicated to whatever transpired. You can have a look at fighter plane, replica of missiles and a tank which have been displayed as exhibits there.
Beaches– Vizag has some of the finest beaches in India and if you visit the city you just cannot miss spending some time in the golden sand. Bhimli beach, Gangavarm beach, R.K.Beach and Rishikonda are some of the famous Vishakhapatnam beaches that are a must visit for tourists. The Yarada beach is considered to be a private beach but that is not so. For a nominal fee, you can get permission to enter the location. You can visit the beach either using a bus or hire a cab for the same. There is a dolphin nose and you get a pristine view of the sea, city and beaches from its top.
Best time to visit Vishakhapatnam
Winters i.e. from December to March is the best time to visit Vizag. During this time the day temperature stays at a moderate 30 degrees while night temperatures can be around 16 degrees. This makes it quite pleasing to roam around the beaches as well as the picturesque locations without getting affected by the weather.
Summers (April-June) in Vizag can be extremely hot and temperatures can cross the 40-degree mark. Hence sightseeing at that time is quite a difficult thing to do. June end sees Vizag facing an onslaught of the monsoons. This leads to very heavy rains till the monsoon retreats another time when coming here would not be a pleasant experience. In the months of October/November the city is prone to be affected by cyclonic winds and hence those months are also not recommended.
How to reach Vishakhapatnam
By air– The Vishakhapatnam airport is located at a distance of nearly 8 km from the city centre and it is connected to all the major cities of India. Quite many domestic and international carriers operate their flight services from here. There are regular flights to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. International carriers like Silk air and Malindo Air provide flights to and fro destinations like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
By Road-The city has a wide road network and it is easy to travel by road. All major cities can be accessed through this network. State and private buses operate from the city and provide an easy transport method to cities like Vijayawada, Chennai and Hyderabad.
By train– At a distance of 12 km from the city centre is the Vishakhapatnam railway station and it has frequent trains plying from cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. The station is well maintained and you find ample taxis and cabs to provide you with a means of reaching your destination inside the city.