Visakhapatnam Travel Guide

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Visakhapatnam (also known locally as Vizag) is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh. It is primarily an industrial city, but also attracts tourists due to its unspoilt sandy beaches and nearby scenic areas, such as the Araku Valley. Currently the city has a population of about 1,500,000.

Vizag is sometimes referred to as the "Goa of the east coast." Just like its west coast counterpart, it has beautiful virgin beaches, reddish laterite hillocks, smooth roads and stunning landscape. Health-tourism is a fast developing industry.Visakhapatnam is also referred to as a jewel on the Coramandel Coast, Steel city .

The people

The local population are mostly Telugu and Oriya who have moved to the area from nearby Orissa and Kalinga. In addition, there is a large population of migrant workers from other parts of India who have been drawn to the area by the abundance of work at locally based companies, such as Eastern Naval Command, Vizag Steel Plant and Hindustan Shipyard.

Get around
 See
 Beaches

More than anything else, Vizag is known for it's beaches. It boasts a number of beaches that are both scenic and uncrowded. A few virgin beaches span along the eastern side of the city and stretch for miles. Do not go swimming, however, as the water is quite polluted with industrial waste. A spectacular beach only the locals are aware of is called the "Yarada" beach. Unfortunately, except for the occasional RTC bus, there is no public transport available. Still, the adventurous will find it rewarding if they can make an effort to get there. Its a private beach coming under Agrigold plantations therefor you need to pay a fee of Rs. 10/- to get onto the beach, but its worth.

    * Ramakrishna Beach, also known as R.K. Beach.

Kali Temple at R.K. Beach
Kali Temple at R.K. Beach

R.K.Beach is the most popular beach in the sense that, you can find the locals hanging out during the hot summers, and relatively less hot winters. On weekends and holidays, one can see that the entire beach comes alive, but not in a western sense where people take a plunge in the water, or surf. You can see people dressed in their best clothes, just sitting on the benches, or walking along. CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming.

    * Rushikonda.

Located 11kms away from the city, this has become a popular tourist spot that even the locals frequent. A lot safer to wade into than the R.K. Beach, cradled among hills, this used to be an excellent beach away from the madding crowds. AP Tourism Development Corporation is having its Beach Resort (Punnami) on the hillside overlooking the beach. CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming in this beautiful beach.

    * Gangavaram.

Located 10 to 12 km away from city ,this is most beautiful beach ,Most interesting thing is we can see rock like structure in between see like a small island which attracts lot of people.Its a HOT spot for local people mostly lovers.

    * Bhimili

It is about 25 km from the city and is what used to be a small village also called Bheemunipatnam. Apart from the beach, the village has Portuguese remains in the form of a cemetery and a church.

The beaches are lovely, but, there are no activities like water sports, or beach cafes/restaurants/huts like you have in Goa. Recently a water sports centre was started in Rushikonda. There are very few beach resorts. Vizagites are traditionally quite conservative and though the beaches and the hills are beautiful, there is not much here to interest the average tourist. There has been some change in the recent times with the influx of employees of HSBC, HPCL, etc., and Naval Officers, who are interested in going out with their families and enjoying the golden sand and pollution free waters of Vizag's beaches.
 Other places

    * Kambalakonda.
      Kambalakonda Sanctuary
      Kambalakonda Sanctuary

A gorgeous nature preserve that many people in Vizag itself seem to be unaware of. The solitude and the peace that one can experience at Kambalakonda located within 20-25 minutes drive from the city center is priceless. A nominal entrance fee of 10 Rupees is charged per adult. The greenery, the hiking trail and the fantastic view of the ocean from the rather flimsy viewing tower give a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    * Jagadamba Center.

Also called Jagadamba junction. Can be considered as Downtown and is a must visit place. There is all forms of entertainment avilable here, from scenic beauty to the noisy crowds. All the famous shopping centers and malls can be found here. Named after the Jagadamba movie theatre, one of the best movie auditoriums of the country when it was constructed and even today.

    * Kailasa Giri

Ropeway Terminal
Ropeway Terminal

A local favourite, a short ride on to this hill gives you a spectacular view of the sea, RK.Beach and Rushikonda Beach on right and left hand side. There is a huge sculpture of Shiva and Parvathi. With a children's play area, a people-mover akin to a ski lift called a ropeway. Beautiful scenic view can be obtained from the ropeway, specially in the evening, when the city comes alive with all the lights. The up and down fare for the ropeway is Rs. 44.(As on Dec.2006). An under construction doll museum and a couple of eating areas, this hilltop gives a nice birds eye view of the city also. Has several "viewpoints" affording wonderful views of the city on one side and winding beaches adjoining green hills on the other side. Vistors often fall in love with the "beach" city especially after vistiting Kailasagiri.

    * War Memorial

There is a war memorial on remembrance of the victory at the sea on 1971 Indo pak war. It is situated on the left side of Beach Road, just opposite to the Submarine Museum. There is a fighter plane, a tank and few bombs/ missiles kept as exibits. There is no entry fee and can be viewed from the road.
War Memorial
War Memorial

    * Matsyadarshini Aquarium

This aquarium is situated on the left side of Kali temple of R.K. Beach. It has a good collection of marine as well as freshwater fishes. Entry fee is Rs. 20 per person.(As on Dec. 2006). The exit gate of the aquarium resembles the open mouth of a huge white tipped shark. 'Kala Shrusti' a handicrafts sales shop is on the top of the aquarium.

    * Araku Valley.

A beautiful resort which inludes Adventures, spa, watersports and health resort on the foot hills of Araku Valley: www.lakshyaworld.com

A little further away from the city, but worth visiting for the scenic valley. A slow, passenger train leaves the Vizag station early in the morning, and the train ride is actually very enjoyable. Definitely not a day trip, but the recently constructed APTDC facilities can serve as a decent over night stay. Padmavathi botanical gardens is worth taking a look at.

    * Borra Caves.

Inside Borra Caves
Inside Borra Caves

Reputedly fantastic caverns that had their native charm earlier (one had to crawl to get in), these caves have been modernized recently by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC).There is a entry fee of Rs. 25 in Borra Caves. Separate charges are there to enter with still or video camera.

    * Simhachalam

A must see on a trip to Visakhapatnam, for its architectural splendour although some of the sculptures were defaced during the Islamic invasions. The temple inscriptions date the earliest donors to the 10-11th centuries. The exact date of construction is unknown. It is located 15 kms from the city and is dedicated to the half man half lion avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple bears reference to the Chola and Chalukya styles of architecture.

    * Ross Hill

A unique site to see is the area around Ross hill which has three hills dedicated to three different faiths in proximity to the port. Ross Hill, named after a certain Monsieur Ross who built a house on it in 1864, it has now been converted into a chapel Mother Mary's Church. The pathway to the shrine strewn with Catholic icon. Darga Pahad has the tomb of the Muslim saint, Sayed Ali Medina alias Ishak Medina, visited by Hindu and Muslim devotees alike. Attached to this is a mosque. Sri Venkateswara Konda, the third hillock, has a temple dedicated to the Lord. It is believed to have been built by an Englishman, Captain Blackmoor, in the 19th century. From this hillock you can see the port channel, which was the entrance of the inner harbor for ships and liners.
 Museums

    * Submarine Museum
      Submarine-'Kursura'
      Submarine-'Kursura'
      is a one of its kind museum created in a real (now de-commisioned) submarine of Indian Navy.This is the first of its kind in eastern asia. This submarine is one of the earliest submarine procured from Russia. One gets to interesting facts of working in the submarine. The museum is manned by retired naval people. Entry fee for the museum is Rs.25 for the adults and there is a fee to take any camera or video camera inside.
    * Naval Museum is one more museum about maritime history of India. Again its a lovely museum displaying pictures, models and content of Indian maritime history.

    * Buddhist excavations Bojjana Konda, Thotla Konda, Bhavi Konda and Salihundam around Visakhapatnam were centres of Buddhism during the second century A.D. Several Buddhist monuments such as stupas and chaityas were erected at these places. It is said that some of the corporal relics of the Buddha were preserved at these places. Hence all these places became sacred places.
          o Bojjana Konda, near Sankaram village in the hamlet of Anakapalli, 40 km from Visakhapatnam, is one such place, where one can find architectural remnants of the Buddhist period, one of the earliest of its class in South India. It constitutes one of the most remarkable groups of Buddhist monuments dated from 200 B.C. to 700 A.D., found during excavations in 1906. On the eastern hill, there are a series of rock-cut caves, numerous groups of monolithic dagobas, standing on rock platform in tiers above each others and, crowning all, a rock-cut stupa with extensive structural remains. On the western side of the eastern hill is a stairway, partly rock-cut and partly structural, which leads up to a large double-storied cave. The cave is entered by a doorway and is flanked on each side by huge dwarapalas. The cave chamber is rectangular in shape and is divided into 20 compartments by four cross rocks of 16 massive pillars. In the centre is the rock-cut stupa standing on a square platform.

 Things you can do
Watersports at Rushikonda
Watersports at Rushikonda

The only entertainment in Vizag is going to the movies or Waltair club on Friday night (which is members only, so you cannot go if you are not a member), or of course going for a drive on the beach or visiting Rushikonda.

Vizag in truly an amazing city, and those interested in nightlife, visit Chrome. Chrome is the hottest night club in the city, and is the number one place to be on a saturday night.

Vizag is a city that is advancing fast, and with these new advancements, the local people of the city are smoothly adapting to the changes. For example, vizag recently got its first Cafe Coffee Day (a nationwide chain of coffeehouses that serve good coffee, food, and play music that attract customers), and within the first month of opening, the cafe was packed, and it was hard to find a table.

The last two years(2006 and 2007) have probably been the most improving and advancing years for Vizag(untill now which is the end of 2007), with the construction of new hotels, restaurants, museums, and clubs.

Vizag, the city of destiny, is truly worth visiting!'
 Buy

Vizag offers a reasonably large selection of stores selling clothing, jewellery, books, etc., While definitely not considered a shopper's paradise, Vizag offers some unique handicrafts and can be located by the Andhra Pradesh State owned handicraft store, Lepakshi. It has an impressive collection of sandalwood sculptures, etc.

Some popular stores are:

    * Chandana Brothers
    * vaibhav jewellers
    * Bommana Brothers
    * Kanaka Mahalakshmi
    * Karachiwala Departmental Stores (grocery and daily needs)
    * Lepakshi
    * Jyothi Book Depot
    * Rehin Sons
    * Pages
    * Spencers
    * Big Bazaar
    * CMR Shopping Mall
    * Kalaniketan
    * kankatala silk palace
    * sai jewellery house

Kankatala and Vaibhav have joined together to form the latest shopping mall in Vizag called V Square [9].

book lovers can go to the new book shop PAGES and guptha brothers on the jail road. enjoy the city!! There are many more just visit the city you will notice them
Eat

If, Spicy South Indian fare appeals to your gastronomic senses, then Vizag has some excellent restaurants.

    * Dasapalla (sleep also), +91 891 2564825 (fax +91 891 2562043)
    * Executive Court (sleep also), +91 891 2717300 (fax +91 891 2717444)
    * SUBWAY - Subs & Salads in Siripuram's Dutt Island, +91 891 278491

Drink

Some interesting bars in the city are in the Five Star hotels mentioned above and typically are expensive even by Western standards. The Park Hotel has a decent bar - try the Screwdriver. Daspalla has another bar and restaurant called 'Dimple' that serves various drinks and can be noisy at times.

Punnami,near rishikonda has pub very close to the beach and serves alcohol.

Chrome, 10 Downing Street and D2 are new pubs that are located in Siripuram.

Senora, a beach resort located on the outskirts, also boasts of a dance floor.
 Sleep

Vizag has both high end hotels affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.
Budget
Mid-range

    * 100 Residency (Value for Money Hotel), # 10-50-39/2,Opp. Axis Bank, Ramnagar Visakhapatnam. (Next to Waltair Club), ☎ +91-891-6634774 (99residency@gmail.com, fax: +91 891-2505545), [10]. Check in: 12 Noon; Check out: 12 Noon. starting from US$ 20 per night.

    * Dolphin, Tel. +91 891 2567000 (fax +91 891 2567555)
    * Green Park, +91 891 2564444 (fax +91 891 2563763)
    * Meghalaya, +91 891 2755141 (fax +91 891 2755824)
    * Royal Fort
    * The Grand Central Hotel (at Jagadamba Junction)
    * Hotel Supreme (At R.K.Beach)
    * Dwaraka Inn (At Dwaraka Nagar)
    * Jabely Beach Inn (+91 33 983030967272). Sea facing rooms

Splurge

    * Taj Residency Beach Road, +91 891 2567756 (fax: +91 891 2564370) residency.vizag@tajhotels.com [11]

    * The Park Beach Road, +91 891 2754488 (fax: +91 891 2754181) resv.viz@theparkhotels.com [12]

    * Grand Bay, Beach Road, Telephone +91 891 2560101 (fax +91 891 2550691)


Part or or all of this text stems from the original article at: http://wikitravel.org/en/Visakhapatnam

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