From a quaint fisherman’s village more than 13 centuries ago, Visakhapatnam or Vizag is a flourishing port city situated on the Bay of Bengal today. Visakhapatnam boasts of being one of the oldest and busiest ports in India, home to the Eastern Naval Command and one of the largest shipbuilding yards in the country. Situated 650 km from Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam is a popular weekend getaway for neighboring city dwellers owing to its picturesque beaches like the Ramakrishna Beach, scenic landscapes such as in Araku Valley, and revered temples like Simhachalam.
A unique blend of hills and sea, Visakhapatnam can be divided into four regions – upland tracks, hilly region, plains, and rolling plains and is one of the few cities in India to have almost 30 km of the seafront and hilly regions. Out of which Kailas and Yarada hills form the main hilly regions, with the former stretching from Simhachalam to MVP Colony on the northern part of Visakhapatnam.
1. Yarada beach
Surrounded by the hills on three sides and the Bay of Bengal on the other, Yarada is a secluded yet popular beach for tourists. It provides a perfect scenic picnic spot with the lush green hills adorning the beach from three sides and is usually crowded during weekends. The best time to visit Yarada Beach is early morning or early evening, where you can escape the harsh sun of the city.
Bheemunipatnam is a long coastline, and very popular with the weekend crowd. At a distance of 25 km, it is barely an hour’s drive from Visakhapatnam. Bheemunipatnam is known to be one of the oldest municipalities in India. Bheemunipatnam has recently celebrated its 140 years of its creation in 2001 as it was the very first municipality on Indian soil to be established on 9th February 1861. Its origin though dates back to the 16th century.
3. Erra matti dibbalu
In Telugu, Erra Matti Dibbalu means ‘red mud hillocks’ and they are 15 meter naturally formed ravines. More than a million years old, Erra Matti Dibbalu is surrounded by the seas and thick forest cover. To the south of Bheemunipatnam and along the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Erra Matti Dibbalu runs a length of 4kms and is 2kms wide.
4. INS Kursura
A famous landmark in Visakhapatnam, the INS Kursura boasts of being the first museum of its kind in South-East Asia. This is an attempt by the Indian Navy to create awareness about the life and work of submariners and how they man the vessel under ocean depths. Maintained by the VUDA authorities, INS Kursura is located on the Rama Krishna Beach (RK Beach) against the scenic backdrop of the Bay of Bengal.
Kailasgiri is a hilltop park that is accessible by road or ropeway. Though you can drive up the route to the top, the ropeway is an added excitement and adds to the thrill since you can see the Bay of Bengal as you go higher.
6. Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
This 625-acre zoological park is covered by the lush green Eastern Ghats on three sides and the Bay of Bengal on the other and the park was open for public viewing on 19th May 1977. Adjoining the Kambalakonda reserve Forest, this zoological park is home to more than 80 species of birds, animals, and reptiles in their natural habitat. This zoo is a pleasant change from small cramped up ‘zoos’ where the animals are caged in total confinement with no room for mobility.
7. Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary
Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary was named after a hillock Kambalakonda in Visakhapatnam. This forest reserve was earlier owned by the Maharajah of Vizianagaram which was later handed over to the state Forest Department in March 1970. Kambalakonda spans across 7,139 hectares and was once known for its high leopard population. Situated very close to the NH 5, it borders the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park as well.
8. Dolphin’s nose
An enormous single hillock standing at a height of 175 meters resembles the nose of a dolphin is a landmark in Visakhapatnam. Strategically located 358 meters above sea level and protruding towards the sea, it houses the Visakhapatnam lighthouse. It is stationed at the Dolphin’s Nose to guide ships as far as 65 km away.
9. Rama Krishna Beach (RK Beach)
Rama Krishna Beach or the RK Beach is the main beach of Visakhapatnam. It is believed that the temple of Vaisakeswara constructed by the Kulottunga Chola I during the 11th and 12th century was located in the southern part of Lawson’s Bay, a secluded beach spot close to the RK Beach en route to Kailasgiri.
10. Simhachalam Temple
This 11th-century temple of Simhachalam, at a height of 244 meters, is the most revered of Visakhapatnam’s shrines. Dedicated to Narasimha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, is believed to be the second richest temple in South India after Tirupati! Simhachalam is one of the eight shrines of Narasimha in the country. Just 18 km away from the city, this place is usually flooded with devotees who at times come walking from their homes to pay their respects. Unlike most temples, the entrance of Simhachalam faces West, as it is believed to bring victory.
Visakhapatnam’s commercial port handles the largest number of cargo in the country and is famous for it’s Vizag Steel Plant, which is 26 km away from the city center. The Vizag Steel Plant is known to be one of the lowest-cost steel manufacturers in the world.
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Frequently asked Questions about Visakhapatnam
Q. What are the best places to visit in Visakhapatnam?
Kailasagiri: Start your day with a trip to Kailasagiri, the stunning hilltop park that offers a stunning bird’s eye view of the city. Spread across 380 acres of land, the Kailasagiri hilltop park is one of the most recommended tourist spots in Vizag. You can get a stunning view of the sea and surrounding mountains from the viewpoint, located at an elevation of 173 meters.
Ramanaidu Film Studios: Head straight to the Ramanaidu Film Studios on Beach Road in Vizag. The studio, located on a hilltop, is set against the stunning backdrop of the gleaming sea. The studio has been the nub for some of the renowned regional and national movies.
Rushikonda Beach: Get ready to sun yourself on the most famous beach in Vizag, the Rushikonda beach. You will find the beach buzzing with a lively crowd of people all-round the year. It is a great place to try out adventure sports like parasailing, scuba diving, speed-boating and more.
Vuda Park: After all the fun activities at the beach, you can snack up at Vuda Park. The park also has a skating rink and a fountain. You can sit in peace and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of the surroundings before you resume with your adventurous escapade around the city.
Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex: Do not miss out the Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex, a 2000 years old Buddhist establishment, located at a hilltop (elevation 128 meters) near Bheemunipatnam. The Buddhist monastery complex was discovered by the Indian Navy during an aerial survey. It is estimated that the complex was a home to more than 100 bikkhus before its decline by the end of 3rd century.
Dolphin Nose Point LightHouse: Make your way to the Dolphin’s Nose Point and explore the lighthouse on the hilltop. From the lighthouse, you can make your way to the Yarada Beach. If you do not enjoy crowded beaches, this unspoiled natural beach can be a quick escape for the crowd of tourists in other beaches in Vizag.
Simhachalam Temple: Another point of interest in Vizag that you just cannot miss is the Simhachalam Varaha Laxmi Temple located at a distance of 30 minutes from the main city. The temple, located at the hilltop is sure to leave you gasping in awe at the beauty. Visit the temple to collect and count your blessings from the Divine.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park: The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, situated amidst the Kambalakonda Reserve Forest, is a sight to see. Covering an area of 625 acres, the zoological park accommodates 850+ animals across 75 distinct species. The zoological park is a pollution free area which makes a great picnic spot.
Araku Valley: The Araku Valley is the final destination in the journey that you can cover in a day. Visit the Borra Caves, the deepest naturally formed caves in India and tour of Tyda Park and Katiki Waterfalls on the way. Araku Village also has various points of interest like the Tribal Museum, Coffee Museum and the botanical gardens.
Q. What are the best things to do in Visakhapatnam?
See the inside of a real submarine: Visit the submarine museum near the RK Beach. The museum is built inside of INS Kurusura, a Kalvari-class submarine of the Indian Navy which was decommissioned in the year 2001. You can get a guided tour of the submarine by a Navy Personnel and see the life of the Naval Officers inside the submarine.
Right next to the INS Kurusura museum is the TU 142 Aircraft museum which is simply referred to as the Aircraft Museum. The aircraft retired in the year 2017 and has been attracting tourists and feeding their knowledge about fighter aircrafts.
Engage in water sports in Rushikonda Beach: Choose your favorite sport from among the ones available on the beach including parasailing, windsurfing, water skiing, ATV rides, and jet skiing. If you are eager to get a taste of the authentic seafood, there are various restaurants near the beach that will serve freshly prepared seafood at the best price.
Stroll around the beautiful RK Beach: The tranquil surrounding, the roaring sound of waves and the mesmerizing hues of the evening sky at the RK beach will leave you in a state of euphoria. If you are vigilant enough, you will be able to spot the lighthouse on the Dolphin’s Nose Point.
Explore the wonders of aquatic life at Matsyadarshini Aquarium: Visit Matsyadarshini on the RK Beach Road and know about some of the most exotic fishes in the world. The museum boasts of having a great collection of various imported fishes from Malaysia, Singapore and Amazon. Some of the notable species of fishes are the clown fish, stingrays, piranhas, and arowana fish.
Cherish walking through one of the bustling port complexes in India in the Vizag port. You can also shop for some freshly caught fish at the port too.
Q. What is the best time to visit Vizag?
Vizag welcomes tourists all-round the year. But the best time to visit the city is between the months of October to March. Being a port city, Vizag enjoys a moderate temperature throughout the year. The winters are not excessively cold and thus, the weather during the months of winter is favorable for travel.
You can also enjoy various events and local beach festivals in Vizag during the time of New Year. Therefore, the ideal season to visit Vizag is winters.
Q. What is Visakhapatnam famous for?
Visakhapatnam is one of the oldest port cities in India. It is also the administrative headquarters of the District and serves as the state headquarters of the Indian Coast Guard. It is one among the largest metropolitan cities in India and is a educational and industrial capital in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The city is also famous as a tourist destination owing to its splendid geographical location.
Q. Is Visakhapatnam worth visiting?
Visakhapatnam is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in India. The zestful city of Vizag offers a variety of visual and spiritual retreats to its visitors. There is an abundance of things to do and see in Vizag. It makes a great weekend getaway.
Q. Why is Visakhapatnam known as Vizag?
The city is named after the Visweswara Temple which had submerged inside the sea in time. Locals in the city named it ‘Vizagapatam.’ Thus, Vizag is the shorter version of the name that became popular with the tourists.
Q. How many rivers are there in Visakhapatnam?
The city of Visakhapatnam does not have any river flowing through it. However there are 21 rivers and lakes around Vizag. Among these 21 rivers are the River Nagavali, River Gosthani, and River Gambhiram Gedda.
Q. How many days are enough in Vizag?
2-3 days is the ideal duration of a trip in Vizag. You can take a day to all the points of interest in Vizag city. Additionally, you will need a day more to take a trip to the Araku Valley and other points of interest like Tyda Park and Borra Caves.
Q. What food is famous in Visakhapatnam?
There are various South-Indian relishes that you can try in Vizag including muri mixture, a popular street food found mostly on the beach side, punugulu, a snack made out of daal and rice batter, dosa and idli. The Bongu Chicken or Bamboo Chicken in Araku is a must try for all tourists.
Q. What are the famous beaches in Visakhapatnam?
Vizag has scores of golden-sand beaches and each one of them is certainly different from the other. Listed below are some of the most popular beaches in Vizag:
RK Beach: The RK Beach is situated at the heart of the city. Since the beach is the most accessible one for the locals, you will find a swarm of tourists on the beach all-round the year. Nevertheless, the beach is quite clean and it is great for a stroll in the evening.
Rushikonda Beach: The Rushikonda beach is arguably the most famous beach in Vizag. It offers a great deal of adventure activities for the tourists to engage in. You can also try out delicious sea food from eateries around the beach.
Yarada Beach: Located between the Dolphin’s Nose Point Lighthouse and Appikonda Beach is the Yarada Sea Beach. Due to its remote location, this beach attracts much less crowd as compared to other sea beaches. However, if you would like to spend some alone time near the sea, you can head to the Yarada Sea Beach.
Q. What are the best places to stay in Vizag?
Green Park Hotel: Located at the Waltair Road, the Green Park Hotel is one of the most sought-after hotels in Vizag. The hotel provides its guests with various facilities and amenities such as free parking, air conditioning, swimming pool, gym and airport transfer.
Fairfield by Marriott Visakhapatnam: Situated at a distance of 4.5 KM from the city center, the Fairfield treats its guests with clean rooms, equipped with all the basic necessities. You also get amenities and facilities like free wifi, bicycle rental, swimming pool, free breakfast and golf course.
Q. Are tourist places open in Vishakhapatnam during the pandemic?
Yes, a majority of the places in Vishakhapatnam are welcoming tourists presently and you can plan a trip to many parts of India amidst the pandemic. Carry your sanitizer and face masks at all times and remember that social distancing is mandatory.
Q. What is famous in Visakhapatnam for shopping?
When you’ll visit the city of Vizag, you’ll find a never-ending variety of Saris. Moreover, the city is also famous for the unique handicrafts, wooden toys, and Kalamkari paintings.
Q. Where is Araku Valley?
Araku Valley is an astounding hill station that is located in Visakhapatnam district and lies nearly 111 kilometers west to Visakhapatnam city.
Q. Is Visakhapatnam worth visiting?
Visakhapatnam is well known for impeccable beaches and enormous monuments. The place is a commercial hub of Andhra Pradesh and offers one of the best shopping experiences in the state.
Q. What is the best time to visit Vizag?
Summers are quite hot in Vizag, making weather uneasy for sightseeing and other excursions. However, you can plan a visit between October and March for a perfect vacation in Vizag. The weather remains comfortable and pleasing during these months.
Q. Which is the best market in Visakhapatnam?
There are many markets in Visakhapatnam purveying the best shopping experiences. The following are the most popular markets in Visakhapatnam: Old Book Market, CMR Shopping Mall, Jagdamba Center, Lepakshi Handicrafts, Kurupam, Daba Gardens, and SR Shopping Mall.
Q. What can I eat in Visakhapatnam?
If you are interested in grabbing the local food of Visakhapatnam then you must surely try the following food items while staying here: Muri Mixture, Tomato Bajji, Punugulu, Dosa, Liver Kebab, Idli, Masala Batani and Bongu Chicken.
Q. Are there any temples in Visakhapatnam?
Yes, there are plenty of temples in Visakhapatnam including Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha, Kanaka Maha Lakshmi, Sampath Vinayagar and Brahmalingeshwara temple.