Visakhapatnam is a port city and a major industrial center in the south eastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the first Naval base of India, and also is home to the oldest shipyard in the country.
Visakhapatnam is often referred to as “Vizag”, and it is also known as the “City of destiny”.
Visakhapatnam is a city of many wonders – both natural and manmade. The place has various landmarks of historical significance. It is also a natural beauty, with many hills surrounding it, and being a coastal city, it has many scenic beaches and attractions related to the Navy life too. It also has India’s first rare earth minerals extraction plant and one of the most popular steel plants in the country!
The list of the city’s attractions and things to do are endless, but here are some of the most popular ones, to check out:
- Rama Krishna Beach (also known as R. K beach) – a favorite hanging spot for locals as well as tourists – has a great atmosphere, lots of food stalls and games for kids.
- Dolphin’s nose Light house – A lighthouse that is standing on the hill range; the portion of the lighthouse site on which is known as Dolphin’s Nose (as it is shaped like the nose of a dolphin, overlooking the entrance to Visakhapatnam Harbour).
- Vizag Steel Plant – A government owned steel producing/manufacturing facility; where visitors can take a tour and get an idea about the process – how steel is separated from alloy, melted, and processed.
- Rishikonda Beach – Another popular beach in Vizag, surrounded by green plants, golden sands and pristine waves of the Bay of Bengal. Located in the midst of emerald greenery, it requires people to travel up a hill. The beach and its surrounds are breath-taking and will be a delightful for every nature lover.
- Thotlakonda Buddhist Site – A Buddhist Complex that is situated on a hill (Thotlakonda) about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Visakhapatnam city.
- Simhachalam Temple – a Hindu temple situated on a Hill Range in the city that is 300 metres above the sea level.
- Borra Caves – One of the largest caves in the country, situated at an elevation of about 705 m (2,313 ft) in Araku Valley, near Visakhapatnam (has stalactites and stalagmites resembling brain shapes – hence giving it the name “borra” which translates to brain).
- Araku Valley – a hill station and valley region surrounded by the thick forests, in Visakhapatnam district 111 km away from Vizag city. A train can be taken to this place from Visakhapatnam city – which passes through a scenic trail with picturesque vies of the hills.
- Eraamatti Dibbalu – Red sand dunes (also known as red sand hills) situated at the outskirts of the city; identified as a National Geo-heritage Monument.
- Kailash Giri (or Kailasagiri)
- Dr.Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Central Park
- Vuda Park
- Tenneti Park
- Kambalakonda Eco Park
- Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary
Visakhapatnam also has some incredible museums where its heritage has been preserved through the years. Following are some museums to check out in the city to know more about its heritage:
- INS Kursura Submarine museum – India’s 5th submarine which had been part of many wars (like Indo-Pak war of 1971 and many more); It was preserved and turned into a museum).
- Visakha Museum
- Tu 142 Aircraft Museum
- Museum of Cinema
- Telugu Museum
- Araku Tribal Museum
Hinduism is the religion followed by a majority of Vizag’s population (more than 92%), followed by Islam (almost 4%), Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. These are some popular temples, churches and other religious centers in the city:
- Simhachalam Temple
- Kanakamahalakshmi Ammavari Temple
- Sri Satyanarayana Temple
- Lord Venkateswara Temple
- The Baba Ishq Madina
- The Ross Hill Church
- Buddhist Monastery on Thotlakonda (one of the hills surrounding the city)
For people who love to shop or want to take home souvenirs from this city, there are various places here to buy local things like handicrafts, jewelry, accessories, clothes etc. Some famous shopping spots in Vizag are:
- Old Book Market
- Kurupam Market
- Daba Gardens
- Nehru Bazaar
- Rama Talkies Road
- Jagadamba Centre
- CMR Central Shopping Mall
- ANR Shopping Mall
Visakhapatnam’s foods are mostly based on Andhra cuisine and are mostly highly spicy or use lots of coconuts (which are grown widely throughout the city and district), and the city has various street food delicacies to offer! These are some of the most popular foods to try in Visakhapatnam:
- Punugulu – deep fried balls of rice and white lentil batter, served with coconut and ginger chutneys (a breakfast/snack item).
- Chepala Pulusu – Freshly caught fish cooked in spicy tangy tamarind sauce.
- Bongulo chicken – A spicy chicken curry dish cooked and served uniquely in bamboo-sticks.
- Muri mixture – A mixture of puffed rice, peanuts, tomatoes, chilies, spices, chutneys and chopped raw onions; mostly sold on the beach side – a great snack to enjoy near the beach.
- Variety Dosas – Rice batter crepes (from food stalls) – freshly made, served with different combos of fillings, spreads or side dishes (like chutneys, vegetables, cheese, and so on).
Here are some popular eat-out spots in Visakhapatnam to try:
- Sri Sairam Parlour, Dwaraka Nagar
- Bakers Castle, Siripuram
- Zeeshan Restaurant, Jagadamba Center
- Raju’s kitchen, Seethammadhaara
- Mekong pan-Asian restaurant
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) Italian restaurant
- Hotel Novotel (rooftop cafe)
Visakhapatnam has many incredible hotels for a comfortable stay – in affordable range as well as luxurious ones. Some of the best hotels to stay at in Vizag are:
- Hotel Novotel Varun Beach (Beautiful sea view rooms)
- Hotel Dolphin
- Hotel Green Park Visakhapatnam
- The Park Visakhapatnam
- Hotel Daspalla Visakhapatnam
- Welcomhotel Devee Grand Ba
- Ginger Hotel (Gajuwaka)
- Meghalaya Hotel