|- Governing body||Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal corporation|
|- Executive Wing||B.N.Vishnu|
|- Delibrative Wing||Pulusu Janardhana Rao|
|- Land||208.5 sq mi (540 km2)|
|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|- Density||6,884.2/sq mi (2,658/km2)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Visakhapatnam pronunciation (help·info) (Telugu: విశాఖపట్నం) (also Vizag, shortened and anglicised: Visakha/Vizag or Vizagapatam/Vizag City) is a coastal, port city, often called "The Jewel of the East Coast", situated in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, located on the eastern shore of India, nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal to the east. It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam District and is also home of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
Visakhapatnam (Vizag) is second largest city of Andhra Pradesh with an area of 550 km². It is primarily an industrial city, apart from being a port city. It is also home to the Eastern Naval Command.
The Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) will get a new master plan consequent to the increase in its purview from 1,700 sq. km. to 5,500 sq. km. The earlier master plan was approved by the government in 2006. VUDA’s jurisdiction has been expanded in mid-2008.
The city sometimes goes by its now mostly defunct colonial British name, Waltair. During the colonial era, the city's hub was the Waltair railway station, and that part of the city still is still called Waltair. It is sometimes referred to as the "City of Destiny".
Visakhapatnam is home to several state-owned heavy industries, one of the most advanced steel plants and has one of the country's largest ports and its oldest shipyard. It has the only natural harbour on the eastern coast of India.
The city is said to have derived its name Visakhapatnam from the king who ruled this part with name 'Visakha Varma' (the former King of present Visakhapatnam/Vizag). 'Patnam' is the Telugu word for city.
Visakhapatnam or the place of Visakha, is named after the deity of valor, the second son of Lord Shiva. The other story is that the beauty of the place was compared to the beauty of Sakhi Visakha. The legend is that Radha and Visakha were born on the same day and equally beautiful. The city people believe that an Andhra king, impressed by the beauty, built a temple to pay obeisance to his family deity, Visakha.
The city has been mentioned in the Indian epics Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata, as well as the forests of the Eastern Ghats where the two brothers Rama and Lakshmana wandered in search of Sita, wife of Lord Rama. According to the epics, Rama formed his army of monkey men in the region with the help of Hanuman and Jambavan. The monkey army of Rama later defeated the demon King RAVAN to claim back his wife Sita. An episode of Mahābhārata when Bheema killed the demon Bakasura, was believed to have happened in the village karmanvati, just 25 miles from the city.
The religious Hindu texts mention that the region of Visakhapatnam in the 5th century BC was part of the vast Kalinga territory which extended up to the Godavari River. The relics found in the area also prove the existence of a Buddhist empire in the region. Kalinga later lost the territory to King Ashoka in the bloodiest battle of the time which prompted him to embrace Buddhism.
The territory of Viskahapatnam then came under the Andhra rulers of Vengi. Then Chalukyas, Pallavas ruled over the placid land. The Chola kings built the temples in the city in 11-12 century AD as established by archeological findings. The Mughals ruled this area under the Hyderabad Nizam in the late 15th and early 16th century. European merchants from France, Holland and the East India Company used the natural port to export tobacco, ivory, muslin and other textile products.
Local legend states that an Andhra king, while on his way to Benares, rested there and was so enchanted with the sheer beauty of the place. He ordered a temple to be built in honor of his family deity, Visakha. Archaeological sources however reveal that the temple was possibly built between the 11th and 12th centuries by the Cholas. A shipping merchant, Sankarayya Chetty, built one of the mandapams (pillared halls) of the temple. Although it no longer exists (it may have been washed away about a hundred years ago by a cyclonic storm), elderly residents of Vizag talk of visits to the ancient shrine by their grandparents. Noted author Ganapatiraju Atchuta Rama Raju contradicted this.
In the 18th century, Visakhapatnam was part of the Northern Circars, a region comprising Coastal Andhra and southern costal Orissa that was initially under French control and later the British. Visakhapatnam became a district in the Madras Presidency of British India. In September 1804, British and French squadrons fought the naval Battle of Vizagapatam off the harbour. After India's independence it was the biggest district in the country and was subsequently divided into the three districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam.
The city has the tomb of the Muslim saint Syed Ali Ishak Madina, located atop the dargah-hill near the harbour in old city, which is dated to 18th century, where Hindus make vows at it as often as Muslims. The saint is considered to be all potent over the elements in the Bay of Bengal. Many old residents say that every vessel passing the harbour inwards or outwards used to salute the saint by hoisting and lowering its flag three times, and that many ship-owners offer chadar at the shrine after a successful voyage.
From a small fishing village in the 20th century, Visakhapatnam has grown into an mega-industrial hub. Its saga began when the British needed a suitable port that could serve move the rich mineral wealth from the countryside. Unlike the western coast of India, the east coast has natural harbours. Vizag is the most protected natural harbour in Asia. They started building the harbour in 1927; in 1933 it was opened to traffic.
One important milestone is the setting up of the Scindia Steam Navigation Co., later known as Hindustan Shipyard Ltd in 1940. With the construction of the K.K. line connecting the iron ore mines of Bailadila in M.P. (present day Chattisgarh), its importance grew. In the 1950s and 1960s the government and the private sector set up large scale basic industries like Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels (B.H.P.V.), Hindustan Zinc Ltd., Caltex oil refinery (later acquired by government as H.P.C.L.), Coromandel fertilizers, and Andhra Polymers (now LG Polymers). The 1980s saw a major development with the development of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and other major industries. Economic liberalization in the 1990s brought a modest growth to the city but not as much as it did to Hyderabad. However, some industries sprang up like Rain Calcining Ltd., expansion of HPCL, setting up of Vizag Export Processing Zone, and the Simhadri Thermal Power plant of N.T.P.C. Visakhapatnam was declared one of ten fastest growing cities of the world in a recent study conducted by the United Nations.
Due to the presence of the Eastern Naval Command, Steel Plant and H.P.C.L., the city has been the home to people from different parts of the country and due to this the city has a cosmopolitan nature.
The city's main commercial and shopping centres are in the Dwarakanagar-R.T.C. complex area and Jagadamda Junction area. Since 2000, the Dwarakanagar-R.T.C. complex area has transformed into a commercial hub with new shopping malls and complexes springing up within a radius of 2-3 kilometers. The city is home to many five-star hotels such as Taj group, ITC-WelcomGroup and Park Hotels.
There has been a rise in the real estate prices attributed to the Telangana movement for a separate Telangana state, fueling speculation that Visakhapatnam will become the next capital. Recently various large and small software and BPO companies have announced plans for starting development and outsourcing centres in Vizag, which has also contributed to the rise in real estate prices. Inflows from Non-resident Indians (NRIs) from Vizag have further added to this rise.
The city also owes its economic growth to the availability of an educated English-speaking workforce. English is the first language in many places of higher education in the city. This availability of a highly educated workforce allowed the entry of many B.P.O. companies such as HSBC, thus providing the roots for the beginning IT/ITES industry in the city. The city registered over 100% growth in the I.T. sector over the last year, contributing millions of dollars to the economy. The city has around 50 small and medium software and call centre units, of which about 10 units started their operations during the year 2005-07. Software exports from the Visakhapatnam in 2007 were worth Rs. 245 crores - an increase of over 100% over the previous year. Various national and international I.T. and banking giants have set up or will be setting up offices in the city. These include Satyam,Tata Consultancy Services, HSBC,Wipro,Cognizant Technology Solutions,Oracle Corporation, ABN AMRO,Patni Computer Systems,Hexaware Technologies, iSOFT, Sankhya Technologies,Infosys, iFlex, HCL Technologies, EDS, Datasoft Comnet Pvt. Ltd., Sutherland Global Services, Kenexa,E Centric Solutions Pvt Ltd,OpenWindow Technologies Inc. and Kanbay. The Andhra Pradesh government provided infrastructure and land for these companies to set up their development centers in the city outskirts. many Vizag-based SME's that have been providing IT and ITES services such as Symbiosys Technologies, Xinthe Technologies, NuNet Technologies, Sankhya Technologies, Patra, Acclaris, Samudra Software, etc. Many of these companies have formed an association called VITA (Visakhapatnam Information Technology Association) to help promote IT in Vizag as well as bridge the Industry-Institution gap. To help companies in and around Visakhapatnam build their human capital, companies like Conduira and IndiGenius have been providing Human Resource (HR) consulting services such as recruitment, temporary staffing and training.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park was set up in 1972 in the city outskirts. The Zoo Park features some of the rarest species in India.
Many battles have been fought in the city during such conflicts as World War II, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was only the second region in South Asia to be attacked by Japanese fighter planes during World War II. Recognising the strategic importance of the city and the role it played during the Bangladesh Liberation War, Pakistan sent its submarine, PNS Ghazi to destroy India's only aircraft carrier. The submarine sank off the coast (Pakistan claims, accidentally hitting one of the mines it laid; India claims, from a depth-charge dropped by the destroyer INS Rajput). The remnants of the submarine are on display on the beach road.
The city was so important during times of war that the Indian government decided to set up the Eastern Naval Command, overlooking the more populous Madras and Calcutta, and developed Vizag during that period. The establishment of the E.N.C. soon after the construction of the ship building yard firmly secured Vizag's place in the annals of the Indian Navy. More defence related establishments would later come up including the N.S.T.L. (Naval Science and Technology Laboratories), which is responsible for the development and testing of warship technology, equipment and weapons.
The Navy is also constructing a second base as the current base is overpopulated and not sufficient to meet the needs of the E.N.C. Despite its importance, the Naval establishment has become a hindrance for the development of Visakhapatnam. The harbour is not open to the general public for reasons of security, while in Bombay and Cochin, the entire port along with Naval docks are opened for boating and tourism.
Visakhapatnam is surrounded on three sides by the overlapping mountain ranges, and the southeastern city is safeguarded by the Bay of Bengal. Vizag is far away from any international border, both land and sea, making it the choice for strategic placement of the headquarters of the eastern naval command.
Vizag is a cosmopolitan mix of people from various parts of the country. From a population of a few thousand locals during the 18th century and early 19th century the population grew steadily every decade. The city doubled its population from 1990–2000 owing to a large migrant population from surrounding areas and other parts of the country coming to the city to work in its heavy industries. Year
As of 2001 India census, Visakhapatnam had a population of 969,608 and the urban area 1,329,472. After the state government approved the formation of Greater Visakhapatnam with the merger of Gajuwaka municipality and 32 villages in the vicinity in the Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, the population of the city and the metro area swelled to 3.3 million. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. The city has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. Male literacy is 74% and female literacy is 64 %. 10% of the population is younger than six. Visakhapatnam is listed as one of the Ten Fastest Growing Cities of the World.
Hinduism is practised by the majority of citizens, followed by Islam and Christianity. The city patronised Buddhism for 2 millennia as evident from the presence of many Buddhist sangharamas in the outskirts. The Buddhist population has however waned since. All the religions co-exist peacefully; Visakhapatnam never witnessed communal riots during its entire history.
Visakhapatnam is predominantly a Telugu-speaking city. The Telugu spoken by the middle classes is a standard dialect, while a significant population who have settled down in the city from the adjoining villages and neighbouring districts of East Godavari, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam speak Uttarandhra (North Coastal) Mandalikam dialects.
Historians believe that centuries ago, when Uttarandhra was part of the Kalinga Empire, Buddhist missionaries and merchants might have taken Telugu (derived from Brahmi script) script to Southeast Asia from the shores of Uttarandhra where it parented into the scripts of Mon, Burmese, Thai, Khmer, Siam, Javanese and Balinese languages and even Sinhala of Sri Lanka. Their similarities to Telugu script can be discerned even today.
Visakhapatnam is home to small Oriya, Maharashtrians, Bengali and Malayalee communities; their migration is recent. Due to the naval presence and high concentration of public sector industries, Visakhapatnam has a significant Hindi speaking population.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Visakhapatnam has a tropical climate with little variation in temperature through the year. May is the hottest month with average temperatures around 32oC (90oF), while January is the coolest month with average temperatures near 23oC (73oF).
As the city is located on the Bay of Bengal, the humidity remains high throughout the year. The total annual rainfall is around 955 mm (38 inches), the bulk of which is received during the south-west monsoon. October is the wettest month with around 204 mm (8 inches) of rainfall.
The months from November to February are the best times to visit the city, with moderate temperatures and little precipitation.
The Visakhapatnam Airport is the busiest and only International Airport in Coastal Andhra Visakhapatnam is well connected with daily flights from Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Tirupati and Kolkata. Visakhapatnam Airport has recently received permission to operate night flights and now the airport is working up to 22:00. A new 10,000 feet long runway became operational to accommodate international flights and larger aircraft. The airport was one of the few chosen by the center for modernization including facilities like aerobridges and immigration booths. The new terminal was inaugurated on 21 March 2009. Vizag airport is the busiest in the country after the six metros and Ahmedabad.Akbar Travels of India Car Rental Services provided transportation to all international and domestic passengers in Visakapatnam
Visakhapatnam is one of the major cities on the east coast of India connected by NH5, a major national highway and a part of the Golden Quadrilateral system of Indian highways connecting Chennai and Kolkata. The section of Golden Quadraleteral(NH5) from Kolkata to Chennai connects Visakhapatnam to the North-East and to the South. The highway is an important route for transporting cargo and people from these cities to and from Vizag. Visakhapatnam has a good network of roads. There are frequent buses to Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Araku and Rajahmundry. There are even bus services to Hyderabad, Vijayawada,Guntur, Tirupati, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and few other parts of Orissa and Karnataka.
Residents of Visakhapatnam make use of extensive public transport provided by the APSRTC, which runs metro buses across various routes across the city and its suburbs. The APSRTC complex at Asilametta is the hub for most of these buses causing major traffic jams during rush hours on the heavily populated, congested Asilametta Junction. The city corporation is planning to dig subways, construct pedestrian overpasses and flyovers to address the traffic woes.
A Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) was approved for the city under the JNNURM. This will make use of dedicated lanes for buses allowing for an efficient and high speed mode of transport for the public and significantly reduce traffic congestion, improving safety. This project is under construction and will be completed by the end of 2010.
The railway station at Visakhapatnam is under the control of East Coast Railway of Indian Railways. It falls on the Chennai Central - Howrah Station mainline though the mainline's tracks do not pass through the Central Station. Therefore, a suburban station near Vizag Steel Plant known as Duvvada sation(which is on the mainline) is being upgraded to a large scale station to avail all the train services for the city. The city is connected to Vijayawada Junction, Secunderabad Railway Station,Raipur, Bhopal Junction, Gwalior, Chennai Central, Howrah Station, New Delhi Railway Station etc. through rail. But it lacks direct connectivity with Indore, Ujjain,Coimbatore,Jaipur, Kotha and many other major cities.
Situated on the east coast of India, Visakhapatnam serves as the gateway for waterways for the state of Andhra Pradesh. Visakhapatnam has one of the country's largest ports and its oldest shipyard. It has the only natural harbour on the eastern coast of India. The Visakhapatnam port is one of the busiest ports in India. The shipbuilding yard situated at Visakhapatnam is the largest in India. Situated on Chennai - Kolkota corridor, the city is also a hub of on-ground traffic. The Gangavaram Sea Port is India's deepest sea port.
Visakhapatnam is considered a centre for education in Andhra Pradesh. There are several primary, high school and college institutions in the city. Apart from state-run schools for the poor, there are many private institutions, missionary schools and colleges.
Established in 1878, A.V.N. College is one of the city's oldest educational institutions.
Visakhapatnam is the home of Andhra University (AU) which was established in 1926. Sarvepalli Radha Krishna, before he became the President of India, worked as the Vice Chancellor of the University between 1931 and 1936. AU and its affiliated colleges provide education to thousands of students from the state. Post-graduate and graduate courses are offered in various branches like arts, commerce, science & technology, engineering, IT, business management, law and pharmacy. The AU college of pharmacy is the second oldest pharmacology institute in India. The university is in the process of obtaining IIEST status and there is also a proposal for setting up an IIM at Visakhapatnam.
Andhra Medical College, established in 1902, is the home of various teaching hospitals.
Some of the engineering colleges in Vizag city:Maharaja Vijaram Gajapathi Raj College of Engineering-MVGR Chaitanya Engineering College, Raghu Engineering College, GVP College of Engineering which recently attained autonomous status, Pydah College of Engineering and Technology, Vignans Institute of Engineering for Women, Al Ameer College of Engineering & Technology, Avanthi Institute of Engineering & Technology, Anil Neerukonda Institute of Technology & Sciences and VITAM College of Engineering.
Schools: St. Aloysius Anglo Indian High School is the oldest school in the district and one of the oldest schools in the country. It was established in 1847 and is in the old town region and affiliated to ICSE. Visakha Valley School,Timpany School and Public School at MVP colony are the best schools in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Pollocks School, Kotak Salesian School, Delhi Public School,ST.JOSEPH'S sec school[ICSE], Kendriya Vidyalaya, S.F.S. School, Sri Krishna Vidya Mandir, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar, Siva Sivani, Little Angels, Little Flowers and Pavani School. The city has around 10 Kendriya Vidyalaya's with total student strength of 18000. Timpany School has three branches — one affiliated to ICSE and the other two to CBSE.vikas vidyaniketan is the largest cbse+2 residential school affiliated to cbse Visakha Valley School and Sri Krishna Vidya Mandir are affiliated to CBSE.
The International Science Congress (I.S.C.) was hosted by Andhra University in 1976 and again in 2008. It is the largest congregation of scientists from different disciplines in the world. Over 8,000 people participated in the I.S.C. in 2008, including prominent Nobel Prize winners from around the world.
From being a tiny hamlet of local fishing communities during the early days of the Indian Independence Struggle and for a few decades later, the city exploded economically, in fact the rise has been so dramatic that the city was identified as one of the ten fastest growing cities in the world economically and demographically. Various factors contributed to the city's growth economically, including the natural harbor, its location between Madras and Calcutta, access to the NH5 (a major National Expressway) and the developed nework of railways which metamorphosed the village into a burgeoning industrial city.
The city has developed into a hub for many heavy industries. The Visakhapatnam Port, the largest in the country, was the ideal gateway contributing to the development of petroleum, steel and fertilizer industries. The Visakhapatnam Steel Plant and the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. were the two multi-billion dollar investments which put Vizag on the country's industrial map. The city also has two N.T.P.C. power plants to satisfy the huge power needs of the industries. Visakhapatnam also houses the headquarters of the Dredging corporation of India.
Other heavy industries include Hindustan Zinc Limited, Synergies Castings Ltd., Rain Calcining Limited, Coromandel Fertilizers, Hindustan Ship Yard and Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Limited (B.H.P.V.). These industries provide employment to hundreds of thousands of people and pump billions of dollars into the state's economy.
The city also owes its economic growth to the availability of an educated English-speaking workforce. English is the first language in many places of higher education in the city. This availability of a highly educated workforce allowed the entry of many B.P.O. companies such as HSBC, thus providing the roots for the beginning IT/ITES industry in the city. The city registered over 100% growth in the I.T. sector over the last year, contributing millions of dollars to the economy. The city has around 50 small and medium software and call centre units, of which about 10 units started their operations during the year 2005-07. Software exports from the Visakhapatnam in 2007 were worth Rs. 245 crores - an increase of over 100% over the previous year. Various national and international I.T. and banking giants have set up or will be setting up offices in the city. The Andhra Pradesh government provided infrastructure and land for these companies to set up their development centers in the city outskirts.
The growing population and economy have resulted in the revamping of the real estate prices with prices at some prime locations in the city quadrupling over the past couple of years. Various real estate companies are setting up housing projects in the outskirts of the city which is being touted as the future I.T. destination of the country. Multiple Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been sanctioned for the city. Reliance, Brandix and HPCL have purchased huge areas in the SEZ for setting up their industries. Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) plans to set up its second research facility in the country after Trombay in this region. The city was one of the five in the country selected to hold strategic crude reserves for the nation in times of national emergency.
The fishing industry is also on the rise with both foreign and domestic exports of tuna doubling over the past decade. A second port is being constructed at Gangavaram with an investment of 2 billion dollars which when completed will be the deepest port in the country with the ability to handle the larger international vessels.
Its traditional importance in shipbuilding is confirmed by the fact that India's first ship, the "Jala Usha", was launched in Visakhapatnam. It is also one of India's main fishing ports, has a dedicated harbour for the fishing industry and handles a large percentage of India's seafood exports.
The Vizag Special Economic Zone plays a vital role in the industrial growth of the city. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has started its operation at autonagar (temporary) while the construction for the center is taking on currently. It is expected to be completed soon, the second only cenre for India after Mumbai. Nuclear power technologies are to be set up at this centre including a University of its own by BARC.
The Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) has awarded the bid to construct a Knowledge City to Unitech Limited in an area of 1750 acres, with an investment of Rs. 35 thousand crore.
Visakhapatnam has a range of tourist attractions including beaches, cliffs, parks on the hilltop facing the sea, long drives along the beautiful beach road, a zoological park and wildlife sanctuary, a submarine museum, hill stations, limestone caves, mountain ranges and colourful valleys, all within 100 km from the city. There are two five-star hotels, The Taj and The Park, and a full range of other accommodation
Kailashagiri is a park developed by VUDA on a hilltop adjacent to the sea offers views of the Bay of Bengal, Vizag city and the Eastern Ghats. A ropeway connects this park from the bottom of the hill.
The Beach Road from East point colony to Coastal battery is studded with parks, statues, etc., is a favorite evening gathering point. Along the road can be found India's only submarine museum, INS Kursura, as well as the Visakha museum and Matsyadarsini (an aquarium). VUDA park, at the beginning of the Beach Road, has a musical fountain, and entertainment for children. It has a roller skating ground, which has served as the venue for several national and international skating competitions.
Rushikonda Beach, 6 km away from Vizag city, has become a favorite evening spot. Bhimili-Vizag beach Road, 30 km long, offers one of the best views of the sea, sand, hills and greenery. Many parks are constructed adjacent to this road. Tenneti park beach park is constructed on the cliff of Kailashagiri. There are several points from which the beautiful rocky beach beneath can be seen. Many Telugu, Tamil and Hindi movies were filmed here.
Simhachalam is a hill shrine of Lord Narasimha 16 km north of the city. The beautifully carved 16-pillared Natya mantapa and the 96-pillared Kalyana mantapa are highlights at the Simhachalam temple. It was constructed by Gajapathi Kings of Orissa before 1500 AD. Mr. Poosapati Ananda Gajapati Raju (heir to His Highness Maharaja Vijayram Gajapati Raj Bahadur of former Vizianagaram princely state).
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park: Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, between the National Highway 5 and Beach Road, spreading over an area of 625 acres, exhibits about 700 animals belonging to about 89 species.
Outside the city, 112 km from Visakhapatnam, Araku Valley is an important tourist destination. It is a pleasant hill station at an elevation of over 3200 ft. famous for its scenic gardens, valleys, waterfalls and streams.
The Marriage Bureau For Rich People series of novels, written by Farahad Zama and published worldwide in over twelve languages, are set in Visakhapatnam and feature many landmarks of the city and its surroundings.
Visakhapatnam is surrounded by ancient Buddhist sites, most of which have been excavated recently. The imprint of Buddhist legacy is so strong here that the interest of archeologists in this area is growing by the day.
The Buddhist Complex on the Mangamaripeta hilltop, locally known as Thotlakonda, lies about 16 km from Visakhapatnam on Vizag Bheemili Beach Road. After its discovery (during an aerial survey), the Government of A.P declared the 120 acre site as a protected monument in 1978. Excavations in 1988 to 1992 exposed structural remains and artifacts, classified as Religious, Secular and Civil. These structures include the Stupa, Chaityagrihas, pillared congregation halls, bhandagaras, refectory (bhojanasala), drainage and stone pathways.
Bavikonda is an important Buddhist heritage site located on a hill about 15 km, northeast from Visakhapatnam city. Here the Buddhist habitation is noticed on a 40-acre flat terraced area. The Hinayana school of Buddhism was practiced at the monastery between the 3rd century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D. Bavikonda has remains of an entire Buddhist complex, comprising 26 structures belonging to three phases. A piece of bone stored in an urn recovered here is believed to belong to the mortal remains of the Buddha.
In 1907 a British archaeologist, Alexander Rea, unearthed Sankaram, a 2000-year-old Buddhist Heritage site. Located 40 km from South of Vizag, it is known locally as Bojjannakonda. The three phases of Buddhism flourished here, viz. Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. This complex is famous for its numerous monolithic votive stupas, rock-cut caves, and brick structural edifices. Excavations yielded several historic potteries and Satavahana coins dating back to the 1st century A.D. Similarly at Lingalakonda, there are innumerable rock-cut monolithic stupas in rows spread over the hill. The Vihara was active for about 1,000 years, spanning the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana phases of Buddhism.
Pavuralakonda, or 'the hill of the pigeons', is a hillock lying to the west of Bhimli, at about 24 km from Vizag. The Buddhist settlement found here is estimated to have witnessed human habitation between 1st century BC to 2nd century AD. Sixteen rock-cut cisterns for impounding rainwater are found on the hillock, which offer a panoramic view of the coastline.
Gopalapatnam, situated on the left bank of River Tandava, is a village surrounded by brick stupas, viharas and other Buddhist remains. Ancient pottery was also excavated from these sites.
Cricket is the most popular game followed by tennis and football. The city is home to a number of local cricket teams participating in various district and zonal events. Gully cricket - a form of cricket played in empty streets or maidans is a popular pastime for local school/college going kids in the evenings. Vizag also co-hosted the 32nd National Games along with the state capital. Vishakapatnam has 7 cricket stadiums which are used for Ranji Trophy matches. However only 2 of these stadiums have been used for One Day International ("ODI") matches.
The city of Visakhapatnam has never hosted a Test Match. The ACA-VDCA Stadium was recently awarded Test status. This makes the ACA stadium the ninth stadium to have a Test status in the country and the second in Andhra Pradesh.
The beautiful and well planned township for the employees of the Visakhapatnam steel plant is called Ukkunagaram (ukku in Telugu for steel, nagaram in Telugu for town).
The design of the Township itself is state-of-the-art. The designers followed the Roman Circular design for the layout of homes and roads to keep the distances equal between any two points within the township.
There are 11 sectors in the Township, oldest of them being sectors 1, 2 and 3, and Sector 7 which is the exclusive domain of the directors and the chairman's homes. Other sectors came into being as the plant's staffing matured. On the average, each sectore consists of about 300 housing units, which vary from multi-storied quarters (3 floors) to single family homes. There are also bungalows exclusively for the directors of the plant.There are 5 types of housing units viz. A Type,B,C,D & director's bungalow
Sector 1 used to house the Russians who came to erect and commission the first blast furnace "Godavari", The RMHP, Sinter, and Coke Oven Batteries I & II.
The beauty of the Township is that it sits in the cradle of the unspoilt forest belt starting at the Valleys of Araku through Yelamanchili to Narsipatnam. The township comes under the mandate of the Town Administration. The continued afforestation efforts of the management has ensured a green and pollution-free environment and thereby creating a unique ecosystem in itself. The township has well kept roads, regulated traffic. The township also has all market places, parks, clubs, sports facilities exclusively for the employees and their dependents.
Last but not the least is the vistas that the Big Kanithi Balancing reservoir offers. This large mass of water reservoir is for the captive consumption of the plant and the township alike and sits between the Township and the NH5. It draws its water from a special canal built exclusively for it from the River Yeleru, a tributary of the great river Godavari.
The road that leads from the plant plaza main gate into the township actually travels ahead as a bypass to the busy NH5 and skips Anakapalli directly to Yelamanchili and Tuni, cutting almost 30 km on the road route from Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada.
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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, well built and maintained parks 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 united states." Just like its west coast counterpart, it has beautiful virgin beaches, sexy laterite hillocks, smooth roads and stunning landscape with hot girls. Health-tourism is a fast developing industry. Visakhapatnam is variously referred to as Jewel on the Coramandel Coast, Steel city, and the City of Destiny.
The local population is basically Telugu. There is considerable concentration of Marwaris, Oriya, Bengalis, Punjabis, Tamil and Malayalees. 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.
Vizag is connected by air to Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai. International flights are on the anvil, a good option in the meantime is to get in via Hyderabad.
Visakhapatnam is on Kolkata-Chennai main line and is connected to both the cities by train. This being a major station, all trains including the super fast expresses have a stop in the station. Visakhapatnam station is in the east coast railways and will be very soon having 10 platforms.The first in east coast railways to have these many platforms.
All platforms can accommodate trains with 28 coaches. Please verify the timings with [ Indian Railways], since they change from time to time.
From New Delhi
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Travel Corporation (APSRTC) runs buses from almost every city and town to Vizag, along with some private operators, who run buses from a few of the major cities. Please check with APSRTC for timings. There is also a new Garuda fleet of bus service (Volvo) to Vizag from Chennai, Bangalore, Vijayawada, Kolkata and Hyderabad which is very comfortable and happy going. This is the best way to do it if you want to travel by bus. APSRTC has several other bus services which have varied luxury levels and transit speeds. You might want to check the APSRTC at least 3 days in advance to be sure you have a reservation.
Buses, autos and cabs available for transport.
City buses are available from Dwaraka Bus Complex to almost all places in and around the city. Railway station is just 10 minutes drive from complex. Trains are available for travel to nearby tourist places like Araku
There are many Car Rental Companies available which Provide world Class Services.
More than anything else, Vizag is known for its 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. 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 mind finds 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 it's worthy.
CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming.
CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming in this beautiful beach.
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 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.
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.
Also called Jagadamba junction. Can be considered as Downtown and is a must visit for all shopaholics. Most of 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.
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 of 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. Visitors often fall in love with the "beach" city especially after visiting Kailasagiri. Based on this beautiful and rare combination of hill and beach.Tenneti park is a spectacular Eco marvel at the foot of the Rope way.
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 of 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.
A little further away from the city (6 hrs by train/public bus), but worth visiting for the scenic valley. A slow, passenger train leaves the Vizag station early in the morning (at 6:30 AM), and the train ride is actually very enjoyable. Make sure to reach at least an hour before its departure to get a seat. The runs through lot of small mountains and tunnels. Araku valley is definitely not a day trip, but the recently constructed APTDC facilities can serve as a decent over night stay.Make sure to book your APTDC rooms early. Padmavathi botanical gardens is worth taking a look at. November to February are the best months to visit this place and making an early reservation in the lodges is advisable as Araku Valley has very limited number of lodges and hotels. Travel in and araku valley is limited by limited public bus service. At APTDC lodge, cabs can be hired for a day trip thru the valley to Bora caves and the ride is amazing.
Reputedly fantastic caverns that had their native charm earlier, these caves have been modernized recently by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). There is a entry fee of Rs. 30. Separate charges are there to enter with still or video camera. It is a must visit place for all tourists visiting Vizag. Don't forget a big bottle of drinking water.
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 km 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. The environment in the temple is very different and very pleasant. It also has a local railway station.
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.
Take an evening stroll at RK Beach, it shall be a thrilling experience, it offers good pedestrian tracks, beautiful parks, museums, beaches and some wonderful open air restaurants.
Must want is the sunrise or a moonrise on a full moon day at Tennati Park(near foot of Rope way) on the Vizag-Bhimili Beach Road it's truely a feast to the nature lovers. The sea looks orange in colour and is a wonderful sight.
A must visit is Kailasagiri 6 km away from the city centre. There is a park on the hill top, from here one can see a beautiful view of the city, the sea and Eastern Ghats merging into the sea. One can take a ropeway directly facing sea and city. On the hill top there is a beautiful toy train that give a glimpse of the beauty of nature that one can think of. There are several view points that give a pleasant look of the nature. This place unlike other hill stations is not yet commercial. One can have a very leisure time without being disturbed by tourist guides. Once you come down from Kailashgiri one should visit Tenneti Beach Park. Its picture perfect scenic beauty along with luxuriant carpet grass intertwined with concrete pathways makes it the most revered place for romantic couples. There are several points from which the beautiful rocky beach down beneath can be seen. This is one of the world class spectacular views on to watch the Sun rise and sun set. Many movies were shot here. Its view points are so poistioned that gives a view of the pristine waters. Hillocks in the park which is about 50 ft in elevation that gives a beautiful view of the sea, beach road and the beach park. The ambience at this Tenneti Beach park is simply mind blowing. Also, if you have a couple of days in your pocket, don't miss the train journey from Visakhapatnam to Araku which is the most enjoyable train route in the state. There is only one train to Araku from Vizag which starts at 7:40am at Vizag railway station. That is a 4 hour journey in the eastern ghats which covers many tunnels and valleys on the way. Don't forget to remember take a snap at "Shimiliguda" railway station in the route, which is the highest railway station in India on broad gauge track.
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.
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:
There are many more just visit the city you will notice them.
If spicy fare from Southern India appeals to your gastronomic senses, then Vizag has some excellent restaurants. Many of the eating joints meant or frequented by tourists are in the Siripuram area. A walk around there can give you access to a variety of cuisines.
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.
Vizag has both high end hotels affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.
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