Cradled between the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, Visakhapatnam's geographical location makes it one of the most scenic cities in India. And that's not all this city has to offer. Its historic legacy, which dates as far back as the 6th century BCE, complements its natural beauty, making the city a worthwhile stop on any traveler's itinerary.
Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, attracts the highest concentration of tourists in the state. The city is not just popular amongst the people of Andhra Pradesh, but also the rest of India. The city's Buddhist heritage can be traced back to the reign of Mauryan emperor Ashoka. It also finds a place in the chapters of modern Indian history since it is the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Owing to its strategic position, it saw action during the Indo-Pak war in 1971. The city's 25-km-long coast-hugging Beach Road is lined with museums, cafes, historical sites as well as beaches.
Visakhapatnam is also the largest city, both in terms of population and size, in Andhra Pradesh. The 10th largest economy amongst Indian cities, it is the primary commercial hub of the state contributing to the GDP through its heavy industries, industrial minerals, fishing, information technology and tourism. Visakhapatnam has the only natural harbour on the east coast, its port is the fifth busiest in India and it has the oldest shipyard in the country.
The main attractions in Visakhapatnam are all located along the Beach Road. At the northern end of the road is Bheemunipatnam Beach and nearby are several Buddhist sites such as Pavuralakonda, Thotlakonda and Bavikonda, Rushikonda Beach is just outside the main city. Waltair and Siripuram are both up-market areas with good restaurants and hotels. Most five-star hotels are lined along Beach Road, close to the Ramakrishna Beach. They provide excellent views of the sea. Dwaraka Nagar and Complex (with the city's bus stands) are commercial areas. The railway station is centrally located and the airport is 12km from the centre of the city.
Archaeological records suggest that the city of Visakhapatnam, as it stands today, was built around the 11th and 12th centuries CE by the Chola and Gajapati kingdoms. However, the area's historical records date back to the Kalingandhra period in the 6th century BCE. The city also finds mention in ancient texts written by Panini and Katyayana in the 4th century BCE. Kalinga was an early kingdom that comprised almost all of present-day Odisha, Chhattisgarh and parts of Andhra Pradesh, extending from the Damodar River to the Godavari River. The Kalinga war was fought in this region in 265 BCE between the Mauryan emperor Ashoka and the state of Kalinga. The brutality of the war Prompted Ashoka to embrace Buddhism and practice ahimsa (non-violence) and dharma-vijaya (victory through dharma) and he went on to spread Buddhism across the country and even beyond the Indian Ocean. Most of the Buddhist sites in the Kalingandhra region are believed to have been built under Ashoka's orders.
Visakhapatnam derives its name from the shrine of Visakha (Visakha is King Daksha's daughter, according to Hindu mythology) that was built by an Andhra king, who camped here once during his travels. Some sources also suggest that this shrine was actually built by the Cholas between the 11th and 12th centuries CE. The shrine of Visakha no longer exists as it was washed away by cyclonic storms. During medieval times, the area was ruled by the Vengi, Pallava and Eastern Ganga dynasties. The region then came under the control of the Cholas and the Gajapatis (control fluctuating between the two) until the Vijayanagara Empire conquered it in the 15th century CE. The Mughals also marked their presence in Visakhapatnam from the 16th century CE until about the end of 18th century CE, when the French established trading companies here. In the 1804 Battle of Vizagapatam, the British took over the area, which was under colonial rule till Indian independence in 1947. The Indian Navy established Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam in 1947 and the city eventually became its headquarters. In more recent history, the Visakhapatnam coast served as the setting where the INS Rajput of the Indian Navy destroyed Pakistan's PNS Ghazi in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Visakhapatnam Airport, about 8 km away from the city centre, links the city with various cities in India and abroad.
Visakhapatnam enjoys good road connectivity with various nearby cities and towns.
Visakhapatnam has its own railway station, called the Visakhapatnam Junction, which is connected to several prominent Indian cities. Located about 12 km away from the city.
The best time to take a trip to this splendid place is in winter season i.e between October and March. The weather during this period is extremely pleasing and windy.
Rushikonda Beach- It is a hub of serenity, Natural rocks jutting into the clear waters of the sea.
Ramakrishna Beach- It stretches along the extent of the main city. Close to the beach, on Beach Road, are other tourist attractions.
Dolphin's Nose- It is a hill, so named because its headland has the shape of a dolphin's nose.
Submarine Museum-Located on Beach Road, close to the Ramakrishna Beach
Visakha Museum-An old Dutch bungalow near Ramakrishna Beach, also known as Corporation Museum.
Kailasagiri-The park situated atop Kailasagiri offers the most spectacular views of the city.
Simhachalam-About 16km from the city centre lies a small, densely wooded hill known as Simhachalam.
Yarada Beach-About 15km from the centre of the city, located close to the Dolphin's Nose is the picturesque Yarada Northern end of Beach Road.
Bheemunipatnam Beach-Is a sleepy fishing village near Vizag, and a former Dutch settlement.