Nestled along the pristine shores of the Bay of Bengal, Visakhapatnam, the largest city in Andhra Pradesh, offers a haven for beach enthusiasts. With its expansive golden sands caressed by serene waters, the city is embraced by captivating waterfalls, verdant forests, and picturesque hill stations. Famously known as Vizag, this destination is home to the nation’s oldest shipyard, ancient temples, and breathtaking caves.
A noteworthy attraction in the city is the remarkable submarine-turned-museum, the first of its kind in Asia. Embarking on a journey through the depths of the sea, visitors explore various rooms filled with exhibits showcasing marine life, creating a truly thrilling experience. Adventure enthusiasts find delight in Borra caves, among the largest in the country, where they can venture deep into the warmly-lit caverns. Additionally, the city boasts numerous parks and gardens, inviting visitors to relax and immerse themselves in its natural splendor.
Established in the 11th century, Visakhapatnam earned its moniker as the “City of Destiny” due to its enchanting natural allure. It also serves as the headquarters for the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy. According to history, Visakhapatnam was ruled by King Visakha Varma, who erected a temple in honor of Lord Visakha, giving birth to the city’s name. It is said that Visakhapatnam was once part of the mighty Kalinga Empire, where Emperor Ashoka waged a fierce battle. While primarily an industrial hub, the city entices a significant number of tourists year-round and is affectionately known as the “Jewel on the Coromandel Coast.”
Let’s check the places in the city waiting to be explored –
Situated on RK Beach, the INS Kurusura Submarine Museum proudly stands as the first submarine-turned-museum in all of Asia and the second in the world. This extraordinary museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of submarines, showcasing various parts of the vessel, including the radar room, sonar room, control room, and the weapons utilized during times of war.
Step inside and immerse yourself in the milestones of submarine evolution, brought to life through a captivating collection of artifacts, photographs, and written scripts. The museum vividly portrays the unique challenges and experiences faced by submariners as they navigate the depths of the sea.
Guided by a team of knowledgeable experts, approximately six guides are stationed throughout the museum, ready to provide detailed explanations of the submarine’s history and operations. They offer invaluable insights into the intricate workings of the submarine, offering visitors a deeper understanding of its significance and the courage of those who served on board.
Embark on a memorable journey through time as you explore the INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, gaining a newfound appreciation for the bravery and dedication of submariners and their vital role in naval warfare.
Discover the mesmerizing beauty of Araku Valley, nestled in the heart of Andhra Pradesh, and one of the most captivating tourist destinations near Visakhapatnam. Surrounded by majestic mountains and verdant forests, this valley offers a perfect haven to rejuvenate and nourish your soul. Sitting at an elevation of 2,990 ft, the Eastern Ghats mountain ranges provide a delightful escape for both nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
The iconic attraction of the valley is Chaparai Waterfall, also known as Dumbriguda Falls, located just 5 km away, offering a popular spot for picnics. A visit to the Araku Tribal Museum is a must for tourists, providing a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and lives of the people of Araku Valley. Immerse yourself in the charm and allure of Araku Valley, an enchanting retreat that will leave you breathless.
Perched atop a hill at an elevation of 304 m, the meticulously maintained Kailasagiri Park stands as a prominent attraction in Visakhapatnam, offering an idyllic picnic spot. Spanning across a vast area of 380 acres, this park treats visitors to breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and the cityscape. Its most iconic feature is the 40-ft-high statue of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, serving as a beloved symbol of the city. While the park can be accessed by road, the most thrilling way to reach it is by taking a ropeway ride, providing an opportunity to soak in the awe-inspiring vistas of the city.
For children, the park offers an exciting toy train ride, taking them on a delightful circular tour of the site. Other popular attractions within the park include a vibrant Floral Clock, the Titanic Viewpoint, the serene Shanthi Ashram, and mesmerizing jungle trails. A dedicated play area for children offers horse riding and various engaging activities. Moreover, Kailasagiri has gained popularity among paragliding enthusiasts, providing excellent facilities for those seeking an adventurous experience. Discover the beauty and charm of Kailasagiri Park, a serene hilltop haven that promises unforgettable memories for visitors of all ages.
Dolphin’s Nose, an enchanting natural wonder, stands as one of the most breathtaking attractions in Visakhapatnam. Its unique shape, resembling the nose of a dolphin, lends it its evocative name. Visible from various vantage points across the city, this hill holds a prominent place on every tourist’s itinerary and is also referred to as Yarada Konda. Nearby, the fishing village of the same name offers an intriguing exploration opportunity.
Dating back to the mid-1960s, the lighthouse perched on Dolphin’s Nose provides stunning views of the sea and can be seen from a remarkable distance of 64 km out at sea. While Dolphin Hill is part of the Indian Naval Base with a few restricted areas, tourists can access most of the picturesque spots and immerse themselves in the beauty of the surroundings. Prepare to be captivated by the allure of Dolphin’s Nose, a natural gem that will leave you in awe of Visakhapatnam’s scenic splendor.
Renowned as Visakhapatnam’s most beloved destination, the enchanting Ramakrishna Beach owes its name to the nearby Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. Affectionately known as RK Beach, it captivates both locals and tourists with its alluring charm. Prepare to be mesmerized by the ethereal sunsets that grace the beach, creating a serene yet vibrant atmosphere. The beach offers a plethora of popular activities for visitors to indulge in, including swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and beach volleyball.
For a unique experience, take a bumpy camel ride along the shore or opt for a boat ride in a traditional fishing boat or even a cruise on the water. Nearby attractions such as the Kali Temple, INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, TU-142M Aircraft Museum, and Visakha Museum add to the allure of the area. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and excitement of Ramakrishna Beach, where picturesque vistas and a lively ambiance are sure to uplift your spirits.
Nestled atop the captivating Simhachalam Hill in Visakhapatnam, the renowned Simhachalam Temple stands as a testament to devotion. Also known as the Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, it beckons millions of devotees each year. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is revered as Varaha Narasimha, this temple holds significant importance as one of South India’s foremost shrines. The grandeur of the temple, resembling a fortress, is adorned with beautifully sculpted details and comprises three outer courtyards and five gateways. It showcases a splendid blend of architectural styles, featuring influences from the Chalukyas, Cholas, and Kalinga (Odisha) styles of architecture.
Within its sacred walls, visitors will discover numerous sub-shrines and mandapams. Notable among them are the 16-pillared Natya Mantapa and the 96-pillared Kalyana Mantapa, both constructed in the 1st century AD. A unique aspect of the temple is the practice of covering the presiding deity, Shri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, in a thick layer of sandalwood paste for most of the year. According to legend, Lord Vishnu assumed this form, with a boar head, human torso, and lion’s tail, to protect his ardent devotee Prahlada from his own father, Hiranyakashipu. Simhachalam Temple is located 20 km away from Visakhapatnam, inviting pilgrims and enthusiasts to immerse themselves in its divine aura.
Nestled on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, Thotlakonda Hill unveils the splendor of a 2,000-year-old Buddhist complex. This expansive complex, spreading over 120 acres, stands as a protected monument and draws tourists from all corners of the country. Archaeological excavations conducted here have unearthed a treasure trove of relics, including 16 votive stupas, 11 rock-cut cisterns, stone pathways, circular chaitya-grihas, votive platforms, viharas (monastic cells), a grand mahastupa, a dining hall, and a kitchen complex with three halls.
The excavations have also revealed numerous sculptures, silver coins from the Satavahana period (1st century BCE to 2nd century CE), and miniature Buddha Padas—models representing the feet of Buddha. Overlooking the vast expanse of the sea, this Buddhist complex served as a residential and academic haven for Buddhist monks in ancient times. Perched at an altitude of 128 meters above sea level, Thotlakonda Hill not only serves as an idyllic destination for Buddhists but also entices nature lovers with its tranquil environment and picturesque landscapes. Discover the serenity and historical significance of Thotlakonda Hill, where spirituality and natural beauty converge in perfect harmony.
Rishikonda Beach, one of Visakhapatnam’s finest coastal gems, unveils a breathtaking panorama of azure blue waters gently caressing its golden shores. Stretching along the Bay of Bengal, this beach beckons tourists from far and wide to immerse themselves in its beauty. Nestled amidst the verdant hills of the Eastern Ghats, Rishikonda offers a serene and blissful experience to all who visit. Its expansive coastline provides the perfect setting for engaging in a variety of water sports, including swimming, water skiing, and windsurfing.
To enhance the tourist experience, the Andhra Pradesh tourism department has constructed cottages, restaurants, and other convenient amenities along the beach, making Rishikonda a delightful destination for travelers. Take a tranquil stroll along the shoreline, allowing the cool breeze to rejuvenate your senses. For added enjoyment, consider embarking on a pony ride during the serene early morning or evening hours. Rishikonda Beach promises a harmonious blend of tranquility and adventure, leaving visitors with lasting memories of their time in Visakhapatnam.
Discover the grandeur of Borra Caves, one of the largest cave systems in the country, where million-year-old stalactite and stalagmite formations create an awe-inspiring spectacle. Perched at an elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level, these majestic caves offer a visual treat for visitors. They owe their existence to the relentless flow of the Gosthani River over the limestone deposits in the area. Within these cavernous depths, visitors will encounter imposing formations that resemble Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, a mother and her child, a crocodile, a human brain, and a tiger, among others.
These extraordinary formations captivate the imagination and highlight the wonders of nature’s artistry. Borra Caves were first discovered by William King George of the Geological Survey of India, but local legend tells a fascinating tale. It is said that a cowherd, in search of a lost cow, stumbled upon the caves. To his astonishment, he found his cow near a shivling deep within the cave, believing that Lord Shiva had safeguarded his precious animal. As a token of gratitude, the villagers built a small temple just outside the caves. Today, Borra Caves attract tourists from all corners of the country, making them a must-visit destination. Prepare to be mesmerized as you delve into the subterranean wonders of Borra Caves, a true marvel hidden beneath the surface.
Situated in Gandhinagaram, Hindustan Shipyard stands as the nation’s premier shipbuilding facility, encompassing a vast expanse of 46.2 hectares. It was within these grounds that Jal Usha, independent India’s maiden ship, took shape. The shipyard boasts state-of-the-art infrastructure, including plasma cutting machines, steel processing and welding facilities, material handling equipment, cranes, logistics and storage capabilities, as well as comprehensive testing and measuring amenities. At the heart of the shipyard lies the covered building dock, where vessels take form.
Additionally, the facility comprises a dry dock, a wet basin, and a repair center dedicated to the refurbishment and retrofitting of ships and submarines. Hindustan Shipyard Limited has achieved significant milestones, having constructed over 180 vessels and repaired nearly 2,000 ships. The shipyard specializes in the construction of diverse vessels such as bulk carriers, offshore patrol vessels, survey ships, drill ships, offshore platforms, and repair and support vessels. Embarking on a journey through this grand shipyard offers a unique and enlightening experience, allowing visitors to witness firsthand the remarkable craftsmanship and scale of India’s shipbuilding prowess.