Bearing the sobriquet The Jewel of the East Coast, the port town of Visakhapatnam is located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the second largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is an important port. The city was also called Vizag. It is a fast growing industrial city that also has good options for education.
Visakhapatnam is situated near the Eastern Ghats facing the Bay of Bengal to the east of India. The capital city, Hyderabad is situated 625 km from here, towards the east. The other nicknames that the city has are The city of destiny and Goa of the east.
History of VisakhapatnamThe city is mentioned in the Ramayana and Mahabharata as a city that was once roamed by Rama and Lakshman in search of Sita, Ramas wife. The Mahabharata says that Bakasura, the evil demon was killed in a place close to Visakhapatnam by Bheema.
Visakhapatnam was also home to Buddhism in the early history of India under the Kalingas and King Asoka, one of the most important kings of Indian history. The city was also under the rulers of Vengi, Chalukya, Chola, Ganga, Pallava and the Gajapathi dynasty. Vishakapatnam was also under the Mughal rule who ruled from Hyderabad.
This port city was under the British who developed the city and used it as a trading centre. The port used to be a place where tobacco, ivory, muslin and other products were exported by the English East India Company.
People & Culture of VisakhapatnamPeople in Visakhapatnam pre dominantly speak Telugu, the local language of Andhra Pradesh. The Visakha Utsav is an annual festival which is held for four days in January every year and throws light on the ethnic culture and lifestyle of the region. Organised by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department, it is held on the Rama Krishna Beach with food stalls, art exhibitions and cultural programmes being the main crowd pullers.
A famous event in Vishakapatnam is Chandanotsavam. Also known as the Chandana Yatra, it is an annual festival which will be held on 24th April 2012, at Sri Varaha Laxmi Narasimha Temple in Simhachalam. The deity inside is covered with sandalwood paste and on this day, the existing layer is removed and a fresh layer of sandalwood paste is applied. Four layers of sandalwood paste are applied and the first layer is applied after 9:00 pm on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. This is the one day that devotees get to see the god in its original form.
Things to do in VisakhapatnamThe jewel of the east coast has tourist attractions such as the War Memorial, Borra caves, the Matsyadarshini Aquarium, Simhachalam, Ross Hill, Jagadamba Centre, Kailasagiri, the Submarine Museum, Naval Museum, Bojjana Konda and the Buddhist remains in addition to the beaches. The city is also a fast growing health tourism centre. To explore all the attractions as well as events and festivals of the city tourists can avail the Visakhapatnam holiday packages according to their requirements.
Food & Shopping in VisakhapatnamFood in Visakhapatnam is generally very spicy. Some of the local specialities are murku, booralu, appadam, pulihara etc. Eating joints in the Siripuram area are popular amongst food lovers. Another local favourite is the murri mixture which is a mix of puffed rice, chopped onions and tomatoes. This is widely available in the beaches of the city.
In Visakhapatnam tourists can shop for locally made handicrafts, sandalwood sculptures and pearls. The state owned Lepakshi Emporium is a good place to buy genuine handicrafts. Other shopping areas are Jagadamba Junction and RTC Complex area near Dwaraka Nagar. While the shops in Dwaraka Nagar are known for their toys and handicrafts, the Kurupam Market is for its jewellery, both gold and silver.
Travelling to VisakhapatnamVisakhapatnam can be reached by rail, road and air. The city has an airport that is connected with the metropolitan and other cities of the country. The airport is 16 km away from the city centre and is connected by buses and taxis. It is also connected with many important cities by train.
To reach Visakhapatnam road transport is also available. Services are provided by government as well as private operators. Regular services are available to Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Bangalore, among other cities.
Travelling within VisakhapatnamBuses, taxis and auto rickshaws are the usual modes of transport for travelling within Visakhapatnam. One of the cheapest modes of travel, buses usually leave from the Dwarka Bus Complex and spread out into the city.
Taxis are widely available in the city and the charges are around INR 13 for every kilometer. Taxis are readily available at the railway station and airport. Auto rickshaws are a popular means of commute but do not run on metre. So, the fare needs to be negotiated before boarding. There are no extra night time charges.
Accommodation options in VisakhapatnamVisakhapatnam hotel options include mid-range and star rated hotels. Most of these are located near the temples and the Buddhist pilgrimage spots. There are several business hotels also which have business facilities like conference halls, Wi-Fi access etc.
Visakhapatnam has a tropical climate. The best time to visit Visakhapatnam is between November and February.