Visakhapattanam ( Andhra Pradesh , South India)
In the olden days, this region was ruled by the Kakatiya Gajapathis. Sri Krishnadeva Raya, after his conquest of Kalingadesa erected a Jayastambha at Patnaru in this area. It was during the reign of the Golconda rulers that the Dutch, English and French merchants established commercial depots in this region. The place was named after the God of Valor, Visakha. Once a small fishing village, it formed a part of the Kalinga Empire under Ashoka, passing successively to the Pallavas and Gangas. In the 15th century, it became a part of the Vijayanagara Empire. The British transformed it into a port. It became famous after the establishment of industrial activity such as the Steel industry, Ship building and Oil refinery.
Noted for its beautiful landscape and fine coast, Visakhapattanam was once called as Waltair and the Brighton of India. The most famous landmark of Visakhapattanam is the Dolphin's nose, a rocky promontory in port, 358 metres high. The lovely beach in the east coast is named after Sri Ramakrishna due to the situation of the beautiful temple of the saint and the statue of Swamy Vivekananda. Another popular beach is called Rishikonda. The Andhra University Campus is another lovely area. Visakhapattanam port is next to Chennai Port in importance in the south. The Hindustan Shipyard is the country's major ship building centre. A splendid view of the bay and the town can be had from the Dolphin's nose.
On a hill called Kailasagiri near the sea shore, a beautiful garden has been recently developed. On the summit, two huge statues of seated Shiva and Parvati constructed of white cement have been installed in the middle of the garden. These statues present an enchanting view from a distance. This area presents a fine view of the entire beach and township and has become a popular place of picnic resort. City buses operate to the top of the hill through a fine road at regular intervals. There are many places of tourist interest in and around Visakhapattanam.
Arakku Valley: A fine road , part of which is a ghat section, takes the visitor to a height of about 1170 metres and then passes through a picturesque scenery down to the valley which lies about 975 metres above sea level. It is the home of 17 colourful tribes who have kept their customs vibrantly alive. Traditional folk dances, the most famous being the Dhimsa Dance, are still performed here. The place can be reached from Borra Caves also by train through winding tunnels which provide a breath-taking experience.
Bheemunipatnam: Situated at the mouth of the river Ettivalasa, this place can be reached along the longest beach road. The remnants of a Dutch settlement and cemetery dating back to the 17th century are preserved here. The chief attraction of the place is its beach, unrivalled for its beauty all along the east coast. It is considered safe and ideal for sea bathing. There is a St. Ann's Homerun by the Sisters of the Italian Order. The Mission Hospital run by them has earned a good name.
Borra Caves:90 kms. An ancient village said to be a million years old, where a stream suddenly disappears into limestone caves of ancient times, only to emerge again about 100 metres below the gorge. These caves can be seen even in the rainy season. A grand festival is held during Mahashivarathriday when the local people gather in large number. This place is connected by a regular daily train from Visakhapatnam, as well as by bus. Ananthagiri, on the way has a rest house for overnight stay.
Kondakarla Ava: There is a massive lake at this place which has been developed as a popular place of picnic. The best months are October-December.
Machkund: The road beyond Arakku Valley leads to the Hydro-Electric Power House at this place. The water falls at Duduma has been harnessed for generating electric power. During the rainy season, the water falls present an enchanting view. This is a beautiful place for a brief holiday to enjoy the natural scenery. A few rest houses are available at this place. State bus service is available.
Simhachalam: The Hill of the Lion, as it is called, has a famous temple of the 11th century dedicated to Narasimha. The hill is about 250 metres high above sea level and a fine motorable road has been laid from the bottom to the top. The shrine at the top is located on a vast plateau having a fine tower and an enclosure. In the shrine the body of the deity Narasimha is always covered with a thick coating of sandal paste, which is required to appease the fury of the Lord as he considered in his terrible form Ugra Narasimha. The coating is renewed annually during the festival called Chandana Yatra (March-April) when the original real form and shape of the deity can be seen. A number of choultries and rest houses have come up on the top of the hill as well as at the bottom village for the visiting pilgrims and devotees. Regular city buses operate to Simhachalam from Visakhapatnam and the temple buses and auto-rickshaws are available to go up the hill.
Vizianagaram: This was the second largest town held once by a Rajah during the aftermath of the Mughal period. There is a gigantic fort within which the remnants of the past glory of this dynasty are still preserved. The town has grown around the fort. The ancient huge tank called Pedda Cheruvu has become a sanctuary for wild fowls migrating from outside. Around the town are some ancient temples which are popular places of pilgrimage. Padmanabha Swamy temple at Padmanabham and Kanyaka Parameshwari temple at Anakapalle are worthy of visit.
Visakhapattanam is a famous railway station and is connected by excellent road system also. Deluxe and middle class lodgings are available in the city. City bus service and auto-rickshaws are available for local conveyance.