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 unspoiled sandy beaches, well built and maintained parks, Buddhist Remnant sites and nearby scenic areas, such as the Araku Valley. Currently the city has a population of about 2,035,299.
Vizag is sometimes referred to as the "Goa of the East Coast." Just like its west coast counterpart, it has beautiful virgin beaches, laterite hillocks, smooth roads and stunning landscape. 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 language is 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 Vizag Steel Plant and Hindustan Shipyard.
Vizag is connected by air to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Tirupati, Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Dubai and Singapore through its customs airport, an airport with restricted access, by major mainline airlines like Air India and Jet Airways and some low-cost carriers like SpiceJet and IndiGo. Singapore Airlines' subsidiary Silkair has recently launched operations to the city becoming the first non-Indian airline to operate at the city. International air connectivity is on the anvil, with the possibility of more airlines operating in the near future.
Visakhapatnam is on Kolkata-Chennai main line and is connected to both the cities by rail. This being a major station and a terminal, all trains including the super fast expresses have a stop at the station. Visakhapatnam station is in the east coast railways having 8 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.
- Godavari Express departs daily from Hyderabad Deccan Station at 5:15PM and from Secunderabad at 5:45 PM, arrives the following morning in Visakhapatnam at 5:45AM. Godavari express is also known to operate in-time. This is the most preferred train between the two cities.
- Visakha Express connects Bhubaneshwar to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. The train departs daily from Secunderabad Station at 5PM, arrives the following morning in Visakhapatnam at 7:15AM. This train runs via Nadikude, Guntur, Vijayawada and Bhimavaram Town. The train is infamous for its delays and is less preferred.
- Falaknuma express connects Kolkata's Howrah Junction to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. The train departs from Secunderabad at 4PM, arrives the following morning in Visakhapatnam at 3:30AM. The train is taken by office-goers as it arrives early at Visakhapatnam. It runs faster than most other trains and is the fastest, non-special train.
- East Coast Express connects Kolkata's Howrah Junction to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. The train stops at Visakhapatnam, therefore connecting the city to both Kolkata and Hyderabad.
- Janmabhoomi Express connects the city to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. It runs during the day time only. This is the only day train between the two cities. The train's rake is composed of ordinary chair cars and air conditioned chair cars.
- Garibrath Express connects the city to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction. Up to 2012, this was the fastest train between the two cities. Garibrath, in Hindi, means an 'ride for the poor'. The train stops at a very few stations ensuring a peaceful journey. The train is fully air conditioned. However,blankets/bed sheets/pillows are not included in the fare and have to be bought separately after boarding the train. No food is made available in the train so the passengers have to carry some along. The train was originally launched under the Garibrath scheme to provide air conditioned trains for the poor. A seat in Garibrath sells for only 500 Indian Rupees, which is 9.12 United States dollars.
- Duronto Express connects Visakhapatnam to Hyderabad's Secunderabad Junction in 9 hours and 30 minutes. 'Duronto' in Bengali, means quick. This is the only non-stop rail service between the two cities. It is equipped with fully air conditioned coaches. The train was launched recently and costs a little more than ordinary trains.
From New Delhi
- Link Express
- Samatha Express
- Swarna Jayanthi Express
- Hirakud Express
- Konark Express
- Lokmanya Tilak - Visakhapatnam Exp.
- Pune - Bhubaneswar Exp.
- Ratnachal Express
- Simhadri Express
- Vijaywada-Visakhapatnam Passenger
- Other weekly trains are also available. Check [ the Indian Railways] for details.
- Coromandal Express (Reserved tickets to Vijayawada and Rajahmumdry are not issued from Chennai.)
- Madras-Howrah Mail
- Other weekly trains are available on some days of the week. Check the Indian Railways for details.
- Prasanthi express
- Yeshwantapur Howrah Express
- Other weekly trains are available on some days of the week. Check [ the Indian Railways] for details.
- Coromandal Express (This train is the fastest train passing through Andhra Pradesh at 140 km/h)
- Howrah-Madras Mail
- Falaknuma Express
- East Coast Express
- Gurudev Express
- Thiruchurapalli Express
- Yeshwantpur Express
- Other weekly trains are available on some days of the week. Check [ the Indian Railways] for details.
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 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.
Visakhapatnam has no commuter rail service. However, the APSRTC operates a large number of buses from over 5 bus complexes in the city. Maddilapalem has the largest bus station and complex in the city. The junction and Maddilapalem joins the Asilametta-Ramatalkies road to the National Highway 5. Buses from Madilapalem ply to the extreme ends of the city, including Gajuwaka and Thagarapuvalasa. The bus fare to get to Madilapalem from the Railway station is only 6 Indian Rupees, which is 11 United States Cents. Buses operate within a 5 minute frequency in routes with high demand. The minimum frequency in which buses operate is 40 minutes, i.e., every route is covered by an APSRTC bus once in every 40 minutes.
Apart from buying tickets on the bus, you may also avail an RTC-Pass, which is a special type of pass that can be renewed once in every three months. With the pass, you can board any APSRTC bus and travel anywhere within the city limits. An ordinary RTC-Pass costs just 390 Indian Rupees which is 7 dollars and 12 Cents in USD. The RTC complex is a suburb located to the southeast of Asilametta. RTC complex is generally refered to as complex and is connected to every other region in the city. Apart from the bus, taxi/autorikshaw can also be hired. The autorikshaw is a mini taxi which is much more cheaper, but less convenient.
Places to visit
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. 30/- to get onto the beach, but it's worthy.
- Ramakrishna Beach, R.K.Beach is the most popular beach in the sense that, you can find the locals hanging out during the hot summers, and relatively less hot winters. On weekends and holidays, one can see that the entire beach comes alive, but not in a western sense where people take a plunge in the water, or surf. You can see people dressed in their best clothes, just sitting on the benches, or walking along.
CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming.
- Rishikonda. 11 km away from the city, this has become a popular tourist spot that even the locals frequent. A lot safer to wade into than the R.K. Beach, cradled among hills, this used to be an excellent beach away from the madding crowds. AP Tourism Development Corporation is having its Beach Resort (Punnami) on the hillside overlooking the beach.
CAUTION!!! A lot of people have died while swimming in this beautiful beach.
- Gangavaram. 10 to 12 km away from city, this is most beautiful beach, the most interesting thing is we can see rock like structure in between see like a small island which attracts lot of people.
- Yarada beach. It is perceived as a Private Beach but actually it is not. Tourists can visit the beach directly or through the Yarada village. Agrigold collects a fee of 30 Rupees to enter their property and access the Shops and a Restaurant. If you could bring your own food/refreshments, you could visit the beach without entering the Agrigold Property. Yarada is the village behind the dolphine nose. To go to this beach, bus facility is available. Also you can hire a cab to go there. The view of the beach and vizag city from the top of the dolphin nose is memorable. Also the gangavaram beach is nearer from Yarada beach. The drive from Scindia to the top of dolphin nose, dolphin nose to Yarada and from there to Gangavaram is really enjoyable.
- Bhimili About 25 km from the city and is what used to be a small village also called Bheemunipatnam. Apart from the beach, the village has the remains of a Portuguese church, dutch cemeteries and a Buddhist Monastery(Pavurallakonda).
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.
- Jagadamba Center.
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.
- War Memorial
There is a war memorial in remembrance of the Victory at Sea on 1971 Indo Pak war. It is situated on the Beach Road, just opposite to the Submarine Museum. There is a fighter plane, a tank and few replicas of missiles kept as exhibits. There is no entry fee and can be viewed from the road.
- Matsyadarshini Aquarium
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.
- Araku Valley.
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 6:50 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.
- Borra Caves.
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.
- Ross Hill
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.
- Submarine Museum is a one of its kind museum created in a real (now de-commissioned) submarine of Indian Navy.This is the first of its kind in eastern asia. This submarine is one of the earliest submarine procured from Russia. One gets to interesting facts of working in the submarine. The museum is manned by retired naval people. Entry fee for the museum is Rs.25 for the adults and there is a fee to take any camera or video camera inside.
- Naval Museum is one more museum about maritime history of India. Again its a lovely museum displaying pictures, models and content of Indian maritime history.
- Buddhist excavations Bojjana Konda, Thotla Konda, Bhavi Konda and Salihundam around Visakhapatnam were centres of Buddhism during the second century A.D. Several Buddhist monuments such as stupas and chaityas were erected at these places. It is said that some of the corporal relics of the Buddha were preserved at these places. Hence all these places became sacred places.
- Bojjana Konda It is near Sankaram village in the hamlet of Anakapalli, 40 km from Visakhapatnam, is one such place, where one can find architectural remnants of the Buddhist period, one of the earliest of its class in South India. It constitutes one of the most remarkable groups of Buddhist monuments dated from 200 BC to 700 AD, found during excavations in 1906. On the eastern hill, there are a series of rock-cut caves, numerous groups of monolithic dagobas, standing on rock platform in tiers above each others and, crowning all, a rock-cut stupa with extensive structural remains. On the western side of the eastern hill is a stairway, partly rock-cut and partly structural, which leads up to a large double-storied cave. The cave is entered by a doorway and is flanked on each side by huge dwarapalas. The cave chamber is rectangular in shape and is divided into 20 compartments by four cross rocks of 16 massive pillars. In the centre is the rock-cut stupa standing on a square platform.
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 truly 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 positioned 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 ambiance 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 6:50am 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 which is in Jagadamba center. It has an impressive collection of sandalwood sculptures,stone art etc.
Some popular stores are:
- Chandana Brothers
- Vaibhav Jewellers
- Bommana Brothers
- Jyoti Book Depot
- Big Bazaar
- CMR Shopping Mall
- Kankatala silk palace
- Vizag Central Mall
- M & M Mall
- CMR Central Shopping Mall
- Varun Inox
There are many more just visit the city you will notice them.
- CMR Central, Maddilapalem. You can find Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut here. Also a lot of shopping is possible, if you have money here, at Reliance Trends and Reliance Digital.Also one could see a movie if one has time at INOX.
- Visakhapatnam Central (beside CP office). Most happening place is Visakhapatnam Central, where you ill get all branded apparels, fashion jewelleries, life style merchandise like watches, shades and color cosmetics. As the tag line of Central Shop, eat and celebrate, you can really enjoy shopping here.On the other side,its just a common mall which you can find anywhere in the metro cities.Very expensive too.
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.
- Hotel Daspalla, ☎ , fax: +91 891 2562043.
- Daspalla Executive Court, ☎ , fax: +91 891 2717444.
- Hotel Green Park, ☎ , fax: +091 891 2563763.
- Subway - Subs & Salads in Siripuram's Dutt Island, +91 891 278491.
- Horizon (live music during dinner) at Dolphin Hotel, +91 891 2567000.
- Blue Sea Fine Dining, Pakkis Complex, Opposite ICICI Bank Road, Dwarakanagar 2nd Lane, Dwaraka Nagar, Visakhapatnam, ☎ +91 9949174264,0891 6664688, 6465399.
- Hotel Jabilly Beach inn, on R K Beach, ☎ +91 33 -0933I685497. 12noon. All rooms face the sea, pure Bengali food is available. 650 to 1200.
- Eleven, 10-1-4 & 5, 4th floor, siripuram, Vishakapatnam -530003 (Infront of Ice Age), ☎ 08916461111. 12:00Noon to 11:00pm. This is one of the best new restaurants opened for Fine Dining. Food is value for money and tasty. They probably serve the best food in Vizag. Cheap.
- Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) (Opp waltair club), ☎ . 11AM-11PM. The 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' a.k.a FSM is Vizag's first authentic Italian restaurant. Great place with amazing Italian fare. Be sure not to miss out the Chocolate bomb. Cheap.
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.
- Punnami, near Rishikonda has pub very close to the beach and serves alcohol.
- Chrome, 10 Downing Street. And D2 are new pubs that are located in Siripuram.
- Senora, a beach resort located on the outskirts, also boasts of a dance floor.
- Vihar, Near Rishikonda, Opp. GITAM University (Need to travel 8 Km from the city). Best hangout place with friends, only concern is it was too far from the city. Even though, worth visiting "Offshores" at Vihar. There's an Awesome beach view from the middle of the hill.
Vizag has both high end hotels affordable lodges. The Daspalla, The Grand Central Hotel and Green Park are well-known.
- Hotel athidiinn, D.No.9-1-47, New Resapuvanapalem, ☎ Mob:9396548333, Tel:0891-2727567, fax: 0891-2727678, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hrs. around US $20-30 per 24 hours.
- Hotel Daspalla. around US $50-70 per night.
- 99 Residency (Value for Money Hotel), # 10-50-39/2,Opp. Axis Bank, Ramnagar (Next to Waltair Club), ☎ , fax: +91 891-2505545, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 12 Noon, check-out: 12 Noon. starting from US$ 20 per night.
- Hotel Saraswathi Orchid, #30-15-193,Opp: Dolphin Hotel Garden Gate, Main Road, Dabagardens (Opp: Dolphin Hotel), ☎ , fax: +91-891-6635657, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Akshaya , tel. +91 2598111 / 2598144 (Cell +91 9177892359) Station Rd, Opp to D.R.M.Office.
- Dolphin, Tel. +91 891 2567000 (fax +91 891 2567555)
- Green Park, +91 891 2564444 (fax +91 891 2563763)
- Hotel Talasila Continental (Tel. +91-891-2598598) Station Road, Dondaparthi
- Meghalaya, +91 891 2755141 (fax +91 891 2755824)
- Athidhi The Guest House, 9000415656, 9949662424
- Royal Fort
- The Grand Central Hotel (at Jagadamba Junction)
- Hotel Supreme (At R.K.Beach)
- Dwaraka Inn (At Dwaraka Nagar)
- Fortune Inn Sree Kanya, Dwaraknagar, Diamond Park (Sree Kanya Road), ☎ .
- Grand Bay,, ☎ , fax: +91 891 2550691. Beach Road.
- Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach,, ☎ , fax: +91 891 2822244. Beach Road.
- Four Points by Sheraton Visakhapatnam,, ☎ , fax: +91 891 3051000. Waltair Uplands Road.