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Tourist Places To Visit In Vijayawada
Vijayawada literally means “The Land of Victory” because it is believed that Goddess Durga killed a demon and that’s how the city got its name. And for thousands of years, the city stood strong by its name. A city that has a rich history, culture, tradition of which the people of Vijayawada are so proud of. The ancient architecture, heritage sites, religiously significant temples, have adjusted well with the modern tall structures, and other advancements happening in the city. If you’re planning to visit Vijayawada anytime sooner, get ready to be surprised. The city has more to offer than what you probably have imagined or pictured about it. Let's set off and learn more about Vijayawada as we present some of the most popular places to visit in the city.
Kanaka Durga Temple
At a small distance of 5 km from the Vijayawada city center, Kanaka Durga Temple is probably the best tourist site in Vijayawada. Thousands of people flock every year at this famous Durga temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess. This majestic temple is situated on the Indrakeeladri hill on the banks of the Krishna River. Legends say that the Goddess defeated Mahishasura (a demon) and enshrined on the Keela Mountain with eight arms. Indra and other Gods worshipped the Goddess on the hills and that’s how the hills got their name.
Devotees have decorated the 4 feet high image of the deity in glittering ornaments and flowers. The deity is shown in a standing posture over the demon, Mahishasura with eight arms each holding a powerful weapon. The exact origin of the temple is not known but it’s believed that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed the Sri Chakra here. If you are visiting this place do no miss attending the Saraswati puja, Navaratri, and Theppotsavam festivals that are celebrated in the temple. People prefer taking a holy dip in the Krishna river during these festivals before visiting the temple.
Prakasam Barrage is a modern regulator and a road bridge located at a distance of 3 km from the Vijayawada railway station. This bridge is 1220 m long and built over the Krishna river. The backwaters that are formed by the barrage give the city a unique and beautiful setting with Kanaka Durga hills at the backdrop. Sir Arthur Cotton first built this barrage in 1855 and later after the independence in the 1950s, it was reconstructed. It was named after the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Tanguturi Prakasam and is one of the earliest major irrigation projects in Southern India.
But what’s in it for the tourists? Besides meeting the irrigation needs of farming, this sublime barrage offers a sensational view of the lake. You’ll surely gonna love it as this spot is one of the prime attractions in the city. Because the lake isn’t deep and has shallow effects, this place has become a good picnic spot for the locals on the weekend. They enjoy boating and other water activities that are offered here. And the famous Bhavani Island is situated amidst the backwaters of the barrage. You surely don’t want to miss visiting this place.
At a small distance of 4 km from Vijayawada Railway Station, Bhavani Island is a fascinating tourist attraction that is considered one of the best in the whole of South India. Located at upstream of Prakasam Barrage on the Krishna river, Bhavani Island is a not-to-be-missed spot in Vijayawada. To reach the island, you have to take a boat ride from Berm park near the Krishna riverfront. The boat ride is extremely cheap and available till evening. It only takes about 5 minutes to reach the island from Krishna riverfront. It is suggested to spend one full day on the island as you’ll find many parks, restaurants, adventurous water sports, and accommodation facilities here.
You can spend a wonderful day here by trying different activities such as archery, rifle shooting, bull ride, low rope course, ATV ride, wine transverse, zipline, spider web, mechanical trampoline, wall climbing, Mechanical Trampolin, and paintball. So a good time is guaranteed here. The primary attraction is the laser show performed after the sunset. This 30-minute show is an attempt to depict the history of Vijayawada from the Mahabharatha times until pre-independence, and finally about the city. You don’t have to pay extra for the show and you can enjoy seated comfortably.
Undavalli Caves are the ancient cave temples which are located at a distance of 7 km from the city center. It is believed that these cave temples were built between the 4th and 5th century during the Gupta dynasty regime. These beautiful caves are carved from a single huge rock on a hilltop overlooking the Krishna river. The largest of all the caves has four stories with a huge idol of Lord Vishnu. The idol is on the second floor and in a reclining posture sculpted beautifully from a single granite block. You will find other shrines inside the cave that are a dedication to the Trimurti — Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh.
If you have learned about the Gupta dynasty and administration, the main cave will remind you of their typical style of architecture. Originally, the caves were structured like a Buddhist monastery which is evident from the first floor that retains the style of Buddhist vihara, including some Buddhist sculptures. You’ll notice that the exterior of the third floor is beautified with numerous arts with depictions of elephants and lions. It is said these caves were used by the Buddhist monks as their resting house. You’ll know more about the place and its history when you visit here. So this place is excellent for those who love arts and history.
The next on our list is the Kondapalli Fort. This ancient fort is located at a distance of 25 km from Vijayawada city center and is one of the top tourist attractions in the city. This massive structure was constructed in the 14th century by Prolaya Vema Reddy who was the Reddy King of Kondaveedu. The fort spreads over an area of 19 sq km and was used for recreation & as a business center by the King. The fort has seen many ups and downs. After being ruled by the Reddys, it was later captured by the Gajapati rulers of Orissa. Then after a few years, in 1520 AD, it was conquered by Sri Krishna Devaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire during the Kalinga wars. During the 16th century, Qutubshahi Kings ruled the fort and finally, the British Empire got control of it and used it as a training center for their soldiers. The fort has a beautiful 3-floor structure located on a hill. It has three levels of entries. The primary entrance gate is called as the Dargah Darwaza, which is crafted from a single granite slab.
The other gate is called as the Golconda Darwaza. The gorgeous Tanisha Mahal is the best attraction here. It’s located on a pinnacle between two hills. The fort is also famous for Dargah Shareef of a famous Persian Saint, Hazrat Gareeb Shah. Many Muslims visit this dargah to seek blessings of the Pious Saint. Besides, you will sight other ruined structures within the fort premises including the Gajasala (resting place for elephants), Dining hall, Virupaksha Temple, Dining hall, a reservoir, Queen's palace, and prisons. Outside the fort, you can buy wooden toys created from the local softwood known as Poniki. These toys are famous all over the world because of their bright colors and unique designs of animals, vegetables, birds, mythological, and religious figures. So don’t forget to take them with you as reminiscence.
Manginapudi Beach is a pristine beach located on the Bay of Bengal. This scenic beach is situated at some distance from Vijayawada and you’ll have to travel a distance of 85 km from the city to get here. However, after getting here and spending some time, you’ll realize that a 2-hour journey is definitely not a waste of time and effort. The best part of the beach is its black soil or sand which is unlike any other beach. This beautiful beach is visited by thousands of pilgrims during the occasion of Magha Poornima. They take a holy dip in the sea and perform other religious activities to have a good fortune.
Besides, a peaceful walk on the sand, you will admire the old lighthouse which is another attraction of the beach. Also, on the bank of the sea coast, an ancient pilgrimage site known as Dattashram becomes the most visited site as it houses a temple of Lord Shiva. Efforts are being made to construct some resorts near the beach to accommodate the huge crowd that gathers here, especially during the festival. This beach is considered holy similar to the likes Rameswaram, and therefore it is known as Datta Rameswaram. You can book a cab or utilize the city bus service to reach Manginapudi from Vijayawada.
Vodarevu Beach is one of the best beaches around Vijayawada. This magnificence of nature is located at a distance of 100 km from the Vijayawada city center and it will take about 2.5 hours to get here. Despite being situated a little far from Vijayawada, it is one of the most visited places in and around Vijayawada. This charming beach has a constant inflow of tourists who love spending weekends in tranquil settings. Therefore, this sublime beach also serves as a famous weekend gateway. The beautiful sunrise and sunset will make you forget time and can rejuvenate any tiring soul. The serenity, cool breeze, and the sweet sound of seawater simply add to the charm and attraction of the beach.
Enjoying the serenity and beauty of the beach is just one of the few things that you can do here. There’s more to the list. Vodarevu Beach also offers an opportunity to try exciting water sports, adventurous rides, swimming, fishing, and boating. Plus, a visit to the nearby lighthouse is another good thing about the beach. If you’re planning to stay for a day or two here, there are multiple options available. The Sip and Dip Cottages situated nearby provide all basic amenities for a stay. This beach is close to the Chirala town so you can stay at the hotels available in the town. A private cab, buses, trains can help you get to this beach. So you can choose what you’re comfortable with.
Suryalanka Beach also known as the Bapatla beach is another brilliance of nature that is located 92 km away from Vijayawada. This beach is located in the Bapatla town and serves as a perfect weekend gateway for locals and visitors. This spot is one of the most visited places around Vijayawada and thousands of people enjoy their time here with family and friends. This beach is capable of drawing a large crowd of visitors on weekends and holidays. The natural beach is the perfect place to take a long walk on the beach holding hands of your loved ones and to rejuvenate themselves. The shore is pretty wide and spacious and overlooks the crystal blue waters of the Bay of Bengal.
You can try swimming in the beach water as it is quite safe here. Plus, sunbathing is another popular activity people love to do here. Sunrise and sunset do not require any exaggeration as they are simply beautiful to witness. If you are here around November, you might be able to spot dolphins and therefore, this beach is normally crowded in that month. If you plan to stay here, Haritha Beach Resort managed by AP Tourism is the perfect place. However, you need to book it in advance to get accommodation here during the weekend. Besides, the nearby Bapatla town will also provide affordable accommodations. Again, buses, cabs, trains, can be used to visit this beach from Vijayawada and Bapatla.
Kolleru Lake & Sanctuary
Kolleru Lake is yet another famous attraction around Vijayawada located at a distance of 90 km from Vijayawada. A drive of almost 2 hours will get you to this large freshwater lake that spreads across an area of over 300 square miles and between the Godavari and Krishna rivers. If you are visiting this place between October and March, you’ll be able to spot several migratory and resident birds such as Blackwinged Stilts, Shovellers, Ibises, Red-Crested Pochards, Common Redshanks, Painted Storks, Open Bill Storks, Gadwalls, Teals, and so on. This lake has now been declared as a sanctuary and therefore serves as a famous picnic spot for locals and visitors. And if you are a bird lover, this is the paradise for you. Climb up the watchtower and simply enjoy the beautiful view. Taking pictures of the birds is one of the top things to be done here. This lake can be approached from all four sides of the lake. Cabs and buses can be used to get here from Vijayawada.
The last one on our list is the Gunadala Church which is also known as the St. Mary’s Church or the Gunadala Meri Matha Church. It is located within close proximity to the city, at about 5 km from the city railway station. It is again one of the most visited spots in Vijayawada and is constructed on the top of Gundala Hill. The then rector of St Mary's Church, Reverend Arlati in 1825 established a beautiful sculpture of Our Lady at this place. The church was later constructed here. The beautiful church is visited by many locals and visitors irrespective of religion, creed, and caste. They visit the shrine and seek blessings. A good time to visit the church is in the month of February when an annual event of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is held every year. And therefore, this place attracts thousands of devotees. You can enjoy the fair that takes place during the festival.