Take one part of golden beaches and the blue, blue sea that stretches to the horizon, add low rise rolling hills that shield and protect the city on the other side. Stir in some history - temples and archeological sites, culture and crafts. Juxtapose a major shipbuilding yard and a thriving business scenario where a massive steel plant and oil refinery among other growing industries jostle for space to become the fastest growing city on the east coat of India. Shake it up and what do you get? A heady cocktail called Visakhapatnam -- destination you would not want to miss.
More often than not referred to as Vizag or Waltair - Visakhapatnam is a sleepy town come into its own as a business centre as well as a tourist's delight. So come and explore the charms of this town.
How to Reach Visakhapatnam?
By Air : The Visakhapatnam Airport is located 7 km from the city. It is a domestic airport and has daily flights from Hyderabad and Delhi and also flights from Calcutta and Chennai, but they are less frequent. Airline companies operating at the airport are Kingfisher, Jet Lite, Indian Airlines, Spice Jet and Paramount Airways.
By Rail : Visakhapatnam Junction is on the main broad gauge railway line from Calcutta to Chennai that runs along the coast. There are many connections available from other parts of the country including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Vijayawada.
By Road : Visakhapatnam is connected to Chennai and Kolkata by NH 5. Private buses and State Roadways buses service areas in and around Andhra Pradesh and connect Vizag to neighbouring places like Behrampore and Puri in Orissa. The state transport buses are really almost the very basic in four-wheel travel. More comfortable bus travel by way of Volvo buses that ply the route to Vizag are from Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Vijayawada.
Best Time to Visit Visakhapatnam
The winter season is the best time to visit Visakhapatnam when the days are pleasant and night temperatures are very comfortable. This makes sightseeing so much more comfortable and forays into the neighbouring places like Bheemlipatnam and the Araku Valley pleasurable experiences. The day time temperatures remain an amiable 30 degrees C and the night temperatures a brisk 16 degree C at the height of winter during December.
It gets stiflingly hot and humid in the summer months with temperatures hovering in the region of 40° C during the day, but because of it's location next to the sea the evening cool down with the sea breeze in the late afternoon.
The warmest months are April, May and June. The monsoons come in late June and it rains intermittently till November. October-November is the cyclone season when sometimes they can hit the coast of Vizag coming in from the Bay of Bengal. Late November to February is a very pleasant time and also the time when major festivals such as Diwali and Navarathri are celebrated with great cheer.
Things to do in Visakhapatnam
Visakhapatnam has something for everyone. One of the nicest cities on the east coast of India, Visakhapatnam with its natural harbour is a big seaport with a large presence of the Indian Navy, Hindustan Shipyard as well as other big industries.
The list of things to do in Vizag is long. The scenic beauty is untold: from the jutting out Dolphins Nose that stands guard at the entrance of the harbor to the sweeping coastline that has some of the best beaches. The Lawsons Bay and Rishikonda beaches are really some of the most lovely and unspoilt beaches you will find on the east coast of India.
There are refreshing parks in the city of which the Kailasagiri Park is one that is well frequented by adults and kids and a popular place to spend a pleasant evening.
There are many places to eat here in Vizag and cuisines that cater to all tastes, and shoppers will also delight in the artefacts available in the state showroom Lepakshi where one can pick up a souvenir or two. The Simachalam temple is an 11th century temple and is a place to pay obeisance to the lord. For the more energetic, foray into Araku Valley for the hill station experience or to Bheemlipatnam for more beautiful beaches and small fishing villages.
Visakhapatnam is a growing city and has managed to retain its history besides its modernity and has done it so well!
Places Near Visakhapatnam
Some of the interesting places near Visakhapatnam are mentioned below:
Bheemunipatnam, or Bheemli as it is popularly known, is a short 25 kms picturesque drive along the coast from Visakhapatnam. Remnants of a Dutch fort and house and the red of a laterite hill make this beach far more interesting than a regular sun and sand affair. Part of the charm of Bheemli is that it is suitable for swimming. Small cafes around the beach sell snacks and cold drinks.
Araku Valley, a 112 kilometres from Vishakhapatnam is set amidst green hills bubbling with streams and waterfalls. 19 of Andhra’s tribes live in this region and their traditions are still alive. There is a Tribal Museum here and this should be on your must-see list.
The Borra Caves are believed to be a million years old. About 90 kilometres from Visakhapatnam and on the way to Araku, these limestone caves are illuminated by sodium vapour, mercury and halogen lamps. There are trains to the caves but it’s a better idea to hire a cab or rent a car and make the three-hour drive along the coast.
Anantagiri is another spot on your way to Araku Valley. Set amidst coffee plantations, this place is surrounded by greenery and waterfalls that make it a very pretty picture and the salubrious cool climate add to it's charm.
Hotels in Visakhapatnam – Choice is Yours
There are numerous hotels in Visakhapatnam ranging from 3-star, 4-star and 5-star deluxe to budget hotels.