1. SIMHACHALAM

Simhachalam or the 'Lion's Hill' is 16 km away from Visakhapatnam. It is an important Hindu Pilgrim Center, known for the Varaha Lakshmi Narasimhaswami Temple. The 11th century temple is amongst the most important shrines or Lord Vishnu in the country. The presiding deity of the shrine is Lord Narasimha - a combination of the Varaha and the Narasimha incarnations of Vishnu. The main deity is always covered with sandal paste and the real shape of the deity can only be seen during 'Chandanayatra Festival' (March-April). The Shrine is also noted for its excellent architecture.

2. KAILASAGIRI

The Charming Hill on the seafront, sprawled over 100 acres of hill area, and rising 304 Mts above Sea Level, presents a breath taking scenic view, especially towards Bheemili.It has been developed as an attractive picnic spot. View points with roof and cement seats are located at different places on the hill to enjoy the serene atmosphere and scenic beauty & the whole city can be viewed in a panorama through seven vantage points on this location. The magnificent Shiv Parvathi statues with lighted mountains in front are worth seeing. Sankaram, Chakram & Namam fully lighted in the night are visible from almost all parts of the city.

3. BHEEMUNIPATNAMORBHEEMILI

The historical town is set on the confluence or river Gosthani and Bay of Bengal. One can see temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha atop a big laterite hill. According to a legend Bhima oneof five pandava brothers of Mahabharta epic killed demon bakasura and installed this shrine. It is also known for the 17th century ruins of a Dutch Fort and Settlement. A Cemetery here has some tombs, embossed with the skull-and-cross bones motif of the sea pirates. The beach here is quite calm and considered to be the safest for the Swimmers. A drive on the beach road from Visakhapatnam to Bheemunipatnam is quite fascinating, the 24 km. long beach road is said to be the second longest in the country.

4. SATYANARAYANA SWAMY TEMPLE

The Famous Hindu Pilgrim center is known for Sri Vara Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy Temple on the sacred Ratnagiri hill and the four metre high representation of the Hindu Trinity. The Structure of the main temple represents a chariot with four wheels. It is believed that the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled on performing Vrata (fasting) over here. The chief festival days are Bhishma Ekadasi (Jan. / Feb..), Kalyanotsavam &

Vysaka Ekadasi (Apr./ May).

5. ARUKA VALLEY

The Picturesque valley on the Eastern Ghats, about 115 KM. from Visakhapatnam is popularly known as Andhra's Ooty. The fertile valley extends over an area of 36 sq .km. and is rich inflora and flora. The scenic landscape, bracing climate , orchards, silvery streams attracts tourists from far and wide, The valley is inhabited by 17 colorful tribes, still untouched by modern civilization and is a favourite outdoor location for the Telugu film makers.

The famous attraction of Aruku valley is the 1 million year old Borra Caves which are about 90 km from Visakhapatnam, The caves are spread over an area of 2 square Kilometers. The caves were formed as a result of the action of the waters of Gosthani riveron the limestone terrain and has resulted into fascinating stalagmite and stalactite structures.

6. RAMAKRISHNA BEACH

The magnificent beach sprawls over the largest part of the Sea Front and is the most popular site i the city. The Ramakrishna mission is located nearby and there is also and imposing KALI TEMPLE near the beach. The Aquarium here is an another attraction of the beach. Plans are on to upgrade this into an Oceanarium.

7. INDIRAGANDHI ZOOLOGICAL PARK

A trip to Indira Gandhi Zoo Park is never boring which considered as of the India's largest in-door Zoo park of its kind. Located near Bay of Bengal and surrounded by Visakha Vally, this Zoo Park features a cast of thousands! Their stars includes the Cat Complex where you can see the entire cat family with Lions, Bengal tigers, Jaguars, Leopards etc. A Special Mini-Train was installed at the Indira Priyadarshini Zoological Park to facilitate people to watch the wild life in a open top train which runs of rubber wheels.

Nearly Eighty Species numbering Eight Hundred animals are present in the zoo. The well planned layout of the zoo has different sections for primates, carnivores, lesser carnivores, small mammals, ungulates and birds. The Birds encloser includes all kinds of birds and peacocks. There is a Deer Safari available for the visitors.

The zoo is open all the days except Mondays.

The primates comprise various monkeys - the common Langur, Rhesus monkey, Bonnet Monkey and also includes certain other exotic fauna like Mandrills, Olive Baboons & Sacred Baboons.The Himalayan Black bear and the Sloth bear in the bear complex are housed in large moated enclosures.

The Hippopotamus is a special attraction to the Zoo. The Crocodile complex has all the three Indian Crocodile species. The Reptile section has Pythons, Snakes, Land Tortoises, Terrapins, Water Monitor Lizards, Monitor Lizards etc. Elephant, Bison, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Nilgai, Barking Deer and Thamin Deer are the collection in Herbivores section.

A varied collection of birds from the Eastern Ghats in the large walk-through aviaries is a special attraction in the Zoo. Grey Pelicans, Rosy Pelicans, Pied Horn bills, Painted Storks, Peacocks, Ducks, other ground birds and little beautiful love birds, Budgerigars, and Cockateels form the bird collection in the Z

8. SRI VENKATESWARA SWAMY KONDA

The important hillock of ht city has temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, According to the Telugu inscriptions, a british soldier Captain Black moor built, this temple in 1886. From here one can view the port channel, which was the entrance of the inner harbour for ships and liners.

9. TYDA NATURE CAMP

It is about 75 kms from Visakhapatnam on the Aruku road and had camping facilities at jungle Bells, which provides an enchanting experience to the tourists. The region is rich in flora nd fauna. The main attractions are rock climbing,trekking and target shooting with bow and arrows, Even the language of the jungle is taught like identification of calls, marks etc. as well as understanding interesting features of various flora and fauna o prevalent in the Eastern Ghats, It is a very unique experience to stay in the log huts and tents set in tribal environs.

10. RUSHIKONDA BEACH

Down the coast towards Bhimili is Rushikonda Hill ("the Sugarloaf Hill") and beach. The beach is ideal for surfing and swimming.

Rushikonda is a thickly covered hill located at a distance of 13kms. from Visakhapatnam on the Visakhapatnam- Bheemunipatnam beach road. The steep hill slopes upward from Rishikonda beach which is one of Visakhapatnam's loveliest beaches. Golden, unspoiled sands quenched by the sun-drenched waters of a tranquil sea, a well appointed 36 room tourist lodge, individual rental cottages, a restaurant and other amenities in the tourist complex, make Rishikonda even more inviting

If you are a water sports freak then, the golden beach of Rushikonda is the beach for you. You can spend hours water skiing & wind surfing. One of the interesting aspects here is that even though the wells are near the sea they do not contain saline water. Sri Sapta Rusheswara Temple of 14th century surrounded by seven hills is located here.

11. DOLPHIN'S NOSE

The most conspicuous landmark in Vizag is Dolphin's Nose, a huge rock 357 mt hight promontory jutting out into the sea and very like the nose of the mammal. It also shelters the harbour, from where manganese and iron ore are shipped out. The nation's powerful beacon of the lighthouse directs ships 65 kms away.

12 ROSS HILL (KANYAMARYKONDA)

It is the Highest hill on the Eastern Ghats and is named after Mr. Ross, a prominent personality who built a house on this hill in 1864. The house was later converted into a Roman Catholic Church and named 'Our Lady of the sacred Heart'. The Ross Hill affords excellent views of the Ship Building Yard.

13. APPIKONDA

Appikonda is a small village located 18-kms from Visakhapatnam at the cost of the Bay of Bengal. History speaks that it is at this village that Kapila Maha Muni has installed the idol of Somalingeswara Swamy and thus the name - Kapilakonda which was over the ages changed to Apillakonda and further to Appikonda.

The Lord Shiva temple here contains inscriptions dating back to 12th Century AD. There was a life-size bull at the temple that was carved out of Black Stone. Every years Shiva Rathri is celebrated with much devotion

.

14. MUDASARLOVA PARK

Mudsarlova Park is located at a distance 5 km. from Vishakhapatnam, at the vicinity of Lake surrounded by hills and Palm Trees.

The site consists of park, several picinig spots, wide lawns, fountains, beautiful flower gardens, different types of trees. birds and peacocks in cages.

One of the main attraction of this park is scenic Golf Course Club.

15 THOTLA KONDA

In the same district of Visakhapatnam, 16 kms along the picturesque Vizag-Bhimili road lies Thotlakonda, where a number of stupas, viharas and chaityas belonging to the Hinayana school were found. A unique discovery providing evidence of maritime trade during that period was Satavahana coins bearing on the obverse of a ship with two masts, anchored to the shore. The site can be approached via the road running along the coastline between Visakhapatnam city and Bheemunipatnam (Bhimili), the second oldest municipality in the country.

16 VUDA PARK

Vuda Park, also known as Taraka Rama Park, is one of the prime attractions in Visakhapatnam. It is a beautiful park right on the Sun-n-Sea beach with boating and swimming facilities, roller skating rink (Consult the master for training 9.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m) , artificial caves, beautiful long lawns, flower gardens, and a children's park. Playpen for children - 40 Children can play at a time with 3000 plastic balls and with boxing bags. (Free).

One of the main attractions of the park is the Musical Fountain with a huge gallery to rest and take in the beauty. (at 6.30 p.m. Rs.5/-).

You can utilize the VUDA Health Club (Rs.250/- monthly) and Swimming pool (swimming permitted for Rs.5/-) which are avilable at Vuda park. The centeral lake in the park offers boating, Boat club (boating permitted for Rs.20/-)

Vaisakha Kala Vedika Trust (Free) (conducts classical music & dance everyday in the evening from 6 p.m.) Every evening cultural programs such as classical music, dance, and poetry are conducted at the Visakhi Kalavedika open auditorium. For those who go for picnicing, there are a variety of restaurants and food stalls.

17 KEERTANA VANAMU

This fine beach resort has been developed by Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) on the splendid Visakhapatnam - Bheemunipatnam beach road. The resort has a rustic ambience with landscape gardens & coconut grooves a restaurant and amphitheater.

About City

Visakhapatnam (better known as Vizag) is a beautiful, fast developing port city and the 2nd largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India.

Location and Topography

Located on the East coast of India, in 17o42' North latitude and 82o02' East range of hills. Based on topographical conditions, the city and its environs can be divided into four categories viz. Hilly region, Upland tracks, Rolling plains and Plains. The major hill ranges of the city are Kailasa & Yarada hill ranges. The Kailasa hill range stretches from Simhachalam to MVP Colony on the north flank of the city. The city which appears like a small basin is surrounded by the Yarada hill popularly known as Dolphin’s nose (358m) on the side of the Kailasgiri hills on the north, with the Bay of Bengal forming the eastern wall. The coastal line runs from north east to south west over a distance of six kilometres. On the west there is an extensive tidal basin called Upputeru now under reclamation. Beyond Yarada there is a valley followed by another range of hills.

Climate

The climate of Visakhapatnam has no appreciable seasonal changes. Being close to the sea, the level of humidity is high. The fluctuations in temperature are fairly uniform in character, except during the dry months when the rise in temperature is higher than it is during the monsoon period. From February onwards, the temperature rises progressively till May, which is the hottest month. During the years 1931-60 the maximum average temperature was 34oC. This has been showing an upward trend with the minimum & maximum for the period of 1975-81 being reported as 38oC & 29oC, respectively. In recent years, it has not been uncommon for the day temperature to exceed 43oC during May. November, December & January represent the coldest period of the year.

The average annual rainfall for the city and its surroundings is of the order of 95 centimeters with the bulk of the rain coming from north-east monsoon. During the period between September & November, storms and depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal cross the east coast in the neighborhood causing heavy rains and gales. As per Thornthwaite’s classification, Visakhapatnam & its environs come under the semi – arid (D) category. All the elements of climate viz temperature, pressure, wind, rainfall, relative humidity and other weather phenomena hardly exist and exhibit a well marked variation while January is the coolest month of the year with average temperatures of 30.0oc & 22.5oc respectively.

Economy

The city was originally a small fishing village. Mainly due to its natural harbour, it has developed into a major port city. It has experienced rapid industrialization with the onset of major industries viz., Oil Refinery, a private sector fertilizer factory, Hindustan Zinc Smelter & Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. The constructions of the outer harbor and Steel Plant have considerably changed the character of the city. On account of rapid industrialization and urbanization there has been tremendous amount of migration into the city. Today the services & information technology contribute significantly to the economy.

Vizag as a tourist destination

The town of Vizag, sandwiched between the promontory called Dolphin’s nose & the Kailashgiri Hills, is one of the rare towns in India where you find the hills and the sea together. And that makes for some spectacular views from even within the town. The beaches of Vizag: Rama Krishna Beach, Lawson’s Bay, Rishikonda, Gangavaram, are amongst the best kept secrets of India. With their vast golden stretches, ringed by the hills of the ghats, they make beautiful wide bays that would put many of the famed Goa beaches to shame. U will always be sure to have a large patch all to yourself if you so desire!

For one, in Vizag, u can never be very far away from the Gods and their holy abodes. On the sandy stretches of the beaches, atop high hills, hidden inside the dark caves, in the middle of the city everywhere. New temples, old but still active temples, or temples in ruins, can be seen all over Vizag.

Head north up to the Simhachalam hills – a beauteous drive up a wooded hill which will make you forget that you are in a seaside town to visit the famous 11th Century temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha. As u move along the corridors of this much revered temple, you can’t stop admiring the intricately carved pillars in black stone. Each of them, along with the other sculptures, has a tale to tell. Underneath these, budding scholars and priests learn the scriptures. A soothing site in these days of jangled nerves. And in case you wondered why the Lord wears an unusual look here, it is because his devotees have covered him with thick sandalwood paste. This paste is removed only once a year during the Chandanyatra Festival (March – April ), when, if you are lucky to be there, you view the real, unadorned shape of the deity. A number of cottages on the hill top allow you the thrill of staying next to the Lord, should you so desire, far from any urban madness.

Laze around in the golden sand & admire for hours God’s exquisite stretch of imagination; the only thing which will come naturally to you is savouring the delectable coastal fare of these parts. The little metropolis that it is, Vizag is well endowed with excellent hotels and restaurants. An Andhra thali is an experience no gourmet would like to miss out on, and Daspalla in the heart of the city is a great place to indulge.

Recently, many Buddhist ruins have been discovered in and around Vizag. Though scattered in different directions from the main city, they are mostly concentrated at Bavikonda, about 20 kms. Northeast of Vizag, and at Thotlakonda, some 16 kms. from the city along the Vizag, - Bheemili Beach Road. Here, there are some characteristic Buddhist stupas, chaitya and viharas.

A more fascinating site to visit is the village of Sankaram, where numerous images of Buddha are seen carved in caves of the hills. Interestingly, The Park, Vizag has incorporated these Buddhist motifs in its d├ęcor, with the recurring lotus motif, and various other Buddhist architectural elements of design.

Vizag is home to the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy and the Naval presence has cast its own influence over the town. Early December is a time Vizagites look forward to the Navy Mela, the Navy Day parade along the main Beach Road, with naval ships forming a backdrop in the ocean. If you are in Vizag at that time of the year, this is a spectacle that should not be missed.

Overlooking the port in all its majesty is the 358 meters high promontory of Dolphin’s Nose so called because of its uncanny resembalance to the mammal. The lighthouse atop, which can be visited with permission, is the highest in India. Its beams can be seen far out at the sea and it directs the traffic in the busy shipping lanes of the Bay of Bengal as well as the entrance to Vizag port.

Drive our north from Vizag hugging the hillside along the Eastern sea board. Savour the spectacular views that each curve brings forth, with the hills, the beach & the azure blue sea complimenting each other in a natural form of poetry. Soon you will come to the charming little town of Bheemunipatnam, popularly abbreviated to Bheemili.

Amidst the bougainvillea bushes, you will find a number of cottages which have made it a haven for the retired folk. But there is a lot more to this tiny town. It was the first municipality on the Indian mainland, having a system functioning way back in 1861 A.D. At the confluence of river Gosthani and the sea, amidst miles of golden sand, are the Dutch cemeteries. A relic of the colonial times, these are fairly well preserved.

Away from the sea & beaches, Vizag will lure you with her hills and valleys. Take the early morning train along the rail line to Kirandul in Basra. Crossing the Eastern Ghats, this line was opened in 1967 to move iron ore from the mines to Vizag port. Through the verdant ghats and numerous tunnels, you will reach the Borra Caves. These are home to some of the most spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations that you will get to see anywhere.

Further on, amidst coffee plantations, u will reach the picturesque, misty Araku Valley – home to some very isolated colourful tribes. This valley is at it's best in spring when flowers bloom aplenty throughout the valley. Not surprising then that this is a favourite with the Telugu film industry! Trek, hike or camp: there will be secrets that have never before been uncovered. Do carry something warm: nights at 1,300 m above sea level can be nippy, even if the sea and the city are only a few hours away.

Vizag is many things to many people. Children take an instant liking to this city with a number of seaside parks and playgrounds, and the large, well equipped skating rink. But the high point of a Vizag stay is undoubtedly the 1 – 4 p.m. socegado, a la Goa, when the entire city sleeps. Indeed, even " The City" may have to sleep here! With it’s excellent urban development & the natural endowments, Visakhapatnam is a city that will be constantly in the news in the years to come.