Visakhapatnam, also called the City of Destiny, is a South Indian port city in Andhra Pradesh’s north east corner. The city is nestled between the hills of the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal, which draws a lot of awe from the visitors. It is one of the few cities that have both mountains and sea, the result of which is a beautiful bounty of nature, a place you would love to retreat to. From just being a small fishing village, Visakhapatnam has developed by leaps and bounds and has a little bit of everything one would like to see when they are on a vacation.
One of the must visit places of the city is the Ramakrishna Beach or RK beach, the most popular promenade there, so popular, that on a Sunday the crowd that throngs it, making you feel like the whole city has gathered there! The Ramakrishna Beach runs along the city and a lot of beautiful statues adorn the road along the beach. The fun part is posing with the statues and taking photos. The statues range from freedom fighters to tribal dancers to mermaids! It’s the best place for children as there are many children parks along the coast and even a small amusement park. There are quite a few water sports that can be enjoyed and one can also take sea cruises. At dawn with the sea breeze caressing your face, a walk along the beach is a great experience. There is also a submarine museum called Smritika situated on the RK beach, the only one of its kind, not just India but the whole Asian continent. It is a real submarine constructed by the Russians in 1969, and was in use by the Indian Navy, which was later converted into a war museum in the year 2001. The entry fee is very reasonable, thus making it one of the major attractions of the city. If you want to catch up with a movie there is an INOX theatre on the beach where you could go and see new flicks.
Just a little away from the RK beach is Kailashgiri, a park on the hill top, which if you visit it in the evening, will give you a breathtaking view of the city and the Bay of Bengal. A ropeway connects this park from the bottom of the hill which is a fun way to reach the park. It has a massive sculpture of Lord Shiva and Parvati atop the Hill, and thus the name Kailashgiri. There is a lot you can do at this place including a road train that you could hop onto and see the place, a butterfly park, a revolving restaurant and much more!
The Indira Gandhi zoo is another place where one can have a lot of fun especially if you load yourself with some food for a picnic and enjoy yourself under the shade of the trees. Recently, the zoo received two beautiful pairs of ‘barasinghas’ or swamp deer which were not there earlier , so visitors now have an opportunity to see this rare species as only two other zoos in the country have them!
Visakhapatnam has many ancient Buddhist sites which transport you to a serene far-off world. The most famous site is called Thotlakonda which is about 15 kilometers from the city. It is the ruined remains of a Buddhist complex which must have flourished about 2000 years back. There is a guide who will tell you all about the history of the place in detail but if you just want to enjoy the place don’t hire the guide and explore the ruined remains yourself.
Another famous beach is the Rushikonda beach where you can enjoy swimming, water skiing and wind surfing. The place has been one of the most favoured destinations for water sports for foreign tourists, who come down to the city every year to enjoy the thrill of surfing through the mighty waves of the sea. You could go sailing on the blue waters or take a short trip on a speed boat. It is surrounded by beach cottages, restaurants, resorts and bar facilities so lodging is not a problem at all if you want to stay in for the night since Rushikonda is a little far off from the city.
For shopaholics Visakhapatnam has a reasonable number of malls where you could shop till you drop. The people are very friendly and unlike a lot of places where people are just looking for an opportunity to fleece tourists such a practice is not rampant in this city. There are an umpteen number of hotels and lodgings and one can choose according to their budget where one wants to stay as the city is home to many five star hotels. The cuisine is mostly south Indian, so you can get yourself some taste of idlis, dosas and vadas. There is this dish called ‘Punukulu’ which usually is never ever mentioned in any food guide and mostly sold only by street stalls but tastes simply delicious especially if its hot! So do try out this local street food if you pay a visit. If these do not go down well with your food palate you can always order whatever you want from some food joint or maybe visit pizza hut if you are a fast food junkie.
There are many more places that you can visit; these are just some of the major tourist attractions. There are many beautiful temples too. It’s very hard to not fall in love with this amazing city! Visakhapatnam is well connected by rail, road and train so it is accessible in any way you want.