(Last Updated on : 01/12/2008)
Visakhapatnam is a district of the South Indian states Andhra Pradesh. This is a port city, which is famous for its natural Harbour. Numerous maritime activities also take place here. The place is well known for its ancient temples. The district is said to have nurtured Buddhism in the past, which is obvious from the grand monolithic Stupas, ancient edifices and rock-cut caves at Sankara. Most of these monuments have origin back to the 7th century AD. It is also favourite spot of the picnic makers. The beaches here are very soothing and attract the skiers, surfers and swimmers. There are also vast coffee plantations in Visakhapatnam. Some of the interesting tourist places of Visakhapatnam are given here:
Simhachalam in Visakhapatnam
Simhachalam is a massive hill, about 16 km north of Vishakapatnam. It is situated on 244 meter above sea level. There is a temple dedicated to `Lord Narasimha` here. It is an 11th century temple and is very rich in architecture. Several important historic events are revealed in the stone inscriptions here. The deity here appears like a Shivalinga, who is smeared with fragrant sandalwood paste everyday. The deity can be seen in the `Narasimha` form during the annual festival called the `Chandanayatra`, which is celebrated in a grand way in March-April. Government busses are available between here and Vishakapatnam. The nearest railway station and airport are also at Vishakapatnam, which are at 16 km away.
Annavaram in Visakhapatnam
This place is famous for an ancient temple dedicated to Lord `Veeravenkata Sathyanarayana Swamy`. It is situated about 72 km from Rajahmundry, 124 km from Vishakapatnam and 498 km from Hyderabad. The temple forms the crown of the beautiful hill known as `Ratnagiri` on the banks of the tranquil river Pampa. The deity here is one of the forms of Lord Vishnu. The devotees here come to undertake a special vow and perform regular Pujas in praise of the Lord here and get their wishes granted.
Every year, approximately one-lakh devotees undertake vow and offer Pujas here in this temple of Visakhapatnam. Most of these devotees are couples. Marriages and the Holy thread ceremony of the Brahmin community are conducted in this temple. The Bhishma Ekadasi and Kalyanotsavam in January/February and Vysakha Ekadasi in April/May are the important annual festivals of this temple.
Bheemunipatnam Beach in Visakhapatnam
This beach is situated about 24 km from Vishakapatnam. The beauty of this wonderful beach is enhanced by the enchanting estuary of the ravishing river Gosthani. The tourists can have a glance of the ravaged ruins of a 17th century Dutch Fort. The stronghold of the Dutch is proved from this. An ancient Dutch cemetery can also be seen here. This beach has a little dissimilarity with the other beaches along the east coast. The sharks can be seen in the coastline, which visit here often. The road along this beach from Vishakapatnam is very enthralling as the road is undulating all along.
Rishikonda Beach in Visakhapatnam
This is another exciting beach of Visakhapatnam. It is situated about just 8 km from Vishakapatnam. It has lovely settings and interests swimmers, water skiers, wind surfers and layman equally.
Sankara in Visakhapatnam
This place is situated about 3 km from Anakapally and 40 km from Visakhapatnam. The archaeologists and the common man are interested towards this place similarly. The visitors can see the grand Buddhist Stupas here, which are monolithic. There are many ancient structures and serene rock-cut caves here, which are remnants of a grand architecture of past era. A brick clad main stupa can be found here, which was first carved out of rock. All these monuments found here have their origin back to the 7lh century AD.
Araku Valley and Borra Caves
This is a wonderful valley, situated about 127 km from Vishakapatnam. The Ghat road here rises to a height of 1168 meter above the sea level. It again falls down flanked by mighty mountains and fabulous scenery to Araku Valley, which is itself about 975 m above the sea level. The tribal communities can be seen inhabiting the place.
The beautiful Borra village is situated about 90 km from Vishakapatnam. There is a ravishing rivulet found here. It becomes a deluge during heavy downpour and disappears into the limestone caves only to emerge again about 100 meter below in a stunning gorge. During the Shivaratri festivals, a large number of local people gather here. The journey from Borra to Araku valley is exciting, which is 30 km of sheer pleasure. The entire region is rich in flora and fauna and also in fertile and pasture lands. The Anantagiri slopes near here are full of sweet fragrance of the rich coffee plantations.