Planning a trip but not knowing where to go? How about a place where you can witness the cultural flourishing that has happened in the last 1500 years along with the developmental milestones that it has achieved in the past years? Let’s take a dive into it!
On the shores of Krishna, one of the holiest rivers of India, lies the pristine city of Vijayawada, literally translating itself as the abode of Victory. Evident from its name, Vijayawada has been a popular tourist site of the telugu-speaking state of Andhra Pradesh as the residing place of Maa Durga, the Goddess of Victory. Situated in the Heart of Andhra Pradesh, Vijayawada has not only safeguarded its Historical and Cultural legacy but has also established itself as the commercial and political capital of the state over time.
Vijayawada from the pages of past
Vijayawada, formally known as Bezwada, finds its mention in the stone age relics found on the banks of Krishna river. In its early days, the city was a part of the ever famous Kalinga empire, and grew up witnessing the evolution of both Hinduism and Buddhism.
Evidently, Vijayawada city has been a center of political development for major dynasties like Badami Chalukyas, Eastern Chalukyas and Vishnukundina dynasty. The city flourished well under the rule of great king Shri Krishna-deva Raya. With the onset of British east India company, the city’s Economy grew manifolded. The city witnessed the establishment of Bezawadapatan factory, Vijayawada Port, Bezwada municipality and Imperial Bank during the British occupation. By the time India achieved its independence, Vijayawadq had become a major commercial success in the Telugu-speaking region.
Places to visit in Vijayawada
Vijayawada has been a storehouse of various legacies. As mentioned before, the beauty of Vijayawada lies in its multi-faceted enrichment that it has witnessed over the years. These legacies are well reflected in the landmarks of the city. Here is a brief about these landmark sites in brief.
1. Mangalaragiri Temple
Mangalagiri literally means the Auspicious hill. True to its name, the Mangalagiri is the abode of God Vishnu. Situated 18km away from Vijaywada, Mangalagiri is one out of the eight places where God Vishnu has manifested himself. Mangalagiri is said exist since the satyuga, the age of truth. There are three Narsimha swamy temples in Mangalagiri- Panakala Narasimhaswamy temple, the main temple that a situated on the hill, Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy at the foot of the hill and the Gundala Narsimhaswamy temple at the top of the hill. Interestingly, there is no diety in the temple but an open mouth which 15 cm wide and signifies the face of the God.
The Mangalagiri temple has one of the highest gopurams in the entire southern part of India constructed by Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu. Another fascinating certitude is that No worship takes place in the temple in the evening as it is believed that the devatas (demi-gods in Hinduism) themselve descent on earth to pay reverence to the Supreme God. To the west of the Lakshmi temple, there is an old tunnel that said to lead to the ancient Undavalli caves that are situated on the banks of the Krishna river. Earlier, the sages used to take this tunnel route to reach the holy river and take a dip in it before going to the temple. However, the tunnel is completely dark and is difficult to walk on today. On the top of the hill, there is Gandalayam temple where devotees light a lamp with ghee in it as it is believed that by doing so, all their miseries would come to an end.
Apart from the temples, Ksheera vruksham is another site of worship especially for the women. Several women visit this tree throughout the year and pray for conceiving a child. Devotees from all over the country and the world come here to take his blessings. Apart from the religious customs, Mangalagiri is also known for the Handloom fabrics of the same name Mangalagiri which are quite famous in Andhra Pradesh as well as in India and Abroad. The best time to visit Mangalagiri is in the morning hours, as it doesn’t take much time to reach here from Vijayawada. After this the temple gets closed as evening prayers are prohibited.
2. Kanaka Durga temple
On the hills of the Indrakeeladri hills, lies the heart of Vijayawada. Journeying Vijaywada would be completely abridged if one doesn’t pay a visit to the Kanaka Durga temple aka Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam. As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to the Goddess Durga, after whom the Vijayawada city has been named. She is also the presiding deity of Vijayawada. This is the second largest temple in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh and is believed to be self manifested.
Devotees flock in a large number during the Dussehra festival to worship and celebrate the feminine power that Goddess Durga embodies. People also take a dip in the Krishna river. The temple has three types of darshans taking place, Dharma Darshana, Mukha Mandapam Darshana and Amtaralayam Darshan. The timings for each Darshana vary along with the cost. From 4:00 AM to 5:45 PM, Dharma Darshan and Mukha mandapam darshan takes place, From 5:00 AM to 5:45 PM, Antralayam Darshan takes place and the Dharma and Mukha Darshanas begins again from 6:15 PM to 10:00 PM. There is no cost for Dharma Darshan but one has to pay ₹100 for Mukha Darshana and ₹300 for Antaralayam Darshan.
3. Bapu Museum
A Museum is a mirror to the legacy of the state. That said, we move ahead to the Bapu Museum in Vijayawada. The museum was originally called the Victoria Museum, and was built to commemorate the Jubilee coronation celebration of Queen Victoria of England in 1887. In the year 2016, the museum got a new face-lift and was renamed as Bapu museum, named after Sattiraju Lakshminarayan, also known as Bapu, a renowned film director, screenwriter, painter, illustrator, cartoonist and music artist. The museum is best known as the place where Sri Pingali Venkeyya had presented the tri-color flag to Mahatma Gandhi in 1921. Bapu Museum is home to a collection of ancient sculptures, Inscriptions, idols, paintings, Catherine’s and weapons. It also houses a range of prehistoric artefacts including tools, arms, manuscripts, pottery, gold and silver coins. The most appealing part of the museum is the granite state and the white limestone figure of Buddha in standing position brought from the Alluru. A mark of sculptural excellence, the museum also has a statue of God Shiva that belongs to the 4th-5th century. This is the prime attraction of the museum. The timings to visit the museum is from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The museum can be visited any away except for Fridays.
4. Mogalarajapuram Caves
Sometimes Interesting stories are carved from the ruined reality. Perhaps, thats what makes the ruined caves of Mogalarajapuram an interesting sight for its visitors. Located 5 km away from the city, the Mogalarajapuram caves are known for the five rock cut sanctuaries with only one of them in good condition. The caves belong to the 5th century. There is a temple dedicated to Ardhanarishwara with a unique statue that is one of its own kind in the entire southern part of India. The lush green surroundings around the caves add to its beauty. Furthermore, there are idols of God Nataraja and God Vinayaka in one of the caves that form an interesting catch. The panoramic view from the top of the Hills is truly breathtaking and is an out-and-out destination for photography. The timings to visit the caves are from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and the cost of ticket is ₹3 per person.
5. Prakasham Barrage
A major tourist spot and a lifeline for Agriculture. The Prakasham Barrage in Vijayawada is a 1.2KM long bridge that stands on the Krishna river connecting the Krishna and Guntur district. The bridge was named after the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Tanguturi Prakasam and was completed in 1957. Apart from the Krishna River, the Barrage spans over a beautiful lake that adds to its beauty. As the first irrigation project in the southern part of India, it is responsible for irrigating 12 lakh acres of Land making it the life belt for the people of Vijaywada who are especially involved in Agriculture.The timings of visiting the Barrage is from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM.
6. Gandhi Hill
Built as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the Gandhi Memorial is a major tourist spot in Vijayawada. This was the first Memorial on Gandhi ever made. Situated on a hill with a height of 500 ft, the Memorial stands tall along with seven stupas. Apart from the memorial, there is a library with a good collection of books belonging to different genres, a sound and light show that illustrates the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Furthermore there is a planetarium as well as a toy train ride for children. One can also witness a panoramic view of the city from the hilltop which makes it an attractive destination. The Gandhi hill can be visited any day except on Tuesday from 4:30PM to 8:30PM. The cost price for the ticket is ₹10 per person and ₹20 per person for toy train ride.
7. Undavalli Caves
Defining the excellence of India’s rock-cut architecture, the Undavalli caves stand high on the top of the hill. Situated 6 km from the city, the Undavalli caves were carved in the 7th century under the Vishnukundins dynasty. The caves are best known for the four floored structure that has different forms of sculptures inside it. The first floor belonged to the Buddhist monks as the design suggests of Buddhist Vihara. The first floor is also adorned with paintings that depict stories from Hindu texts and folklore. The second floor contains a statue of God Vishnu in reclining form, known as Anantasayana Vishnu who is also the principal deity of the caves. It is said that the statue was carved from a single block of granite. The third floor contains sculptures including that of elephants and lions. There is another cave that houses the statues of God Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva). The dense green surroundings near the caves adds a mystic charm to it making it a top destination for nature and heritage enthusiasts. The caves can be visited from 9:00 AM in the morning to 6:00 PM in the evening and it requires ₹5 per person for the tickets.
8. Bhavani Island
Amidst the shoring waters of River Krishna, lies the Bhavani Island. With Mangroves and manicured gardens in its surrounding, Bhavani Island has emerged as a top tourist spot in Vijayawada. It is the largest island on the Krishna river spreading over an area of 133 acres. The island is connected to the River Bank through Boating. One can fetch a boat from the Berm Park at the riverfront of Krishna river. The cost of Boating varies according to the type of boat fetched. Here are the details of the cost.
- Ticket Cost for Bhavani island ( dropping and pickup ) is Rs 60 /-
- American Pontoon Boat Per Head ( Min 20 Nos ) Rs 60/-
- Speed boat – 2 adults + 2 child ( 6 Min ) Rs 354/-
- Jet Ski ( Water scooter ) 3 min 1 trip 1 no Rs 295/-
Upon reaching the island, there are several resorts, restaurants, parks and adventure sports. The Andhra Pradesh tourist development corporation (APTDC) has developed the Haritha resort for the tourist. The Bhavani Island is perfect for a relaxed moment amidst the beautiful natural settings. People can also indulge in several activities like fishing, swimming, Boating and water sports.
The major attraction of the island is the laser show that happens in the evening after 6 PM, which depicts the history of Vijayawada from Arjuna receiving the pashupatastra from God Shiva to the current era. There are no extra charges for the laser show. The timings of the island are from 12 AM to 11:59 PM. However the best time to visit is in the afternoon as one can also enjoy the laser show.
9. Kondapalli Fort
Heritage is the mirror to History and which History is without a mention of a fort? In the 14th century, the ruler of Kodavidu dynasty, Prolaya Verma Reddy built the Kondapalli Fort as a leisure place and Business centre. What initially served as a place of recess later on became a military training base for the britishers. Over the years, the fort has faced ruin however there are still some edifices left that stand strong telling the tales of the bygone era. The fort has been constructed as a rock tower rising up to three storeys.
The fort has three entrances called Dargah Darwazah built out of a single block of granite. Another entrance gate is called Golconda Darwazah located on the other end of the hill leading to the Jaggaiahpet Village. Amidst the crest of two hills in the Tanish Palace, the major attraction of Kondapalli Fort. There is a deep reservoir near the palace with extremely cold water. Situated on the hillock, the Kondapalli Fort offers a scenic view of the Eastern Ghats.
The verdant earth around the fort makes it an ideal place for photography, trekking as well as relaxing. Since the fort is on the west side of the city, it also makes it a preferred place to Watch the sunset in the evening. The fort is located 16km away from Vijayawada and can be visited from 10 AM to 5 PM. The cost of an entry ticket is ₹5 for adults and ₹3 for kids.
These were some few but major tourist destinations of Vijayawada. But the list doesn’t end here. Gunadala Matha Church, Rajeev Gandhi park, statue of Lenin, Sri Subrahmanya swamy temple, Hazratbal mosque are some other tourist spots that people cover during their trip.
Shopping in Vijayawada
No trip is complete without letting your money go on some shopping. They are not just a guilty pleasure but also a way to take a part of the place that one has visited as a reminiscence of that place. Coming to Vijayawada, the town has no dearth of stores to shop from. From Handicrafts, to toys and exquisite textiles, Vijayawada has ample things to fill up your shopping bags.
Beginning with the textiles, the Old city streets of Vijayawada, also referred to as one town, has several types of textile clothing. Vastralatha in the Old city is one of the major centres of garment retailers in Vijayawada.
Another exquisite spot for finding vibrant and unique ethnic styling is Besant road, which is especially famous for Kalamkaris, a type of saree, exclusively made in Andhra Pradesh. Kalamkaris are printed ethnic clothes with depictions of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Other than kalamkari, there is Mangalagiri sarees, that comes from the Mangalagiri, which is a unique variety of textile, woven out of cotton with zari on the border and no woven designs on the saree.
Apart from Besant Road, there are markets in MG Road that offer multifarious items made of marble, wood, metal and stones. Then there are knick knacks like bangles and junk jewelleries. If you are looking for gifts to buy for your loved ones, then Kalanjali arts and crafts is the right place for you. And not just that if you wish to purchase exquisite silk garments with a touch of Kalamkari print at its best, MG Road has a lot of shops at you service.
At the end, there is Kondapalli shopping district which contains the cultural vibe of vijaywada in itself. Trip to Vijaywada is incomplete if we don’t buy the uniquely Kondapalli toys, which are carved out of soft wood of trees from Kondapalli Forest Reserve, exclusively found only in Andhra as it has received the GI tag for its distinctive features. These brightly hued objects are sure to grab your fancy, so don’t forget to take a look at them.
The Taste From the Corners of Vijayawada.
Since wandering and shopping are done, let’s get ahead to relax and savour some taste of the city? It is simply not possible to visit a new place and not even try the delicacies that it offers. And Pleasingly enough, this town of Goddess Durga has some major flavour enriched eateries to offer the visitors. This includes Pulihora, a popular Andhra dish made of rice mixed with Tamarind and a pinch of turmeric. The dish is served along with the sambar. Other vegetarian delicacies include Mirchi bajji, with Chilli as its main ingredient & served with Chutney, also known as pachadi in Andhra and Kili, a deep-fried snack made of rice flour served with a special Chutney called groundnut podi.
These delicacies can be found in any restaurants. Coming to non-vegetarian delicacies, Gonghura mutton, Bommidailapulusu, Natukodu chicken are recommended. Ending it with the desserts, it offers Boorelu, a traditional sweet dish made with black lentil and rice flour stuffed with jaggery and coconut mix and deep fried till golden brown. Ariselu, Bobbatlu and Kajjikarjalu are some other sweet dishes to try on. Also, there is no way one can miss the famous mango pickle of Vijayawada known as Avakaya, do not miss out on this amazing delicacy, and also make sure to buy some. But where do we find them? Although these delicacies could be in every second street of Vijayawada, here are some food joints to visit to have authentic Andhra style food.
- Le Godavari: a food outlet that is specifically created to provide with some great breakfast that includes dishes like pottikkalu, a type of idli steamed in jackfruit leaves. There are unlimited options available to choose from. The outlet is located in the Gollapudi one center. Another outlet that is similar to le godavari is Babai hotels in Gandhinagar. They provide a variety of authentic and affordable delicacies that are must to try.
- Nicole pasticceria: A bakery shop that offers some of the finest continental food like Italian and Mexican along with desserts. The outlet is located in the Kollipara road, labbipet.
- Murugan hotel: Known for offering Andhra delicacies, the Murugan hotel is one of the oldest outlet in Vijaywada. It has everything that one wishes to eat. However, They do not accept reservations. It has a relaxed atmosphere even with its busy schedule.
- Ironhill brewery: If you are someone who has a party animal within them, then this is the place you must visit. It is one of the largest microbrewery of India and has some good beer, food and dance. It is located in Siddharth Nagar, labbipet.
How to reach Vijayawada?
Vijayawada is a commercially busy city that makes it easy for people to reach here without any hustle-bustle.
- By Air: The nearest airport to Vijaywada is Gannavaram Airport, which is 20km from the main city. One can reach to the city by taking a taxi or an auto.
- By train: Reaching Vijaywada by train is both an easy and could be troublesome tasks.
Being located in the Chennai-howrah and Chennai-New Delhi corridor Vijaywada Is connected to almost every major city of India. However, it also makes the Vijaywada Railway station, the second busiest Railway junction in the country so the place may b crowded as well.
- By Road: One of the best way to reach Vijaywada is by Road as one can also take a glance at the surroundings, have a real time adventure while enrouting themselves on the smooth roads via bus, rented vehicles or personal vehicles.
True to its name, Vijaywada has gained a victory in preserving its age Old cultural cradle in this ever changing modern times. From the ancient caves to the long-lived tradition of Mangalagiri and Kanaka Durga, The verdure of Bhawani Island or the Gandhi hill to the exuberant delicacies and the vividly vibrant markets of the city, Vijaywada is undoubtedly going to enchant the minds of all!
Frequently asked questions
When is the right time to visit Vijayawada?
The best time to visit Vijayawada is from November to February.
How many days should one plan to visit Vijayawada?
It takes a total number of 3 days to visit Vijayawada.
How is the weather of Vijayawada?
The weather of Vijayawada Tropical wet and dry type of climate.
What is Vijayawada famous for?
Vijayawada is especially famous for its food and culture. It is also famous for its party and nightlife atmosphere.
How is the Nightlife in Vijayawada?
As The City is witnessing rapid urbanisation, there is a significant increase in the clubbing and night culture among the young population of the city. Following are some nightclubs to check on for enjoying a
- Ironhill brewery
- Madapati club
- C9 The Club
- Venugala towers
- Arugucrazy Boys