Visakhapatnam or Vizag is one of the beautiful coastal town located in Bay of Bengal, in Andhra Pradesh and is the proposed administrative capital of the state. Vizag is known for its pristine, beautiful beaches and is the only natural harbour on the east coast of India. The city also boasts of one of the oldest shipping yards and headquarters the Indian Navy's eastern Naval command. Very rightly so, this beautiful coastal city is also called 'The Jewel of the East Coast'. Vizag is one of the 100 fastest growing cities in the World and has many places of attraction for the tourists to see. We will now take a glance of the important landmarks in the city starting with few of the famous beaches.
One of the virgin beaches of India is known for its clear water and golden sands. This beach is surrounded by lush green vegetation and is a treat for the nature lovers who want to spend quality time here. It is also a place to indulge in water sports as well. To top it up, the Government has built cottages alongside the beach and many restaurants dot the beach. It is here, our kids had a whale of time playing in the water amidst soothing breeze. A recommended beach for tourists visiting Vizag.
This beach can surprise you as we found it to be one of the calmest beach with quite a minimal activity, surrounded by rocks and greenery. There are not much restaurants here albeit for the fact that you might see some odd cold-drink sellers and coconut water sellers, as the place is a little away from the main city. The drive to this beach through the villages is also enjoyable. This is definitely a beach worth visiting for some wonderful view and cleanliness. Do not forget to carry water and some snacks while visiting this beach!
This is a 3.7 km long stretch which has more to it as this stretch has lot many stories to tell. This stretch of beach has bunker from WW-II, INS Kursura Submarine museum, TU-142M Aircraft museum and the Victory At Sea memorial commemorating the 1973 Ind-Pak war. Also there are numerous cafes and restaurants dotting this stretch and caters to varies tastes of the tourists. Also, quite a lot of city buses originate from here to various parts of the city. View from this beach is spectacular as one can see the lighthouse at one end and the Dolphin Nose Hill on the other. In the evening, one can enjoy beachside snacks, especially boiled peanuts and corn while enjoying the cool breeze. On the other side of the road, there are numerous multistoried residential apartments dotting the entire stretch along-with a lot of 5 star hotels.
INS Kursura Submarine Museum
INS Kursura Submarine (S20) was a Kalvari class diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy. Commissioned on 18th Dec 1969, It was de-commissioned on 27th Feb 2001 after 31 years of service and dedicated to the nation by the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N.Chandrababu Naidu on 9th Aug 2002. It is one of the very few submarines in India which has been converted into a museum and is a must see for a tourist visiting Vizag. Despite being decommissioned, the submarine still receives the Navy's 'Dressing Ship' honour. The submarine had a diving depth of 985 ft (300 m) and had 10 torpedo tubes to carry 22 type-53 torpedoes. During the Indo-Pak war in 1971, the submarine operated in the Arabian Sea. This submarine is one of the few submarines in India to retain its originality. As said earlier, this museum is a must visit if you want to feel the pride for the nation.
Bang opposite the Ramakrishna Beach is this beautiful Tupolev TU-142M aircraft parked & preserved. This plane served the Indian Navy for 29 years with 30,000 flying hours & finally retired in March 2017. The AP Government then decided to preserve it. This aircraft museum was inaugurated by our President Sri Ramnath Kovind in December 2017. This lovely piece of artefact has now become the 'Pride of the City' & become an important must-see destination in Vizag. The museum also showcases multiple equipment like survival kits, engine, data recorder etc. Museum also offers virtual rides, a small well maintained cafe and activities for children.
This is a hill-top park covered with tropical trees and flora. From the base one reaches to this park by a cable car. A view from this park is breath-taking as it gives a panoramic view of the Vizag city and the sea coast. The park houses beautiful idols of Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati in white. It is located at a distance of around 10 km from Vizag railway station. A toy train ride through the hill is quite enjoyable and affordable with AC and Non-AC coaches. At top of the hill is the Shanthi Ashram where one can spend time meditating and get some inner peace. Park has a food court and recreational activities for kids. It's a place which is worth visiting if you're in Vizag.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
This place is located amidst the Kambalakonda forest reserve & houses more than 80 species of mammals, reptiles & birds. All the animals & birds are caged in their natural ambience. The park has a separate section for butterflies & moths. Spread over an area of around 625 acres, the park offers various activities for kids including essay & debate competition. Do avoid venturing out in hot & humid conditions as it becomes pretty energy sapping to cover such a vast area. You could use electric vehicles that are available inside the park for a fee of Rs. 200/-. One can find a lot of benches & rest areas spread all over along with fresh drinking water spots to beat the heat.
Yet another initiative by VMDC is this aquarium right opposite to Ramakrishna beach. This aquarium houses a variety of fresh water & salt water fishes in glass tanks. Some of the exhibits include Squirrel fish, Tiger fish, Long horn cow fish & the peacock wrasse. The aquarium also houses some marine invertebrates like anemones and star fishes in multitude of colors which are very pleasant to look at. These places along the RK beach can be covered in one stretch & would surely recommend you to include them in your itinerary when covering RK beach. Just alongside the aquarium are eateries where you can have some good Idlies & coffee.
One of the revered religious site in Vizag is located at an elevation of 800 ft & is home to Lord Narasimha, the 4th Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple is surrounded by lush green cashew trees and appears like a fortress when viewed from a distance. This is one of the 32 Narasimha temples where the Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swami, a combination of 3rd & the 4th avatar of the Lord. The shrine follows a strict discipline & the statue of the deity is always covered in sandalwood paste. The statue comes in its true form only for 12 hours in a year. The temple has been an inspiration for many poets owing to its rich history & strong traditional values. A must place to visit for its sheer architectural beauty & lush green surroundings.
This is a 174 m high rocky protrusion which resembles nose of a dolphin which provides a scenic view of the lush green surrounding hills and a magnificent view of the ocean. There is a powerful lighthouse which guides the shippers and the light from this can be seen upto 64 km in the sea. There is a nearby hill called the Dolphin hill which is a army restricted residential colony.
Ross Hill Church
One of few locations in Vizag where you can climb & get a splendid view of the city along with the adjoining port area. It is a favourite spot of nature enthusiasts & photographers. The architecture is beautiful and dates back to 1864. It originally was house of a local judge, Monsieur Ross. Since then, the place has been renovated multiple times & statue of Our Lady of Sacred Heart was installed in 1877. It is a place where calm & tranquility prevails. This place is well known for the sunset & sunrise views. A must visit place tucked away from the regular tourist destinations, more towards the port area.
The war memorial is a very prominently located monument while one goes towards RK beach built in memory of Indian Navy sailors & the Eastern Naval Command who fought valiantly in Ind-Pak war. This was built in the year 1996. Models of missiles, tankers & fighter are also placed alongside. Recommend you to spend some time here & pay your homage to the selfless soldiers who gave their lives for our country.
Last but not the least, our place of stay was carefully chosen so that we remain close to the RK beach and access most of the places easily. In fact, we walked down to places like TU-142 M museum, Kursura submarine museum, Aquarium etc. We stayed at Taj, just opposite RK beach. The hotel staff was courteous and the service was great. Food was good and choice of menu for all meals was equally good. Vizag is definitely on the recommendation list if you want to visit a coastal town which is so traditional yet modern in every sense of the word.