Simhachalam is a place of pilgrimage in Visakhapatnam mandal. It is situated on the Simhachalam range of hills about 16 km. from Visakhapatnam connected by both rail and road. The Simhachalam temple, the man lion incarnation of Vishnu is the most famous, the richest and the best sculptured shrine. The word Simhachalam etymologically means the hill of lion.
The temple of Varaha Lakshminarasimha is situated on the hill which is 244 meters above the sea level. The way up to the temple runs through the glen covered with pineapple fields besides mango, jack and other fruit trees. Architecturally this ancient temple deserves high praise. It contains a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a small tower, a square sixteen pillared mandapam facing the portico and an enclosed verandah, all made of dark granite. All these are richly and delicately carved with conventional and floral ornaments and scenes from the Vaishnavite puranas. One of the pillars locally known as the Kappa stambam is believed to possess great curative powers. There is a stone car with stone wheels and prancing stone horses.
The image of the diety is small and always kept covered with sandal paste In May every year the sandal paste is removed ceremonially at the festival called chandana yatra which is attracted by thousands of people allover the country especially from surrounding areas of Orissa state. On the north side of the temple there is an excellent Natya mandapam where Kalyanotsavam is performed. This mandapam is supported by 96 pillars of black stone, exquisitely carved and arranged in sixteen rows of six each. The exact age of the temple is not known, but it contains an inscription dated as far back as AD 1098-99 of the Chola King Kulottunga-1 who conquerred the Kalinga territories. Another inscription shows that a queen of the Velanadu Chief Gonka 111(AD 1137-56) covered the image with gold. A third says that the eastern Ganga King Narasimha-I built the central shrine the Mukhamandapam, the Natya mandapam and the enclosing Varandah in black stone and the other grants inscribed on its walls make it a place of historical importance. The most important festivals celebrated here are 1) The Kalyanam of Varaha Lakshminarasimha (March-April) 2) Chandana Yatra (May) and 3) Visakha Poornima (May) and large number of devotees congregate here during these festivals. Apart from the religious importance attached to the place, Simhachalam is a place of enchanting scenic beauty.
Visakhapatnam, the District Head Quarters of the District, the revenue Division and the Mandal of the same name is situated on the Madras-Howrah broadguage line. The name Visakhapatnam is named after “VAISAKHA’ or ‘KARTIKEYA’ the lord of Valour. The city is built along the seashore of the Bay of Bengal and it is bounded and broken by the Bold headland called the ‘Dolphin’s Nose’. This place is also known as Black Mores hill. It is a bustling Industrial and commercial centre surrounded by hills, beautiful beaches and lush green nature. The undulating terrain within the city is emphasised by three hills – the Ross Hill housing a Roman Catholic Church, the path way leading to which is strewn with Catholic icons. The Second hillock Dargakonda has a mosque and the tomb of Muslim saint who was revered for his prophecies and the third hill is called Sri Venkateswara Konda with a temple built by Captain Blackmoor in 1886. It has its own importance educationally because it is the seat of Andhra University. The places of interest in the city include the Dolphin’s Nose, Light House with 7 Million Candle power covering 64 Kms., range harbour, BHPV, Hindustan Shipyard, HPCL, Coramondal Fertilizers Factory, KGH, Circuit House on the Hill, a beautiful beach near Ramakrishna Mission and an airport etc.
Kailasagiri is a picturesque hill over looking the sea is a natural gift with 350 acres available has been developed into a lush green park has a panoramic sea view with a serene atmosphere with water sprinklers, microwave repeater station, beautiful garden locations and recent flower clock titanic view point making it an outstanding tourist spot. On the top of the hill a giant statue of Sivaparvatulu which is recently illuminated and Sanku Chakra and Namalu of lord Venkateswara are established. Hitherto a road is being formed on the hill from Simhachalam gives much attraction to the pilgrims. Further, recently a beautiful rope way from Foot hill to the picturesque mountains has been erected for the benefit of pilgrims.
VUDA park established in vast area has beautiful greenary and panoramic sea view had a dancing musical fountain sprinkling with colourful up and downs dancing along beat of the music, boating facility and skating rink, has also facilities like pleasure rides on horses and camels which are very fond for children and a well equipped gymanisum.
Lumbini Park is located on the beautiful beach road with the Buddha Statue in the middle of the park and is gifted with idyllic syivan hills on one side and the blue sea on the other is a great attraction to the tourist public.
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram has been constructed in 1938 overlooking in the Sea presenting the panoramic view of the rising sun. The Ashram conducts spiritual retreats for the devotees and also providing services in Educational, Cultural, Medical, Relief and Rehabilitation to the poor and needy.
RAMAKRISHNA MISSION BEACH
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram beach is a beautiful spot for relaxation and pleasure is a natural beautic scene. There is an imposing Kali Temple near this beach. The aquarium here is an added attraction. The roaring sounds of sea gives enormous pleasure.
Mudasarlova, the name itself depicts is a valley formed by the natural hills is situated 10 Km. from Visakhapatnam. It has a lake that supplies drinking water to city. The Municipal Corporation, Visakhapatnam has developed this into a beautiful park with different types of green plants and orchards is a beautiful picnic spot attracting good number of tourists and public.
A conspicuous land mark in Visakhapatnam the Dolphin’s Nose is a huge rocky head land 174 meters high and 358 meters above sea level jutting out into the sea resembling the shape of Dolphin. The powerful beacon of the light house set on rock at sea directs ships 65 Km. away.
The famous Ross Hill on the seashore is a place enveloping for three religions viz., Dargakonda has a mosque and a shrine of a Muslim sage Lashaque Madina and Sri Venkateswara Konda has a temple which was built by Capt. Blackmoor in 1886 and the third shrine is a holy place for Christians where Lord Velanganimata abode on top of the hill.
VICTORY AT SEA
This War Memorial (Victory at Sea) was built in 1996 by Eastern Naval Command to Commemorate the Indian Navy Victory at Sea in 1971. The beautiful landscape and colored fountain around the monument is further beautiful by the elegant war tanker Ajanta and War Flight.
Bhavatarani Charitable Trust was constructed the famous Kali Temple in 1984 on the Beach road. The Temple architecture is very unique. The uniqueness of Siva Temple is its Linga made of 10 Kgs. single stone called Rasalinga.
The 100 year old Tomb near beach was built in memory of Rani of Kurapam. Its architectural style is spectacular with an amalgamation of the sikara and the dome in the same monument the structure has carvings of the Acanthus leaf, deities and floral motifs.
Kurusura and originally decommissioned submarine is located on the sands of the R.K.Beach is developed into a museum. This project is jointly taken up by the NSDRC and Eastern Naval Command. The estimated cost is around 2.55 crore and it is the first of its kind in Asia and second in the world and is opened for public.
The Visakha Museum was opened in 1991 to preserve the house collections from the cultural and social heritage of the city of the Visakhapatnam.
The Yarada Valley is surrounded by hills and the beach is an enchanting seashore with lovely rocks and the soft pebbles spread across the beach is fabulous with its exotic blend of golden sands and the lush green stretch of hills is a picturesque landscape for tourists.
Gangavaram Beach is situated very closely to the Steel Plant and on account of its beautiful location attracts number of tourists and film makers.
MUTYALAMPALEM BEACH AND CREEK
The small hill by name Syamala Konda and Seashore in front of the beach is attractive and beautiful and in the middle of the stretch between the seashore and the hill is a stream flows through the shore into the sea is in L shape and is worth seeing and interesting which is a decent serene and peaceful place.
Rushikonda is 8 Km. away from Visakhapatnam with clean golden Beaches, is an ideal place for swimming and wind surfing in picturesque settings A.P.Tourism has 12 elegant cottages overlooking the beach for comfortable accommodation for tourists. Proposed to construct a swimming pool and also to introduce water sports are on the anvil.
The name Totlakonda has been derived from the presence of rock cut throughs hewn in the bed rock of various shapes, sizes with 4 to 8 steps in the hillock by which water has been drawn for drinking water purpose. Thotlakonda lies about 15 Km. from Visakhapatnam in beach road located 128 meters high above sea level. The archaeological excavations reveals antiquities like Maha stupa Viharas, Votive stupas, Chaitya Gruhas, pillared hall, congregation hails, tiles, finials Buddapadas, Eppatra pieces, engraved with Brahmelipi recovered from the site of Mangamaripeta hill and reflects the Kalinga and Andhaka schools of Buddism.