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 deity is small and always kept covered with sandal paste In the month of May of every year, the sandal paste is removed ceremonially at the festival called Chandanayatra which is attracted by thousands of people all over 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 conquered 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 broad gauge 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 Bald 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 emphasized 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 greenery 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 gymnasium.
Lumbini Park is located on the beautiful beach road with the Buddha Statue in the middle of the park and is gifted with idyllic sylvan 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.
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. Black moor 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 coloured 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 skiers 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.
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.
Bavikonda is a hill on the North west of Timmapuram is situated in between Visakhapatnam and Bheemunipatnam Beach road and located at 2 Kms. Interior from the beach road point. On the hill noticed a Buddist site in the middle of the plain with antiquities like religious structures, stupas, Chaitya gruhas, congregation hall, platforms, viharas, stucco figures and coins are found here. The entire complex comprises 26 structures belonging to 3 phases. The artifacts recovered here include Roman coins and satavahana coins apart from pottery dating back to 3rd century BC and 2nd Century A.D. The discovery of relic caskets in the Maha Chaitya is significant.
Bheemunipatnam, the Mandal Headquarters is situated at a distance of 34 Km. from Visakhapatnam. It is one of the oldest Municipality in the country having been established as early as 1861 AD. This place as a settlement of the Dutch, who built a Fort and a factory in the 17th Century AD. The most important aspect of interest at the place is the beach which is perhaps matchless for its beauty all along the east coast. It is a usual resort for sea bathers as it is free from dangerous depth and sharks. Nearer the sea and facing the flagstaff is a well equipped round bunglow which it is said was originally the Vizianagaram Raja’s resort. The view of the seascape from the varandah of the bunglow is captivating. This place was an important port in olden days. It has a light house and it is minor port though it is seldom used now. Bheemunipatnam is undoubtedly a place of holiday resort.
Pavurala konda is a local name of the hillock lying to the west of Bheemunipatnam is located at about 24Kms. from Visakhapatnam. This is situated at a height of 168 meters high above sea level. It covers an area of 10 to 12 Acres. It is situated at a very imposing position and commands a panoramic view of the curve linear coast line with a crescent shaped valley and is flanked by a chain of hills on the south west and northwest. Nearly 16 rocking cisterns for impounding rain water are found over the hillock. Based on pottery and Brahmilable inscription encountered at the sight dates back from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD.
GEO PARK (ERRAMATTI DIBBALU)
The Red sand dunes lie on the way to Bheemunipatnam are absolutely suitable to develop a Geo Park and is an ideal spot for film shooting.
Bheemunipatnam Beach is an ideal spot for swimming and water sports. The remains of Dutch settlement with a ruined Fort, armory and Dutch cemetery dating back to the 17th Century preserved here.
This is a small village situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 18kms from Visakhapatnam. Kapilamahamuni is said to have installed the image of Somalingeswara swamy in this village. So it was called Kapilakonda. Formerly fisher men used to live in those places and they called it Apilakonda which is gradually became Appikonda. It assumed religious importance owing to the existence of a Siva temple containing a life size bull carved out of black stone. There are also other small temples around the Siva temple but they are covered with sand dunes and their gopurams along are visible. The Siva temple contains inscriptions of the 12th century AD. These inscriptions mention that this village was granted by a Commander in chief of the Chodas for the maintenance of worship in the temple. The Sivaratri festival celebrated here is attended by a large number of devotees.
Padmanabham lies 16 kms. North West of Bheemunipatnam on the left bank of the Gosthani. Padmanabham is known in the local history as the place where the Raja of Vizianagaram was slain in AD 1794 in the fight with the East India Company’s troops and the spot is marked by a small memory erection. The Padmanabheswara Swamy temple of this place is one of the most important temples of the region. The presiding deity Padmanabha Swamy is said to be the lord who readily responds to the desires of his devotees. On the top of the hill which overlooks the place, is the shrine of Padmanabha and the Kalyanostavam of the deity celebrated annually during March-April draws a congregation of large number of devotees.
Tenneti Park also known as (Vuda Tenneti Park) is an Urban park in the city of Visakhapatnam, India. Situated on the Beach Road in Jodugullapalem, it the first children’s park, and one of the oldest parks in the city. It is located beside Sea Shore of Bay of Bengal. GVMC installed LED screens in the park to boost Tourism in the city.
City Central Park also known as (VMRDA City Central Park) is an urban park in the city of Visakhapatnam. The park is located at the heart of the city. It covers an area of 22 acres (8.9 ha) The park has the third largest musical fountain in India after Akshardham in Delhi and Sahara in Pune. This musical fountain became one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. This park has the first musical fountain of Andhra Pradesh.
TU 142 WAR AIR CRAFT
The TU 142 Air Craft museum is one of its kind museum in India where an actual naval aircraft has been converted into a museum. It is located on the RK Beach Road and is a very popular tourist spot in Vizag.