Visakhapatnam (nicknamed Vizag) is the largest city, both in terms of area and population in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district and also the Financial Capital of Andhra Pradesh. Visakhapatnam, the port city, holds the distinction of being the second largest city of Andhra Pradesh. It is also known as the ‘City of Destiny’ and makes the domicile of one of most advanced steel plant of India, along with numerous heavy industries. Visakhapatnam is the principal commercial hub of the state, and contributes to its economy in many sectors such as heavy industries, tourism,industrial minerals, fishing, pharma and information technology.
According to the history, the city was named after the god of Valor-Vishakha. It was a part of the Kalinga Kingdom, under Ashoka’s rule in 260 B.C. It passed on later to the Andhra Kings of Vengi. After this Pallava, Chola and Ganga dynasties ruled the city. In the 15th century, Vishakhapatnam became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire. Vishakhapatnam is built along the seashore of the Bay of Bengal, and is bounded and broken by the bold headland called the Dolphin’s Nose (357m above the sea level). The city boasts of a beautiful beach with a long beach road ending at nearly Bheemunipatnam on the northern end. The surrounding area is dominated on the west by the well-forested Eastern Ghats and farther east is drained by numerous rivers, among them the Godavari and Indravati. The city is also known as “Vizag” and is surrounded by three hills, each of which has a shrine dedicated to a different religion – Venkateswara temple (also spelt as Venkateshwara) on Venkateswara Konda, Baba Ishaq Madina Dargah on Dargah Konda and Church of the Virgin Mary on Rose hill.
Nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and facing the Bay of Bengal; It is often called the best tourism destination in Andhra Pradesh. From Lakes to cool Beaches, from beautiful Hill Ranges to Caves and Valleys, Visakhapatnam has them all. The district has many tourism spots that represent the Culture and Heritage of true India. Travel to Visakhapatnam and experience the splendor of sandy beaches, ruddy laterite hillocks, downy roads and spectacular landscape of this ‘Goa of the east coast’.
Tourist Attraction :
Araku Valley :
Araku Valley is a comparatively unexplored hill station some 120 kilometers away from Vishakhapatnam. which is a favorite tourist destination. Your tour to Vizag will not be complete if you do not go some extra kilometers to visit Araku Valley . Araku Valley is located at an average altitude ranging between 600 m and 900 m above the sea level. Spreading over an area of 36 km, the valley is situated on Eastern Ghats and offers beautiful views of valley, waterfalls and streams. The main attractions of Araku Valley are the coffee plantation, Sangda Falls, Rishikonda Beach, pleasant weather and Dhimsa dance. The place is perhaps the most beautiful hill station in the south because it still remains unspoiled by commercialism of tourism. The beauty of the valley has been showcased in the Tollywood films as well. The strength of the place and the 19 tribes that live here is that they are not influenced by the modern world. The tribes keep their culture alive and the valley is a beauty that man has not attempted to conquer. The tribes respect nature and the nature has been kind to give them the best. The valley is serene and you will find that it offers you a challenging trekking. Overall, Araku valley elevates your senses and spirits, Its attracting tourists not only in India but from abroad too.
Kailasagiri Hill Park :
Kailasa Giri is a beautiful hill station of the destination offering beautiful view of the sea. The place is surrounded by Rushikonda Beach and Ramakrishna Beach on its left and hillock on its right. The name of the hill is derived from the word Kailasa, which means abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Kailasagiri is a hill top park in the city of Vishakhapatnam. The hill is at 360 feet and it overlooks beaches, forests & the city of Vishakhapatnam. It is one of the best tourist spots in the city for a bird’s eye view of the bay. Road trains for children, ropeway trolleys and play park are some of the leading attractions here. The place is photographers’ delight as the views from hilltop are mind blowing. Seven viewpoints on the park offer glorious views of the beaches and the hills. The atmosphere is so serene that you will completely feel at peace. Its a place that offers a mixture of things including places of religious importance, adventure games like paragliding, enjoyment for little kids, wide view of the whole city and many other things for the visitors. Shanku Chakra Naama, Jungle Trails, Food Courts, Titanic View Point, View Points, Art Gallery and Shanti Ashram are some of the most popular points on the hill.
Submarine Museum :
Submarine Museum, also known as Smritika, is situated near the beautiful location namely, the Ramakrishna Beach. Earlier the museum was an INS Kursura, a Russian built submarine; however in 2001 it was converted into a Submarine Museum. Being one of its own kinds in entire Asian continent, the Submarine Museum attracts many tourists. The fund to bring the Submarine to the shores was given by India’s Premier Defence Lab, ONGC, Visakhapatnam Port and National Ship Design and Research Centre. The museum was inaugurated by Nara Chandrababu Naidu, former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, in August 2002.
Yarada Beach :
The location of Yarada Beach is picturesque. Surrounded by magnificent hills on its three sides and Bay of Bengal on the fourth, Yarada Beach is undoubtedly the best beach in Vizag. The Yarada beach is a quiet beach to chill by the waves, sip that tender coconut water and occasionally play in the water. The beach is dotted with lush green surroundings and soft golden sands. The beach is an ideal tourist spot for nature lovers as they can capture beautiful views of sunrise and sunsets on this huge coastline. The Dolphin Nose provides a spectacular view of the beach and the Vizag city. A bus or cab facility can be taken to reach it. The vast coastline offers a beautiful view of the sunset. The Yarada beach is ideal for a short getaway as it provides one with serenity and calmness. It is also extremely clean and well maintained.
Rishikonda Beach :
Rishikonda Beach is frequented by tourists as it is one of the best beaches in Andhra Pradesh. The beautiful beach is situated 8 km from Vizag. Rushikonda Beach is dotted with golden sand and the tidy waves of Bay of Bengal. Possessing a vast stretch of water, it is an ideal beach for indulging in various water sports such as swimming, water skiing and wind surfing. Popular beach known for its scenic escapade. The area surrounding the beach is also filled with flora and fauna attracting not just casual tourist but also hard core nature lovers.
As per the belief of the Hindu religion, an east facing entrance brings luck and prosperity while the west one brings victory and luckily the Simhachalam temple faces west. Simhachalam is a hill temple that is almost 18 km away from Vizag or Visakhapatnam. The temple of Simhachalam has been constructed in an Orissan and Chalukyan style. This temple is famous for its splendor and elegant carvings. The name of the temple is derived from the word Narasimha, nara meaning male and simha meaning lion, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Simhachalam has one of the eighteen shrines dedicated to Lord Narasimha, a half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple priests make it a point to keep the idol of Lord Narasimha covered with paste prepared from sandalwood. The idol is in the Tribhanga position and has lion head on top of a powerful human torso. Architecturally this ancient temple deserves high praise. The deity is usually covered with sandalwood paste throughout the year and can be seen without sandalwood for only 12 hours per year. On the day of Akshaya Tritiya, the deity is re-covered with sandalwood paste. The festive occasion of ‘Chandanotsavam’ falls every year in Vaisakha that is the month of May.
Dolphin’s Nose :
Very similar to a dolphins nose, this 174 m high rocky headland is situated in the south of Vizag. The nose seems to be protruding out towards the Bay of Bengal giving it a rather fascinating look. The name of the place is derived from the shape of the rock, which resembles a nose of the dolphin.
Dolphin’s Nose, Visakhapatnam is one the most popular tourists attractions in Andhra Pradesh. Every year thousands of tourists from the different parts of the world come to this site to witness its beautiful natural location. The place is frequented by tourists to catch beautiful glimpses of the city from a higher view. The place has a lighthouse that monitors and tracks ships from the distance of around 65 kilometres. There is also a hill nearby named the Dolphin hill and is a restricted Armed forces residential area. The backside of the hill has a scenic, beautifully placed, secluded beach called yarada. Besides being an army base camp for Britishers in 18th century, the place is also a popular picnic spot among locals of the region. Some of the popular attractions located in close vicinity include Ross Hill, a temple on Venkateswara hill, St. Johns Church and a tomb named Ishak Medina.
Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary :
Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam and is a perfect example of natural harmony between the dry seasonal forest and the evergreen meadows. Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary has a wide variety of flora and fauna in their natural habitat. Spread across an area of around 71 square kilometres, it is covered with dry evergreen forest mixed with shrubs and meadows. The name of the wildlife sanctuary is derived from the local mountain named Kambalakonda. This natural sanctuary is half hour’s drive from the city. It charges an entry fee of Rs 10/- person and provides fantastic views from the viewing tower. There are endangered Indian Leopards and other animals such as Russell’s Viper, Indian cobra, Indian Jackal, the Indian Muntjac and Asian Paradise flycatcher which are found here. Tectona Grandis, Abrus Precatorius, Catunaregam Spinosa and Grewia Tiliaefolia are some of the popular flora species present in the sanctuary.
How To Reach :
By Air : Viakshapatnam Airport, about 8 km away from the city centre, links the city with various cities in India and abroad. There are several domestic and international carriers providing their services from here.
By Rail : Visakhapatnam is located on one of the busiest rail routes in the country. It has rail connectivity to almost all places in India. Regular trains to Visakhapatnam from both North and South are available as it stands on the Chennai-Howrah central line.
By Road : One can travel to Visakhapatnam by bus as well as the road transport connects Vizag to many major cities of South India and is nominally priced.
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The Belum Caves is the largest and longest cave system open to the public on the Indian subcontinent, known for its speleothems, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations. The Belum Caves have long passages, galleries, spacious caverns with fresh water and siphons. This natural underground cave system was formed over the course of tens of thousands of years by the constant flow of underground water on limestone deposits forming stalactites and stalagmites, siphons, water galleries etc. Belum Caves are situated in vicinity of the Belum Village in Kolimigundla Mandal of Kurrnool district in Andhra Pradesh state, India. These are considered as the second largest caves in the country, after the Meghalaya Caves. The caves reach its deepest point (120 feet from entrance level) at the point known as Pataalaganga. Belum Caves derives its name from “Bilum” Sanskrit word for caves. In Telugu language, it is called Belum Guhalu. Belum Caves has a length of 3229 metres, making it the second largest natural caves in Indian Subcontinent.
Belum came to scientific attention in 1884 by a British surveyor, Robert Bruce Foote and from 1982 to 1984, a team of Germanspeleologists headed by H. Daniel Gebauer conducted a detailed exploration of the caves. Thereafter in 1988, the state governmentdeclared the site protected, and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) developed the caves as a tourist attraction in February 2002. Today, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) of the caves have been successfully explored, though only 1.5 km (0.9 mi) is accessible to visitors.There are 16 different pathways, including the main entrance and there are deposits of quartz in the caves. The caves consist of black limestone.
The caves have three cavities, amongst which the central cavity serves as the entrance to the caves. These have numerous chambers, fresh water galleries and passages. The natural artworks formed by stalagmite and stalactite can be seen in the caves. The musical chamber, simhadwaram, patalaganga, mandapam, meditation hall and banyan tree hall are the main sections of these caves. Patalganga is considered as the deepest section of the Belum Caves. The Government of India declared the Belum Caves as a ‘Unique Eco-Tourism Project.’ Belum is part of a larger complex of caves carved out of the limestone deposits in the Erramalai region. Other caves include the Billasurgam caves, Sanyasula caves, Yaganti caves, Yerrajari caves, and the Muchchatla Chintamanu caves.
As recorded in historical archives and from the evidence found in the caves, these caves were used by Jain as well as Buddhist monks at different periods of time. In fact, relics found in the cave point to human habitation in the caves up to 4500 years BC. The relics and artifacts found here have been classified and studied and are now exhibited in the Anantapur Museum. Belum caves are well known for different natural formations of stalactites and stalagmites in chamber-like sections formed by the flowing underground water.
The best time to visit Belum Caves is from August to December. Like many other caves, this Belum caves is also having some historical importance. The entrance fee charged Rs. 30 per person of Indian nationality whereas foreign tourists are charged Rs.300.00 per person.
How to Reach :
By Air : Nearest Airport to reach Belum Caves is Bangalore and Hyderabad are equidistant at 320 kms.
By Rail : The nearest railhead to reach Belum Caves is Tadipatri, 30 km (18.6 mi) away. There are daily trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Tirupati, Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore and Goa which halt at Tadipatri railway station. From Tadipatri, one can take a bus to the Belum Caves.
By Road : you can reach Belum caves via Kurnool by bus, car or taxi all are available.
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Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary situated in Andhra Pradesh, India. After the mangrove of Sunderbans in West Bengal, the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary of Andhra Pradesh is the second largest mangrove forest in India. with 24 mangrove tree species and more than 120 bird species. It is home to the critically endangeredwhite-backed vulture and the long billed vulture. Coringa Sanctuary is an amazing scenic place to visit and is situated close to Kakinada city and is widespread over an area of 235 square Kms. Rich flora and fauna can be experienced in the Coringa Sanctuary. There are around 35 varieties of Mangrove plants which are present at this place. It is very famous for olive ridley sea turtle, estuarine crocodiles and fishing cats. A blend of entertainment and education is the best package to grab for summer vacation and the famous Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary on the Kakinada city outskirts is offering it. Coringa Sanctuary, named after a tiny village coringa in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh.
The picturesque location offers an ideal location for tourists to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. The tourism department has taken efforts to provide all necessary facilities to tourists. The forest rest house offers excellent accommodation facilities. The climate of the sanctuary is very hot and humid. It has temperatures ranging from 15 degrees to 45 degrees. The sanctuary receives plenty of rainfall as well. It gets about 80% of the rainfall. In the north east monsoon it gets about 500 mm of rainfall. The best time to visit this sanctuary is during the months of October up till May. The weather here is very pleasant and breezy during these months. It is a delight to visit the sanctuary during this time as one gets to see the animals in their natural surroundings.
Attraction of the Place :
Flora & Fauna :
The Coringa mangrove is famous for its flora and fauna. The mangroves have got rich vegetation because of the presence of the river Godavari. The Sanctuary in the estuary of river godavari has rich mangrove vegetation. Thirty Five Plant Species are present in this sanctuary belonging to twenty four families. The plant species that are commonly found are: Avicennia officinalis, Avicennia marina, Avicennia alba, Excoecaria agallocha, Rhizophora mucronata, Ceriops decandra, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Lumnitzera recemosa, Sonneratia apetala, Rhizophora conjugata, Aegiceras corniculatum, Thespesia populneoidesand Hibiscus tiliaceus. There are shrubs as well like Dalbegia and Trifoliate.
The fauna found in mangroves is unique and cannot survive in any other ecological situation. The sanctuary possesses a wide variety of birds, because of the feed available in the backwaters of the mangrove forest. During low tide, some of the areas are exposed (elevated mud flats) having small fishes, shrimps and mollusks. These attract avifauna for feeding. Some critically endangered species like the white-backed vulture and the long billed vultureare present in the sanctuary. The park also has a few endangered species also living here. Animals like the vulture, the long billed vulture and the Pochard are also found here. There are around 120 different species of birds that are found here. The sanctuary is home to a lot of mammals and birds. The park also has a fair quantity of turtles and crocodiles.
Apart from its rich population of mangrove and avian fauna, Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary;also boasts of plenty of Golden Jackals,;Sea turtles,;Fishing cats,;Estuarine Crocodiles and well bred communities of smooth-coated otters. The salt water crocodiles living in the region are the best attractions of the sanctuary. ;The 18 km long sand pit within the sanctuary
Best Time to Visit :
The best period to see Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary is from May to October. During peak tourist season, wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy the facilities of 20 seater boats and colorful pedal boats. This 40-minute boat ride gives them an opportunity to experience mangroves at close quarters. The entry fees for this amazing eco-tourism spot are fixed at INR 10 for elders while kids have to pay 1NR 5 only. The charges for different boats are set by the operators and vary according to the seasons. You can avail their accommodation to enjoy the thrill of bird watching as well as wildlife safari early in the morning
How To Reach :
By Air : The nearest airport to Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary;is Rajahmundry. It is at a distance of 70kms from Rajahmundry
By Rail : Kakinada is nearest Railway station, Which is 20 km away from Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary
By Road : Located a distance of 70 km from Rajahmundry and about 20 km from Kakinada, The Coringa Wild Life Sanctuary;is easily accessible by road. It can be accessed by the Kakinada-Yanam route using state buses or private taxis
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