Vijayawada is located about 275 k from Hyderabad, between the Krishna River and its tributary, Budaeru. This is the heart of Andhra Pradesh, historically a cultural, political and educational centre. The purest for of Telugu is spoken in Vijayawada, and political thinking within Andhra Pradesh originated and evolved here. Vijayawada lies in the rich coastal delta area of the state, a fact that is reflected in its spicy, deliciously varied cuisine. The most luscious mangoes, the king of fruits, are grown here and the region is renowned for its tradition of pickle making.
Legend has it that Arjuna, of the epic Mahabharata, prayed on top of Indrakila hill and won the blessings of Lord Shiva. The name of 'Vijayawada' is derived from the 'Vijaya'-victory.
A famous landmark in the Prakasam barrage, the 1223.5 long modern regulator and Road Bridge across the Krishna River, completed in 1957. Its panoramic lake and the three canals that run through the city give Vijayawada a Venetian appearance.
Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and benevolence is considered the presiding deity of Vijayawada. The temple is set on Indrakila hill. A temple of Lord Maleswara is also within the city area. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed Sri Chakra here. Special celebrations are held here during Dussehra festival.
The Gandhi Stupa, 15.8 high, stands on Gandhi Hill, which was formerly known as Orr Hill. The monument, built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in 1968. The Gandhi Memorial Library, sound and light show and planetarium are added attractions. From the top of the hill visitors get a panoramic view of Vijayawada.
The Mogalarajapuram caves are another site of interest. These have three cave temples, dating back to the 5th century AD, one of which is well preserved.
It contains the idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka and others. The Ardhanareeshwara Murthy found here is considered the only one of its kind in south India.
The other famous caves are the Undavalli caves situated about 8 k from Vijayawada which were carved in the 7th Century AD A huge onolithic Vishnu, in lying position is a agnificent sight at thest caves. The renowned temple of Lord Narasimha, one of the nine avatars of Vishnu, is located on the hillock at Mangalagiri, 12k south of Vijayawada. The unique feature of this temple, according to the devout, is the fact that the deity accepts only half the quantity of Panakam (jaggery dissolved in water) offered by devotees, irrespective of the quantity offered. Another site of religious significance in Vijayawada is Hazrat Bal Mosque. A holy relic of the Prophet Mohammed is kept here and displayed once a year. St.Mary's church, set on a hillock in the eastern side of the town at Gunadala, is also worth visiting.
Places to visit
The virgin Bhavani Island situated upstream of River Krishna close to Prakasam Barrage is a good picnic spot for holiday-lovers.
Situated on a hillock on the side of the town, Mary's temple attracts large number of devotees. Annually, a fair is held in which thousands of people participate.
The hill near the railway station previously called "Orr Hill" was renamed "Gandhi Hill". A Gandhi Stups, the first sthambas to be constructed in India was unveiled here on 6th October 1968 in memory of Gandhiji. The grand memorial column was designed by the late Sri Nandalal Bose is 52 feet high.
The idea of constructing a barrage across Krishna dates back to 1798. But it took some shape in the hands of captain Buckle and was revised in 1839 and 1841 by captain Best and captain Lake. After the endorsement of Major Cotton, the board of Directors of East India Company approved it on 5th January 1850. The barrage was started in 1852 and completed in 1855. Later the State Government constructed a new regulator cum-round bridge that was named after Sri Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Completed in 1957 it helps irrigating over 12 lakhs of acres. It provides a panoramic site of the river.
HAZARATH BAL MOSQUE
Here the holy relic of prophet Mohamed is kept. The holy relic is displayed once a year.
About 8k from Vijayawada, out of the 3 cave temples constructed here in the 5th century only one is still in good condition with the idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka and others. The 'Ardhanareeswara' Murthy found in Mogalraja pura is reputed to be the only one of its kind in South India.
VICTORIA JUBILEE REGIONAL MUSEUMS AND RAJIV GANDHI PARK
The Museum of the Archaeological Department situated on Bandar Road contains beautiful sculptures and attractive paintings worth seeing. 'Buddha' Alluru inscriptions 1st and 2nd centuries and Mahishasura Mardhani are some of the important exhibits here. The Rajiv Gandhi Park is a beautiful picnic spot, located near the bus stand.
The Undavalli caves are at a distance of 8 k from Vijayawada and nearly 280 k from Hyderabad. The high hill over looking the Krishna River at the village of Undavalli, hosts fine specimens of cut-in architectural and sculptural models. This long east oriented multi storeyed cave with a huge Anantasaya Vishnu figure, is one of the best and earliest type here. Other small examples within the koshthas and over the flat hills all around (nearly twenty) provide the thrill and joy of discovering carvings on rocks amidst the shrubby contours.
Kuchipudi, 60 k from Vijayawada, is the birthplace of Siddhendra Yogi, originator of the famous Kuchipudi dance. Easily accessible from Vijayawada and Guntur.
Kondapalli village, 16 kms from Vijayawada, is the production centre for the famous Kondapalli toys, made with a lightwood called'Poniki'. The toys consist of idols of Gods and Goddesses, bird's animals and houses etc.
Vijayawada is connected to Hyderabad and Vishakapatnam.
Vijayawada is well connected by rail with every city in India.
Vijayawada is well connected by road with Madras, Hyderabad, Vizag, Nellore.
A.P. tourism's Krishnaveni Motel, Sitanagaram.
Hotel Ravi Shobhanadri
Hotel GVR and Sons
Janata Hotel Nuzvid
AP tourism operates pleasure boating from Krishna Veni Motel