Vijayawada literally translates to ‘The Place of Victory’, with scrumptious fruits, sensational sweets and scenic marvels. The place is often also known as Bezawada. Vijayawada, a bustling metropolis is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh, and also holds the credit of being the largest railway junction in South India.
Vijayawada, located on the banks of the Krishna River, is bounded by the lndrakeeladri Hills on the west and the Budameru river on the north. The Kondapalli Fort, Mogalarajapuram Caves, Gandhi Stupa and Undavalli Caves are extremely known in the city and showcase a blend of history and nature unimaginable.
A major commercial hub, and thus aptly called ‘Andhra Pradesh’s Business Capital’. Although many legends have attributed to the name of this city, the most accepted one is that of Goddess Durga having relaxed here after overpowering the demons, and hence Vijayawada - ‘The Place of Victory’.
One of the smartest cities in India, Vijayawada seems way ahead of the other Indian metropolis, with a significant usage of renewable energy, and a well-connected transport network, having the distinction of being one of the first cities in India to introduce Rapid Bus Transit Systems. The city has also been as a ‘Global City of the Future’ by eminent business organization McKinsey Quarterly. Besides this, Vijayawada also has a gold mine of historic remnants, from Undavalli Caves of the Gupta era to the handmade innovations of the Kondapalli village nearby, which make it a popular tourist hot spot.
Vijayawada is Ideal for history lovers. Suitable for backpackers touring nearby sites like Nellore, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad etc.
Best Time To Visit
The place experiences a moderate climate, with mild winters. The best time for a visit to Vijayawada is in the winters, especially the months from October to March. The summers are unbearably hot, and the monsoons might dampen your plans if the rainfall is more than normal.
The Deccan festival lasting for five days in February and Lumbini festivals (December) are two attractive social gatherings here.
How To Reach
Vijayawada is well connected to the rest of India by rail, road, and air. Regular rail and bus services ply to and fro the city of Vijayawada; buses being operated both by private and government owners.
The principal airport, Vijayawada airport, 13.5 km. away from the main city connects Vijayawada to the rest of India, as well as the world. Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Kingfisher Airlines connect the city with Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. Also, it is situated along the Chennai-Howrah, and Chennai-Delhi rail route, and is thus easily accessible.
How To Reach Vijayawada By Flight
Vijayawada Airport is the nearest airport that is located 15.5 km. away from the main city approximately. Regular flights from air carriers like Air India, Spicejet etc. operate on a daily and nonstop basis for Vijayawada.
Nearest Airport: Vijayawada Airport (VGA)
How to Reach Vijayawada by Road
Regular bus services ply to and fro the city of Vijayawada. They operate on a daily basis, whether day or night, from places like Nellore, Vishakhapatnam etc. You can also take shared taxis or cabs for the same route.
How To Reach Vijayawada By Train
Vijayawada is well connected to the rest of India via railways as well. Regular rail services operate on a daily basis to and fro Vijayawada. Vijayawada Junction is the principal railway station that serves the city of Vijayawada.
Commuting Within Vijayawada
You can opt for buses, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, taxis and cabs while traveling around the city as all these options are good ones.
Top Places To Visit
1) Bhavani Island
The Bhavani island is the largest island in the Krishna River. It is located at the upstream of Prakasam Barrage and is considered as one of the largest river island. The Kanaka Durga Temple is the abode of Goddess Durga. She is also known as Bhavani and hence, the island is named Bhavani Island, which is located in close proximity to the temple.
This place is a favorite for all its visitors and home to numerous activities, to give you an ideal holiday experience.
Enjoy a boat ride through the Krishna river, or spend some relaxed time at swimming pools here. One can also spend an idle afternoon here, fishing or a one filled with excitement and adventure, enjoying water sports.
Activities At Bhavani Island
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) took the initiative to develop it into a tourist spot. Some of them include arts and crafts village project. It is also helpful for local artisans, weavers like Kondapalli toy makers work. APTDC has developed the infrastructure on Bhavani Island, to attract many tourists, such as sporting activities, resorts, rural museum, Berm Park, rope way etc to attract tourists.
How To Reach Bhavani Island
Well connected through main city through all means of transport. Bus services quite prominent.
Open Time: Best Time to visit is during day hours in favorable seasons.
2) Undavalli Caves
The Undavalli Caves are a monolithic example of Indian rock-cut architecture.
There are three layers in the cave. The lower level resembles to the Jain abode with many chambers and Thirthankara Sculptures. The second level has as the statue of reclining God whose identity cannot be found out. However, locale believes the statue is of Lord Vishnu. The caves are made in Gupta style of architecture.
About Undavalli Caves
You get the finest view of the agricultural environment, when you reach at the top of the cave. Tourists can even take the boat ride in the Krishna river enjoying the surrounding beauty. After that you can even have lunch with the local villagers in the fields.
History Of Undavalli Caves
These four storied caves are said to be found in the 7th century. They are associated with the Vishnukundin Kings of AD 420-620. These exotic caves of Undavalli were dedicated to the Anantapadmanabha and Narisimhaswami. It is also believed that these caves were used by the Buddhist monks as the rest houses.
Architecture of Undavalli Caves
The caves of Undavalli provides the finest example of the rock cut architecture of the Buddhists in India. The most striking feature of the Undavalli cave is the 5 meter long statue of the Lord Buddha in the reclining position. Another major attraction of the cave is the sculpture of the Lord Vishnu, which is made out of the single granite block.
Best Time To Visit
In winters the temperature is cool and pleasant. The ideal time to plan out the holiday trip to the Undavalli caves lies between the month of October and February.
3) Kanaka Durga Temple
The Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous shrine dedicated to the Goddess Durga. This astounding architecture is built in Dravidian fashion. The temple is surrounded by the gentle hills of Inrakeeladri, right along the banks of the Krishna River.
The Kanaka Durga Temple of Andhra Pradesh is one of the 108 Shaktipeethas that are situated in the country. The goddess appears in her Mahishasur Mandini form here, along with the slain demon king Mahishasur. The imposing image of Kanakadurga is a humbling and unforgettable sight.
The main sanctum’s construction is in the form of a pyramid, with the surface embellished with delicate stone carvings. The most impressive aspect of this temple is perhaps its golden crown, which can be spotted from miles away. A must place to visit for a soul-stirring experience.
Legend Of The Temple
Legend says that this region was once strewn with might rocks which suppressed the flow of the Krishna river, thereby leaving this area uninhabitable. Lord Shiva, to put an end to this problem was called upon who directed the hills to make way for the unobstructed flow of the river. The flow of the river gained strength through the tunnels or “Bejjam” and hence the name Bezawada was born.
Another myth claims that Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva on the top of the Indrakeela Hill for winning his blessings, and hence the name Vijayawada was coined. The victory of Goddess Kanaka Durga over Mahishasura on the mountains of Indrakeela is also said to be one of the legends associated with this destination.
Since this temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga, the nine days of Navratri are celebrated here with fervent vigor and gaiety. The most significant is the Saraswati Pooja. The celebrations here are held every year and thousands of pilgrims attend the same seeking the blessings of Her Holiness. The colorful festivities during this time are delightful and will restore your faith in the divine.
How To Reach Kanaka Durga Temple
APSRTC runs many buses to and from the temple, and local transport is a convenient way to reach this destination.
Open Time : 4:00 AM - 5:45 AM, 6:15 PM - 10:00 PM
4) Kondapalli Fort
This fort is said to have been built as a center of recreation, business and trade. The main entrance gate, carved out of a single boulder of granite is called the Dargah Darwaja.
Other than this, one finds inside a reservoir, Golconda Darwaza, Dargah of Gareeb Saheeb, Tanisha Mahal and several bits of history claimed by ruins.
What one must not miss while in this area are the Kondapalli Toys, light weight wooden toys from the village around.
5) Mogalarajapuram Caves
(Image Source: IndianHoliday.com)
These are ancient caves, dating back to 5th century and one of the most significant landmarks of the heritage of Vijayawada. Though a lot has been lost to ruins, the caves still hold religious and spiritual value as they house idols of Lord Nataraja and Lord Vinayaka amongst many more, a few cave temples and a shrine for Goddess Durga.
The carvings here also hold amongst themselves, a carving of Ardhanariswara, which is said to be the only one of its kind across the whole of South India.
Open Time: All days of the week - 9:00AM-6:00PM
6) Besant Road
(Image Source: Ixigo)
The busiest trade centers of the city, bustling with activity and trade, Besant Road is a dynamic place in Vijayawada. In recent times, the road has grown into a pivot of commercial hustle.
It now houses some of the best modern eateries in the town. With multi-cuisine restaurants providing quality services, the foodies in the town love this road. Filled with exuberance and vibrance, with many number of cinema halls, it is a heaven of film fraternities and lovers.
People swarm to this street to experience the some of the most modern films from all languages, a major source of entertainment for the citizens. A commercial, trade and entertainment center, Besant Road is a street to visit to witness the everyday, livelihoods and bits of the spirit of the town.