Legend has it that Visakhapatnam derives its name from a temple deity, Visakha, the God of valour. A Hindu king, enamoured by the lavish locale, built a shore-temple devoted to the God in the 11th century, on his way to Benares. Over the years, the mighty sea eroded the standing edifice, but the name and the town have remained. Visakhapatnam became popularly known as Vizag, and Waltair as well. Maharajas and rich rulers, seafarers and maritime warriors, priests, philosophers and even pirates have all left their mark on this beach paradise on the Coromandel Coast. At one time, Vizag formed a part of the magnificent Kalinga Empire, under the domain of Emperor Ashoka in 260 B.C. Subsequently, the region fell into the hands of the Andhra kings of Vengi and then to the Pallavas and the Cholas.
It was in the 15th century that Visakhapatnam became a part of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire. Using the seaport to their advantage, the kingdom exported valuable arts, artifacts and artisans to far-off regions such as Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma and Indonesia. With the advent of the Europeans, particularly the British, Visakhapatnam was slowly transformed into a port town. After Independence, the town emerged as an industrial centre with a steel plant, an oil refinery and a fertilizer factory. It also has the country's largest ship building yard. One can visit any of these thriving industries with prior permission to get an overview of how large enterprises operate.
Visakhapatnam is well connected by air with all major metros such as Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.
There are daily services from all major towns-Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.
Numerous buses ply from Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation's Yatri Nivas hotel
Seventeen km away from Vizag, on the outskirts of the city, this temple is perched on a hill, 224 metres above sea-level. This imposing temple is dedicated to Vishnu in his Narasimha or half-lion-half-human incarnation. The exterior structure of the temple appears fairly new, but the inner temple is definitely very ancient, and has been dated from the 11th century. The temple has numerous exquisite carvings with images of Narasimha.
The most seductive of Vizag's many pristine golden beaches.
The Ramakrishna Mission beach and Lawson's Bay
Miles and miles of golden sand; soothing, serene, blue waters; and swirling surf
The most conspicuous landmark of Visakhapatnam, this is a single massive 358-metre rock jutting into the sea near the beach area. It derives its name on account of its shape, which resembles the nose of a dolphin. The gigantic rock, more of a hillock, has a lighthouse capable of signaling nearly 70 km out to the sea.
This was erected after the 1971 War with Pakistan. A submarine has been permanently anchored to the ground for visitors to see.
Near the memorial this museum, sited within an antiquated Dutch bungalow, has a rich and varied collection of ancient armoury, swords, cutlasses, jewellery, silk costumes, stuffed animals, statuettes, manuscripts, coins and currency notes.
This massive vessel is being converted into a maritime museum, the second of its kind in the country. It will exhibit the history and valiant deeds of the Indian Navy in all its glory.
VUDA children's park
Do check out the dancing musical fountain here.
This has panoramic sea views.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park
The park is flanked by hills on either side, and the Bay of Bengal on the east.
This lush green valley is still untouched by modernity.
A million years old, these caves are located about 90 kms. from Visakhapatnam. They have magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations. The caves are brightly illuminated by mercury, sodium vapor and halogen lamps.
This town is named after 'Bhim', one of the Pandava Brothers. 24 kms. from Visakhapatnam, it has the ruins of a 17th century Dutch fort. The beach here is considered to be extremely safe.
Has five springs and numerous shivlings.