|Kanaka Durga Temple||Perched atop the Indrakeeladri Parvat on the banks of the river Krishna|
|Prakasham Barrage||Stretches across the River Krishna annexing the Krishna District with its neighboring Guntur District.|
|Gandhi Hill||Located in ‘Vinchipeta’ area|
|Mogalarajapuram Caves||Stationed at the approximate distance of 5 kilometers from the heart of the city|
|Undavalli Caves||Situated in Undavalli Village of Guntur District close to the southern banks of the River Krishna about 6 kilometers to the south west of Vijayawada|
|Victoria Museum||Located on the Bundar Road of Vijayawada|
|Hazarat Bal Mosque|
|Rajiv Gandhi Park||Sited close to the entrance of the Vijayawada City along the Kanaka Durgamma Temple Road|
|Gunadala Matha Shrine||Set up atop a modest hillock in the eastern region of the city|
|Bhavani Island||Located 4 kilometers upstream from the Vijayawada City adjacent the Prakasam Barrage|
|Mangalagiri||Sited just 14 kilometers away from Vijayawada in Guntur District|
|Besant Road||Passes through the heart of the city|
|Kondapalli Fort||Perched atop a hill range in the Eastern Ghats that stretches for 24 kilometers from Nandigama to Vijayawada|
|Amaravati||Nestled on the banks of the River Krishna|
|Subramanya Swamy Temple||Positioned atop the Indrakeeladri Mountain overlooking the Krishna River|
|Sri Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple||Located in Chitinagar area of the city|
|Hinkar Thirtha (Jain Temple)||Sited amidst the Mangalagiri Hills|
|Lenin Statue||Located in Governorpet Area of Vijayawada|
Kanaka Durga Temple
The Kanaka Durga Temple of Vijayawada perched atop the Indrakeeladri Parvat on the banks of the river Krishna is an ancient shrine dedicated to Goddess Kanaka Durga; a manifestation of Goddess Parvati. Hailed in Durga Saptashati, Kalika Purana, and other Vedic literature, the Kanaka Durga Devi residing upon the Mount Indrakeeladri is believed to be ‘Swayambhu’ i.e. self originated. As per the prevailing legend during the Dwapara Yuga Arjuna had constructed the original temple of Goddess Durga here when he was performing penance in order to obtain the Pasupatastra from Lord Shiva. Another popular myth suggests that Goddess Durga after killing the demon king Mahishasura had rested here for a while. The city derives its name after the Goddess Kanaka Durga herself who is also worshipped here as ‘Goddess Vijaya’ i.e. the victorious Goddess. The Kanaka Durga Temple of Vijayawada linked to downtown with a ghat road and a flight of steps enshrines a 4 feet tall idol of Goddess Kanaka Durga that is adorned with dazzling ornaments and vivid flowers.
The Goddess is portrayed standing on the demon Mahishasura and piercing him with her trident. She is depicted having eight arms, each of them holding a fierce weapon. Several archaic inscriptions dating back to different dynasties can be witnessed inside the Kanaka Durga Temple premises. Special rituals and ceremonial Poojas are offered to the Goddess particularly on the occasion of Navaratri and Dussera when the temple receives hordes of devotees alighting from all over the country. The most important Poojas performed here include the Saraswati Pooja and Theppotsavam when pilgrims take a holy dip into the river Krishna and then head towards the temple to get the auspicious Darshana of Goddess Kanaka Durga. A smaller shrine dedicated to Malleswara Swamy is also set up next to the Kanaka Durga Temple. The Kanaka Durga Temple holds the topmost position in the itinerary of the tourists visiting Vijayawada. The present day shrine of Goddess Durga is believed to have built by ‘Maharaja Poosapati Madhava Varma’; the ancestor of the Vijayanagaram Poosapati Kings after 12th century AD.
The Prakasham Barrage measuring 1223.5 meters in its length is a road bridge and a water reservoir rampart that stretches across the River Krishna and annexes the Krishna District with its neighboring Guntur District. The barrage creates a lake here and the three canals those cross through the barrage flow into the Vijayawada City yielding it an amazing Venetian demeanor. Originally conceived in the mind of Captain Buckle in 1798 and later revised by Captain Best and Captain Lake in 1839 AD and 1841 AD respectively, the construction of a dam across the Krishna River commenced in the year 1852 AD and attained completion in 1855 AD. Later, subsequent to the Independence of India, the state government of Andhra Pradesh constructed a bridge over the Krishna River Dam and christened it as the ‘Prakasham Barrage’ in the fond memory of the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh; Sri Tanguturi Prakasam. The Prakasham Barrage Project completed in 1957 AD supports over 1.2 Million acres of land in and around Andhra Pradesh by providing it with the water for irrigation. The Prakasam Barrage, one of the earliest major irrigation projects of South India was absolutely triumphant in its purpose. The state of Andhra Pradesh owes most of its flourishing agriculture to the Prakasam Barrage. The lake created by the Prakasham Dam is now famed as one of the foremost tourist attractions of Vijayawada.
The Gandhi Hill of Vijayawada, also known as ‘Gandhi Stupa’ and located in ‘Vinchipeta’ area of the city is honored to be the first commemorative plaque of India constructed in the revered memory of the Father of the Nation; Mahatma Gandhi. Earlier reckoned by the title the ‘Orr Hill’, this knoll was renamed after Mahatma Gandhi subsequent to the establishment of the seven memorial Stupas here. This monument nestled at the elevation of 500 feet above the downtown Vijayawada was inaugurated by the hands of the then President of India; Dr. Zakir Hussain on October 6, 1968. Measuring 15.8 meters in its height, this edifice featuring the cluster of seven stupas happened to be the tallest structure of the city kissing the Vijayawada skyline. The Gandhi Hill Memorial bears several stone slabs upon which the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are inscribed. Apart from that, a well stoked Gandhi Memorial Library and the city planetarium comprise the prime attractions of Gandhi Hill. What’s more, a light and sound show is organized here every evening based on the life and deeds of Mahatma Gandhi and his praiseworthy contribution in the Independence struggle of India. The toy train that is operational here adds a supplementary charm for the children. The towering Gandhi Hill, which is placed overlooking the Vijayawada city, proffers the most enchanting prospects of the entire Vijayawada terrain. The Gandhi Hill Memorial can be visited from 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm everyday except for Tuesdays and an entry fee of rupees 3 is charged here.
The Mogalarajapuram Caves of Vijayawada stationed at the approximate distance of 5 kilometers from the heart of the city is a group of rock cut caves estimated to be dating back to 5th century AD. Reputed to be the first of their kind in Southern India, the Mogalarajapuram Caves, though in ruins today are credited as the valuable evidences of the architectural ingenuity, sculptural and artistic dexterity and cultural magnitude attained during the bygone era. The icons of Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja, Lord Ganesha as Vinayaka and the consolidated manifestation of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in the form of ‘Ardhanareeshwara’ can be seen carved inside these primordial caves, however no statues of any kind have been found here. The Ardhanareeshwara sculpture enshrined in the Mogalarajapuram Temple sited here is believed to be the oldest effigy of its kind in South India.
The Undavalli Caves situated in Undavalli Village of Guntur District close to the southern banks of the River Krishna about 6 kilometers to the south west of Vijayawada are also a group of rock cut caves extolled as the peerless paradigm of Indian rock-cut architecture and the supreme testament of the architectonic genius accomplished by the primeval Vishwakarma Sthapathis. Dating back to 4th or 5th century AD and associated with the Dravidian Jain Kings who flourished between 420 and 620 AD, the Undavalli Caves positioned atop a hillside are carved out of solid sandstone. The largest and the most popular cave from the Undavalli group of caves features four stories and the most remarkable attribute of this edifice is its mammoth statue of Lord Vishnu. To be found in the second floor of this multistory cave this enormous sculpture shaped in the reclining posture is carved out of one single block of granite.
Primarily functioning as the residing quarters and worship places for the Jain monks, the Undavalli Caves resemble the Udayagiri and Khandgiri caves in their style of architecture. These prehistoric rock-cut monastery cells seem to have been carved into the sandstone hills and the first floor of the cave still keeps hold of the Jain Viharas and the age old sculptures of the Thirthankaras. The main cave of this cluster represents the earliest patterns of the Gupta structural design and the walls of the caves are affluent in their skillfully carved sculptures. Highly sought after by the visitors of Vijayawada, the Undavalli Caves apart from their precious bequest of history, architecture and civil engineering prevailing in those eras is also noted for its infinite natural pulchritude. Enclosed by the verdurous landscapes and emerald green countryside, the Undavalli Caves offer the most mesmerizing panoramas of the meandering Krishna River and the ancient city of Vijayawada.
The Victoria Museum of Vijayawada, also reckoned by the epithet ‘the Victoria Jubilee Museum’ is an ancient archeological menagerie established in the year 1887 to commemorate the golden jubilee celebration of Queen Victoria’s coronation as the Queen of United Kingdom. Located on the Bundar Road of Vijayawada, the Victoria Museum proves to be a bona fide testimonial of pre historic and pre independence India and an extravagant banquet for those interested in history and archeology. Administered by the Archaeology Department, the Victoria Museum boasts of its carefully conserved anthology of ancient sculptures, paintings, inscriptions, stone cut writings, idols, pottery, stone and copper plates, cutlery, gold and silver coins, metal works, weapons, pre-historic stone tools, Neolithic and Mesolithic equipments, textiles, manuscripts, and other relics unearthed form the excavations undertaken at various historical sites.
The most worth mentioning endowments of this repository include the effigies of Lord Buddha framed out of granite and white limestone, a 4th century idol of Lord Shiva and the figurine of Goddess Mahishasura Mardini. The granite sculpture of Lord Buddha is distinguished for its enormity while the one made out of white limestone in standing posture is specially brought from Alluru. This imposing two storied building extraordinary in its own architectural appeal has also been witness to some of the most important events in the history of India. For example, the building served as the venue of the Congress meeting of 1921 AD where the new Tiranga (tri color) flag; the official flag of the Indian National Congress was introduced. Mahatma Gandhi added the wheel to the design of the flag here. The Victoria Jubilee Museum can be visited from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm all days of week but Fridays and public holidays. No entry fee is charged here.
Hazarat Bal Mosque
The Hazarat Bal Mosque of Vijayawada held in high esteem by the followers of Islam is a sacred mosque of this ‘city of victory’ where a holy relic of the Prophet Mohammed is preserved and displayed in front of the devotees only once in a year. As the name suggests, the mosque houses a lock of hair (Bal) of Prophet Mohammed; the founder of Islam and the remnant is exhibited at the time of the annual festival of the Masjid. Visited by myriads of devotees and tourists all round the year, the Hazarat Bal Mosque receives a huge intake of pilgrims particularly on the occasion of its annual fiesta. Built in pure white marble and towered with a huge white dome which is flanked by a tall white minaret, the Hazarat Bal Mosque spread over an extensive area is garlanded with a beautiful garden and a splendid fountain at its front. Equally venerated for its architectural marvel and its religious importance, the Hazarat Bal Mosque is thronged by the devotees without any discrimination of religion, cast or creed when the sacrosanct relic of the Prophet Mohammed is put for the Darshana. It is believed that the mosque due to the presence of Prophet Muhammad’s remains enjoys special divine powers and those who visit the mosque are blessed with eternal bliss. Highly eulogized amongst the Muslims, the Hazarat Bal Mosque is a must visit place during your trip to Vijayawada.
Rajiv Gandhi Park
The Rajiv Gandhi Park of Vijayawada sited close to the entrance of the Vijayawada City along the Kanaka Durgamma Temple Road is a resplendent garden of Vijayawada highly sought after both by the locals as well as the tourists. Christened after the Late Prime Minister of India Sri Rajiv Gandhi, this garden is established and maintained by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation. Noted for its magnificent horticultural network and its enthralling musical water fountains, the Rajiv Gandhi Park comprises one of the most prominent attractions of Vijayawada. Decked out with finely manicured lawns and well landscaped walking trails, the park is predominantly celebrated for its mini zoo, aquarium, skating rink, gun shooting, jeep, cups go round ride, bungee trampoline, cricket zone and the musical fountain show carried out every evening. The scintillatingly illuminated fountain and the water reflecting colorful lights and dancing to the tunes of the popular music undoubtedly steal the heart of the beholders. This musical show is organized every day (but Monday) from 7:30 pm to 8:15 pm. Apart from that, the Rajiv Gandhi Park especially allures and at the same time educates the school children with its giant replicas of dinosaurs and other pre-historic animals. The park can be visited from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm on weekdays and from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekends. Rupees 3 for adults and rupees 2 for kids are charged here as the entry fee.
Gunadala Matha Shrine
The Gunadala Matha Shrine of Vijayawada set up atop a modest hillock in the eastern region of the city is a Christian place of worship dedicated to Gunadala Matha or Mary Matha i.e. the Mother Mary. Also reckoned by the sobriquet St. Mary’s Church, the Gunadala Matha Shrine is distinguished for the peculiar iron cross it bears. Rf. Arlati; the Rector of St. Joseph’s Orphanage at Gunadala had installed a statue of Mother Mary here in 1925 AD. Later a church was erected at the same place and the statue of Mother Mary was consecrated in the church in 1971 AD. The church celebrates its annual feast of Our Lady of Lourdes every year when thousands of Christian devotees and other tourists pay a visit to the Gunadala Matha Shrine and seek the blessings of the Our Lady; Mother Mary. An additional attraction of the Gunadala Matha Shrine is its museum where ancient holy relics and the valuable presents offered by the devotees to the church are put up for the display. The shrine receives hordes of devotees on Sundays and at the time of the important Christian festivals such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Lent, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and so on.
The Bhavani Island located 4 kilometers upstream from the Vijayawada City adjacent the Prakasam Barrage is one of the largest islands of the Krishna River. Covering an extensive area of 133 acres and enveloped with lush green verdure, the Bhavani Island, extremely popular amongst the citizens as well as the tourists is a recreational park and an unwinding hub set up on the periphery of the city. Due to its luxuriant natural foliage, mangroves, meadows and manicured gardens and its unrivaled tourism appeal, the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation is presently commissioning the project to develop the island as an attractive tourist spot and a River Front Resort. At present the Bhavani Island is bequeathed with several small cottages and a number of adventure and entertainment sports facilities. A spectacular picnic destination around Vijayawada, the Bhavani Island possesses properly maintained swimming pools and boat riding services. Spending a night in the Bhavani Island Cottages, enjoying a boat ride in the Krishna River and indulging in some thrilling water sports is indeed a pleasurable and memorable experience. The boats are available from the Durga Ghat of the Bhavani Island. Fishing is yet another option for the visitors here. The Bhavani Island bejeweled with nature’s perennial glamour and augmented with human endeavors is certainly an ideal weekend getaway with your friends, families and near and dear ones.
Mangalagiri, sited just 14 kilometers away from Vijayawada in Guntur District is a small township acclaimed far and wide for its Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple. Regarded to be one of the eight ‘Mahakshetrams’ of India where Lord Vishnu manifested Himself in the form of Thothadri, the Mangalagiri town of Andhra Pradesh is famed all over the place as a leading Vaishnava pilgrim destination. The term Mangalagiri means, ‘the holy hill’. Positioned atop an elephant shaped mound, the Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple is believed to be the oldest Vaishnavite Temple in the entire South Indian peninsula. Enshrining Lord Lakshmi Narasimha as its presiding deity, this temple was built under the patronage of a Zamindar; Sri Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu between 1807 and 1809 AD. A noteworthy feature of this temple is that, the presiding deity would consume the half quantity of the ‘Panakam’ Prasad offered by you. As the legend goes, Prince Hrasva Srungi; the son of King Pariyatra arrived here and started performing penance in the honor of Lord Vishnu.
When his father came to take him back to the kingdom, he converted himself into an elephant and became the abode of Lord Vishnu; Lord Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy. To the right of the steps those lead to the temple is sited a stone inscription dating back to the epoch of Vijayanagara King Krishna Deva Raya’s governance. Further beyond, the foot imprints of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are installed. A dhwajasthambham was raised in front of the Vishnu Temple in the year 1955. A smaller shrine dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is situated at the back of the Narasimhaswamy Temple. To the west of the shrine is spotted a tunnel which is said to be opening at the Undavalli Caves. Another temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha is situated at the footings of the elephant shaped hillock. The famous ‘Hinkar Tirtha’; applauded as the largest Jain temple of this region is also parked here. Blessed with verdant greenery and immense natural splendor, Mangalagiri apart from its great religious significance is also renowned for its traditional textiles.
The Besant Road passing through the heart of the city is the central and the most hustling bustling thoroughfare of Vijayawada where almost all the commercial as well as recreational and tourist activities are incorporated. The busiest trade centre of Vijayawada and the most commonly visited locus of the conurbation, the Besant Road is flanked by innumerable western style and modern restaurants, road side eateries, shopping places, most of the theatres of the city, and so on. The Besant Road; the paradise of film lovers and entertainment seekers is brimming with nearly 50 cinema halls where all the new movies from most of the major languages of country are screened. The best thing about the Besant Road is that, both traditional and modern faces of culture blend here effortlessly and all walks of life can be witnessed here. The Besant Road full of life all the time is a favorite shopping hub, a popular feasting destination and a much preferred hangout place both for the locals and the tourists. Moreover, it is also close to the main Bus Terminal and the Railway Station of Vijayawada.
The Kondapalli Fort, also known by the moniker ‘the Kondapalli Quilla’ is a historical citadel perched atop a hill range in the Eastern Ghats that stretches for 24 kilometers from Nandigama to Vijayawada. Sited to the west of the Kondapalli Town and about 28 kilometers away from Vijayawada, the Kondapalli Fort was built in 1360 AD during the ascendancy of a Hindu Sovereign Prolaya Vema Reddy of Kondavid. Initially functioning as a business centre and a pleasure hub, this stronghold was later used as a military fortification and a strong garrison was placed here during the British Raj. The fortress has stood witness to several historical battles fought between Indian Rulers and British Armies over the centuries. The Kondapalli Fort and the surrounding region were conquered by the Mohammedans in 1541 AD. Later, Bahmani Kings, Gajapatis of Orissa, Krishna Deva Raya from Vijayanagara and finally Muslim rulers of the Qutubshahi dynasty held the reigns of the Kondapalli Fort.
During the administration of Lord Clive, the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam gifted five ‘Sarkars’ to the British along with the Kondapalli Fort. British converted the castle into a military training base. The Kondapalli Fort is adorned with three successive entrances, the chief of them being the ‘Dargha Darwaja’. ‘Tanisha Mahal’ and other royal mansions located within the premises of the fort are now in ruins. A deep water reservoir is to be found near the palace which is sourced by a perennial spring. An old granary positioned beyond the reservoir is now in ruins and inhabited by the bats. An English Barrack and an English Cemetery are preserved in quite a good condition inside the fort. Presently, the Archeological Department of Andhra Pradesh is undertaking the renovation and restoration work of the fort so as to preserve this testimony of India’s glorious past.
Amaravati or Amaravathi of the Guntur District is a small town nestled on the banks of the River Krishna that is renowned all over the map for its sacred Amareswara Temple and the Dhanyakataka/Dharanikota Buddhist Stupa. Amaravati functioned as the administrative capital of the Satavahana kings from 2nd century BC to 3rd century AD. The Amareswara Temple of Amaravati identified amongst the famous Pancharamas is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The great Buddhist Stupa of Amaravati was originally constructed during the supremacy of emperor Ashoka in 200 AD. The Stupa festooned with carved panels depicting the life episodes of Lord Buddha is also related to the Vajrayana teachings of Kalachakra. These teachings are still practiced in Tibetan Buddhism as it is believed that Lord Buddha Himself had preached the Vajrayana teachings to the King of Shambhala named ‘Suchandra’. In 2006, His Holiness Dalai Lama had conducted a Tibetan Kalachakra initiation here. The terrain expanding between Krishna and Godavari rivers had been an important Buddhist settlement from 2nd century BC as several ancient sculpture in low relief have been unearthed from here. The Amaravati Art is regarded as one of the three major schools of ancient Indian art by the art historians, the other two being the Gandhara and the Mathura Schools of art. Some of the Buddhist sculptures found at Amaravati reveal a Greco-Roman influence resulted from the close trade contacts between South India and ancient Rome. Even a few Roman coins have been found here. The Government Museum or the ‘Madras Museum’ as well as the British Museum of London host an independent gallery devoted to Amaravati.
Subramanya Swamy Temple
The Subramanya Swamy Temple of Vijayawada positioned atop the Indrakeeladri Mountain overlooking the Krishna River and the entire Vijayawada city is an important pilgrim destination of this conurbation dedicated to Lord Subramanya or Lord Murugan; the elder son of lord Shiva and the commander of the celestial army of the Gods. The temple is administered by a famous family of Vijayawada named Iddipilli. Skanda Shashti Festival is the chief festival of this temple when hordes of devotees from near and far throng the shrine for the auspicious darshana of Lord Subramanya Swamy. The temple can be reached on foot by climbing the steps installed here.
Sri Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple
Sri Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple of Vijayawada located in Chitinagar area of the city is a prominent religious destination of Vijayawada that is dedicated to the Goddess of wealth and prosperity; Goddess Maha Lakshmi. At present this temple is managed and maintained by the Nagarala community. The devotees hold a belief that the goddess possesses miraculous powers and those who pay homage at her feet are blessed with all the material comforts and spiritual bliss. Dussera and Navaratri are the major festivals celebrated at the Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple when the vicinity is crammed with thousands of devotees arrived from all corners of the country to receive the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. Not affected by the modern commercialism, this temple is an ideal place to experience the real spiritual and heavenly ambience.
Hinkar Thirtha (Jain Temple)
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian communist revolutionary, a political theorist, politician, a Marxist and the leader of the Bolshevik Party. He served as the Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924 and contributed significantly in the October Revolution of 1917. Lenin developed the political theory of Marxism–Leninism and subsequent to the Bolsheviks coming into power; Lenin was instrumental in the conversion of the Russian Empire into the Soviet Union. The Lenin Statue of Vijayawada represents the principles of communism and the struggle of working class people all over the globe. Every year on 1st May i.e. the World Laborer Day a gathering is organized at the site of the Lenin’s Statue and garlands are offered to the effigy. Lenin’s statue, along with the Karl Marx’s Statue of Vijayawada was erected around 1980s when communists were ruling the state.
A Russian built submarine of Indian Navy named ‘INS Kurusura’ had been in use by the Indian Defense since 1970 AD. Finally in 2001 the worn out submarine was brought from the sea to the Ramakrisna Beach and turned to a museum on 27th February. It was placed on a concrete platform and set up as a museum named ‘Smritika’. The Submarine Museum of Vijayawada happens to be the first museum of its kind in Asia and the second museum of its kind in the world. Inside the submarine, the statues of officers and crew are kept at different locations demonstrating their places and styles of work. The cabins of the submarine have been preserved in their original working condition. The guides would take the tourists on a trip inside the submarine and explain the information to them. The Submarine Museum has been established with the aim of creating awareness among the public about how the submarines work during the wartime. Visiting the Submarine Museum of Vijayawada is indeed a memorable experience for lifetime.