On India’s eastern coastline, Visakhapatnam enjoys the status of a violet - unpretentious, shying away from drawing attention to itself and yet brimming with interest and beauty. It shrugs off epithets bestowed on it such as ‘The Jewel of the East Coast,’ ‘Goa of the East Coast’ and ‘City of Destiny.’ Vizag is also earning a name as a cruise stop with Cordelia Cruises offering varying itineraries that depart from here. Spending time here is akin to peeling away layers to discover understated treasures.
By far, the city’s best attraction is the Beach Road, especially at dawn in time for the sunrise, when the sea and the sky are magnificent. It has two beautiful beaches – Ramakrishna Beach and Lawson’s Bay – which are great at sunrise and sunset. The stretch has temples, eateries and other points of interest that can keep visitors engaged for hours.
Heading north on Beach Road takes one to Kailasagiri, a hilltop that is accessible by both car and ropeway. The peak is ideal for stunning panoramic views of the city, the sea, eastern ghats and other beaches up the coast. There are also giant statues of Shiva and Parvati on the hilltop and a manicured park for walking around.
Kurusura Submarine Museum
Among the most fascinating museums in the country, the INS Kursura Submarine Museum is a real submarine that is docked near Ramakrishna Beach and has been established as a submarine museum. Supposedly the first of its kind in South Asia, the museum includes weapons and other aspects related to life in a submarine.
For a fascinating glimpse of the undersea world, Matsya Darshini aquarium located near RK Beach is truly worth a visit. With marine and aquatic creatures brought from all over the world, the aquarium is a marine enthusiast’s haven.
Vizag’s Central Park
Located in the centre of the city, Dr. Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy Central Park is an amusement and entertainment park spread over 22 acres. It is ideal for an evening visit and comprises a musical fountain, an amphitheatre, a bonsai garden, and paths for ambling around. There are also jogging and cycling tracks, which are quite popular in the mornings.
A spectacular viewpoint, Dolphin’s Nose is located atop a plateau with panoramic views of the harbour and a lovely lighthouse. It is also an ideal place for picnics and long walks. It can be combined with a visit to Ross Hill Church, a beautiful white structure dedicated to Mary.
Just outside the city’s borders is the 70 sq. km green oasis Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected area of dry evergreen forests with diverse flora and fauna that are characteristic of the Eastern Ghats. Opt for a safari to experience this rich natural environment; if lucky you will encounter a leopard, pangolins, deer, and a variety of birds.
For a quiet day by the beach, the best place is Rushikonda, north of Visakhapatnam. Set against hillocks and lush greenery, it is less crowded and peaceful. Unspoilt golden sands and the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal are perfect for a day of kicking back and lounging.
The best getaway from Vizag is to Araku. A couple of hours away, taking a train to Araku is suggested since it gives a fantastic montage of the beauty of the Eastern ghats, traversing through 46 tunnels, plantations, orchards, and forests. On the way is the fascinating Borra Caves, a series of underground caves with enchanting stalagmite and stalactite formations.