Vizag for me is nostalgia. Of summer holidays spent fighting and adventuring with cousins. Of catching the sunrise while cycling down RK Beach. Of picnics in parks and lazy afternoons spent picking mangoes in the garden of my grandparents’ home. So, indulging in some nostalgia, of those oft thought of summer days, I have put together a list of places to visit in Vizag.
From the latest attractions in town to the secret spots of my childhood that have managed to stay that way for a long time now. Most of them either free or extremely affordable to visit even those that are amongst the most popular tourist places in Vizag.
#1 RK Beach (Ramakrishna Beach)
Despite being Andhra Pradesh’s largest city, Vizag still is a picturesque little coastal town at heart, where locals still like to spend their evenings at the beach. And, it is the Ramakrishna Beach or the RK Beach, as it is more popularly known – that is the beating heart of Visakhapatnam.
A 4 kilometre stretch of golden sand beach with a clean, wide promenade, RK Beach isn’t just a local favourite but tops the list of places to visit in Vizag. While early mornings are just for walkers and cyclists, it is only after 7AM that this road turns into a regular thoroughfare busy with everyday traffic.
#2 Dolphin’s Nose & Lighthouse
Other prominent attractions on the RK Beach are the Dolphin’s Nose – a cliff shaped like the nose of a Dolphin and the lighthouse atop it.
There was once a children’s theatre in the city, shaped like a Dolphin – a tribute to this very cliff; where they would screen movies from all over for kids in the summer break.
& It remains a childhood favourite of mine, not to sound too solemn!!
#3 Kali Temple
Also along the RK Beach is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali. Built in the architectural style of the Kali Mandir in Kolkata, this temple in Vizag though much smaller is just as striking. The best time to visit the Kali Temple is of an evening when one soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the temple, while gazing at the sea – just across the road – as the sun goes down.
#4 INS Kursura Submarine Museum
It is along this beach that the decommissioned INS Kursura docks today and stands as a one of its kind museum open to public. This submarine, a veteran of the Indo Pak War of 1971, retains its interiors as they were, along with additional installations that offer a peek into the lives of navy personnel who live underwater for half a year at a stretch, protecting our borders.
#5 TU142 Anti Submarine Aircraft Museum
Opposite the Submarine Museum is yet another museum similar in style, only recently opened. This one is housed in a Tupolev anti submarine aircraft. The TU142, which holds the distinction of being the world’s fastest turboprop aircraft to ever have been made, served in the Indian Navy too. Before being decommissioned and setup as a museum. This museum too is unique in the fact that, though there is one other TU Museum – in Russia, the country of these aircrafts’ origin, this is the only one where one can go inside the aircraft and explore.
#6 Visakha Museum
The Visakha Museum houses collections that showcase the history of the region and the city of Visakhapatnam. Pore over maps and manuscripts, trace a journey back in time through the period clothes, currency and weaponry that are on display here.
#7 VUDA Park
A sprawling park of over fifty five acres, VUDA Park sits right at one end of RK Beach. A mini amusement park (sadly, now defunct), a beautiful skating rink, rolling lawns and access to the beach, once made this one of the most beloved of spots in Vizag. While the skating rink still retains its pride of place, it is the newer attractions like the musical fountain that draw the crowds to the park today.
En route Rushikonda, is Kailasagiri. A landscaped garden sitting atop a hill, offering stunning panoramic views of the city of Vizag. Here is where you will find the now iconic and widely recognisable massive sculpture of the Gods Shiva and Parvati.
#9 Tenneti Park
Sitting at the foothills of Kailasagiri, just as you begin to climb the hill towards Rushikonda, Tenneti Park with its manicured lawns cut in levels into the rock face offers stunning ocean views.
So be it to spend a breezy evening or to catch the sun rise over the Vizag beach, Tenneti Park has to be on your list of places to visit in Vizag.
#10 Rushikonda Beach
Of the many beautiful beaches that dot the verdant landscape of Visakhapatnam, Rushikonda Beach is next in terms of accessibility. Getting to Rushikonda Beach – just a little further past RK Beach along the winding ghat roads that hug the coast of Bay of Bengal – is in itself a pleasurable experience.
#11 Simhachalam Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple
The Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple in Vizag is probably the second most significant religious site in the state of Andhra Pradesh (second in terms of popularity only to Tirupati). It stands atop the Simhachalam Hill and it is believed to be where the Narasimha Avatar of Sri Vishnu was manifest. A striking temple built like a fort, it is surrounded by verdant hills.
One gets to see the idol in its true form only on the day of Akshaya Tritiya. For to keep the presiding deity, Narasimha – who is known for his ferocious anger – cool, it is always covered in sandalwood paste, except on this one day.
#12 Ross Hill Church
And, if one were to go beyond the beaches, Vizag doesn’t disappoint you. For the city abounds in hills and it isn’t just Kailasagiri that is picturesque. Ross Hill isn’t just beautiful but is made all the more interesting thanks to its harbour views. Also that, here, you will witness sitting alongside each other, three places of worship – of the three major religions of our country – a chapel, a temple and a mosque.
#13 Yarada Beach
The most striking of Vizag’s beaches and also its best-kept secret, Yarada Beach is cloistered away from the world. Hidden by emerald green hills of the Eastern Ghats that abound it on all three sides, there is only the sea for as far as the eye can see, once you are there. Which makes Yarada the number one lazy afternoon getaway from the city.
#14 Sri Kanaka Mahalakshmi Temple
Sri Kanaka Mahalakshmi is believed to the be presiding deity of the city of Visakhapatnam – starting with being the family deity of the then Rulers of Visakhapatnam to then being the one who is believed to have cured the city of Plague in the year 1917.
This centuries old temple dedicated to her is one of the most important religious sites for the local Hindus and holds pride of place on this list of places to visit in Vizag. Don’t miss it even if it is just to get a feel of the city’s cultural traditions.