Vijayawada, also called as "Bezawada", is 257-km from Hyderabad and is located on the banks of the Krishna River, and is bounded by the Indrakiladri hills on the West and the Budameru River on the North. Situated along the Chennai- Howrah and Chennai-Delhi rail route, this is the largest railway junction of the South Central Railway. The city forms a part of the Krishna district, spread over an area of 58-sq- kms (urban area). Vijayawada or the "City of Victory" if literally translated gets its name from the legend, which says it was here on the Indrakiladri Hill, that Arjuna, the Pandava Prince, won the blessings of Lord Shiva for his penance. During the British rule the city experienced significant growth. In particular, the completions of the Krishna Barrage and the Railway Bridge on Krishna have helped the region expand its agricultural and commercial base. The famous Chinese traveller Hieun T`sang has visited this city. Today, with excellent communications, perhaps the best in the South where railways are concerned, Vijayawada become one of the big business centres of the State. Commercially, culturally and industrially the city is a very flourishing one.
Location: Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh.
Best time To Visit: September To February, Especially During Dasara (Dussehra)
also known As: Bezawada
Attractions: Kanaka Durga Temple, Prakasam Barrage, Amaravati, Undavalli Caves, and Gandhi Stupa.
Vijayawada is a must-visit if one wants to go temple hopping in Andhra. The abode of Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and benevolence, is the presiding deity of the city. The city is also a base for visiting the Buddhist sites located around Vijayawada like Amaravati, Gudivada, Ghantasala and so on. Also accessible from Vijayawada are the towns of Kuchipudi, Mangalagiri and Kondapalli, which are famous for dance, temple and handicrafts respectively. Another important feature of the place is the Krishna Pushkaram an all-India festival that is held once in twelve years. The most luscious mangoes, the king of fruits, are grown here and the region is renowned for its tradition of pickle making. So altogether Vijayawada presents a colourful and varied picture and can be termed as a business - cum - pilgrim - cum - tourist center.
Completed in 1957, the Prakasam Barrage is an impressive 1223.5m long, modern regulator and road bridge that stretches across the river Krishna. Its panoramic lake and the three canals that run through the city give Vijayawada a Venetian appearance.
The Gandhi Stupa:
The Gandhi Stupa, 15.8ft high, stands on Gandhi Hill, which was formally known as "Orr Hill". This Monument built in memory of Mahatma Gandhi and was inaugurated by the late Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1968. It has the teachings of Gandhi inscribed on stone slabs .The Gandhi memorial Library, sound and light show and planetarium are added attractions here. Climb to the top of the hill for a bird's eye view of the town.
Hazrat BAL Mosque, a site of religious significance in Vijayawada. A holy relic of Prophet Mohammed is kept here and displayed once a year.
Just 5-km from Vijayawada are the Mogalarajapuram caves having three cave temples, dating back to the 5th century AD. Out of the 3 cave temples constructed here only one is still in good condition with the idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka and others. The Ardhanareeshwara Murthy found here is considered the only one of its kind in south India.
Akkana and Madanna Caves:
On the way to the Kanakadurga Temple are the rock-cut caves dedicated to Akkana and Madanna, who were ministers in the court of Abdul Hasan Tanashah in the 17th century. A short distance away is another cave that dates back to the 2nd century BC, which hosts the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
Rajiv Gandhi Park:
Walk able distance from the new Vijayawada bus stand, this is an educative park containing built-up structures of dinosaurs and pre-historic animals, with a playing area where one can spend time relaxing and learning. Musical Fountain: 7.30 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. Monday closed.
Gundala Church is situated on a hillock on the eastern side of the town, at Gundala. It attracts a large number of devotees. A fair is held annually in the month of February, in which thousands of devotees participate.
Victoria Jubilee Regional Museum:
The Museum of the Archaeological Department situated on Bandar Road contains beautiful sculptures and attractive paintings worth seeing. 'Buddha' Alluru inscriptions of first and second centuries, and Mahishasura Mardhani are some of the important exhibits.
The Undavalli caves, in the village of Undavalli, are at a distance of 8-km from Vijayawada and nearly 280-km from Hyderabad. The high hill overlooking the Krishna River hosts fine specimens of cut-in architectural and sculptural models.
Located upstream the river Krishna, close to Prakasam Barrage, is Bhavani Island. Make sure you visit this picturesque island that is a fantastic picnic spot for holiday-lovers.
Kanaka Durga, goddess of power, riches and benevolence is considered the presiding deity of Vijayawada. The temple is set on the Indrakiladri hill. The deity in the Kanaka Durga temple is regarded as Swayambhu or self-manifested, hence is considered very powerful. It is said that Adi Sankara visited this temple and installed the Sri Chakra here.
Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swami on the Indrakiladri hill. Mallikarjuna or the Malleswara as he is known in the Puranas is said to have been installed by Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Panch Pandavas, as a token of their victory of the South.
Vijayeswara Swami Temple:
The Vijayeswara temple is set on the Indrakiladri hill in Vijayawada. The installation of Vijayeswara is said to have been done by Arjuna, to commemorate his victory with Lord Shiva in the form of 'Kirata' (hunter).