Visakhapatnam (Telugu: విశాఖపట్నం) (Shortened: Visakha/Vizag or Vasaka) is a major port and the second largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh on the east coast of India with a population of approximately 1.3 million. The city is nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and faces the Bay of Bengal to the east. It is the administrative headquarters of Visakhapatnam district and is also home to the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy. Visakhapatnam is often referred to as “The Jewel of The East Coast” or “The City of Destiny”.
Visakhapatnam has seen rapid development in the past decade.
The Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) will get a new master plan consequent to the increase in its purview from 1700 km² to 5500 km². The earlier master plan was approved by the government in 2006. VUDA’s jurisdiction has been expanded in mid-2008.
The city sometimes goes by its now mostly defunct colonial British name, Waltair. During the colonial era, the city’s hub was the Waltair railway station, and that part of the city still is still called Waltair.
Visakhapatnam is home to several state-owned heavy industries, one of the most advanced steel plants and has one of the country’s largest ports and its oldest shipyard. It has the only natural harbour on the eastern coast of India.
Visakhapatnam has a range of tourist attractions including beaches, cliffs, parks on the hilltop facing the sea, long drives along the beautiful beach road, a zoological park and wildlife sanctuary, a submarine museum, hill stations, limestone caves, mountain ranges and colourful valleys, all within 100 km from the city. There are two five-star hotels, The Taj and The Park, and a full range of other accommodation
Kailashagiri is a park developed by VUDA on a hilltop adjacent to the sea offers views of the Bay of Bengal, Vizag city and the Eastern Ghats. A ropeway connects this park from the bottom of the hill.
The Beach Road from East point colony to Coastal battery is studded with parks, statues, etc., is a favorite evening gathering point. Along the road can be found India’s only submarine museum, INS Kursura, as well as the Visakha museum and Matsyadarsini (an aquarium). VUDA park, at the beginning of the Beach Road, has a musical fountain, and entertainment for children. It has a roller skating ground, which has served as the venue for several national and international skating competitions.
Rushikonda Beach, 6 km away from Vizag city, has become a favorite evening spot. Bhimili-Vizag beach Road, 30 km long, offers one of the best views of the sea, sand, hills and greenery. Many parks are constructed adjacent to this road. Tenneti park beach park is constructed on the cliff of Kailashagiri. There are several points from which the beautiful rocky beach beneath can be seen. Many Telugu, Tamil and Hindi movies were filmed here.
Simhachalam is a hill shrine of Lord Narasimha 16 km north of the city. The beautifully carved 16-pillared Natya mantapa and the 96-pillared Kalyana mandapa are highlights at the Simhachalam temple. It was constructed by Gajapathi Kings of Orissa before 1500 AD. Mr. Poosapati Ananda Gajapati Raju (heir to His Highness Maharaja Vijayram Gajapati Raj Bahadur of former Vizianagaram princely state).
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park: Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, between the National Highway 5 and Beach Road, spreading over an area of 250 ha, exhibits about 700 animals belonging to about 89 species.
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