Simhachalam is a place of pilgrimage in Visakhapatnam mandal. It is situated on the Simhachalam range of hills about 16 km. from Visakhapatnam connected by both rail and road. The Simhachalam temple, the man lion incarnation of Vishnu is the most famous, the
richest and the best sculptured shrine. The word Simhachalam etymologically means the hill of lion.
The temple of Varaha Lakshminarasimha is situated on the hill which is 244 meters above the sea level. The way up to the temple runs through the glen covered with pineapple fields besides mango, jack and other fruit trees. Architecturally this ancient temple deserves high praise. It contains a square shrine surmounted by a high tower, a portico in front with a small tower, a square sixteen pillared mandapam facing the portico and an enclosed verandah, all made of dark granite. All these are richly and delicately carved with conventional and floral ornaments and scenes from the Vaishnavite puranas. One of the pillars locally known as the Kappa stambam is believed to possess great curative powers. There is a stone car with stone wheels and prancing stone horses.
The image of the diety is small and always kept covered with sandal paste In May every year the sandal paste is removed ceremonially at the festival called chandana yatra which is attracted by thousands of people allover the country especially from surrounding areas of Orissa state. On the north side of the temple there is an excellent Natya mandapam where Kalyanotsavam is performed. This mandapam is supported by 96 pillars of black stone, exquisitely carved and arranged in sixteen rows of six each. The exact age of the temple is not known, but it contains an inscription dated as far back as AD 1098-99 of the Chola King Kulottunga-1 who conquerred the Kalinga territories. Another inscription shows that a queen of the Velanadu Chief Gonka 111(AD 1137-56) covered the image with gold. A third says that the eastern Ganga King Narasimha-I built the central shrine the Mukhamandapam, the Natya mandapam and the enclosing Varandah in black stone and the other grants inscribed on its walls make it a place of historical importance. The most important festivals celebrated here are 1) The Kalyanam of Varaha Lakshminarasimha (March-April) 2) Chandana Yatra (May) and 3) Visakha Poornima (May) and large number of devotees congregate here during these festivals. Apart from the religious importance attached to the place, Simhachalam is a place of enchanting scenic beauty.
Visakhapatnam, the District Head Quarters of the District, the revenue Division and the Mandal of the same name is situated on the Madras-Howrah broadguage line. The name Visakhapatnam is named after “VAISAKHA’ or ‘KARTIKEYA’ the lord of Valour. The
city is built along the seashore of the Bay of Bengal and it is bounded and broken by the Bold headland called the ‘Dolphin’s Nose’. This place is also known as Black Mores hill. It is a bustling Industrial and commercial centre surrounded by hills, beautiful beaches and lush green nature. The undulating terrain within the city is emphasised by three hills – the Ross Hill housing a Roman Catholic Church, the path way leading to which is strewn with Catholic icons. The Second hillock Dargakonda has a mosque and the tomb of Muslim saint who was revered for his prophecies and the third hill is called Sri Venkateswara Konda with a temple built by Captain Blackmoor in 1886. It has its own importance educationally because it is the seat of Andhra University. The places of interest in the city include the Dolphin’s Nose, Light House with 7 Million Candle power covering 64 Kms., range harbour, BHPV, Hindustan Shipyard, HPCL, Coramondal Fertilizers Factory, KGH, Circuit House on the Hill, a beautiful beach near Ramakrishna Mission and an airport etc.
Kailasagiri is a picturesque hill over looking the sea is a natural gift with 350 acres available has been developed into a lush green park has a panoramic sea view with a serene atmosphere with water sprinklers, microwave repeater station, beautiful garden locations
and recent flower clock titanic view point making it an outstanding tourist spot. On the top of the hill a giant statue of Sivaparvatulu which is recently illuminated and Sanku Chakra and Namalu of lord Venkateswara are established. Hitherto a road is being formed on the hill from Simhachalam gives much attraction to the pilgrims. Further, recently a beautiful rope way from Foot hill to the picturesque mountains has been erected for the benefit of pilgrims.
VUDA park established in vast area has beautiful greenary and panoramic sea view had a dancing musical fountain sprinkling with colourful up and downs dancing along beat of the music, boating facility and skating rink, has also facilities like pleasure rides on
horses and camels which are very fond for children and a well equipped gymanisum.
Lumbini Park is located on the beautiful beach road with the Buddha Statue in the middle of the park and is gifted with idyllic syivan hills on one side and the blue sea on the other is a great attraction to the tourist public.
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram has been constructed in 1938 overlooking in the Sea presenting the panoramic view of the rising sun. The Ashram conducts spiritual retreats for the devotees and also providing services in Educational, Cultural, Medical, Relief and Rehabilitation to the poor and needy.
RAMAKRISHNA MISSION BEACH
The Ramakrishna Mission Ashram beach is a beautiful spot for relaxation and pleasure is a natural beautic scene. There is an imposing Kali Temple near this beach. The aquarium here is an added attraction. The roaring sounds of sea gives enormous pleasure.
Mudasarlova, the name itself depicts is a valley formed by the natural hills is situated 10 Km. from Visakhapatnam. It has a lake that supplies drinking water to city. The Municipal Corporation, Visakhapatnam has developed this into a beautiful park with different types of green plants and orchards is a beautiful picnic spot attracting good number of tourists and public.
A conspicuous land mark in Visakhapatnam the Dolphin’s Nose is a huge rocky head land 174 meters high and 358 meters above sea level jutting out into the sea resembling the shape of Dolphin. The powerful beacon of the light house set on rock at sea directs ships 65 Km. away.
The famous Ross Hill on the seashore is a place enveloping for three religions viz., Dargakonda has a mosque and a shrine of a Muslim sage Lashaque Madina and Sri Venkateswara Konda has a temple which was built by Capt. Blackmoor in 1886 and the
third shrine is a holy place for Christians where Lord Velanganimata abode on top of the hill.
VICTORY AT SEA
This War Memorial (Victory at Sea) was built in 1996 by Eastern Naval Command to Commemorate the Indian Navy Victory at Sea in 1971. The beautiful landscape and colored fountain around the monument is further beautiful by the elegant war tanker Ajanta and War Flight.
Bhavatarani Charitable Trust was constructed the famous Kali Temple in 1984 on the Beach road. The Temple architecture is very unique. The uniqueness of Siva Temple is its Linga made of 10 Kgs. single stone called Rasalinga.
The 100 year old Tomb near beach was built in memory of Rani of Kurapam. Its architectural style is spectacular with an amalgamation of the sikara and the dome in the same monument the structure has carvings of the Acanthus leaf, deities and floral motifs.
Kurusura and originally decommissioned submarine is located on the sands of the R.K.Beach is developed into a museum. This project is jointly taken up by the NSDRC and Eastern Naval Command. The estimated cost is around 2.55 crore and it is the first of its kind in Asia and second in the world and is opened for public.
The Visakha Museum was opened in 1991 to preserve the house collections from the cultural and social heritage of the city of the Visakhapatnam.
The Yarada Valley is surrounded by hills and the beach is an enchanting seashore with lovely rocks and the soft pebbles spread across the beach is fabulous with its exotic blend of golden sands and the lush green stretch of hills is a picturesque landscape for tourists.
Gangavaram Beach is situated very closely to the Steel Plant and on account of its beautiful location attracts number of tourists and film makers.
MUTYALAMPALEM BEACH AND CREEK
The small hill by name Syamala Konda and Seashore in front of the beach is attractive and beautiful and in the middle of the stretch between the seashore and the hill is a stream flows through the shore into the sea is in L shape and is worth seeing and interesting which is a decent serene and peaceful place.
Rushikonda is 8 Km. away from Visakhapatnam with clean golden Beaches, is an ideal place for swimming and wind surfing in picturesque settings A.P.Tourism has 12 elegant cottages overlooking the beach for comfortable accommodation for tourists. Proposed to
construct a swimming pool and also to introduce water sports are on the anvil.
The name Totlakonda has been derived from the presence of rock cut throughs hewn in the bed rock of various shapes, sizes with 4 to 8 steps in the hillock by which water has been drawn for drinking water purpose. Thotlakonda lies about 15 Km. from
Visakhapatnam in beach road located 128 meters high above sea level. The archaeological excavations reveals antiquities like Maha stupa Viharas, Votive stupas, Chaitya Gruhas, pillared hall, congregation hails, tiles, finials Buddapadas, Eppatra pieces, engraved with Brahmelipi recovered from the site of Mangamaripeta hill and reflects the Kalinga and Andhaka schools of Buddism.
Bavikonda is a hill on the North west of Timmapuram is situated in between Visakhapatnam and Bheemunipatnam Beach road and located at 2 Kms. Interior from the beach road point. On the hill noticed a Buddist site in the middle of the plain with antiquities
like religious structures, stupas, Chaitya gruhas, congregation hall, platforms, viharas, stuccofigures and coins are found here. The entire complex comprises 26 structures belonging to 3 phases. The artifacts recovered here include Roman coins and satavahana coins apart from pottery dating back to 3rd century BC and 2nd Century A.D. The discovery of relic caskets in the Maha Chaitya is significant.
Pavurala konda is a local name of the hillock lying to the west of Bheemunipatnam is located at about 24 Km. from Visakhapatnam. This is situated at a height of 168 meters high above sea level. It covers an area of 10 to 12 Acres. It is situated at a very imposing
position and commands a panaromic view of the curve linear coast line with a cresent shaped valley and is flanked by a chain of hills on the south west and northwest. Nearly 16 rockent cisterns for impounding rain water are found over the hillock. Based on pottery and Brahmilable inscription encountered at the sight dates back from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD.
Bheemunipatnam, the Mandal Headquarters is situated at a distance of 34 Km. from Visakhapatnam. It is one of the oldest Municipality in the country having been established as early as 1861 AD. This place as a settlement of the Dutch, who built a Fort and a factory
in the 17th Century AD. The most important aspect of interest at the place is the beach which is perhaps matchless for its beauty all along the east coast. It is a usual resort for sea bathers as it is free from dangerous depth and sharks. Nearer the sea and facing the flagstaff is a well equipped round bunglow which it is said was originally the Vizianagaram Raja’s resort. The view of the seascape from the varandah of the bunglow is captivating. This place was an important port in olden days. It has a light house and it is minor port though it is seldom used now. Bheemunipatnam is undoubtedly a place of holiday resort.
Bheemili Beach is an ideal spot for swimming and water sports. The remains of Dutch settlement with a ruined Fort, armoury and Dutch cemetery dating back to the 17th Century preserved here.
GEO PARK (ERRAMATTI DIBBALU)
The Red sand dunes lie on the way to Bheemili are absolutely suitable to develop a Geo Park and is an ideal spot for film shooting.
Araku Valley is about 115 Km. from Visakhapatnam lying on the top of the eastern ghats. The area of the valley is roughly 36 Sq.Kms. and the altitude is between 600 and 900 meters above mean sea level. The entire area is inhabited by aboriginal tribes and
attracts visitors from all over the country. The journey to Araku Valley on the ghat road with thick forests on either side is itself interesting and thrilling. The Ananthagiri hills on the way to Araku Valley are famous for coffee plantation. Araku Valley has an exploratory-cum demonstration farm which is about 20 hectares in extent a Government orchard and a Government silk farm with mulbery gardens. Cocoons from the silk farm are reeled in the farm, and the silk yarn and waste are sent to Hindupur. The beautiful Araku Valley with its bracing climate, orchards and the Ananthagiri ghats, which present an enchanting view to the visitors, is attracting tourists not only from all parts of India also from abroad as there are good communication and halting facilities. The natural beauty of this valley is enhanced by the tribal people who abound here with their own folklore and traditions. Dhimsa Dance is a unique feature of the tribes of Araku, which is being organised in the nights of every Saturday and Sunday for entertaining tourists. There is a railway station at Araku on D.B.K. line passing through dozens of tunnels from Ananthagiri Mandal villages onwards to Araku is a thrilling experience. An habitat museum which reveals the entire tribal culture and an Horticulture nursery cum training centre at Padmapuram and a waterfall at Ranajilleda is worth seeing at Araku.
Borra caves being the natural formation in Eastern ghats is situated in Ananthagiri Mandal at a distance of 100 Kms. from Visakhapatnam and 10 Km from Visakhapatnam to Araku Valley road point. The Dandakaranya Balengiri – Kirbur railway line passes
through this village and there is Railway station at “Borra Caves”. The caves popularly known as Borra Caves have geological and Historical importance. Deep in the caves there is Sivalingam over which the water drips from above which is said to be the origin of the river Gosthani. The river gosthani flowing from these caves with natural roaring sounds is a beautiful sight to enjoy. These caves were beautifully electrified and illuminated and a large number of tourists including foreigners are visiting every day. The crystal white calcium stones are also seen in various forms like a hooded serpent, different human shapes such as Narada with his tumbura, Lord Brahma, Radha Krishna and Nandi. Mica, Apatite, Calcite, limestone, Red and Yellow ochare, rock phosphate vermiculate, graphite quartz and some of the minerals are found in and around Borra Caves.
It is located about 75 Km. from Visakhapatnam on Araku road, Tyda is being developed with camping facilities at Jungle bells to provide an enchanting experience in wilderness to the tourists. A home for variety of wild mammals and avifauna, Tyda is ideal for
viewing wild life and bird watching. Other attractions are rock climbing, trekking and targetting with bow and arrows. They can also learn the language of the jungle, viz., identification of calls, marks, etc. Tourists can enjoy their stay in loghuts and tents set in tribal environs. There is railway station at Tyda on DBK line located 75 Kms. away from Visakhapatnam on the way to Araku.
It is situated on the way to Araku Valley, Ananthagiri is a spot with anenchanting beauty. Extensive coffee plantations, numerous waterfalls, of which Tadimada waterfalls are most famous and rivulet add beauty to this place. It is also considered as a health resort.
Paderu headquarters of the mandal and division is situated about 110 Kms. from Visakhapatnam. Paderu is a broad picturesque and rich valley with an altitude of over 900 meters above the sea level. The entire Paderu is inhabited by schedule tribes with different
sects and is surrounded by good number of hill streams. The presiding deity here is Modakondamma and important religious observation will be celebrated every year attracts a large number of pilgrims and especially fire works will entertain the viewers, like any thing.
Lothugedda is situated at about 42 kms. from Narsipatnam of Chintapalli Mandal. The village Contains the ruins of 3 or 4 granite temples of Siva the largest of which has elaborate sculptural depictions. The villagers believe that the men of the builders of the
temple and that the barbers were probably roared on the hills in those days
This village lies about 48 km. from Chintapalli. This is the place where Alluri Seetharamaraju organised his famous Pituri against the British administration. A tomb was erected here in his honour.
This is a small village situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal at a distance of 18 kms. from Visakhapatnam. Kapilamahamuni is said to have installed the image of Somalingeswara swamy in this village. So it was called Kapilakonda. Formerly fisher
men used to live in those places and they called it Apilakonda which is gradually became Appikonda. It assumed religious importance owing to the existence of a Siva temple containing a life size bull carved out of black stone. There are also other small temples around the Siva temple but they are covered with sand dunes and their gopurams along are visible. The Siva temple contains inscriptions of the 12th century AD. These inscriptions mention that this village was granted by a Commander in chief of the Chodas for the maintenance of worship in the temple. The Sivaratri festival celebrated here is attended by a large number of devotees.
This village lies on the left bank of the river varaha and is situated at a distance of about 20 kms. to the South of Yelamanchili and about five kms. North west of Narsipatnam road railway station. This place is famous for the manufacture of toys specially prepared with the Ankudu wood.
The village is located at a distance of one km. from Nakkapalli. On the hill near Upmaka there is a well known shrine of Lord Venkateswara is one of the important worship places for the devotees.
Gopalapatnam is situated on the left bank of river Thandava in Payakaraopeta Mandal of Visakhapatnam district. It lies about 10 Km. south of Tuni railway station in course of exploration in and around the village stone veneered stupas, Brick built stupas,
viharas, title and early historic pottery were noticed in side the village, as also on the hill ranges, locally known as ‘Budhikonda’, ‘Seethammakonda’, ‘Burolametta’ and ‘Veerulametta’. The entire village appears to have been built on ancient habitation.
About 3 Kms. South West of Narsipatnam there lies on the Bank of Varaha river a place known as Baligattam. This place owes its importance to the Brahma Lingeswara Temple at the foot of a small hill on the Western bank of the river. Here the shrine like the one
at Bananas faces to the West. It is interesting to note that this temple is supposed to have been built by Brahma and that the river is declared to have been made by Vishnu during his incarnation as a boar(Varaha). Therefore the river is known as Varahanadi. The deposits of white clay on the river bank are supposed to be the ashes of a sacrifice performed hereby Bali, the demon king from whom the village takes its name as Baligattam. The river at this place flows from North to South for a short distance. On account of these peculiarities, the place is considered to be very sacred. The sivaratri festival celebrated here every year attracts a large number of devotees
This village is situated at a distance of about 10 kms. North East of Yelamanchili and 24 kms. From Anakapalli, it derived its name from the five Jets of water coming out of five fountains which receive their supplies from a natural perennial spring. Near by there
is lingam on which are carved other lingams in 12 rows of 85 each and which is consequently known as the Kotilingam or Crore of lingams. There are several inscriptions on the pillars of the Mandapam in the temple and two of them dated in AD 1407 and 1428 contain a genealogy of chiefs who claimed Eastern Chalukya ancestry and bore the Eastern Chalukya titles of Sarvalokasraya and Vishnu Vardana.
Kondakarla Ava is situated in Kondakarla of Atchutapuram Mandal. It is famous for its natural lake where some of the birds immigrate from distant places especially during summer period attracts the viewers to enjoy.
Anakapalli, headquarter of the mandal is situated at a distance of 34Kms. west of Visakhapatnam. This town is importance for wholesale marketing for Jaggery which is exported to various places in the country. It is also famous for sugarcane and guava fruits. The town
is also known for manufacture of brass utensils and household utinsils. The shrine of Kanyaka Parameswari and Nookalamma temples are famous and attracting a large number of devotees.
Sankaram is a small village which is over six Kilometers from Anakapalli. There are two low contiguous rock hills running east and west which are locally known as Bojjannakonda. They contain some notable Buddhist remains. Three huge stupas at three different places
were cut with great difficulty from the rocks in these hills. The biggest of these is about nine meters in diameter. On the eastern side of the hills is a rock cut temple with numerous Buddhist Sculptures and also a life size statue of Budda. Sankaram is a place of archaeological importance.
Padmanatham lies 16 kms. North West of Bheemunipatnam on the left bank of the Gosthani. Padmanabham is known in the local history as the place where the Raja of Vizianagaram was slain in AD 1794 in the fight with the East India Company’s troops
and the spot is marked by a small memory erection. The Padmanabheswara Swamy temple of this place is one of the most important temples of the region. The presiding deity Padmanabha swamy is said to be the lord who readily responds to the desires of his devotees. On the top of the hill which overlooks the place, is the shrine of Padmanabha and the Kalyanostavam of the deity celebrated annually during March-April draws a congregation of large number of devotees.
Matsyagundam is place near Paderu situated in small picturesque valley. A rivulet flows with musical sound in which abundant fish are seen. The wonder here is that the fish come to the surface of the water and take the eatables offered by the visitors. There is a small Shiva
Temple and Sivaratri festival will be celebrated every year.