Vijayawada, being the third largest city of Andhra Prades is number 3 on this list. The city is an agriculturally rich state and has been recognized as the Global city of the future by McKinsey. The former name of the city was Bezawada and has been under the rule of various ancient kingdoms of the South and has been one of the places the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsang stayed at. The River Krishna runs through the city and is located at the hills of the Eastern Ghats. The city’s location is unique as well as to its west lays the deep jungles of the Kondapalli Reserve Forests which is known to house leopards, jackals, wolves, wild boar and wild dogs. The city itself is a cultural and religious center with its various temples, religious monuments, rivers, ancient caves and many more. Do not forget to buy the famous Kondapalli Toys as souvenirs. Some popular tourist places in Vijayawada are:
• Undavalli Caves
• Mogalarajapuram Caves
• Prakasam Barrage
• Bhavani Island
• Victoria Museum
• Kondapalli Fort
• Kolleru Lake
• Gandhi Hill
Four storied Undavalli Caves are located 8 km away from Vijayawada. This cave belongs to the 7th century BC and is one of the earliest types of caves in this region. The architecture and sculpture are fine examples of the artistry of the ancient people. The statue of Vishnu in a reclining pose is sculpted off a single granite block. The rock carvings are very intricate. The fourth storey is unfinished and that stimulates our imaginative power into action. The beautiful location offers picturesque views of the countryside. Sunsets are great to watch from here.
Belonging to the 5th century, Mogalarajapuram Caves are famous for its rock-cut sanctuaries. Out of the three caves here, only one is well preserved. The caves stand proof of the ancient culture and architectural excellence of the bygone era. The idol of Ardhanariswara is considered one of its kinds in entire South India.
Prakasam Barrage is 1223.50 meter long built across the River Krishna. Though having a barrage across the river was conceived as back as 1798, the construction commenced only in 1852 and completed in the year 1855. Prakasam Barrage is the major source that helps in the irrigation of the agricultural lands in Andhra Pradesh. It serves as a road bridge as well. It is a famous tourist spot as people love the walk down Prakasam Barrage. The gentle breeze and the panoramic view from here are impressive.
Bhavani Island on Krishna River is located near Prakasam Barrage. The island is one of the largest on this river covering 130 acres of land. The swimming pools are well maintained and you could have a whale of a time here. Boat riding has been organized by the Tourism Department from Durga Ghat. Fishing and other water sports are famous here.
Victoria Museum was established in the year 1887. The collections in the museum are sure to delight the archaeologists and the common man alike. While the collections give room for more research for the professionals, common man is sure to be inspired by the collections that throw light on the ancient culture and heritage of the place. The unique collections include intricate artifacts, paintings, pre-historic tools, stone, copper plates, arms, gold coins and many more. Manuscripts and various other ancient objects obtained from the excavations undertaken here are proof of the life and style of the people of the past.
Kondapalli Fort belongs to the 7th century. Built on a hill, this three-storied fort offers stunning views of the city. The rock tower found here is majestic. The fort had been a silent spectator that witnessed the rise and fall of several kingdoms. Originally constructed as a place for recreation, it was used as the military training base by the British. Kondapalli village near the fort is renowned for the bright colored toys it produces. These Kondapalli toys are made of Poniki, a lightwood.
Kolleru Lake attracts migratory birds and bird watchers. This largest fresh water lake in the country is haven for birds as it is said that around two lakh birds visit the lake during season. Some of the migratory birds that visit the place are from Siberia, Australia and Egypt. The wide range of birds that are seen here include Bill Storks, Glossy Ibises, Teals, Cormorants, Common Redshanks and many more.
The first memorial for Gandhi was constructed on top of the hill in Vijayawada and hence the hill is called Gandhi Hill. A stupa of Gandhi measuring 15.8 meter was unveiled in 1968. The Gandhi Memorial Library in this place has a rich collection of books. The planetarium presents light and sound show that delight viewers. The view from the hill is panoramic.