Vijayawada Tourism | Tourism of Vijayawada(Bezawada), AP

Vijayawada Tourism | Tourism of Vijayawada(Bezawada), Andhra Pradesh

Vijayawada City Tourism: The Tourism of Bezawada

Vijayawada (formerly known as Bezawada) is a city in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It lies on the banks of River Krishna surrounded by the hills of Eastern Ghats known as Indrakeeladri Hills in Krishna District. It geographically lies on the center spot of Andhra Pradesh. The city has been described as the commercial, political, educational and media capital of Andhra Pradesh, also the 42nd largest city in India and is one of the rapidly growing urban areas in India. It is considered to be a sacred place for residing one of the most visited and famous temples of Andhra Pradesh and India, Kanka Durga Temple of Hindu Goddess Durga. It also serves as the ritual host of Pushkaram (a river worshipping ritual in Andhra Pradesh and India) of River Krishna. Its railway station stands as one of the ten most busiest railway junctions in India. There is a legend which says that Arjuna, one of the heroes of the Indian epic Mahabharata, prayed on top of the Indrakeeladri Hill in the city and won the blessings of Lord Shiva to get the Pashupatastra to win the Kurukshetra War. It was called Vijayavatika (meaning Land of Victory in Telugu) when Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura and rested on the Indrakeeladri Hill by the River Krishna establishing the victory over evil hence the place got its name Vijayavatika, “Vijaya”- meaning victory and “Vatika” meaning Place or land in Telugu. Over the years Vijayavatika name changed to Rajendra Chola Pura during Chola Dynasty and Bezawada during British rule and eventually to Vijayawada.

The city is also the third most densely populated urban built-up areas in the world. and is classified as a Y-grade city by the Sixth Central Pay Commission. The city is the second most populous in the state with a population of more than one million. It was recognised as a “Global City of the Future” by McKinsey Quarterly, which expected an increase to GDP of $17 billion by 2025. In October 2018, it was awarded with ISO 37120 platinum level certification and has been added to the “Global Cities Registry”.

Due to the presence of several well-known educational institutions, the city has emerged as a major educational hub in recent times, with many of nationwide students studying in the city. It is expected to be the India’s 10th fastest growing economy in the world by 2035, a report published by Oxford Economics. Due to its rating highly in entertainment, construction, food as well as education, health care, transport, It is ranked as India’s ninth most liveable city as per Ease of Living Index 2018, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and 2nd most liveable city in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The city has an airport at Gannavaramrecently new terminal was opened . The Vijayawada Junction railway station is one of the busiest in the country.

Toponomy:

There are many legends behind the origin of the name Vijayawada. Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura and relaxed at this place. As she was victorious, the place came to be known as Vijayawada (vijaya translates to victory and wada as place, literally meaning The Place of Victory). The hill was called as Indrekeeladri since it was frequently visited by Indra and his affiliates. The epic Mahabharata refers to the Indrakiladri hills as the place where Arjuna secured Pashupatastra from Shiva. One of the names of Arjuna is “Vijaya”(invincible). Thus city thereafter came to be known as Vijayavatika (‘Vatika’ translates to place in Telugu) and later as Vijayawada.

In some legends, Vijayawada was referred to as Rajendracholapura as Virarajendra Chola won a battle against Chalukyas in 1068 and ruled over this place. A tale behind its acquiring the name Bezawada is that Goddess Krishnaveni (River Krishna) requested Arjuna to make a passage for her to merge into the Bay of Bengal. Hence, Arjuna made a bejjam (hole) through the mountains and the place came to be known as Bejjamwada which later changed to Bezawada. Other names of Vijayawada were being Vijayavata, Beejapuram, Kanakaprabha, Kanakapuram, Kanakawada, Jayapuri, Vijayapuri, Phalguna Kshetram & Jananathpura.

History:

Bezawada (as Vijayawada was known then) was founded around 626 A.D. by Paricchedi Kings. Vijayawada history reveals that Bezawada (Vijayawada) was ruled by King Madhava Varma (one of the kings of Vishnukundina dynasty). Chinese Buddhist scholar Xuanzang stayed a few years in Bezawada (Vijayawada) in around 640 A.D. to copy and study the Abhidhamma Pitaka, the last of the three pitakas (Pali for baskets) constituting the Pali canon, the scriptures of Theravada Buddhism.

Mogalrajapuram hills have five rock-cut temples, built during the 4th–9th centuries. Some of the caves can be attributed to Vishnukundina dynasty. Akkana Madanna Caves, at the foot of Indrakeeladri Hill, is a monument of national importance.

At the foot of Indrakeeladri hills is the temple of Malleswara. The temple has inscriptions dating back to 9th century AD to 16th century AD by various kings. There are ten pillars and a mutilated slab (recognised as monuments by Archaeological Survey of India) with inscriptions in the Telugu language. Of them, the inscriptions issued by Yudhamalla I and II of Eastern Chalukyas are important.

In the early 16th century, during the reign of Qutb Shahi dynasty (also known as Golconda Sultanate), diamond mines were found near Vijayawada on the banks of Krishna River.

Geography:

Vijayawada lies on the banks of Krishna River, covered by hills and canals. It is 18.5 km (11.5 mi) from the state capital, Amaravati. and at an altitude of 11 m (36 ft) above sea level. Three canals originating from the north side of the Prakasham barrage reservoir — Eluru, Bandar, and Ryves — flow through the city.

Kanaka Durga Temple:

Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous hindu Temple of Goddess Durga located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River. Kaalika puraana, Durgaa sapthashati and other vedic literature have mentioned about Goddess Kanaka Durga on the Indrakeelaadri and have described the deity as Swayambhu, (self-manifested) in Triteeya kalpa. According to a legend, the now verdant Vijayawada was once a rocky region strewn with hills that obstructed the flow of River Krishna. The land was thus rendered unfit for habitation or cultivation. Invocation to Lord Shiva for His intervention directed the hills to make way for the river. And the river started flowing unimpeded with all its might, through the tunnels or “Bejjam” bored into the hills by Lord Shiva. That is how the place got its name Bezawada.

One of the many mythologies associated with this place is that Arjuna prayed to Lord Shiva on top of Indrakeela hill to win His blessings and the city derived its name “Vijayawada” after this victory. Another popular legend is about the triumph of goddess Kanakadurga over the demon King Mahishasura. It is said that the growing menace of demons became unbearable for the natives. Sage Indrakila practiced severe penance, and when the goddess appeared the sage pleaded Her to reside on his head and keep vigil on the wicked demons. As per his wishes of killing the demons, Goddess Durga made Indrakila Her permanent abode. Later, She also slayed the demon king Mahishasura freeing the people of Vijayawada from evil/.

At the Kanakadurga temple, the enchanting 4-foot-high (1.2 m) icon of the deity is bedecked in glittering ornaments and bright flowers. Her icon here depicts Her eight-armed form -each holding a powerful weapon- in a standing posture over the demon Mahishashura and piercing him with Her trident. The goddess is the epitome of beauty.

Adjacent to the Kanakadurga temple is the shrine of Malleswara Swamy on the Indrakeeladri. By ascending the steps on the hill, one comes across little images of different deities, prominent among them are Kanaka Durga, Malleswara and Krishna(River). Kanaka Durga Temple is synonymous with Vijayawada. It is mentioned in the sacred texts.

View of Temple Complex from Prakasam Barrage

A nearby temple viewed from Prakasam Barrage on night lights
This is the place where Arjuna obtained the Pasupatha astra after his great penance for Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed for Goddess Durga by Arjuna. It is connected by steps and a ghats road.

The temple occupies an important place in the scriptures as several of the Siva-leelas and Shakti-mahimas were enacted on or around it, making the region a place of unequaled spiritual significance and attracting pilgrims since times immemorial.

It is mentioned in the hindu scriptures that the deity in the Kanakadurga temple is regarded as ‘Swayambhu’ or self-manifested, hence considered very powerful. Located in the heart of Vijayawada city, the temple is just a 10 minutes drive from the railway station and Bus stand and about 20 km from airport. Temple buses are available at bus stand and railway station for every 20 minutes. Vijayawada is located 275 kilometers from Hyderabad. It is well connected by road, rail and air from all parts of the country.

Benz Circle:

Benz Circle is one of the busiest chowks (roundabout / traffic circle) and a prominent landmark located on Bandar Road in the Indian City of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Two highways NH16 (Old NH5) and NH65 (Old NH9) intersect at this junction. Previously there was a Benz Company (Tata Motors-Mercedes Benz joint venture) beside this junction and this junction was named as Benz Circle. Later the company was removed but still people refer to this junction as Benz Circle and bus stop near this circle as “Benz Company bus stop”.

Prakasam Barrage:

The structure of the Prakasam Barrage stretches 1223.5 m across the Krishna River connecting Krishna and Guntur districts. The barrage serves also as a road bridge and spans over a lake. The three canals associated with the barrage run through the city of Vijayawada, crossing it and giving it a Venetian appearance.

The idea of constructing a dam across the river Krishna dates back to 1798. It began in the hands of captain Buckle and was revised in 1839 and 1841 by Captain Best and Captain Lake. After the endorsement of Major Cotton, the board of Directors of the East India Company approved it on 5 January 1850. The dam was started in 1852 and completed in 1855. It cost Rs 1.75 crore in those days and seems to have paid the then government a return of 18%. It used to irrigate 7 lakh acres. Later, the State Government constructed a bridge that was named after Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of Andhra (a state formed in 1953, which later became Andhra Pradesh in 1956 after the merger of Telugu speaking districts of former Hyderabad State). Completed in 1957, it helps to irrigate over 1.2 million acres of land. This barrage also supplies water to Buckingham canal which was initially constructed as an inland navigation canal but was later used as an irrigation water supply canal. One of the first major irrigation projects of South India, the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada was completely successful in its mission.

Andhra Pradesh largely owes its rich agriculture to the Prakasam Barrage as the project facilitated the irrigation of large tracts of farmland. The Barrage provides views of the lake. It has become a tourist attraction of Vijayawada. On 13th Feb-2019 Andhra Pradesh chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu laid foundation to construct a new barrage named Vykuntapuram Barrage on krishna river nearly 25 km upstream of Prakasam Barrage.

Krishna River:

The Krishna River is the fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India, after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra. The river is almost 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) long. The river is also called Krishnaveni. It is one of the major sources of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna river originates in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar at an elevation of about 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), in the state of Maharashtra in central India. It is one of the longest rivers in India. The Krishna river is around 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) in length (282 kilometres (175 mi) in Maharashtra). The river’s source is at Mahabaleshwar near Jor village in the extreme north of Wai Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra in the west and empties into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi (near Koduru) in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast. It flows through the state of Karnataka before entering Telangana State. The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku Sun Dynasty kings. Vijayawada is the largest city on the Krishna.

Bhavani Island:

Bhavani Island situated in the midst of the Krishna River, at Vijayawada. It is located at the upstream of Prakasam Barrage and is considered as one of the largest river islands in India, with an area of 133 acres (54 ha). The Kanaka Durga Temple is the abode of Goddess Durga. She is also known with another name as Bhavani and hence, the island is named Bhavani Island. The island is located in close proximity to the temple. Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation has taken initiatives to develop the place into a tourist spot. One such initiative is Shilparamam, an arts and crafts village project. It is also helpful for local artisans such as Kondapalli toy makers, weavers etc. APTDC has developed infrastructure on Bhavani Island to attract many tourists, which include sporting activities, resorts, rural museum, Berm Park, rope-way etc.

Undavalli Caves:

The Undavalli Caves, a monolithic example of Indian rock-cut architecture and one of the finest testimonials to ancient viswakarma sthapathis, are located in Undavalli of Guntur district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The caves are located 6 km south west from Vijayawada, 22 km north east of Guntur City of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the centrally protected monuments of national importance. These caves are said to be found in 7th century. They are associated with the Vishnukundi kings of 420-620 CE. These caves are dedicated to Anantha Padmanabha and Lord Narashimha. Buddhist monks used these as rest houses.

These caves were carved out of solid sandstone on a hillside in the 4th to 5th centuries CE. There are several caves and the best known largest one has four stories with a huge recreated statue of Vishnu in a reclining posture, sculpted from a single block of granite inside the second floor. Many Buddhist artifacts and stupas in Andhra were converted into Hindu temples and deities and undavalli is an example. It was originally a Jain cave resembling the architecture of Udayagiri and Khandgiri. The main cave is one of the earliest examples of Gupta architecture, primarily primitive rock-cut monastery cells carved into the sandstone hills. Initially, the caves were shaped as a Jain abode and the first-floor abode still retains the Jain style; the vihara exhibits Jain monastics and includes tirthankara sculptures. This first level of the cave is a carved vihara and includes Buddhist artwork. The site served as the Bhikkhu monastic complex during ancient period. The walls of the caves display sculptures carved by skilled craftsmen.

The caves are surrounded by green countryside. From the high hill above the cave overlooking the Krishna River many fine specimens of rock-cut architecture can be seen.

The only means of connectivity for the caves is by road. APS RTC operates bus services from Vijayawada, Guntur and Amaravathi to this location. APCRDA runs Tourist Bus-cum-Boat services through Krishna River from Prakasam Barrage.

Rajiv Gandhi Park:

Created by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation with great care, this park welcomes the tourists at the entrance of the city with its impressive horticultural network. It includes a mini zoo and a musical water fountain. This park is open from 2pm to 8pm.

Gandhi Hill:

The first Gandhi memorial with seven stupas in the country was constructed on this hill at a height of 500 ft (150 m). The 52 ft (16 m) stupa was unveiled on 6 October 1968 by Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India. Gandhi Memorial Library, a sound and light show on Mahatma Gandhi’s life and a planetarium are the other attractions.

Victoria Jubilee Museum:

A place for archaeology lovers, this museum has a carefully preserved collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery, and inscriptions. This museum is closed temporarily due to repair works.

Mogalarajapuram Caves:

These caves are said to be excavated in the 5th century A.D. They are reputed to be the first of their kind in South India. The idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka and Arthanareeswara are carved here, but none of the statues are available here.

Marakata Rajarajeswari Temple:

A unique temple of the goddess completely built with stone with intricate architecture symbolizing SRICHAKRA – the abode of mother Goddess.

Subramanya Swamy Temple:

One of the most popular temples in Vijayawada, it is located on a hill (Indrakeeladri) overlooking the city as well as the River Krishna. One can take to the steps on foot. During Skanda Shashti Festival, thousands of devotees come from the city. Many regular devotees will come from Tamil Nadu. This temple is maintained by the Iddipilli family.

Sri Nagarala Sri Maha Lakshmi Ammavaru Temple:

One of the most popular temples in Vijayawada, it is located in the area of Chiitinagar. During Dasara Festival, thousands of devotees from the city visit this temple. It is maintained by the Nagaralu community.

Gunadala Mary Matha Church:

In 1925, Rf. Arlati, the Rector of St. Joseph’s Orphanage at Gunadala, installed a statue of Our Lady and later a church was built and consecrated in 1971, now popularly known as St. Mary’s church. Since then the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became an annual event here, attended by hundreds of people. The church is situated on a hillock on the eastern side of the city.

Mangalagiri:

Mangalagiri is a town in Guntur district situated between the twin cities of Vijayawada and Guntur of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The town is the headquarters of Mangalagiri mandal under Guntur revenue division. It is a major suburb of the cities of Vijayawada and Guntur. It also forms a part of the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region. It is situated on National Highway 16 between Vijayawada and Guntur. The town was known to have existed since 225 B.C.

Mangalagiri is located at 16.43°N 80.55°E. It has an average elevation of 29.08 m (95.4 ft).It is located 26 kilometres (16.2 mi) north east of the district headquarters, Guntur, and just 10 kilometres (23 mi) south west of Vijayawada and also 30 kilometers ((18.7 mi)) to the south of Tenali by road. It lies on hilly terrain. It falls under Seismic Zone 3.

Mangalagiri Tourism:

Lakshmi Naramisha Temple is the abode of Lord Vishnu, who manifested himself as Thotadri, is present in Mangalagiri. There are three Narasimha Swamy temples. Undavalli caves, located near Mangalagiri, a specimen of Indian rock-cut architecture. The historic caves are located at the top of the hills overlooking the Krishna River, built during the 4th-5th century. Dedicated to Ananta Padmanabha Swamy and Narasimha Swamy, Undavalli Cave Temples are associated with the Vishnukundina kings. Hinkar Thirtha Jain Temple, located in Namburu is the largest Jain temple in the region, visited by many Jains, from different parts of the state.

Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Mangalagiri:

Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is a vaishnavite temple and one of the eight sacred places of Lord Vishnu in India. It is situated at the foot of the Auspicious Hill in Mangalagiri of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the temple in the series of three temples located on and at the bottom of the hill, the other two being Panakala Narasimha Temple on the hill and Gandala Narasimha Temple at the top of the hill. It has one of the highest gopurams in South India and only one of its type in this part of India. It is 153 feet (47 m) in height and 49 feet (15 m) wide and has eleven storeys.


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