Vijayawada offers tourists the best of both worlds: there is the new town, where you can enjoy modern architecture and a new-age lifestyle, and the old town, which houses spectacular attractions rooted in Andhra’s rich history. The second largest city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, there are plenty of things to do and see in Vijayawada. If you really want to have a good time exploring the city, we suggest you have a look at the sites we’ve listed below so you can pick and choose the most appealing spots to visit.
Quick Facts about Vijayawada
Best time to visit: Vijayawada has a moderate climate so you can visit the city at anytime. However, we suggest that you avoid going during the monsoons which last from June to September.
Nearest railway station: The Vijayawada Junction Station is where you need to get down if you’re visiting the city by train.
Nearest airport: Vijayawada has its own airport, the Vijayawada International Airport. Flights to other Indian cities as well as international destinations leave and arrive here daily.
Transport: Vijayawada is well connected by road, rail and air. There are plenty of private cabs available to move about in the city. Ola cabs are also available or you can rent a car. Tourists can also use public transport such as buses and autorickshaws – however, autos are not meter run.
The Wonders of Vijayawada
1. Prakasam Barrage
Constructed in 1855, the Prakasam Barrage is the reason for the spread of agriculture across the Krishna Delta. Stretching over a kilometre across the Krishna River, it also connects the Krishna district to the Guntur district.
One of the first dams built in South India, it continues to provide the bulk of the water used in irrigation in the region. A particularly marvellous site at night, when it’s lit up.
Location: Prakasam Barrage Road, Vijayawada
2. Undavalli Caves
One of the most famous caves in Andhra Pradesh, the Undavalli Caves are of historic importance and are rooted deep in Andhra’s history. The caves are home to an impressive temple that is carved out of rock. There are sculptures of Vaishnava deities on the walls of the temple.
The highlight at the cave is a 5-metre-long statue of Lord Buddha that has been carved out of stone. You can get an amazing panoramic view of the hills nearby from the caves. Catch state-run buses from the Vijayawada bus stand to get to the caves.
Location: Penumaka-Vijayawada Road
3. Bhavani Island
Located away from the city, this island is a great place to go to if you wants to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by a river, you can hire a boat and go on a ride here. If boat rides aren’t your cup of tea, there is an adventure zone with swings, slides and rides.
If you want to just relax and unwind, there are benches and hammocks along the bank of the river. The Bhavani Island is ideal for those who love peace and quiet. Boarding and Lodging facilities are available on the island.
Location: 12 kilometres away from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh
Must-visit Religious Sites in Vijayawada
4. Hazratbal Mosque
An important place of worship for Vijayawada’s Muslims, the Hazratbal Mosque is a beautiful white structure that stands in the city centre where hundreds of visitors and devotees gather. The best time to visit the mosque is when they display a holy relic of Prophet Muhammad.
This usually happens in December. On Fridays, the mosque can get crowded, so avoid going if you aren’t comfortable being around a lot of people. Avoid taking photographs and maintain silence inside the mosque.
Location: Krishna District
5. Kanaka Durga Temple
Perched atop a mountain, the Kanaka Durga Temple is the second largest temple in Andhra Pradesh. According to legend, the Kanaka Durga Temple is the place where Lord Arjuna obtained the Pasupatha. A grand example of Indian architectural aesthetic, thousands of visitors pay their respects at this mandir every day.
The best time to visit is during the Durga Puja celebrations. Special pujas and cultural programs are held here during the festival. There are dedicated temple buses that take tourists to the heritage site from the Vijayawada bus stand.
Location: Indrakeeladri, Arjuna Street, Mallikarjunapeta
6. Gunadala Matha Church
A place considered sacred by Christians, this is where Mother Mary is said to have appeared before the locals. The Gunadala Matha feast is celebrated in February each year. Inside the church there are many statues and religious imagery relating to the Catholic faith: Jesus Christ, Mother Mary, and the Holy Family.
Its peaceful atmosphere makes it a pleasure to sit down among the calm and soothing environment. During festivals like Christmas, the church is beautifully decorated and lit up. Prayers are held at the church every day and special ceremonies are performed on important dates such as Good Friday.
Location: Eluru Road, Lurdhunagar
7. Mangalagiri Hill
The Mangalagiri Hill is home to the Sri Panakala Narasimha Swamy Temple and the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple. Both the temples were built by Vishnukundina kings. A visit here is a must for those who are religious or for those who love ancient Indian architecture.
There is also a famous Jain temple on the hill called Hinkar Thirtha which attracts followers from around the world. Take a private cab from Vijayawada to reach the hill. Interstate buses are available too.
Location: Vijayawada-Guntur road
8. Subramanya Swamy Temple
Located on a small hill, the Subramanya Swamy Temple overlooks the Krishna river and the city of Vijayawada. From the balcony of the temple, you’ll get a splendid view of the river. The temple comes to life during the Devasena Kalyanotsavam.
The temple is closed after 6 pm. However, on festival days, it is open until much later in the evening. Photography is allowed in the temple complex; however, refrain from clicking pictures inside the temple when prayers are being said.
The Best Historical Places to visit in Vijayawada
9. Kondapalli Fort
Locals call the fort Kondapalli Quilla. It is situated in between two hills and is a popular tourist attraction. Although it is located away from the city, hundreds of tourists visit the fort to soak in its rich cultural heritage. Notable sites at the Kondapalli Quilla are the Dargha Darwaza (carved from a single granite block) and the excellent carvings on the walls of the fort.
There’s also a lovely garden here where tourists relax after trekking up to see the fort and the panoramic views of the neighbouring hills. Don’t forget to check out the beautiful Golconda Darwaza that’s located at the back of the fort.
Location: Ghat Road
10. Archaeological Museum
Located a few kilometres away from Vijayawada, the Archaeological Museum in Amaravati is a must visit for any art and history fiend. A treasure trove of information and art awaits you at the museum. Here, you will find images and paintings from Amaravati’s cultural past.
The museum houses a big statue of Lord Buddha and even has the Amaravathi Mahachaitya, an iconic piece of architecture in its courtyard. There is an entry fee of Rs. 2. The museum is closed on Fridays.
Location: Amravati Main Road
11. Bapu Museum, Vijayawada
Formerly called the Viceroy Jubilee Museum, the Bapu Museum houses tools, copper plates, stone carvings, and many more artifacts that were excavated from historic sites in the region. A museum is a great place for tourists to learn more about Andhra’s history. There is no photography allowed inside the museum.
Location: Bandar Road
Whether you like to explore natural wonders or go sightseeing exploring a city’s architecture, Vijayawada will provide you with plenty of options. The city is home to some of the best attractions in India. Have you been been to Vijayawada? What was the favourite part of your stay there?