Vizag is often lampooned for being a bit chaotic, far too bling, and not old enough to be historically relevant for a visitor. However, the city’s magic lurks in its details. Walking on the pedestrian promenade of Ramakrishna Beach in Vizag, you get to encounter INS Kursura, India’s fifth submarine and key proponent in the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. The decommissioned submarine is open to the public and attracts more than 3,00,000 visitors a year. The city promises spellbinding views of pristine beaches with fascinating hill scapes as their companion from several vantage points. Thus, there are a lot of incredible places to visit in Vizag. The popular and sacred park of Kailash Giri, the gorgeous Rushikonda Beach, the beautiful Ross Hill Church, the eerie Dutch Cemetery at Bheemili, and the magnificent ocean view from the lighthouse at Dolphin’s Nose make Vizag a potpourri of visuals and experiences.
Also read: 10 beaches to visit in India, other than Goa
Incredible Places To Visit In Vizag At Least Once
1. INS Kursura Submarine Museum
The INS Kursura is a legendary submarine. The Soviet built this underwater war machine capable of being armed with 22 torpedoes. It was instrumental in guarding the Visakhapatnam coast in 1971 from enemy attack. Sankalp Reddy’s movie ‘The Ghazi Attack’ (2017) was based on the sinking of the Pakistani Submarine PNS Ghazi by INS Kursura. Thus the celebrated ‘war hero’ which was decommissioned in 2001 found its pedestal on the popular Ramakrishna Beach in Vizag, a first of its kind Submarine Museum in South Asia. Accessible to the public since 2002, the 91.3-metre-long, 8-metres-wide submarine showcases its various aspects to the visitors—a radar room, sonar room, weapons and control room, along with information on the evolution of submarine class structures through written scriptures, artifacts, and plenty of photographs. Entry fee for adults is INR 40, and the use of camera is chargeable. This is one of the unmissable places to visit in Vizag.
2. Kailasagiri Park
Spread over 100 acres over a hill (more than 500 feet above sea level), this sprawling park offers spellbinding views of the city’s hills and coastline, and also has many other attractions to its name. The 40 feet tall white statue of Shiva and Parvati is the most beautiful structure on this hill. The plastic-free zone is maintained by VUDA (Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority). Apart from plenty of manicured lawns and flower beds, the other points of interest include the floral clock, a toy train (for kids), the ‘Titanic’ viewpoint, and the recently opened World Telugu Museum. The first of its kind in the world, the museum showcases the evolution and significance of Telugu language.
3. Rushikonda Beach
Vizag is one of the few cities in India where the landscape treats you views of mountains and beaches together. Probably the most beautiful beach of Vizag, Rushikonda Beach is surrounded by hills on either side. It is a combination of thick stretches of sand on one side and beautiful rock outcrops on the other. Located an hour away from the city centre, it also offers lots of options for water sports—jet ski, speed boating, kayaking, paramotoring and scuba diving.
4. Buddhist Ruins At Thotlakonda
Six km from Rushikonda Beach, a slight detour takes you to the hill where the Thotlakonda Buddhist Monastery rests. This 2000-year-old settlement was discovered as recently as 1976 by the Indian Navy. During an aerial survey, while looking for a suitable place for a naval base, the team sighted Buddhist ruins on the top of the hill. Excavations started in 1988 and went on till 1992, and revealed several ancient structures and monuments. Today visitors can walk through the ruins of Maha Stupas, Votive Stupas, a Stone Pillared Congregation Hall, several Rock Cut Cisterns, Chaitya Grihas, Votive Platforms, Viharas, a Kitchen Complex and Dining Hall—all found by the Department of Archaeology and Museums. Epigraphical evidence indicates Hinayana Buddhism being practiced here. There are numerous rock-cut troughs on the rocky bed of the hills which were presumably used to store water for the monastery. In fact, the name Thotlakonda in Telugu means rock-cut cisterns. With the apparent absence of royal patronage, the rise of Brahminism and dwindling maritime trade, the monastery fell into decline during the 3rd-4th century AD. For history enthusiasts, this is among the top places to visit in Vizag.
5. Dutch Cemetery
Further down the same road, a 20-minute drive will bring you to the uncanny and eerie 17th-century Dutch cemetery at Bheemli Beach in the small town of Bheemunipatnam. This is an obscure ancient Dutch town that doesn’t receive much attention from the tourism department and is therefore in a state of neglect. The oldest grave in the cemetery is from 1661. Not a place to be visited in the dark, as the upkeep of the place is also mediocre. However, the unique shape of the cemetery with its tall spire-like structure will make the visit worthwhile. This is one of the unique places to visit in Vizag.
6. Bheemli Beach
Bheemli Beach is located at the origin of Gosthani river and is popular for its beautiful stretch of sand laced with several statues depicting different themes and serve as tourist attractions. The statues have been destroyed by nature and rebuilt many times by the administration. A few upscale properties have cropped up in this small town near the beach, giving hope to the prospect the ancient town’s revival.
7. Ross Hill Church
Ross hill is located adjacent to the Vizag port. The hill takes its name from a local judge Monsieur Ross who built a house here in the mid-1860s which was subsequently converted to a church in 1867 by Vicar General Fr. Richard. The church is a symbol of communal harmony as it welcomes people from all religions, castes and creed to its premises. The place provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the natural harbour.
8. Dolphin’s Nose
Parallel to Ross Hill is a small hill called Dolphin’s Nose, named for its similarity to the creature when seen from a distance. Approximately 350 feet above sea level, the vantage point provides breathtaking views of the city, more so if you climb up the small lighthouse. The viewpoint is tiny, and more often than not, you will be cramped for space. It provides a spectacular view of the Bay of Bengal with lush greenery at the foothills on one side and the city’s coastline on the other.
Explore The Best Of Vizag
Apart from the above must-visit places in Vizag, if you have more time on your hand, you can venture further south from Dolphin’s Nose to the secluded Yarada Beach (a 30-minute drive) or opt for a morning stroll in VUDA Park which is built on a hill slope and provides panoramic views of the ocean.
Visit Andhra Pradesh’s largest city and the only natural harbour of Eastern India for its beautiful beaches, verdant green mountains, long marine drives, forgotten history and spectacular views of the Bay of Bengal from numerous vantage points.