Vijayawada also known as Bezawada is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is located on the banks of the Krishna River, and is bounded by the Indrakila hills on the West and the Budameru river on the North. Situated along the Madras-Howrah and Madras-Delhi rail route, this is the largest railway junction of the South Central Railway. The city forms a part of the Krishna district, and is spread over an area of 58 sq. kms (urban area), with a population of 7 Lakhs (1991 census). Vijayawada lies in the rich coastal delta area of the state, a fact that is reflected in its spicy and deliciously varied cuisine. The most sweet and juicy mangoes are grown here and the region is also renowned for its tradition of pickle making. A famous landmark is the Prakasam barrage, the 1223.5 mt. long modern regulator and road bridge across the Krishna river, completed in 1957. Its panoramic lake and the three canals that run through the city give Vijayawada, a venetian appearance.
Kanakadurga Temple :
One of the most important centers mentioned in the sacred texts is the Kanakadurga Temple. Built atop a hill, the temple is synonymous with Vijayawada, while Kanakadurga, the Goddess of power, riches and benevolence, is considered to be the presiding deity of Vijayawada. Adi Sankara is believed to have visited the temple and installed the 'Sri Chakra' here. During the Dassera festival, special celebrations are held. On the way to the Kanakadurga Temple there are rock-cut caves dedicated to Akkanna and Madanna, ministers in the court of Abul Hasan Tanashah, the Qutub Shahi ruler in the 17th Century. A short distance away is another cave that dates back to the 2nd century BC which hosts the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara.
Prakasam Barrage : The idea of constructing a barrage across Krishna dates back to 1798. But it took some shape 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 East India Company approved it on 5th January 1850. The barrage was started in 1852 and completed in 1855. Later the State Government constructed a new regulator cum-round bridge that was named after Sri Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Completed in 1957 it helps irrigating over 12 lakhs of acres. It provides a panoramic site of the river.
Gandhi Stupa : The first Gandhi Memorial with 7 Stupas in the country was constructed on this hill at a height of 500 ft. The 52 ft. Stupa was unveiled on 6th October, 1968 by Dr. Zakir Hussain, the then President of India. Gandhi Memorial Library, the Sound and Light Show on Mahatma Gandhi's life and a planetarium are the other attractions.
Kondapalli : Who can resist the charm of beautiful, handmade toys? Kondapalli, which is about 16 kms from Vijayawada, is the home of the world-famous Kondapalli toys, made of a light wood called 'Poniki'. These colourful toys have characteristic Indian motifs like mythological figures, birds, animals, fruits, vegetables and houses. They are now also available in major temple towns and handicraft centers. The fort of Kondapalli is believed to have been built by Prolaya Vema Reddy, the founder of the Reddy kingdom of Kondaveedu, in the 14 century. It has an awesome three-storied rock tower. And you'll also find a perfect picnic spot in the picturesque setting of the Virupaksha Temple.
Bhavani Island : Located at a distance of 4 km. from Vijayawada, the Bhavani Island is situated upstream of River Krishna close to Prakasam Barrage. It is a good picnic spot for nature lovers. Boat riding facility is available.