Vizag is known to all as the City of Destiny and the land of beaches. There are multiple tourist places in Vizag that manage to make you awestruck. Most tourists who visit this city stick to exploring only the vast expanse of beach road with renowned beaches like RK Beach, Rushikonda and Tenneti. The other famous tourist hubs include Kailashgiri, submarine/aircraft museum and Araku Valley. But Vizag actually has many more hidden gems. These places may not be developed that much from the tourism point of view, but that's what makes these untouched places more enchanting and worth visiting. Below are some offbeat destinations of Vizag that I have discovered in the past three years of staying in Vizag.
1. Bojjanakonda and Lingalakonda Buddhist Monastery
Vizag has a rich collection of the remnants of Buddhism establishment like Thotlakonda and Bavikonda that are present right within the city. But the most beautiful of Buddhist sites is undoubtedly Bojjanakonda and Lingalakonda which are actually rock cut caves with Buddhist carvings and Buddhist stupas situated on two adjacent hillocks. The hillocks are surrounded by luscious paddy fields that adds a dash of greenery and makes the places look breathtaking especially in monsoon season. It is situated near the village Sankaram, which is a few kilometers from Anakapalle, Visakhapatnam. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach this place from the main city as it is around 45 kms from Vizag.
How to reach - You could take a bus from RTC complex bus stand to Anakapalle and hire an auto from Anakapalle bus stand to Sankaram village. You could also hire a cab if you are willing to be liberal in your spending.
Best time to visit - August to February would be the suitable months to visit the place as Vizag faces sweltering heat in summers. Ideally you should visit in August/September (monsoon months) and in the morning time as you will be able to witness the greenery of the paddy fields in monsoon.
2. Borra caves
The hill station of Araku Valley is a known tourist hub of Vizag. But most of the tourists skip the best place to visit on the way to Araku - which is Borra Caves. Located in the Ananthagiri hills of Araku Valley, these majestic caves are at an elevation of around 700 m. These caves are renowned for the unique cave formations of stalactite and stalagmite. The formation of brain-shaped stalagmite at the central part of Borra Caves can be said as the gift of nature. The natural Shiva Linga inside this cave also manages to amaze people. The cherry atop the cake at this place is the illumination of the caves. The cave formations that are illuminated with a plethora of colors are a visual treat. Don't forget to try Bamboo chicken which is an Araku specialty outside Borra Caves. You could also contact some local trekking clubs and go for Cave trek through the Gosthani river that flows below the cave.
How to reach - Buses are available to take you to Araku Valley. But it is best to visit Araku Valley in the Vistadome train that has a glass ceiling and gives spectacular nature views en-route to Araku.
Best time to visit - October to February. Winter is undoubtedly the best time to visit this place in order to enjoy the wonders of this hill station.
3. Lambasinghi and Kothapally waterfalls
This place which is around 116 kms (3 hours) from Vizag at an elevation of 1000m has been named as the 'Kashmir of India' and deservedly so. The hill station of Lambasinghi , in the Chintapalle village of Vizag came into limelight because it had experienced snowfall in the past. During winters this place witnesses temperature drops upto -2 degree Celsius and throughout the year also the temperature stays within 10 degrees. An absolutely delightful experience for fruit lovers, while in Lambasinghi, is to visit the Andhra Strawberry farm where you can pick your own delicious strawberry haul at a cheap price. This place has a lot of designated sites for camping namely beside the Thajangi reservoir and near the strawberry farm Lambasinghi also has numerous mountain viewpoints that leaves you spellbound. This winter wonderland is relatively untouched and has very few lodging and fooding options for the tourists, but the locals of Lambasinghi have opened up several food stalls for ease of tourists. When you are visiting Lambasinghi , don't forget to visit Kothapally waterfalls which is just 20kms away.
How to reach - You could take a bus to Narsipatnam and stay there at a lodge for the night. Start early at around 5 am the next day and reach Lambasinghi by 6am to enjoy the foggy mornings. And if you are lucky, you could witness snowfall.
Best time to visit - December to January as only during deep winters you could hope to see snowfall.
4. Kondakarla Ava
Here is an offbeat and untouched place in Vizag that deserves more attention than it currently generates. This beautiful lake and bird sanctuary, situated around 40 kms from the main city of Vizag is home to a varied range of unique and endangered flora and fauna. The lake is surrounded by coconut trees on one side and hills on the other sides which makes this place truly picturesque. Witnessing the sunrise on a boat ride through this lake is a serene experience for sure. Boat ride will cost you around 200 bucks, and through the 30-minute long boat ride you could pluck lilies that grow in the lake. It may not sound like much , but this place will truly redefine nature's beauty in your eyes.
How to reach - Take a bus to Gajuwaka from RTC complex bus station and then hire a cab to take you there.
Best time to visit - January , as this the time when you can find birds at this lake.
5.Natural Arch at Mangamaripeta Beach
If you are planning to visit Thotlakonda, do visit this place too. The naturally formed rock arch at Mangamaripeta beach is a rare formation and these rocks could date from 800 to 1600 million years. The sea view through this arch is a sight to behold. Follow the beach road that leads to Thotlakonda and take a U-turn when you reach Mangamaripeta. The other notable naturally formed rock arch formation is Silothoranam at Tirumala hills.
How to reach - Best way to reach this place is to hire a cab/auto.
Best time to visit-Throughout the year
I hope I have been able to do justice in depicting Vizag's beauty. Do visit this beautiful beach city for an unforgettable experience.