Vijayawada, formerly known as Bezawada, with a population of nearly 1 million, is the third largest city in Andhra Pradesh (India). Located in Krishna District, the city is on the northern bank of the river Krishna, at a distance of 275 km from from the state capital, Hyderabad. Vijayawada literally translates to "The Place of Victory" in the local language which is Telugu. Its prominence as a major trading and business center has earned it the title of the "Business Capital of Andhra Pradesh”. Vijayawada is also a major agricultural hub of the state due to its rich hinter-lands in the Krishna Basin. Major irrigation canals from the river Krishna and major power projects such as the Vijayawada Thermal Power Station (VTPS) and Lanco Kondapalli Thermal Power Station make Vijayawada an important economic hub of Andhra Pradesh. The Vijayawada city is having an area of about 261.88 km2 with a population of about 10,48,240 (2011).
Vijayawada is located at 16.52° North Latitude 80.62° East Longitude and the average elevation is about 39 feet above the mean sea level. It is located at a distance of 275 Km from Hyderabad on the northern bank of the river Krishna.
Topography is the most prominent feature of Vijayawada Geography. The landscape of Vijayawada is marked by undulating small and medium sized hillocks with extensive plain lands between them. The Krishna River is a dominant part of the geography of Vijayawada and runs through the city. Although the hills in Vijayawada are a continuation of the Eastern Ghat chains, they, in general have a low elevation compared to the rest of the Ghats. The high fertility of the soil in the region is a result of the River Krishna flowing through it.
The climate is tropical, with hot summers and moderate winters. The peak temperature reaches 49 °C in May-June, while the winter temperature is 20-27 °C. The average humidity is 78% and the average annual rainfall is 103 cm. Vijayawada gets its rainfall from both the south-west monsoon and north-east monsoon. It earned the nicknamed "Blazewada" for its scorching summer heat by the Britishers.
Modes of Transport
Vijayawada is strong mix of urban and rural lifestyle. Most places within the city can be reached by motorised auto rickshaws or cycle-rickshaws . Local city buses (state transport corporation) ply on most of the major and inner routes of the city. The city also has a BRTS system launched in 2012. Taxis can be hired for about Rs. 600 - Rs. 1000 per day.
Ways to Reach Vijayawada
Vijayawada is an important link connecting the three regions of Andhra Pradesh and is a major transit point in the country. Two National Highways, the NH-5 from Chennai to Kolkata and the NH-9 from Machilipatnam to Mumbai pass through the city connecting it to other parts of the country. Another National highway No. 221 connects the city to Jagdalpur in Madhya Pradesh state. It is well connected to other areas of the state, by state highways and district roads.
There are several daily buses between Vijayawada and Hyderabad and the rest of Andhra Pradesh as well as other major cities in South India. APSTRC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) runs several daily Volvo AC buses, called Garuda, between Hyderabad and Vijayawada all through the day. Similarly, several private bus operators run Volve AC semi-sleeper and sleeper buses starting late at night and reaching early in the morning.
The city is very well connected by rail with daily Express and Super-Fast Express trains from all major cities in acoss the nation. The railway station is located in the heart of the city. With 10 platforms, 5 entrance gates, several ticket booking counters and escalators, Vijayawada Junction is the busiest station in South India. Also, being situated along the Chennai-Howrah and Chennai-Delhi Railway route, this is the second largest railway junction in the country.
Trains From Hyderabad: Narsapur Express, Machilipatnam Express, Godavari Express, Krishna Express, Satavahana Express and several others East bound trains.
Trains From New Delhi: Grand Trunk Express, Tamil Nadu Express, Kerala Express, Dakshin Express, Tamil Nadu Sampark Kranti and several more South bound trains.
Trains From Mumbai: Konark Express. Trains such as Hussain Sagar Express and Hyderbad-Mumbai Express terminate at Hyderabad from where one can take another connecting train to Vijayawada.
Trains From Kolkata: Over 10 trains connect Vijayawada to East India on a daily basis.
Trains From Chennai: Over 10 trains connect Vijayawada to Chennai on a daily basis.
The domestic airport located at Gannavaram, about 20km from the city, connects Vijayawada to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Rajamundry, Vishakhapatnam, etc. Air India, Jet Airways, Spice Jet, connect the city to rest of India. The nearest international airport is at Hyderabad, which is among the busiest and better connected international airports in the country.
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Places to Stay
Students have the option of on-campus accomodation provided by the school. (For more information on the school, campus and facilities, click here). For parents and visitors, Vijayawada has several hotels and boarding/lodging facilities ranging from a few hundred rupees a day to a few thousand rupees a day, depending on one's budget.
High end luxury hotels such as Gateway, DV Manor and Fortune Murali offer rooms at prices around Rs. 4000 or higher per day. Many mid-range hotels such as Ilapuram, Swarna Palace and Manorama offer AC rooms priced around Rs. 2000 per day.
Food, Culture and Lifestyle
Vijayawada has a multi-cultural urban lifestyle with strong rural mix. The people are generally courteous and willing to help. The local language is pre-dominantly Telugu, although English and Hindi is also spoken by the educated. Traditional Andhra breakfast and tiffin centers dot the city which specialize in idly, dosa, puri, upma and other south indian dishes. Multi-cuisine restaurants and hotels also offer north-indian, chinese, mexican and continental dishes.
Life in Vijayawada can be fun for students with popular hang-outs like Cafe Coffee Day, Inox multiplex, discos, pubs and other fast food joints and movie theatres.
Places of Interest
Kanaka Durga Temple: One of the most popular temples in Andhra Pradesh, it is located on Indrakeeladri hill overlooking the city as well as the River Krishna. One can either motor up the ghat road or take to the steps on foot. Inscriptions of different dynasties are found on the temple walls. During Dassera Festival, thousands of devotees from the city and its environs throng the temple after a holy dip in the River Krishna. It was built after 12th century by Maharaja Poosapati Madhava Varma, the ancestor of Vijayanagaram Poosapati Kings, according to Vishnu Puranam and is considered the builder of Modern Vijayawada kingdom.
Prakasham Barrage: Built across the river Krishna, connecting Guntur District, Prakasham Barrage has created a panoramic lake. Its three canals that run through the city give Vijayawada a Venetian (Venice) look.
Mangalagiri: Located in Guntur District, 12 Km from Vijayawada, is the temple of Lord Narasimha in Mangalagiri, on a hillock. This is thereason for naming the place Mangalagiri, which literally translates to "Auspicious Hill". It is a popular belief that, in this temple, the mouth of the idol accepts half the quantity of panakam (jaggery dissolved in water) offered by devotees, irrespective of the size of the vessel.
Mangalagiri is also famous for its cotton and silk sarees, rich in designs and intricate work.
Kondapalli Fort: Kondapalli village is situated 16 Km from Vijayawada. A 7th century fort on the hill with a three storeyed rock tower was witness to many dynasties. This fort was built by King Sri Krishna Deva Raya. It served as a business centre for the Vijayanagara Dynasty. Later, the fort was used as a military training base by the British rulers.
Kondapalli is also famous for its wooden toys popularly called as Kondapalli Bommallu (bommallu, in Telugu, means toys). These toys depict images, scenes and characters from Indian Mythology and popular folk tales.
Amaravati: Amaravati in Guntur District, formerly called as Dhanyakataka and Andhranagari, is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the country. Acharya Nagarjuna constructed the country's largest stupa here, 2000 years ago. It also has an Amareswara temple.
Undavalli Caves: Located in Guntur district, 5 Km from Vijayawada, these caves are said to have been carved in the 7th century A.D. by Buddhist monks who used this two-storeyed cave structure as a rest house during the monsoon. A huge monolith of Lord Buddha in a reclining posture is a magnificent sight here.
Gandhi Hill: This is first Gandhi Memorial in memory of the Father of our Nation. At 52ft (16m) tall and built with seven stupas on a hill at a height of 500ft (150m) above mean seal level, this memorial was unveiled on October 6, 1968 by the President of India, Dr. Zakir Hussain. Gandhi Memorial Library, a Sound and Light Show on Mahatma Gandhi's life and a planetarium are the other attractions here.
Victoria Museum: A place for archaeology lovers, Victoria Museum has a carefully preserved collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery, and inscriptions. This museum is closed temporarily for restoration.
Mogalarajapuram Caves: These caves are said to be excavated in the 5th century A.D. The caves are reputed to be the first of their kind in South India. The idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka and Arthanareeswara are carved here.
Bhavani Island: Perhaps one of the largest islands on any river in India, Bhavani Island is located on Krishna River close to the city. Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is converting this 133 acre island into an attractive tourist spot and a River-Front Resort. The island currently has some cottages to stay in and offers good adventure and fun sports. Journey to the island by is a very pleasant boat ride.
Rajiv Gandhi Park: Created by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) with great care, this park welcomes tourists at the entrance of the city with its impressive horticultural network. A mini zoo and a musical water fountain are added to it. This park is open from 2pm to 8pm.
(Sources: Wikipedia -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayawada and MapsofIndia.com -> http://www.mapsofindia.com/vijayawada/geography.html)