Vijayawada, in Andhra Pradesh is located at the head of the Krishna delta, 70km from the sea. Earlier known as Bezwada it was an important centre of the Vishnukundin rulers in the 5C -6C and the headquarters of the Early Chalukyas of Badami. The present name is derived from the presiding deity, Kanakdurga also called Vijaya. The city is picturesquely surrounded by hills on three sides, with the swiftly flowing waters of the Krishna river on the south. Today it is a thriving business centre and a convenient base from which to visit varied historical sites.(Interactive map of Vijayawada)
History of Vijayawada
A legend narrates that Vijayawada was established by Arjuna around the Malleswara temple and Indrakiladri hills in commemoration of Lord Shiva's Darsan that he had, and thus named it after him as Vijayawada.
Another legend states that Goddess Durga rested here after killing a Rakshasa (Demon) and since she was victorious (Vijaya), it is called Vijayawada.
Besides being an important religious centre for Buddhists and Hindus, Vijayawada is also a centre of Andhra culture. The Chalukyas of Kalyan and the great king Krishna Deva Raya once conquered this place, and the famous Chinese traveler Xuanzang (Hsuan-tsang) had visited this place in 639 when Buddhism was at its zenith in the region. During the British Raj the city experienced significant growth. In particular, the completion of the Prakasam Barrage in 1959, and railway bridge on the Krishna River have helped the region expand its agricultural and commercial base. And Vijayawada Railway station is one of the busiest railway junctions in India. The regions around the city have fertile soil and are irrigated by the river.
Tourist Attractions of Vijayawada
The Victoria Jubilee Museum
The Museum of the Archaeological Department situated on Bundar Road contains sculptures and painting. Pre historic materials, such as stone tools, microliths and Neolithic implements are also on display. There is a colossal granite statue of the Buddha and also a well preserved standing white limestone figure of the Buddha from Alluru, dating from the 3C- 4C.
Kondapalli village, the famous toy making centre is located 14km northwest of Vijayawada. The toys are usually made of light wood called 'Poniki' and lacquered in brilliant colours. These colourful toys depict themes centered around rural life, mythological characters, animals, birds, fruits, vegetables and houses. There is a picturesque hill fort at Kondapalli which passed hands successively through various dynasties.
Kanaka Durga Temple
The tall Gandhi Stupa situated on Gandhi Hill, was erected in 1968, in memory of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the nation. Gandhi's teachings are inscribed on stone slabs. There is also a memorial Library, a planetarium on the hill. A toy train skirts the hill.
A holy relic of Prophet Mohammad is kept in the mosque in the city and displayed once a year.
Rajiv Gandhi ParkLocated near the new Vijayawada bus stand, this educative park contains built-up structures of dinosaurs and pre-historic animals. There is also a Musical Fountain.
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