Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Vizag, is home to the prestigious Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, nestled among the hills of the Eastern Ghats and faces the Bay of Bengal to the east. It is often referred to as "The Jewel of The East Coast" or "The City of Destiny". The place is blessed with a natural port and golden sand beaches, surrounded by three hills - each of which has a shrine built on it dedicated to a different religion.
According to the history, the city was named after the god of 'Valor-Vishakha'. It was a part of the Kalinga Kingdom, under Ashoka's rule in 260 B.C. It passed on later to the Andhra Kings of 'Vengi'. After this Pallava, Chola and Ganga dynasties ruled the city. In the 15th century, Vishakhapatnam became a part of the Vijayanagar Empire.
The Europeans, the Dutch, the French and the English established themselves from the 17th century onwards and used this as a major trading center to export textiles, ivory, tobacco, indigo etc. This port is well documented in the histories of these colonial powers as well as in Indian historical records. This coast played a major role during the reign of the Asaf Jahis and the Golcondas.
By Air: Airport is 16km from city centre. Visakhapatnam is air linked with Kolkata, Hyderabad and Madras, which in turn is connected by Indian Airlines with Mumbai.
By Rail: Visakhapatnam is well connected with all the important cities of India. Visakhapatnam junction railway station is on the main Kolkata to Chennai line.
By Road: Visakhapatnam has well organised bus terminal. National Highway No.5 (Howra to Chennai) passes through Visakhaptnam. The APS RTC has services to destinations within Andhra Pradesh and the cities in the neighboring states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. Also regular city bus services connect places of interest in the City with each other.
By Sea: Vishakapatnam is connected by sea to Kolkata, Madras, Port Blair, Ganjam, and Kakinada among other places.
Vizag is better known as an industrial centre, but in reality it is a city of shopkeepers. For some reason shops in the same trade tend to be located next to each other, which makes shop hopping and bargain hunting easier. Earlier the area around Kurupam market with its narrow lanes and poky shops, was famous for Gold and Silver shopping.
Of late jewellery shops have sprung up in the area in Dwaraka Nagar on the other side of TSR complex. The entire stretch of road extending from Jagadamba Junction to the Old Post Office has literally countless shops selling a wide variety of items. Chandana Brothers, Bommana, Puchala, are the famous shops, which sell almost all sari varieties. The government owned / run Lepakshi is the place for handicrafts.
The main market areas are Waltair Uplands and Jagdamba Junction. At the emporiums here, you can choose from Andhra’s traditional weaves like Pochampalli, Ikat, Dharamavaram, Venkatgiri and Nadyupet. There are also a variety of other traditional handicrafts like Kalamkari paintings and silver filigree work to select your souvenirs from.
Apart from sightseeing, you can go for shopping the markets of Visakhapatnam. Jagadamba Centre, Dabagardens and Dwarkanagar are the main shopping centres and offer a variety of items. You may also visit Khadi Grammena Udyog, Lepakshi, Girijan Co-operative Society and Eastern Art Museum, for exclusive range of handicrafts. You can buy Narayanpet, Pochampalli, Kalamkari printed fabrics and wall hangings from the above mentioned outlets. Also visit the customs notified shops such as Japan Gifts, Singapore Place and Paris Corner.
Jagadamba Center: Jagadamba Center, a downtown of Vizag known also as Jagadamba junction, is named after the Jagadamba movie theatre, one among the best movie halls in Vizag and is a place not to be missed. A hub of all forms of entertainment, natural enjoyments and artificial facilities merge here together.
Noisy crowds, scenic beauty of surroundings, illuminations and restaurants all add to the beauty of this place. All the famous shopping centres and malls can be found here.
A wide range of accommodation facilities are available in Visakhapatnam. All the luxury and deluxe hotels are well-equipped with contemporary amenities. Some of the most popular hotels are Taj Residency (Five Star), The Park Hotel (Five Star), Dolphin Group of Hotels, Welcomgroup Grand Bay Sheraton, Green Park, Daspalla Executive Court, The Grand Central Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel and Resort, Royal Fort Hotel, Hotel Supreme Vizag etc.