Vijayawada (Telugu:విజయవాడ )( pronunciation)) is the commercial city of Andhra Pradesh and the third largest after Hyderabad andVisakhapatnam, with an area of 261.88 km2. The city has a population of 1,021,860 (2011 Census), while the population of the metropolitan area is 1,491,202. The name Vijayawada, meaning "Land of Victory", is derived from the presiding deity, Kanaka Durga, also called Vijaya.It is also believed that rulers of orissa after conquering the land named it as "vijay bahuda",depicting "return after victory" .The city is also popularly known by its historic name Bezawada, which is used by the Indian Railways in assigning its railway station code "BZA".
The city has originated on the northern bank of the river Krishna. It was ruled by different dynasties from time to time, including the Gajapathis of Orissa, Eastern Chalukyas and the great ruler Krishna Deva Raya. By the time of construction of anicut over the river Krishna in 1885 AD, it took shape as small settlement on the eastern side of the Indrakiladri hills. In late 19th century the Gajapathis of orissa were settled in a small village named vurimi (krishna dist)
Today, the city is home to many of the most well-recognized educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh and mother of the corporate education. It is well connected to other regions by road, air and rail, and has the second biggest railway junction in India. As the commercial capital of
There are many tales behind the origin of the name Vijayawada. At first it was named as Chandrala which comes under the family of Gajapathis which means victory and later Legends have it that this was the place where Arjuna was blessed by Shiva, on Indrakiladri Hill. In another legend it is stated that Goddesses Durga killed the demon and relaxed in this place for some time. As she was victorious (Vijaya), the place got the name as Vijayawada (Vijaya: victory and Wada: city/place/location) which literally means "City of Victory". The Epic of Mahabharata refers to Indrakiladri hills as the place where Arjuna secured “Pasupathastra” from Lord Siva.
A tale behind its acquiring the name "Bezawada" is that Goddesses Krishnaveni (River Krishna) requested Arjuna to make a passage for her to merge into the Bay of Bengal. Hence Arjuna made a bejjam (hole) through the mountains and the place came to be known as Bejjamwada which later changed to Bezawada.
Vijayawada is surrounded by the Krishna river on the east and west and the Budameru River on the north. The northern, northwestern, and southwestern parts of the city are covered by a low range of hills, while the central, southwestern and northwestern parts are covered by rich and fertile agriculture lands with three major irrigation canals. The topography of Vijayawada is flat, with a few small to medium-sized hills. The Krishna River runs through the city. These hills are part of the Eastern Ghats cut through by the Krishna river. They have very low elevation compared to the average elevation of the ghats. Three canals originating from the north side of the Prakasham barrage reservoir, Eluru, Bandar and Ryves, run through the city. By the virtue of these canals, this city has been in the race for being the Venice of the East with cities like Alleppey(Kerala), Srinagar(Jammu and Kashmir) etc. Several bridges have been built across these three canals over the decades making eligible to vie for the exotic title.
Buckingham Canal originates from the southmate, with hot summers and moderate winters. The peak temperature reaches 47 °C (117 °F) 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 southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon. It was nicknamed "Blaze-wada" for its scorching summer heat by the British.
About the western outskirts of Vijayawada lies the Kondapalli reserve forest, spread over 121.5 square kilometres (30,000 acres). The forest provides Vijayawada with a "green lung". This pristine forest is home to leopards, wild dogs, jackals, wild boar, wolves etc.The hills produce a soft wood which is used in the manufacture of Kondapalli Toys.
As per provisional data of 2011 census, Vijayawada urban agglomeration had a population of 1,491,202, out of which males were 750,770 and females were 740,432. The literacy rate was 81.60 per cent. Vijayawada municipal corporation had a population of 1,048,240. The city's population is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2025.
Vijayawada's population has historically been Telugu speaking. Hindi and English are also spoken and understood by many of its residents. Hinduism is practiced by majority of its citizens followed by Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. Vijayawada is home to a growing Assamese, Bengali,Gujarati, Jain, Malayalee, Oriya, Punjabi and Tamil communities.
Vijayawada Junction is the heart of indian railways & also the biggest railway junction in India and contributes the highest revenues in the South Central Railway region. Situated along the Chennai – Howrah and Chennai – Delhi rail route, Vijayawada Junction is the largest railway junction on the South Central Railway network. Vijayawada junction had been given A-1 status by the central government.] Madhuranagar, Gunadala, Rayanapadu, Kondapalli, Nidamanuru, Krishna canal junction Ramavarappadu, Kolanukonda, Mangalagiri, Gannavaram are the other railway stations in the city. The railway station has ten platforms for passenger trains and is the only station to have five entrance gates with booking counters in India and it is the busiest station to handle more than 320 trains including both passenger and freight trains per day next to Howrah and Mumbai.
Vijayawada is well connected to the rest of the country by National Highways: NH-5(new no NH-16), NH-9(new no NH-65) and NH-221(new no NH-30). Transport by road from Vijayawada is available in the form of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses. Private bus operators also provide transport services to parts of the country.
All major streets are connected with the Local Public Bus Transit (City Buses) operated by APSRTC. It is the first city in the south to introduce CNG buses in its fleet. Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is planning to launch Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) with dedicated bus corridors.The initiative, however, is mired in procedural delays. Motor-driven auto-rickshaws and manual-driven cycle-rickshaws are the other alternative means of transport within Vijayawada. Private lorries, cars and two-wheeled vehicles are common.
Vijayawada has the second biggest and busiest bus terminal in the Asia, next to Chennai(CMBT). It was inaugurated on 23 September 1990 and is officially named as Telugu Satavahana Prayana Pranganam with its current name of Pandit Nehru Bus Station.
Vijayawada is the main center of movies, also referred as "Cine Rajadhani" means "Capital of Films". First theater of the state "Maruthi talkies" was built in the year 1921 at One-town. There is a belief in Film industry that the stamina and run of the films depend upon the talk in Vijayawada which shows the citizens interest towards films. Telugu films have the biggest market here with a market share greater than 95% followed by Hindi and English. There are around 45 theaters in Vijayawada including 2 multiplexes. 4 multiplexes are going to start their operations next year.
The city includes many tourist attractions. Some famous landmarks and places to visit in Vijayawada are:
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 look.
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. It was built after 12th century by Maharaja Poosapati Madhava Varma, the ancestor of Vijayanagaram Poosapati Kings, according to History. He is the builder of Modern Vijayawada kingdom.
Gandhi Hill: The first Gandhi Memorial with seven stupas in the country was constructed on this hill at a height of 500 ft (150 m). The 52 ft (16 m) stupa was unveiled on 6 October 1968 by Dr. Zakir Hussain, the President of India. Gandhi Memorial Library, a Sound and Light Show on Mahatma Gandhi's life and a planetarium are the other attractions.
Mogalarajapuram Caves: These caves are said to be excavated in 5th century A.D. The caves are reputed to be the first of their kind in South India. The idols of Lord Nataraja, Vinayaka & Arthanareeswara are carved here, but none of the statue are available here.
Victoria Museum: A place for archaeology lovers, Victoria Museum has a carefully preserved collection of ancient sculptures, paintings, idols, weapons, cutlery, and inscriptions.
Hazarat Bal Mosque: A holy relic of the Prophet Mohammed is kept here which is displayed once a year. A large number of non-Muslims too join the celebrations.
Rajiv Gandhi Park: Created by the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation with great care, this park welcomes the tourists at the entrance of the city with its impressive horticultural network. A mini zoo and a musical water fountain are added to it.
Gunadala Matha Shrine: In 1925, Rf. Arlati, the Rector of St. Joseph's Orphanage at Gunadala, installed a statue of Our Lady and later a church was built and consecrated in 1971, now popularly known as St. Mary's church. Since then the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes became an annual event here, attended by hundreds of people. The church is situated on a hillock on the eastern side of the city.
Bhavani Island: Perhaps one of the largest islands on a river, Bhavani Island is in Krishna River close to the city. AP Tourism is converting this 133-acre (54 hectare) island into an attractive tourist spot and a riverfront resort. The island has some cottages to stay in and some good adventure and fun sports. The journey to the island by boat is very pleasant.
Mangalagiri: Mangalagiri is a near by town which is a famous pilgrim centre for its Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple which is one among the tallest temple towers of the India. Mangalagiri is also famous for its traditional textiles.
Namburu: Namburu is a suburban of Vijayawada and Guntur . Though a village, it gives an ornate urban living because of well-established townships. Nambur is famous for spiritual centres namely Kaligardens, Hreenkar theerth (Jain temple) which is one of the master piece for its architecture. Acharya Nagarjuna University is in Nambur.
Vijayawada is well connected to nearby tourist attractions like Amaravati, Namburu, Kuchipudi, Kondapalli, Gudivada, Chodavaram, Krishna district,Undavalli caves and Machilipatnam.